Arigato: Japan’s Thank You To the World

Shodo Calligraphy artist Koji Kakinuma performs at the Arigato festival.

London, UK- Japan is hosting a 15-day long festival called Arigato in London, as a way to thank over 163 countries for their aide and support after the Great East Japan Tsunami. The tsunami was a by-product of an undersea earthquake off the coast of Japan. It was the strongest earthquake to ever hit Japan and one of the fourth largest earthquakes to be recorded since 1900, with a 9.0 magnitude.

It has been almost two years since the tragic event and Japan and its people have begun to recover.  Ayaka Takai, event staff at Arigato, said, “This is proof that we as Japan, are still surviving. I’m glad that everyone can know that Japan is still here.”

The festival not only serves as a thank you for the aid the country has received but also as a showcase of the different facets of the Japanese culture. Day four of the festival featured performances by break dancing crew the UK B-Boys, DJ Tsuyoshi Takashiro and Shodo-Japanese calligraphy,by renowned artist Koji Kakinuma.

Kakinuma put on a dramatic artistic performance by using Shodo calligraphy to write thank you many times over and over in Japanese letters and then cover up those words with big English letters that also spelled thank you.

Reactions to the festival have been positive. “I was a bit nervous in a way, but I have been enjoying the atmosphere reception from everyone,” said Takai. Spectator Hannah Patel spoke highly of the event and artist. “It was different, and a very nice sentiment from Japan to give thanks.”

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