As part of the Japan Semester at Missouri Southern State University, a slate of activities open to the community will be offered on Japan Day on Saturday, Oct. 23.

The event will offer a wide variety of interactive arts, games and cultural activities, and an opportunity to learn about many Japanese traditions.

“In planning events for the Japan Semester, there were a lot of activities that didn’t lend themselves to a traditional program … such as Japanese flower arranging, a bonsai workshop and storytelling,” said Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute for International Studies.

“Our students are more than welcome to attend, but this was designed more with the community in mind. There really will be something for everyone that day.”

Activities will be split between Webster Hall and the Bud Walton Theatre.

Highlights include a tea ceremony at 11:30 a.m.; a samurai sword demonstration at 1:30 p.m.; a kimono fashion show at 2 p.m.; a bon dance, which welcomes the spirits of the dead, at 3 p.m.; and a closing Taiko drum performance at 3 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public; traditional Japanese street vendor food will be available to purchase starting at 11:15 a.m.

“A lot of major cities have similar events, such as Kansas City, Chicago and Los Angeles,” said Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute for International Studies. “There’s even a three-day Japanese Fall Festival each September in Springfield (Mo.).”

He credits the assistance of Joplin resident Chieko Hedin with making the Missouri Southern event possible.

“She is originally from Japan,” said Stebbins. “She has taken the lead to develop the schedule and drawing on Japanese citizens from Springfield and Kansas City to help put this on.”

To see the full schedule of Japan Day activities, visit