In my continued effort to highlight a few of the city’s most historic landmarks, I have been visiting sites to personally experience them and let you know why you should not only visit but also vote for your favorite.
The next site I want to highlight is Japan Society located 33 East 47th Street. It has for its mission statement the following:
Japan Society is the leading U.S. organization committed to deepening mutual understanding between the United States and Japan in a global context. Now in its second century, the Society serves audiences across the United States and abroad through innovative programs in arts and culture, public policy, business, language and education.
For me, any place that aims to inform and educate others about a particular culture, serving in the process to break down stereotypes, enrich the minds of those unaware, and connect with different communities is worthy of attention and preservation. Japan Society has been doing this since 1969. [Revision: Japan Society was founded in 1907, but the building itself broke ground in 1969. Thank you Shannon for the clarification.)
There were families of all backgrounds present and taking part in a various activities being held throughout the museum. My children delighted in created their very own cherry blossoms to include on a wall covered with them, left and signed by visitors. I watched as, with guided instructions, my boys crafted their first origami and proudly taped it on the wall for all to see. This activity was later followed with samurai hat making and coloring, as well as viewing a performance in their in-house theater.
I was able to enjoy some time walking through their gallery which is currently displaying the Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945 exhibit.
But beyond the exhibit and family-friendly activities hosted at Japan Society, visitors can also enjoy Japanese language and writing courses (one of which I got to peak into and from the calm faces and relaxed feel in the room, it felt more like I was witnessing a painting and meditation class than a writing class). Lectures, networking sessions, performing arts and film – these are all activities and programs available to the community and to those interested in learning more about this fascinating culture.
Japan Society aims to use the money it may win through your votes for the repainting and refurbishing of the façade and entryway.
Disclosure: I have partnered up with Partners in Preservation as a blog ambassador to help spread the word and raise awareness of select historical sites throughout the tri-state area. Though I am compensated for my time, I have not been instructed to express any particular point of view. All opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I am proud to be a part of something so significant and so important to the preservation of the history of my home.