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Japanese Summer Festival
in Anderson Gardens


• Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford held its annual Japanese Festival on August 23rd and 24th. Many kinds of Japanese culture were exhibited and demonstrated during the two-day festival, such as taiko drumming, tea ceremony, martial arts, calligraphy, ikebana, potteries, bonsai, origami, and traditional Japanese music. Candyman Terasawa, Japanese street performer, entertained the visitors by his breathtaking tricks.

• The festival was expanded to a two-day event last year because of its popularity. The number of visitors increased to 1,500 last year, more than double from the previous year. This year, the festival was well attended, and some visitors drove from Ohio and Iowa. Although the first day of the festival was hit by downpours, the visitors toured the gardens and were fascinated by the fresh greens of trees and plants. Many of them were enraptured by the rusty elegance of a Japanese garden in the rain.

• In the opening ceremony, David Anderson welcomed the visitors and introduced the guest speakers.
• Consul General of Japan Masaharu Yoshida praised the gardens saying, “This is one of the most impressive Japanese Gardens I’ve ever visited outside of Japan. You are going to experience the beautiful landscape that was designed by the renowned Hoichi Kurisu with ponds, woods, gates, guest house, and tea house. They are absolutely authentic.”
• Yosida also applauded the founder of the Anderson Gardens, saying, “It’s all a tribute to one man and his dream. More than 30 years ago, Mr. John Anderson began creating the gardens, and today they are not only one of the best Japanese gardens in the Midwest, but the entire United States.”

• Kazuo Shimizu, President of Kikkoman Foods and President of JCCC (Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry) expressed his appreciation for the gardens saying, “It can be difficult for those of us who must leave our homes in Japan for the overseas assignments. As Kikkoman brought its manufacturing to Walworth, Wisconsin, we are proud to have Anderson Gardens so close to us. It makes us quite at home.” He thanked David Anderson and his parents, John and Linda, for creating an incredible place of peace and tranquility.

• John Cabello, State Representative from Rockford, presented resolutions to commend the Andersons’ dedication to the community. Cabello said, “I thought that we should recognize the Anderson Gardens for a beautiful shining star as it is. This is a shining star not just here in Rockford, but shining star in the State and in the country. The Andersons’ community effort is about beyond us most.”

• The festival started with the performance of Seiran Chiba’s calligraphy. She drew a huge kanji character “sky” on a six-foot-square sheet of paper with the beat sound of taiko drumming by the Hoetsu Taiko.
• Chiba explained her work saying, “I drew ‘sky’ because the sky connects the U.S., Japan, and the world. I wished the world peace while I was drawing the character.”
• Chiba has lived in Fukushima Prefecture since 2000, and in 2006 she began touring all 59 cities and villages in Fukushima to draw calligraphy to express her insight into nature.

• Tea ceremony was demonstrated by Professor Emeritus Kimiko Gunji. She is President of Urasenke Tankokai Urbana-Champaign Chapter and former Director of Japan House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
• In the guest house in the gardens, Gunji spoke about the way of enjoying a bowl of tea by using easy language. She said that people could taste a bowl of tea in relaxing situation. Although the rule of behavior in tea ceremony was highly respected, it did not restrict one’s behavior. Temae, the procedures of serving a bowl of tea consist of natural and simple movements, and they are elegantly refined and sophisticated. For example, smoothing and folding fukusa (a cloth for tea) to wipe utensils is more beautiful than just grabbing it.
• Gunji gracefully made a bowl of tea, and 89-year-old Michio Ajito from Japan demonstrated the way of drinking tea. Everyone in the guest house was without tension and enjoyed sweets and tea.

• Japanese artifacts, collected by John Anderson, were exhibited at the lower level of the Visitor Center in the gardens. Most paintings were from Edo period, including Mount Fuji painted by Hoin Kano (1753-1808), top official painter for Tokugawa shogunate and the 6th of the Kobikicho Kano family. Gorgeous kimono dresses including a pure wedding gown were also displayed.

• In a Shimpo’s interview, Consul General Yoshida said, “I’m very pleased that Mr. John Anderson made these great authentic landscapes and buildings, and we can say this is the Japanese culture. In some ways, I’m proud of myself for being Japanese


Candyman Terasawa entertains the visitors by his breathtaking tricks.

Deiran Chiba draws a kanji "sky" on a six-foot-square paper.
The Hoetsu Taiko

Professor Emeritus Kimiko Gunji demonstrates tea ceremony.

Sweets for a bowl of tea

Art collections by John Anderson

David Anderson

John Anderson smiles with an award presented by the General Assembly of Illinois.

Consul General Masaharu Yoshida

JCCC President Kazuo Shimizu

State Representative John Cabello