“Culture Village” a place where one can learn about Japanese culture in Melbourne

Culture Village in a place where one can learn about Japanese culture in Melbourne. It’s held in a classroom at Japaneasy (a Japanese Language school) on the first and third Wednesday of the month. The class was started in answer to the student’s request to not only learn Japanese but to also learn about Japanese culture. A request that has been made since Japaneasy first opened its doors.

The contents of each class vary. Topics include flower arranging, calligraphy, and the wearing of kimonos. We had a look at the calligraphy and Washi (Japanese paper) art class.

Nine students took part in today’s class. There was also one Japanese person in the class, but for most people it was the first time trying their hands at calligraphy. Participants were not only Japanese language students, but also people who knew of Culture Village through friends and Japaneasy’s website. There were people of different ages, nationalities, and backgrounds, but they had all gathered at Culture Village with a common interest in Japanese Culture.

First of all, the teacher introduced herself. Today’s teacher, Mrs Kobayashi, teaches Japanese culture at places like primary schools throughout Melbourne. She has a particular passion to spread Japanese culture through teaching Washi art. She says she started teaching at Culture Village because she wanted to teach Japanese culture in more depth, covering areas such as history, and not just about anime, geishas, and ninjas.

The first 30 minutes of the class was an introduction to Japanese culture, then in the remaining hour and a half students got to experience Washi art and calligraphy first hand by doing it themselves.

The theme of the day was Renjishi*. Mrs Kobayashi gave a simple and easy to understand explanation of its history, and of the Kabuki play themed on shishi(lions). Questions came flying from the students, but there was also laughter. As it was a small class, the atmosphere had a friendly at home feel.

In today’s class, students folded origami kabuki actors performing the Renjishi dance. The origami figure was then glued to a separate piece of paper, and combined with a handwritten “Renjishi” it became a work of art.

The first challenge was the Renjishi origami. The students used beautiful Japanese paper. Mrs Kobayashi showed everyone an example using a large piece of paper. It was a little complicated, but the students helped each other, and also received help from their teacher.


Throughout the class there were many chances to learn about Japan, such as the explanation about the hakama* the students were making. Because their Japanese born teacher is well experienced, students were able to have a glimpse into various Japanese cultures from one piece of artwork. Furthermore, since many Japanese words were used, it was also like studying the Japanese language.


Finally it came time for calligraphy. Students were taught the basics such as posture, and the correct way to hold the brush, which they first practised on a separate piece of paper. Everyone appeared nervous when writing. The teacher went from student to student giving advice, and showing the basics of calligraphy like how to draw and end a horizontal stroke.

When it came time to write on the real paper everyone was a little nervous. But everyone took their time and completed their own Washi artwork.

The students seemed to enjoy both the Washi art and the calligraphy. We asked some of the students for their impressions.


"The class was a lot of fun. I’ve only just started learning Japanese, so the kanji was hard, but I think that doing calligraphy is helpful in remembering kanji. If you’re like me and have an interest in Japanese and Japanese culture, or even if you don't know anything about it I think you should definitely check out Culture Village."


"I’m learning Japanese at Japaneasy. Since I do graphic design I’ve always loved the beauty of the end, upward, and sweeping brushstrokes in kanji. I also believe that you can understand Japanese people through calligraphy, so I really look forward to every calligraphy class. "

At Culture Village you not only experience the calligraphy, but also get an explanation of the background of the artwork you’re making and the meaning of the kanji you are writing. Therefore you can enjoy Washi art and calligraphy on a deeper level, making Culture Village the ideal place to experience Japanese culture.

So for those interested in Japanese language or Japanese culture, be sure to pay a visit to Culture village and please check the Japaneasy website for more information on other Culture Village programmes.


*Renjishi: Title of a kabuki play themed on shishi(lions)
*Hakama: A type of Japanese garment worn over a kimono. It is fastened with a cord and covers from the waist down. Mainly used by men as formal wear in the pre-modern era. However in modern times hakama for women are also becoming a standard as formal wear for graduation and coming of age ceremonies.

translated by Garrick Low

Culture Village

Time:1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month, 7pm-9pm
Place:Japaneasy, Level 4, 126-128 Russell street Melbourne VIC Australia


loading Google Map …

Be first to comment