Provided by BUJA A performance from BUJA’s previous Japan Night. Japan Night is a banquet-style event that showcases and celebrates Japanese culture.

After last year’s Japan Night centered around the theatrical, the Binghamton University Japanese Association (BUJA) is focusing on a more personal aspect for this year’s show — the theme of “kizuna,” which means “bonds.”

Japan Night is BUJA’s biggest showcase of the spring semester. It’s a night for food, friends and appreciation of Japanese culture. The event switches its theme up every year, with past events utilizing themes like “yuku haru,” or “graduation,” and “geki,” which means “theatre.” Last year’s “geki” theme featured a theatre performance composed of singing, martial arts, dancing and acting.

The banquet-style event incorporates performances that showcase and celebrate Japanese culture interwoven to create a storyline. This year’s Japan Night will include a Japanese fashion show, displaying changes in Japanese fashion over time from traditional to modern styles, a traditional dance presentation called “Soran Bushi” and a video story that will be playing throughout the show. There will be individual performers, in addition to performances from groups like martial arts clubs Aikido and Chanbara.

Mercury Li, a member of Chanbara and a senior majoring in Japanese studies, said that this year’s kizuna theme is especially significant to the people who have spent the year collaborating to organize the event.

“I think it’s something more valuable than just friendship, when you get to work hard together to achieve a goal and really make it,” Li said. “It’s not only about the things we do, but also the bonds we made on the way.”

Aside from the performances, the event’s atmosphere and decorations are also curated by BUJA’s Executive Board and general body members. The Mandela Room will be decorated with Japanese scenery from various locations like Osaka, Tokyo and Okinawa, designed to immerse attendees into the culture and create the feeling of traveling throughout Japan.

“The great thing about Japan Night is that we also show the audience all of the hard work our general body members put in throughout the year, through the decorations around the room as well as the performances,” said Corinna Ronen, event coordinator for BUJA and a sophomore majoring in biology.

Toshihiro Yatomi, the president of BUJA and a senior majoring in business administration, said that this year’s Japan Night is focusing on the theme of kizuna because of the strong relationships not only between its 16 e-board members, but also between the e-board and the club’s general body members. He said those bonds are exemplified by the increased involvement of general body members in the show.

“One thing that makes this Japan Night special and something different from other years is that we’ve got a lot of general members for the stage performances,” Yatomi said. “This year, more than 40 general members are going to participate in the banquet as either performers or volunteers.”

For Yatomi, the idea of bonds has been central to his experience at BU as an international student. He said that BUJA made a home for him and has helped bridge the gap between all different types of students in the club.

“Even though we grew up in the different places and have different backgrounds, we always help each other and work really hard to make our events amazing,” Yatomi said. “As for me, as an international student from Japan, BUJA is always the place where I learned many important things and made precious friends, and I always feel like we are connected as a strong ‘bond.’”

Ronen said she hopes that Japan Night will provide students of all backgrounds the opportunity to educate themselves on Japanese culture.

“Japan Night is a good chance to broaden your horizons by experiencing the food, music and perspectives of another culture,” Ronen said.

Japan Night will take place on Sunday, March 25 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Mandela Room in the University Union. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $7 or at the door for $10. The ticket price includes a meal catered by Kampai Japanese Steakhouse in Vestal.