Cultures unite through sports at Camp Fuji expo
November 7, 2006
CAMP FUJI, Japan — A man dressed in 300-year-old samurai armor walked by while a group of U.S. Marines posed for pictures with Japanese children in front of two cannons. Nearby, several sumo wrestlers were hanging out at a booth selling Japanese food, while in the distance an archer fired arrows at targets while riding a horse.
This was the scene at the Camp Fuji Martial Arts Expo on Sunday at the Big Guns Gym.
The event featured over a dozen different martial arts demonstrations ranging from karate to Nihon jujitsu to sumo. There was also traditional Japanese dancing, a Japanese swordmaker and various food vendors.
“Friendship through sport” was the unofficial theme of the day, according to event coordinator Rick Sacca.
Sacca added that the event was a good way to introduce Camp Fuji’s Marines to Japanese culture and sport.
Pfc. Kevin Castillo agreed.
“I got to see American and Japanese cultures mix together today, which is pretty cool,” said Castillo, who was working at a howitzer display.
Off-base attendance for the expo was invitation-only. However, plans are in the works for larger events to be held in the future, said Col. Kenneth Lissner, Camp Fuji’s commanding officer.
“This expo will become an annual event,” he said. “It’s a way to get our Marines and sailors to experience Japanese culture and for the Japanese people to experience a part of our culture.”