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LWC Students from Japan hold Coming of Age ceremony

In Japan, the ceremonies are held at city halls; the tradition was carried out at City Hall in Columbia, with Mayor Hardwick addressing the students as their Mayors in Japan would have done. LWC has a record number of students for the spring semester this year.
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By Duane Bonifer
News from Lindsey Wilson College

COLUMBIA, KY - A quintet of Lindsey Wilson College students from Japan recently experienced an important life they thought they would have to miss while studying overseas.

Thanks to creativity from LWC staff members and cooperation from City of Columbia officials, five female LWC students from Japan experienced the Coming of Age ceremony January 27, 2016 at Columbia City Hall.


Traditionally, the Coming of Age ceremony - also known as Seijin no Hi - is held throughout city halls in Japan every January. The ceremony, which dates to the 8th century, celebrates when a person in Japan reaches legal adulthood, which is the age of 20.

Concerned that she would miss her Coming of Age ceremony, LWC student Ami Kumazawa of Yokohama, Japan, worked with LWC International Program Director Sabine Eastham and Columbia Mayor Curtis Hardwick to hold the event in Columbia-Adair County. It was the first time Columbia has hosted the event.

Before a City Hall meeting room filled with LWC classmates, faculty and staff and area residents, Hardwick told the five Japanese students about the responsibilities and challenges of adulthood, just as a Japanese mayor would do.

"You may have some uncertainties thinking about your future life, big dreams and hopes," Hardwick said. "Move forward without flinching."

Each Japanese student then spoke, expressing their gratitude to those who honored them. Following the the ceremony at City Hall, the students celebrated at a reception that featured traditional Japanese dishes, held at LWC's Roberta D. Cranmer Dining & Conference Center. At the reception, the students were surprised with video messages recorded by their families in Japan.

"I just wanted to share this experience with these students," said LWC student Megumi Sasaki of Yamato, Japan.

Sharing experiences is the goal of LWC's international program.

"The presence [of international students] broadens cultural awareness," Eastham said. "Exchange students are only here one year, so we want to give everyone as many experiences as possible."

To enrich the campus' culture, LWC houses international students in residence halls with American students, and international students are also active in campus life. LWC has a record 106 students from 38 countries enrolled this spring. That comes after the college had its largest fall enrollment of international students in college history.

In addition to holding events such as the Coming of Age Day ceremony, Eastham said LWC's International Student Program also looks for way to give back to Columbia-Adair County. The program holds several during International Education Week that are open to the public, and LWC international students visit Adair County schools throughout the year.

During their time in Columbia-Adair County, LWC's international students are paired with area families, who introduce them to Southcentral Kentucky culture and "open their hearts and homes to welcome the students," Eastham said.

For more information about LWC's International Student Program, contact Eastham at easthams@ lindsey.edu or 270-384-8236.


This story was posted on 2016-02-19 10:53:01
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Mayor Hardwick with LWC students at Coming of Age ceremony



2016-02-19 - City Hall, 116 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo by Duane Bonifer, Lindsey Wilson College.
Columbia Mayor Curtis Hardwick joined five Lindsey Wilson College students from Japan to celebrate their Coming of Age ceremony January 27, 2016, at Columbia City Hall. From left: Ami Kumazawa of Yokohama, Japan; Eri Sugiyama of Ogaki, Japan; Hardwick; Karin Yamamura of Nagoya, Japan; Ayaka Maeda of Tsushima, Japan; and Mikoto Okawa of Nagoya, Japan. - Duane Bonifer, LWC

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Ami Kumazawa, Yokohama, Japan, introduces herself to Mayor



2016-02-19 - City Hall, 116 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo by Duane Bonifer, Lindsey Wilson College.
Dressed in a furisode, a style of kimono, Lindsey Wilson student Ami Kumazawa of Yokohama, Japan, introduces herself to Columbia Major Curtis Hardwick. - Duane Bonifer, LWC

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Megumi Sasaki, Yamoto, Japan confers with Mayor Hardwick



2016-02-19 - City Hall, 116 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo by Duane Bonifer, Lindsey Wilson College.
Lindsey Wilson College student Megumi Sasaki of Yamato, Japan, confers with Columbia Mayor Curtis Hardwick before the Coming of Age ceremony. - Duane Bonifer, LWC

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