Saturday, February 1, 2020

From Japan To Africa : Queens, The Japanese Festival in Cameroon, and Other Things.


Cameroon is a multicultural and multilingual country. Africa-in-miniature, it is a linguistic fascination whose diversity is impressive. What about Japan? For the typical Cameroonian, Japan is a mystery yet the recent Japan festival organized at the French Cultural Institute in Yaoundé this 1st of February enabled a clear sweet sensitivity of the typical Cameroonian to the Japanese culture. Yes, the Japanese festival was a rich colorful cultural exposition. 

 Let us start with Empress Regnant Suiko. Even if she was not exposed and talked of during the festival talking about her here puts forward the dynamism of the Japanese woman. Which became very visible as we moved in the festival's hall. They were very active during the festival and participated in all activities and at all levels of roles and functions.


Suiko Source Wikipedia

Suiko was a powerful Nippon queen who reigned from the 8th  December 592AD to the 7th March 628AD. Knowing Suiko is important because  in the history of Japan she was  the first woman to  take on the role of empress regnant. She had thus full political power over her kingdom without share with her husband. 


Several centuries before Queen Suiko came Queen Nefertiti a beautiful woman as it was admitted. Queen of Egypt and wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten during the 14th century B.C.  Nefertiti is known for reorienting Egypt’s religious and political structure around the worship of the sun god Aten. 

The present discourse of generation equity affected by the sustainable development goal 5 would have been a real amusement to the traditional Kemit woman or Japanese woman. In fact, most traditional African societies put the woman at the forefront of development. The regrettable observation of women's disengagement, and it is not a hyperbole, in community development with respect to certain activities is not understandable given the glorious history of the African woman

Nefertiti Source Wikipedia

What do these queens have in come? They were powerful and contributed tremendously in the development of their kingdoms.


The Japanese festival exposed the historical links that further served as an important tie between Japan and Cameroon. In fact, Tsunoda Ichizo is the first Japanese to come to Cameroon where he died and was buried. He arrived in Kamerun during the German rule.


 An exposition of Tsunoda's presence during German Kamerun Photo Didier De Masso










Cameroonian youths are familiar with Japanese Manga and other superheroes. Video games and the manga projected in cable television has considerably enabled this exposure to be possible. Rewards were given to the best manga drawings



Winners of the Manga contest Photo Didier De Masso

As we moved into the exposition hall to observe what attracted Cameroonians, we discovered a fascination for the calligraphs and origami, the bitter green matcha tea, and the wearing of the yukata.



Crowds of enthusiasts gathering to see how their names will be written in calligraphic form.  Photo Didier De Masso




It was interesting to see all of Cameroon's cultural diversity gather at the calligraphy corner.

                                      A woman from the North of Cameroon holding passionately her Caligraphy                                           Photo Didier De Masso



                  Happy Japanesse young woman teaching the art of Origami  to a young Cameroonian  adolescent                  Photo Didier De Masso




                                                          Happy Japanese man in the process of matcha making                                                             Photo Didier De Masso

                  Matcha drinking. The drinking of the matcha is codified just as the making as the schema on the table  shows                         Photo Didier De Masso
Japanese female traditional dresses are extremely varied and extremely lifely in terms of nature and colour. There are specific linguistical expressions to refer to the essence of the dresses (e.g. sourei, sensai..). In photo we see the marked difference with an African dress     Photo Didier De Masso



The festival ended in a melodious tone with enchanted and excited people staying in the hall long after the festival ended. The strength of the expressions of the Japanese savoir-faire was very dominant. More energy dedicated in doing than in anything. The exposure of electronic technology was absent at the festival. 

It was extremely impressing when we know how powerful Japan is in terms of electronic technology. It is an important cultural element which has made Japan renown. Assuming it was a necessary omission, the idea of such a festival without typical Japanese electronic technology should be questioned when the majority of participants at the festival where youths, necessarily contaminated with and by the ICT-Kulture. 

Notwithstanding, the festival exposed in a colorful way the mode of life of  Japanese (dressing, food-tea-, drawings, and writing). The beauty of the Japanese culture stems from an impressing coded set of behaviours and activities perfectly organized to vehicle a set of values and principles. Being at the festival re-questioned the meaning of cultural hybridization in a globalized world.