Japanese Celebration of Elders at Manggha in Krakow

The Manggha Center of Japanese Art and Technology celebrates “Keiro-no hi” – the Japanese Day of Respect for the Elderly – this Sunday, September 16. This is Manggha’s sixth year of holding the celebration.

The genesis of “Keiro-no hi” is shrouded in mystery – among different explanations for its origin a particular legend stands out. It tells the story of a forester and his elderly father, to whom the son gave great attention and care. Alas, working in the woods he was not wealthy enough to assure his father even one pot of sake a week. One day, while working as hard as usual, he tripped and fell into a ravine. Trying to find his way out, he came across a waterfall which turned out to flow with sake. But not only nature rewarded the young forester’s care; once the emperor Gensho heard of the story he came to “Mino,” where the father and son lived.

He appointed the son head forester and renamed the town “Yoro,” meaning “respect for the elderly.” In memory of these events, the Japanese honor the elderly in mid-September with special celebrations. Such a holiday is especially significant in Japan, where over 18 percent of the population is over the age of 65 – the highest percentage in the world. During the past five years, the Manggha Center organized sushi preparation and concerts.

This year is no different – there will be a chamber music concert given by award winning pianist Mariola Cieniawa and soprano Edyta Piasecka-Durlak. The performance will include “Japanese Utas” by 20th Century Polish composer Piotr Perkowski, airs by Puccini and some works of Chopin. In addition, the curator, Anna Krol, will give a special tour of the landscapes exhibition by Japanese-inspired modernist Jan Stanislawski and his students. Celebrations will begin at 16:00.

Admission is free.The Manggha Center is on ul. Konopnickiej 26, across the Vistula River near Wawel Castle. You can get there by taking tram lines 1, 2, 6 – stop Jubilat/Most Debicki and lines 18, 19, 22 – stop Rondo Grunwaldzkie or by bus lines 109, 114, 124, 164, 173, 179, 194, 439, 444 – stop Jubilat/Most Debicki and 100, 103, 112, 114, 124, 128, 162, 164, 173, 179, 184, 194, 439, 444 – stop Rondo Grunwaldzkie.

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