MCAS Iwakuni residents attend Tenkoku stamp class

Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni residents pose for a photo after a class at the Atago Lotus Cultural Center in Iwakuni City, Japan, Nov. 14, 2019. The trip was hosted by the Cultural Adaptation Program which gave station residents the opportunity to learn the history of Monk Dokyuru and the stamp he brought to Iwakuni. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Trista Whited)
Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni residents pose for a photo after a class at the Atago Lotus Cultural Center in Iwakuni City, Japan, Nov. 14, 2019. The trip was hosted by the Cultural Adaptation Program which gave station residents the opportunity to learn the history of Monk Dokyuru and the stamp he brought to Iwakuni. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Trista Whited)

MCAS Iwakuni residents attend Tenkoku stamp class

by LCpl Trista Whited
MCAS Iwakuni

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, JP -- Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni residents attended the Tenkoku stamp class at the Atago Lotus Cultural Center in Iwakuni City, Nov. 14, 2019. The trip to the Atago Lotus Cultural Center gave station residents the opportunity to learn the history of Dokyuru Shoeki and the stamp he brought to Iwakuni.

Mikie Watanabe, cultural adaptation specialist with Marine Corps Community Services, takes MCAS Iwakuni residents on trips year-round to help them learn more about the culture of Iwakuni and Japan.

"Tenkoku engraving has a lot of history behind it. Shoeki brought it here, to Iwakuni, while curing the Iwakuni Lord Hiroyoshi Kikkawa of chronic illnesses. He also brought a book that led to the building of the Kintai Bridge,” said Watanabe. “I arrange these trips for residents to occupy their time and learn more of this exciting history.

The Tenkoku Stamp was created during the ancient era after the technology made its way to Japan from China, and is still used by natives of Japan and several other Asian countries. The engraved stamp was originally created for only the Emperor and royal families to signify their importance and was later adapted as a signature for letters, books and art that all people could use.

The station residents left with a history lesson, their own engraved Tenkoku stamps and a gifted inkpot with hibiscus plant ink by Ooishisan, the sensei of the Tenkoku class.

Watanabe says, “We give the residents the opportunity to make memorable items that tie into the history of Japan, so when they look at or use these things, they will remember the history and their experiences.”

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