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Rose-Hulman Celebrating 20-Year Partnership with Japan’s Kanazawa Institute of Technology

October 21, 2012

  Cherry Grove plans  
Plans for the commemorative Cherry Grove.
Upcoming: Check back for slide show of live grove.

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology celebrated its 20-year exchange partnership with Japan's Kanazawa Institute of Technology with a series of events on Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20. The theme of events: reflect, educate, and entertain.

A 19-member delegation of KIT administrators and educators,  led by Kanazawa Institute's president, Ken-ichi Ishikawa, visited campus, Terre Haute, and Indianapolis during the two-day trip.

Events included the dedication of a cherry tree grove, several educational workshops, a dinner in Indianapolis with members of the Japan-America Society of Indiana, and a special musical concert in Rose-Hulman's Hatfield Hall Theater.

One of Japan's leading educational institutions, Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT) specializes in developing engineers that contribute to engineering innovation while remaining flexible to the future advancement of science and technology. It was started as Hokuriku Dempa School in 1957, became Kanazawa Technical College in 1962 and was established as KIT in 1965.

Rose-Hulman is among 14 international universities in which KIT has engaged in student exchange programs. Students expand their global horizons by learning Japanese on campus, and then taking a semester of language and culture courses in Japan. Rose-Hulman faculty members have also spent sabbaticals to teach at KIT, and the exchange has even extended to athletics as Rose-Hulman's basketball and baseball teams have travelled for exhibition games against KIT and other Japanese teams.

The visiting KIT delegation will continued learning about Rose-Hulman by visiting Rose-Hulman Ventures and participating in a workshop led by Rose-Hulman faculty members on inverted classroom techniques. In return, the KIT educators will host a session on its state-of-the-art Yumekoho Laboratory, the "Factory of Dreams," which several Rose-Hulman officials visited earlier this year.

"In our 20-year relationship with KIT, we have sent more than 300 faculty, staff, students, and family members to visit, and in the future we hope to send even more," stated Rose-Hulman President Robert A. Coons.

The cherry tree grove will be a permanent landmark to showcase the Rose-Hulman-KIT partnership, according to Coons. It is located near the White Chapel on the west side of campus and contains 40 trees--symbolic of each year in the partnership for both colleges.

The cherry tree is an exalted flowering plant in Japan, and the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.

"Cherry trees are a wonderful symbol of our friendship with Kanazawa Institute of Technology," stated Coons. "I hope the relationship between our leading institutions will continue to blossom and bear fruit, and that we'll develop ever stronger roots of friendship in the future."

The weekend's festivities concluded on Saturday with a special concert by internationally acclaimed performer, Shunsuke Kimura, in Rose-Hulman's Hatfield Hall Theater, and were free for Rose-Hulman students, faculty, and staff members. Shunsuke performs on the flute and Tsugaru Shamisen, a Japanese three-string banjo-like instrument with a distinctive sound that was originally played by wandering blind artists. in his show, titled "Insho," he was joined by musicians performing the koto, the 13-string national instrument of Japan, along with violins and percussion instruments. With these and some western musical instruments Shunsuke used delicate nuance of color and sound to tell a variety of nostalgic stories that express the poetic image in nature, scenery and seasons.