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Japanese art lends beauty to Easter holiday

Date Posted: 2004-04-15

CAMP KINSER, Okinawa, Japan — Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition people throughout the world have been practicing since before the Middle Ages when they colored and gave them as gifts. Over the course of the holiday’s history, plain, dull chicken eggs have been painted and glittered as members of each generation add their own creativeness turning them into festive ornaments.

Within the last 15-years, Easter eggs on Okinawa have taken on a new form of decoration as many people here are wrapping them in colorful Japanese Washi paper.

Patrons were given a chance to learn the craft at the Kinser Personal Service Center March 27.

“Washi eggs” have become such a hit that classes are being given at Marine Corps Community Services PSCs on island to teach the art, according to Michiko Urasaki, community relations specialist for MCCS, PSC Camp Kinser.

“We put Washi egg-making into our program because we thought people would be interested in it,” the Okinawa City native said. “As it turned out, they were and attendance has gone up every year. Aside from being fun to make, they are a great gift idea because they last much longer than painted eggs.”

Before beginning construction, students took precise measurements of their eggs and then cut the amount of Washi paper needed to cover them without overlapping. They then glued paper to egg combining Japanese folk art and a Christian holiday tradition.

“I’ve made at least forty Washi eggs since I started attending these classes two years ago,” said Debbie J. Sweeney, spouse of a service member stationed here and Wilmington, N.C., native. “The rewarding part is to have a basket full of beautiful eggs sitting on my living-room table for people to see when they visit. They also make wonderful gifts.”

According to Urasaki, the idea of making “Washi eggs” a hobby originated from a close friend of hers.

“My friend Mimi Triglia showed me how to make the eggs one day; I thought it was a creative way of using Washi paper,” Urasaki said. “It is often used for Japanese calligraphy and making dolls. Because of Mimi’s idea it’s now used to make pretty Easter and Christmas decorations.”

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