What We Missed: Celebrate Japan’s 80th Nisei Week Festival August 13-21

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Founded in 1934, the Nisei Week Festival has seen only two upheavals in its history: the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the pandemic. Its return this year is an opportunity to celebrate the gathering once again. (1934 photo by Toyo Miyatake studio)

The energy of dancers performing in the streets of Little Tokyo, the sounds of kachi kachi and taiko drums. After a two-year hiatus, the Nisei Week Festival returns as an in-person event, a testament to the enduring spirit of the Japanese-American community.

Once again there will be a chance to see smiling faces and new and old friends. For the 80th time, Nisei Week will be celebrated, and to all the volunteers who worked so hard to bring it back — GANBARE!

We are back! After two years of virtual experiences, Japan’s Nisei Week festival will take place – in person – from August 13-21.

Enjoyed by thousands during the summer, come join the downtown Los Angeles community at the 80th Nisei Week Japanese Festival, one of the longest running ethnic festivals in the country. The festival features free Japanese cultural events, activities and exhibits, including music and entertainment, food and entertainment over two weekends.

August 13-14

On Saturday, August 13, the Nisei Week Car Show will be held at the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple parking lot. Admission is free this year.

Routed through the streets of Little Tokyo, the Grand Parade will kick off at 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 14. The parade will feature traditional Japanese dancers, taiko drummers, Haneto dancers preceded by a Nebuta float, as well as special guests and honorees including Grand Marshal George Sugimoto and Parade Marshals Maia and Alex Shibutani, Olympic medalists from ice dancing, and Honorary Parade Marshal Kellyn Acosta, a member of the United States National Soccer Team and the Los Angeles Soccer Club.

August 20-21

Plenty of entertainment such as martial arts and activities will be available for the whole family during the Plaza Festival to be held at the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center (JACCC) on Saturday and Sunday. On August 20, experience a Nisei Week culinary event, sponsored by Day-Lee Foods, which will feature local chefs as well as a beer and sake garden. Plus, free cultural exhibits such as bonsai, calligraphy, ikebana, etc. will be presented on both days. Additionally, the Taiko Gathering will be held at JACCC Plaza on Sunday.

To cap off another year of Nisei Week, the Ondo Street Dance will take place on August 21 at 5 p.m. on Little Tokyo’s First Street. The public is invited to join in this Japanese street dance ritual. Nisei week activities will be held at various locations in Little Tokyo, including the JACCC at 244 S. San Pedro St. Pre-Ondo taiko will begin at 4:30 p.m.

For parking, visit the Nisei Week website. For more information and tickets to paid events, visit www.NiseiWeek.orgcall the Nisei Week office at (213) 687-7183 or email [email protected]

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