Japanese dance teacher who brought joy to WWII inmates remains active at 99

LOS ANGELES — Fujima Kansuma, the legendary Japanese dancer who taught several thousand students in a career that has spanned nearly eight decades, participated in a little-known part of history when she overcame obstacles to share her art with Japanese American inmates during World War II. When hostilities erupted between America and Japan, resulting in […]

Examining the JA exclusion from the U.S. military’s perspective

The San Francisco Presidio Trust opened “Exclusion: The Presidio’s Role in World War II Japanese American Incarceration,” April 1 inside the Presidio Officers’ Club. The museum exhibit commemorates the 75th year since the U.S. military issued 108 exclusion orders leading to the forced incarceration of some 120,000 people of Japanese descent in U.S. concentration camps […]

FROM SUMO TO MUSIC: Former Ozeki KONISHIKI to be Grand Marshal of parade

Hail the conquering hero … once again. When KONISHIKI last came to the Bay Area in 1996, the much celebrated sumo wrestler in Japan was taking a victory lap of sorts at a tournament in San Jose while he wound down a history-making career. Sunday, April 16 in San Francisco, the Hawai‘i-born KONISHIKI will return […]

Cherry Blossom Festival celebrating 50 years and embracing the future

San Francisco’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary with organizers hoping to present a celebration of Japanese culture that is bigger than ever. This year, the two weekend-long event will host a 50th anniversary gala, more than 200 guests from Japan and expanded entertainment, including a scavenger hunt. Richard Hashimoto, who previously […]

Sacramento group preserves Japanese folk dancing and music

Through its long history, with roots dating back to the late 1940s, the Sacramento, Calif.-based Sakura Minyo Doo Koo Kai has gone through a few changes, but its core remains the same: a love for traditional Japanese arts. Known now for its Japanese folk dancing and music, the group wasn’t always primarily made up of […]

PLAYING FOR COMMUNITY: San Jose Taiko founders P.J. and Roy Hirabayashi

Known both locally and internationally, P.J. and Roy Hirabayashi were among the latest inductees to the Hokka Nichibei Kai (Japanese American Association of Northern California) Bunka Hall of Fame during its annual New Year’s party Jan. 28, alongside fellow San Jose’s Japantown cultural arts icon Reiko Iwanaga (Reimichi Hanayagi). The Hirabayashis, founders of San Jose […]

Japanese Latin Americans receive favorable hearing; ruling may not come for years

WASHINGTON — Isamu Carlos “Art” Shibayama and the Campaign for Justice: Redress Now for Japanese Latin Americans! delegation appeared to have received a favorable hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights March 21, but an official ruling may not be expected for years. The IACHR is an independent agency of the Organization of American […]

U.S. top court dismisses appeal over ‘comfort women’ statue in Calif

LOS ANGELES (Kyodo) — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 27 rejected an appeal filed by Japanese Americans seeking removal of a statue in California symbolizing women who were forced to work in wartime Japanese brothels. The decision came despite the Japanese government’s opinion presented to the U.S. Supreme Court in February asking it to […]

AB 491, to educate public about Japanese American incarceration, passes committee

TORRANCE, Calif.  — Assembly Bill 491, legislation introduced by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi that would allocate $3 million in grants to the State Library to educate Californians about the World War II incarceration of  Japanese Americans, passed the Assembly Education Committee on March 22 by a unanimous vote of 7-0. The bill designates $1 million each […]

S.F. Cherry Blossom Queen candidates announced

The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Program presented its 2017 queen candidates during its annual festival preview March 12 at the Union Bank Community Room in San Francisco’s Japantown. The Queen Program, a highlight of San Francisco’s 50th annual Cherry Blossom Festival, will take place Saturday, April 8 at the AMC Kabuki 8. The […]

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