Community News

Celebrating the soy bean: 2017 Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival

The Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival returned to The Event Center at Saint Mary’s Cathedral June 17 in San Francisco to celebrate the many applications of the soy bean. Paired with music, games and its annual Soy and Tofu Dessert Competition, the seventh annual fundraiser for the Nichi Bei Foundation, publishers of the Nichi […]

S.F.’s J-Town to vote for benefits district by July 25

As San Francisco’s Japantown Community Benefit District goes to a ballot, the Japantown Task Force held an informational meeting June 27 to help answer property owners’ questions about the proposed assessment on their properties. The official city ballot initiative will be among the final deciding factors on whether the commercial benefit district will be formed […]

Soto Zen reverend’s off-the-beaten path to S.F.

The two largest Buddhists sects in Japan are Jodo Shinshu and Soto Shu. Jodo Shinshu boasts the most number of practitioners in Japan,  while Soto Shu claims the title of most number of temples, said the Rev. Koshi Kurotaki, resident minister of the Soto Mission of San Francisco Sokoji. And while Zen Buddhism has become […]

JA follows his father’s footsteps into the Konko ministry

While Buddhists begin to celebrate their annual remembrances of their ancestors during Obon, the Konko faith considers the universe an eternal home for everybody. Furthermore, believers remember ancestors’ spirits throughout the year. “I pray to their spirits whenever I remember,” Alan Matsui Sensei said in an e-mail interview with the Nichi Bei Weekly. “I pray […]

Obon dancing in America: Reverend Yoshio Iwanaga photo album

(Editor’s Note: The following was excerpted from an online exhibit curated by Wynn Kiyama, executive director of Portland Taiko and director of the Portland State University Taiko Ensemble. Photos courtesy of Portland State University Library). Yoshio Iwanaga (1900-1950) was a Japanese Buddhist minister who moved to California in 1930 and introduced doyo buyo (children’s dance) and Bon Odori (Obon […]

School’s in session in S.F.’s Japantown

Following some five years of planning, fundraising and construction, Nihonmachi Little Friends opened its doors to its new Sutter Street building May 19 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by several dozen of those involved with the preschool. Founded in 1975 to provide community-based Japanese bilingual and multicultural childcare, the preschool located in San Francisco’s Japantown […]

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 […]

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