34th Nikkei Matsuri in San Jose’s Japantown on May 1


LET’S GET IT STARTED — Members of San Jose Taiko perform in the taiko stroll to begin the 2010 Nikkei Matsuri. photo by June Yasuhara

SAN JOSE — The sound of taiko drums will announce the start of San Jose Japantown’s 34th annual Nikkei Matsuri on Sunday, May 1. The festival celebrates the Japanese American community’s heritage and culture. The event, held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., takes place at Fifth and Jackson streets in the heart of San Jose’s Japantown, one of three remaining Japantowns in the nation.

LET’S GET IT STARTED — Members of San Jose Taiko perform in the taiko stroll to begin the 2010 Nikkei Matsuri. photo by June Yasuhara

More than 34 years ago, the Nikkei Matsuri was one of several ethnic community events in San Jose planned for the United State’s bicentennial celebration. The Nikkei Matsuri enabled the Japanese American community to share their culture with the City. This celebration has continued since then.

The Nikkei Matsuri committee, led by President Warren Hayashi, is composed of representatives of several nonprofit organizations. Together, they coordinate a day filled with food, performing arts, cultural exhibits and crafts, and aim to share and celebrate Japanese American culture.

Live entertainment on two stages will be featured throughout the day. Many of these groups are from local San Jose community organizations.

Two styles of ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) — Sogetsu and Ikebana — will be displayed in the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin’s gymnasium. In addition, there will be displays by the San Jose Bonsai Club, calligraphy from the Bei Koko Shodo Kenkyu Kai, sculptural rocks by Kashu Suiseki and handcrafted kimekomi dolls by the Mataro Miyabi Kai Northern California Shibu.

Unique arts and crafts by vendors from throughout the Western United States and Hawai‘i will be available. The items are handcrafted and feature the use of Japanese traditional designs, materials and form in a contemporary art or craft, such as handcrafted soap in the shape of sushi or clothing featuring shibori or kimono fabrics.

Other Activities

In addition to the Nikkei Matsuri events, local community organizations will host activities during the day.

Yu-Ai Kai Japanese American Community Senior Service will hold its Nihonmachi Run at 9 a.m., beginning at the corner of Jackson and Fourth Streets. The nonprofit will also hold its annual Health Fair at the Akiyama Wellness Center, located at 110 Jackson St., from 9 a.m. to noon. People will be able to receive screenings and massages, and look at exhibits.

The Japantown Business Association will hold its weekly Farmer’s Market on Jackson Street between Sixth and Seventh streets from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Suzume No Gakko (Children’s Cultural Program) will host children’s crafts at the Wesley Methodist United Church, located at 566 North 5th St., during the festival.

The Japanese American Museum of San Jose will host a Kodomo No Hi (Children’s Day) celebration at 535 Fifth St. The celebration will feature Boy’s Day displays and children’s activities.

Featured festival guests include: the 2011 Northern California Cherry Blossom Queen Court, the Japanese American National Museum, and an exhibit of swords from the San Francisco Nipponto Society.

Admission is free. Information and schedules of performances are available at www.nikkeimatsuri.org, or by contacting Warren Hayashi at (408) 241-0900.


Performing Arts Program Outdoor Stage (Fifth and Jackson streets)

Time and Event

9:15 a.m.         Pre-opening with San Jose Taiko
9:30 a.m.         Opening Ceremony — Raising of the Koi by Warren Hayashi
9:45 a.m.         Introduction of the 2011 Northern California Cherry Blossom Queen Court
10 a.m.            Students of Ukulele Jams directed by Rodney Takahashi
11 a.m.            CYS Dancers instructed by Teresa Hawker
12 p.m.            San Jose Chidori Band directed by Duane Takahashi
2 p.m.              Wesley Jazz Ensemble directed by Wayne Adachi
3 p.m.              San Jose Taiko directed by Roy and PJ Hirabayashi
4 p.m.              End of Nikkei Matsuri

Indoor Stage (San Jose Betsuin Gymnasium)

Time               Event

10:30 a.m.       Koto Performance by Marimo-Kai  under the management of Yukari Sakaguchi
11:30 a.m.       Japanese Classical Dance by the students of Misayasu Bando
11:45 a.m.       Japanese Classical Dance by the students of Michiya Hanayagi
12:30 p.m.       Okinawa Dance and Drum by Chikaho-Kai Directed by Tomoko Makishi
1:30 p.m.         Okinawa Karate and Weapons Demo by Oshiro Karate Dojo, instructed by Toshiro Oshiro
2:30 p.m.         Shorinji Kempo Demo by the Silicon Valley Shorinji Kempo, instructed by Hirayama Sensei

Nikkei Matsuri Food Vendors

Food Items – Organization

Teriyaki Burgers, Water, Soda – Cub Scout Pack 611
Ice Cream, Water – Japanese Language School
Strawberry Shortcake, Water – West Valley JACL
Chicken Salad –  Nisei Ski Club
, Water – San Jose-Okayama Sister City Org.
Inari Sushi –
Buddhist Women’s Association
Mixed Tempura – SJ Kendo Dojo-NC Kendo Fed
Teriyaki Chicken, Water – San Jose Buddhist Temple
Yaki Soba –
Wesley United Methodist Church
Nikkei Dog, Soda –  Wesley CAF
Spam Musubi, Water – Silicon Valley JACL
, Lemonade – San Jose Buddhist Judo Club
Fry Plate – San Jose JACL
, Hot Tea – YJA

(schedule subject to change)

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