Community News

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 […]

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 […]

San Francisco’s Japantown witnesses considerable turnover in 2016

Throughout 2016, San Francisco’s Japantown saw many changes. Several longtime businesses changed hands while others have taken over empty locations. As the changes affect Japantown’s landscape, some expressed wariness over the neighborhood’s future as well as pointed out the difficulties the ethnic enclave’s business owners currently face today. Unique New Businesses Richard Hashimoto, president of […]

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