Summer is fun time for Southern California Bon Odori junkies

LOS ANGELES — Summer is a joyful season for many thousands of Southern California Nikkei as they participate in numerous traditional Buddhist Obon observances — as well as non-Buddhist summer festivities — and most include some Japanese dancing. Obon is a traditional event to honor and thank one’s ancestors for the gift of life. Most […]

Bon Odori is a tradition even far from the West Coast

Japanese Americans who don’t live on the West Coast joke that you can go to a different Bon Odori every weekend in California, and dance away your summer. Not so in the geographically isolated Rocky Mountain region, where a few cities such as Denver, Salt Lake City and some other smaller towns host Obon festivals […]

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 […]

San Jose Obon delivers comforting familiarity to community

This year’s Obon festival in San Jose’s Japantown, which took place July 9 and July 10, was the same as it is every year: parking was nearly impossible to find, a line extended all the way from Jackson Street around the corner to North Fifth Street for the shave ice sold at Shuei-do Manju Shop, […]

Help us grow with our Membership Drive!

There is much news about Japanese American newspapers facing difficult challenges, threatening our collective existence, given the general downturn in advertising in today’s print media and a shift to more online sources. Here at the Nichi Bei Foundation and Nichi Bei Weekly, we have been at the forefront at how community media faces these challenges, […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: Obon in Japan, compared to America

I’d been trying to think of how to compare Obon festivals in Japan and America, but for reasons I couldn’t quite put my finger on, it was very difficult. On the surface there are many similarities; however, the role of the temple in America is very different than that of Japan, so to properly understand […]

Ei Ja Nai Ka: A ‘good’ taiko collaboration

SAN JOSE — Those planning to attend an Obon festival this year might experience “Ei Ja Nai Ka,” a unique and high energy taiko performance that combines song, dance, chanting, and of course, taiko drumming. The title, “Ei Ja Nai Ka,” literally translates to, “Isn’t it good?” or more directly, “It’s good!” The performance was created […]

Nobuko Miyamoto’s creations add to SoCal Bon Odori

LOS ANGELES — Nobuko Miyamoto, singer, dancer and songwriter, has left a significant imprint on the local Obon celebration scene: Several of her songs will be performed by dancers this summer at Bon Odori throughout Southern California. Miyamoto, who danced and acted in the Oscar-winning film “West Side Story” and such Broadway hits as “The […]

Contemporary Bon Odori standardized in SoCal

LOS ANGELES – Summertime is the season for tens of thousands of Nikkei in Southern California to celebrate Obon, a traditional Buddhist event to honor and express gratitude to one’s ancestors for the gift of life. “Obon is the most important festival in the year cycle, it’s remembering the dead,” said the Rev. Masao Kodani […]

Where to buy all-things Bon Odori

Soko Hardware Happi coats (Short work coat): Children’s: $37.50; Adults: Mostly around $46 Hachimaki (Headband): $4.10 Zori (Sandals) (Tatami): $10.20 Zori (Rubber): $22.50; $36 Tabi (Traditional Japanese socks): white; black: Sizes 7-12, including half sizes; $15 and $10.65; $25.50 Kachi kachi (Wooden castanets): (Red) $4.25; (Clam shape) $15.30, $16.15 Uchiwa (Round fans): $2.55, $3, $3.85 […]

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