Dance master promotes Okinawan culture in the Bay Area

Noriyoshi Arakaki has been going back to his birthplace of Okinawa almost every year for the last 32 years since he moved to Hayward, Calif., where he owns a gardening business. This time, his visit had a special meaning. “I saw a banner in the National Theater Okinawa in Naha” — Okinawa’s capital — “that […]

Japanese screen collection explores five centuries of beauty

The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco offers glimpses of the elegant world of Japanese folding screens through an exhibit that opened Oct. 15 called “Beyond Golden Clouds: Five Centuries of Japanese Screens.” The collection displays traditional Japanese art, starting from the Muromachi period (1392-1573) through the innovative and modern era of the late 20th […]

JCCCNC’s ‘Tabemasho’ fundraiser celebrates family and food

On Sept. 25, the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC) filled with food and family for its biggest annual fundraising event, “Tabemasho.” The warm air buzzed with conversation and brimmed with the rich, tempting smells of appetizers prepared by more than 10 guest chefs, a fitting atmosphere for the event’s theme “from […]


富 (Fu or Tomi) means “richnes.” This character comes from a shape of a warehouse which is full of crops or treasures inside. 士 (Ji or Shi)            means “samurai” who guards the King or lord.  This character comes from a shape of a weapon which can protect the king or lord. 山 (San or Yama) […]

Children’s playgroup promotes Japanese language, culture

BAMBI, a social activity group for children, holds its Tuesday Children’s Playground from 10 a.m. to noon every week at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California’s gymnasium in San Francisco’s Japantown. The group helps to create social networks for both children and their parents among the Japanese-speaking community in San Francisco. After […]

A New Relationship, Unfolding Through Art ‘Japan’s Early Ambassadors’ at the Asian Art Museum

In 1927, 58 young women arrived from Japan, toting newly issued passports, clad in elaborate silk kimono, their trunks filled with tea sets and painted fans, with the goal of teaching Americans about Japanese culture. They just didn’t know it. These representatives from Japan were a group of dolls sent as part of a friendship […]

Supporters of Japanese culture across the nation recognized with Kunsho medals

In the May 27 issue, the Nichi Bei Weekly published information about Kunsho medal recipients named by the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco. Kunsho medals have been simultaneously handed out all across the country; this week’s issue includes information about recipients from other areas. Southern California and Arizona • Paul Kunio Shiba of […]

Landmark Salinas Cafe to Reopen as Asian Cultural Center

SALINAS, Calif. — The Republic Cafe in Salinas was once a bustling restaurant in Chinatown, which served as a central gathering place, for the city’s Japanese, Chinese and Filipino communities. Now, two decades later, federal funds will help to transform it into an Asian American museum and cultural center. By 2012, the abandoned Soledad Street […]

Scent of ‘Mums’ Evoke Memories of Fall in Japan

At a store the other day a woman passed me and a whiff of her fragrance nearly knocked me away. It wasn’t the strength of it. Far from it, it was the faintness of the scent that stopped me on the spot. The women had in her cart several pots of chrysanthemums of different kinds, […]

Benkyodo Company Unveils New Seasonal Sweets

Ricky Okamura takes piping hot steamed sticky rice flour and fashions it into circular globs, exhibiting the masterful skill of mochi-making. “I’m making blueberry mochi,” he said, “because blueberries are in season, and I wanted to try something different.” The Okamura brothers of San Francisco Japantown’s Benkyodo Company are continuing a tradition of Japanese confectionary […]