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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Mountain View Buddhist Temple’s reverend reflects on Obon from Japan to São Paulo

The Rev. Yushi Mukojima arrived in Mountain View, Calif. in August of 2013 to replace Rev. Dean Koyama — who became resident minister of Palo Alto Buddhist Temple —and celebrated his first Obon as the Mountain View Buddhist Temple’s resident minister last year. To the Japan-born minister, Obon is an opportunity to see friends during […]

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