Several ministerial changes in Northern Calif. Buddhist Churches

Along with the start of the new year, several Buddhist temples in Northern California welcomed new ministers to lead their congregations. The ministers’ main goal is to maintain the welcoming atmosphere the temple members have showed them in return. Second Home for a Big Family For 29-year-old Rev. Matthew Hamasaki, growing up at the Berkeley […]

Season of Obon

In the summer heat, Japanese love a good ghost story that’ll send chills up their spine. In some ways, the Obon tradition reflects that feeling with crowds of people dancing joyfully in memory of the dearly departed. Throughout California and in various parts of the country this summer, Japanese Americans and others gather for Obon […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: What is Obon for a Buddhist reverend in Japan?

The word Obon in America, and the word in Japan, are two very different things. Many people in America link Obon to the street festivals and dancing that takes place in Japantowns and Buddhist temples. However, Obon in Japan is a big cultural holiday, much like Christmas without the commercialization. Many people take the day […]

Let’s Talk … About remembering and speaking out

Obon time is a time to remember loved ones who have passed away. We honor the dead with tradition and ceremony. By coming together as family and community, we have the opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned from those who are no longer with us, and we remember something about the lives they lived. […]

Mountain View Buddhist Temple impermanence

“How, are we going to do Obon … without rice?” Randy Sato, co-chair of this year’s Obon Festival and Bazaar at the Mountain View Buddhist Temple, pushed his tensed fingers thru his hair. The members of the Mountain View Buddhist Temple are facing a powerful lesson in the Buddhist concept of impermanence this year. Over […]

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 […]

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