Nisei Week: August 10 – 18

The 73rd Annual Nisei Week Japanese-American Festival kicked off on July 14, with the Opening Ceremonies held at the Japanese American National Museum.  This week-long summer festival takes place in Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles and celebrates Japanese-American culture.  Although the Opening Ceremonies marked the official start of Nisei Week, the majority of the festivities are held during August 10-18.

Many different events take place during Nisei Week and there is something for everyone.  Some of these events include:

  • Nikkei Games (July)
  • Baby Show (July 27)
  • Tanabata Festival (August 9-11)
  • Cultural demonstrations and exhibits (August 10-11, 17-18)
  • Queen’s Coronation (August 10)
  • Grand Parade (August 11)
  • Car Show (August 17)
  • Gyoza eating contest (August 17)
  • Rubik’s Cube contest (August 17)
  • Taiko Gathering (August 18)
  • Closing Ceremonies and Ondo Dancing (August 18)

Each year, a Nisei Week Queen and court is selected to represent the Southern California Japanese-American community at various local events and on goodwill trips to Seattle, San Francisco, Hawaii, and Japan.  This year, there are six candidates, who are sponsored by different Japanese-American organizations:

  • Stephanie Megumi Fukunaga (West Los Angeles JACL and Venice Japanese Community Center)
  • Laura Akemi Higashi (Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council)
  • Ashley Mieko Honma (Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute)
  • Lauren Naomi Iwata (Gardena Evening Optimist and The Loft Hawaiian Restaurant)
  • Jamie Tomiko Teragawa (East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center)
  • Megumi Yuhara (Japanese Restaurant Association of America)

Nisei Week is a wonderful mix of fun, culture, and community spirit.  The festival was originally created to bring the community together and draw business to the local restaurants and shops.  Nisei Week continues to attract many people to Little Tokyo to enjoy the festivities and will hopefully continue to do so for many years to come.

Information Sources:
jaccc.org
niseiweek.org