(United States) Cheers for Okinawan rhythms at Nisei Week Japanese Festival
August 29, 2016 Sadao Tome, Correspondent of the Ryukyu Shimpo
The Nisei Week Japanese Festival, which started over 100 years ago with the theme of celebrating Nikkei culture and the local community, was held for the 76th time (it was cancelled for the period around World War II). The festival lasts for around one month, centered in Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles. The festival reached its peak at a parade held on August 14.
Selected as Grand Marshall of the parade was makeup artist Kaori Nara Turner, originally from Tokyo, who is well known in Okinawa. Selected as Parade Marshall was Japanese-American actress Brittany Ishibashi. Ishibashi has become well-known for playing a female ninja named Karai in the latest Ninja Turtles film.
The queen of this year’s Nisei Week Festival was Jaclyn Tomita, representative from San Fernando Valley. She rode in the parade on a large float together with the princesses and the rest of the court.
Okinawan-descended Kitty Sankey, president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, appeared in the parade in an open car and greeted the spectators with a smile. An Inspiration Award was bestowed upon John Tamaki, whose father was from Okinawa, and who made great contributions to the Japanese American community. Tamaki passed away suddenly in 2015 at the age of 53.
The Performing Arts Committee (Chairman: Yoshimichi Shinjo) of the Okinawa Association of North America (President: Shingi Kuniyoshi) combined Ryukyu dance and Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko with Okinawan rhythms, with a total of around 100 performers performing in the parade to cheers from the spectators.
(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)
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