2016 / Little Tokyo to host 8th Annual Los Angeles Tanabata Festival, Aug.12-15

Winner kazari of the 2015 Los Angeles Tanabata Contest (Photo by Richard Fukuhara)

Winner kazari of the 2015 Los Angeles Tanabata Contest (Photo by Richard Fukuhara)


Forwarded for Los Angeles Tanabata Festival



The 8th Annual Los Angeles Tanabata Festival announces the dates are set for August 12-14, 2016 (Friday through Sunday), in Little Tokyo, downtown Los Angeles.

Opening ceremonies will be on Friday, August 12 from 5 pm to 8 pm and will include the traditional sake breaking ceremony with dignitaries and sponsors, as well as a performance by Minyo Station to announce the winners.

Tanabata is a traditional festival from Japan that celebrates the legend two star-crossed lovers, Hikoboshi, the Ox Herder (the star in English called Altair) and Orihime, the Weaver Princess (Vega). They spend most of the year separated on opposite sides of the Milky Way, but are reunited when their stars align in the summer constellations.

The Los Angeles Tanabata Festival is admission free and all are welcome to come see the performers, visit the booths, and participate by voting for the Annual Kazari Contest People’s Choice Award. The Festival will be held on Saturday, August 13 from 11 am to 8 pm and Sunday, August 14 from 11 am to 5 pm, just before the Nisei Week Grand Parade begins.

The festival theme for this year is HOPE. “We all know that modern life includes news of social, political, and economic distress every day; however, we believe that as a community can care about each other to make it better.

Our festival, therefore, aims to unite the community and give everyone reasons to feel they belong since the very core of the Tanabata legend is that everyone hopes to find happiness together,” stated Festival chair, Masumi Muya.

She continued, “We are pleased to welcome The Aratani Foundation as our major sponsor this year. We acknowledge our original presenters Nisei Week Japanese Festival, the Japanese Prefectural Association of Southern California and the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association for their continued support,” she concluded.

The Tanabata Festival draws tens of thousands of attendees each year, and to encourage even more participation from the community, two new exciting events have been added: The Photo Contest, organized by local photographer, Mr. Nobuyuki Okada and judged by Allan Miyatake of Toyo Miyatake Studio, and Mario Reyes of Rafu Shimpo.

The Senryu Poetry Contest (Senryu poems are written in the same 5-7-5 rhythm as Haiku), for which Tomomi Kanemaru of Nikkan San’s Poemtown assisted as an advisor.

Entries in Japanese will be judged by Mr. Sunny Seki and Mr. Toshio Handa, while entries in English will be judged by actress Ms. Tamlyn Tomita.

From now through August 7th, kazari flower making workshops are open to the community and are admission free, at the Koban 307 E First Street in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, 90012.

The Tanabata Festival features hundreds of the amazing hand crafted 7-foot kazari Japanese decorations hand-made by members of the community. Participants also celebrate, by writing wishes in small strips of paper (tanzaku) and hanging them from decorated bamboo branches.

The festival entertainment features traditional and modern performers, including taiko, classical Japanese and Hawaiian dance, jazz, rock and pop singers in Japanese and English.

Confirmed artists include the popular Atomic Project (former members of the band Hiroshima), Local Mojo (old school R&B and Motown), pop singer and model Stephanie Yanez and the epic Japanese rock band Lolita Dark.

Check our website for a full list of confirmed performers. Traditional Japanese festival food booths, games, a beer garden and arts & crafts vendors will be active on both days as well.

For information visit our website at: www.Tanabatalosangeles.org

The Little Tokyo Koban is located at 307 E First Street, Los Angeles, 90012, in historic Little Tokyo on First St and John Aiso (San Pedro). Phone 213.613-1911