2017 Nisei Week: Aug. 19-27 in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

2017 Nisei Week Queen and Court in the Nisei Week Grand Parade, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, Sunday, August 20, 2017. (Cultural News Photo)

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Entire 2017 Nisei Week event schedule is available at www.culturalnews.com/nw2017
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The Nisei Week festival was established by the Nisei (second generation Japanese Americans) in 1934 during the Great Depression. It was originally created to attract business to the Little Tokyo area and to promote goodwill.
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This first festival included a poster contest, an essay contest, radio broadcasts, a fashion show, various cultural exhibits and demonstrations and an “ondo” or “traditional Japanese street dancing” parade.
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A queen pageant was added in 1935 with Alice Watanabe as the first Nisei Week Queen. Candidate selection was by nomination and the queen was selected by popular vote. Friends could cast a vote for their favorite candidate when making a purchase at one of the many businesses in Little Tokyo.
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Nisei Week 2017 PosterToday, queen candidates are selected by various Japanese American community organizations. The Nisei Week Queen is selected and crowned at the Coronation Ball, which is held the first day of the festival. The festival continued for only seven years before World War II intervened and the Japanese Americans were incarcerated for the duration of the war in U.S. concentration camps located in remote areas of the United States.
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In 1945, Japanese Americans began to return to Los Angeles, but it was not until 1949 that the community was able to restart the festival. With the community leadership and through solid support from local businesses and corporations and a growing number of Japanese firms doing business in the U.S., the Nisei Week Japanese Festival has grown in size and scope into one of the most recognized ethnic festivals in the United States today. www.niseiweek.org
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