2011 / New Year Celebration: Little Tokyo to welcome with “First Performance” Jan 2, 1:00 PM

JACCC Kotohajime Arrow 1

JACCC Kotohajime Arrow 2

Archer Hirokazu Kosaka will perform a purification ceremony by shooting an arrow with Ikkyu of the Los Angeles Kyudo Archery Group at the annual Kotohajime (First Performance) stages at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Little Tokyo. (2010 Photo by Nobuyuki Okada)

Kotohajime San Shin Atsushi Gushi

San Shin artist Atsushi Gushi

To celebrate the new year, the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center presents its annual Oshogatsu festivities with its signature New Year program, Kotohajime, or The First Performance of the New Year on Sunday, January 2, 2011 ( 1:00 PM), along with the Children’s Oshogatsu Workshop on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 and the 13th Annual Shikishi Exhibition January 2 to February 27, 2011.

Kotohajime Okinawa dance troupe Majikina Honryu

Okinawa dance troupe Majikina Honryu

Every January, Little Tokyo becomes the center for celebrating the Japanese New Year in Southern California, with the JACCC heading up the festivities with programs that invigorate the spirit and imagination. Literally meaning “the beginning of things,” Kotohajime will celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with the theme titled Hatsu Dayori or “First Letters for the New Year.”

Directed by Artistic Director Hirokazu Kosaka, the original Kotohajime performance is a visual delight and artistic achievement, with dazzling performances and live music, accompanied by award-winning set design.

Kotohajime Tsugaru Shamisen player Mike Penny

Tsugaru Shamisen artist Mike Penny

“This year’s performance features a variety of artists working together for the first time,” said Kosaka.  “We hope this brings a new and vibrant celebratory performance for 2011, the Year of the Rabbit.”

2011 artists include performances by Okinawa dance troupe Majikina Honryu, the Korean Classical Music Institute of America, taiko artist Koji Nakamura, award-winning San Shin Atsushi Gushi of the Nomura School of Traditional Music, and tsugaru shamisen virtuoso Mike Penny.  The ritual shooting of the arrow – a purification ceremony – will be performed by IKKYU of the Los Angeles Kyudo Archery Group.

Kotohajime Taiko Artist Koji Nakamura

Taiko artist Koji Nakamura

New Year Workshop and Exhibition


To celebrate the spirit of the Japanese New Year, JACCC offers a one-day workshop on December 28, 2010 from 10 am to 3pm to learn about the symbols and traditions surrounding oshogatsu, or New Years. Children’s Oshogatsu Workshop allows children to participate in hands-on craft activities, workshops and demonstrations led by local artists and community members.

Workshops are designed for children aged 7-12. As registration is limited to 30 participants, pre-registration is required and will be filled on a first come first served basis. For more information or to register, call (213) 680-3700.

JACCC’s popular New Year exhibit the 13th Annual Shikishi Exhibition is an Open Call for community participation creates this rich display of the collective voice of our diverse community. The exhibit will run from Sunday, January 2 – February 27, 2011.

Shikishi are Japanese congratulatory cards of standard size, which has been used in Japan since the twelfth century for painting and writing poetry. Today, these shikishi are given as gifts to make a memorable or special occasion, and the use of this format is the requirement for participation in the exhibit. There will also be a $10 suggested entry fee.

For more information please call Gavin Kelley at (213) 628-2725 ext. 133 or visit www.jaccc.org