2023/8/12-20 : LA Tanabata Festival Kazari on display at JACCC and JANM during Nisei Week, Aug. 12-20

Los Angeles Tanabata Kazari are displayed at Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. (Cultural News Photo)

The Los Angeles Tanabata Festival (LATF) will display award-winning kazari (decoration) from the Sendai Tanabata Festival during the 2023 Nisei Week Festival in Little Tokyo.

Kazari will be on display from August 12 to 20 at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) and the Japanese American National Museum (JANM).

JANM will host the community kazari display in the Aratani Hall as part of the its annual Natsumatsuri Family Festival on Saturday, August 12, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the festival is free. The kazari remain on display through August 20, and can be viewed with regular museum admission. The kazari will be closed to the public on Sunday, August 13, for a private JANM event.

The kazari are created by individuals, families, Nanka Kenjinkai Kyogikai (Japanese Prefectural Association of SouthernCalifornia), churches and other community organizations.

The Los Angeles Tanabata Festival seeks to maintain a presence in the spirit of community outreach and understanding. The festival 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.

The JACCC and the JANM agreed to partner with the LATF to ensure that the spectacular 8-foot kazai from Sendai will be display as part of the 2023 Nisei Week Festival.

Known for its giant bamboo decorations, Sendai has one of the largest Tanabata festivals, established over 400 years ago when the city was built by Date Masamune (1567-1636). Tanabata or Star Festival, celebrates the folklore of Japan’s best-known lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi, represented by the star Vega and Altair, who are only allowed to meet once a year. Located on the opposite sides of the Milky Way, the two stars are closed to each other on the 7th of July.

Yoshihito Yonezawa, former president of the Miyagi Kenjinkai, fulfilled his dream to bring the Tanabata Festival to Los Angeles in 2009. Working together with Nisei Week Foundation, Nanka Kanjinkai Kyogikai, and Brian Kito of the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association, his wish became a reality. The support of Ichiro Shiromatsu from Sendai was integral in establishing the festival in Los Angeles by sending the kazari from long-running Sendai Tanabata Festival.

JANM is located at 100 N. Central Avenue. at First Street. https://www.janm.org   JACCC is located at 244 S. San Pedro Street between Second and Third streets. https://www.jaccc.org

For more information on the Los Angeles Tanabata Festival, visit www.tanabatalosangeles.org