The Nihonmachi Street Fair is a celebration of the diverse Asian Pacific American communities in the Bay Area, a place where one can taste and learn about the various cultures. Organized by community volunteers, it is one of the premier non-profit festivals for the Asian American community of the Bay Area during the summer.
The fair’s goal has been to create an atmosphere in Japantown where Asian American and Pacific Islander people can celebrate the spirit of community and cooperation. It is also a place where everyone from the diverse Bay Area is encouraged to come, learn, and see what these communities are all about.
The two-day festival is the largest gathering of the summer for Asian American social service organizations. Groups from around the bay sponsor food booths and arts-and-crafts booths to raise fund for programs and services. Artisans will gather in Japantown as well for one of the biggest displays of Asian American creativity for the season.
Additional events include two days of free musical entertainment that showcases hip-hop, R&B, and Top 40 music and cultural performing artists.
In 1974, an idea was formed by three young community organizers, Steve Nakajo and Ron and Kenny Kanzaki. Changes were taking place around them. A new trade center was being built where many families once lived, and Buchanan Street was to become an outdoor mall. Community festivals were scarce, and what festivals there were seemed to be geared towards promoting commercialism.
That’s when they thought of creating a festival or event that Asian American youth could declare their own. But to make it their own, they felt young people would have to organize it and learn how to run it. So it became a “Declaration for the Youths and by the Youths.”
The first Nihonmachi Street Fair was a meeting ground for youths in the center of San Francisco’s Japantown. The anti-establishment movement, Malcom X’s birthday celebration, and the sprouting seeds of a revolution filled the air. Culture-loving Asian activists along with their community-minded families and friends took to the streets, bringing life to the first Nihonmachi Street Fair.
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Webster Street Stage
The Nihonmachi Street Fair’s entertainment has been a platform for veteran as well as up-and-coming musical performers. From jazz to hip-hop, reggae to rock, catch one of the best free shows in town for the summer.
Saturday, Aug. 13
11:00 a.m. — West Coast Lion Dance
11:30 a.m. — San Francsico Taiko Dojo
12:45 p.m. — Johnny Hi-Fi
1:45 p.m. — J-Town Playground
2:45 p.m. — The Official Story
3:45 p.m. — Ascension
5:00 p.m. — Big City Revue
Sunday, Aug. 14
11:00 a.m. — The Rumblestrips
12:00 p.m. — FunkShun
1:00 p.m. — ScoJourners
2:00 p.m. — SOL
2:45 p.m. — Takeo
3:45 p.m. — Muddy Roses
5:00 p.m. — Pulse
Upper Post Street will welcome the island spirit through music and dance on the Ho`olaule`a Stage. Performers from the Bay Area, Southern California and as far as Hawaii will grace the stage. This year the stage is dedicated to the memory of Hsing Tzu Yukiko Leahine Wu Dang, known in J-Town as “Amah.”
Saturday, Aug. 13
11:00 a.m. —Mele Ohana Ukulele Group
12:00 p.m. — Na Leo Pumehana (Bruddah Derrick)
1:00 p.m. — Halau Kaliko Pua O Kalaniakea
2:00 p.m. — Manuia Polynesian Revue
3:00 p.m. — Patrick Landeza
4:00 p.m. — Ke ‘Olu Makani ‘O Mauna Loa
5:00 p.m. — Moana
Sunday, Aug. 14
11:00 a.m. — Ka ‘Ala Carmack
12:00 p.m. — Faith Ako
1:00 p.m. — Evan Tom Band
2:00 p.m. — Steven Espaniola
3:00 p.m. — Ke ‘Olu Makani ‘O Mauna Loa
4:00 p.m. — Tamali’ I Polynesian
5:00 p.m. — My Peoples