Photos by J.K. Yamamoto/Rafu Shimpo
Buddhist Church of San Francisco held its annual Bon Odori on July 22 as part of the two-day Ginza Bazaar. Dancers filled Octavia Street, which is also the site of Buddhist Churches of America's national headquarters and Stuart Hall High School (formerly Morning Star School, a Japantown institution). The first Bon Odori in the continental U.S. was held at BCSF in 1931.
This year's Bon Odori was dedicated to long-time volunteer Chizuko Kakiuchi, who passed away on Oct. 30 at the age of 70. She was remembered by Rev. Ronald Kobata and BCSF President David Pating. Many dancers held fans bearing her image.
Special guests included Consul General Hiroshi Inomata, who served as one of the taiko players during the Bon Odori.
Jiten Daiko, a new drumming ensemble based at BCSF, performed before the dancing. The bazaar also included a concert by Kaleo Ukulele Club, an Urasenke tea ceremony, a calligraphy demonstration by Nosuke Akiyama, a demonstration by San Francisco Kendo Dojo, temple tours, mindfulness meditation, food, children's games, bingo, a boutique and bookstore, a silent auction, and a raffle drawing.
Dancers, including the kids at the front of the line, carried flags for the first song, "Nijuuisseiki (21st Century) Ondo."
Left: Michiya Hanayagi, who has been teaching Japanese classical dance in the Bay Area since the 1950s, and her daughter, Michisuya Hanayagi, who is also an instructor. Right: San Francisco Board of Education member Emily Murase and her daughter Junko.
Among the dancers was Jack Dairiki, who survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as a teenager and has spoken widely about his experiences.
Dancers on the yagura showed the movements for those unfamiliar with the dances. The head dance instructor was Hanako Fujimoto, assisted by Anna Pating, Brandon Unruhe, Catherine Kamita, Chiemi Silver, Elizabeth Chu, Grace Fujimoto, Leo Balambao, Melanie Look, Mika Chan and Nobumi Silver. The announcer was Gregg Sera and the audio engineer was Keith Uyeda.