While the 80th Nisei Week Japanese Festival is postponed due to COVID-19 public health concerns, the foundation will broadcast a series of programming beginning on Aug. 15-16, timed to when the first weekend of the in-person festival would have been held in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo.
The two-day virtual series kick-off will include musical performances, culinary demonstrations, cultural demonstrations and programming related to traditional Nisei Week events, such as ondo, the lively Japanese community dancing ritual typically hosted on Little Tokyo’s First Street during the Closing Ceremony.
“The Nisei Week Foundation’s mission is to promote Japanese and Japanese American heritage and traditions while bringing together the diverse communities of Southern California through arts and cultural education,” said David Yamahata, president of the Nisei Week Foundation. “It is our hope that this special virtual series will serve as a platform to bring the matsuri spirit to everyone to enjoy.”
The virtual series will launch on Saturday, Aug. 15, shining a spotlight on the rich history of Nisei Week over the decades, and on several Japanese American community organizations. Entertainment and educational programming will include (but not limited to) a comedy sketch by Cold Tofu, cultural demonstrations by the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, and a special interview with the 2019 Nisei Week Court.
Sunday, Aug. 16, will offer a fun-filled afternoon for the whole family. The day will open with a touching healthcare workers tribute crowdsourced from the community via social media. Foodies will be treated to two culinary demonstrations — one for the little ones hosted by up-and-coming YouTuber Easy Peasy Jordan, and one for grown-ups hosted by legendary chef Akira Hirose.
Finally, everyone at home will be invited to dance along with the 2019 Nisei Week Court for a virtual recreation of a festival favorite — the ondo!
There will be future online programming throughout the year following the initial two-day series kick-off. For updates, follow Nisei Week on Facebook (http://facebook.com/niseiweek) and Instagram (@NiseiWeek). Additional information can also be accessed via the newly relaunched Nisei Week website (www.NiseiWeek.org) or email ([email protected]).