80th Nisei Week Japanese Festival Ondo and Closing Ceremony August 18

Ondo 2019 and closing ceremony. (MARIO GERSHOM REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

Japan’s Nisei Week festival is proud to finally celebrate its 80th anniversary from August 13-21. As tradition dictates, the nine-day festival will culminate with the Ondo and Closing Ceremony on Sunday, August 21.

The public is invited to come and enjoy the live entertainment and participate in the Ondo, the traditional Japanese street dance, followed by the closing ceremony. This event will begin at 4 p.m. and will be held on First Street between San Pedro Street and Central Avenue.

The two songs for this year’s parade are “Kawachi Otoko Bushi” and “One Wish.” The public dance practice schedule can be viewed at NiseiWeek.org. Questions should be directed to Miles Hamada at [email protected]

The Nisei Week 2022 choreographer is Los Angeles-born Kikusue Azuma. She earned a BS in Math/Computer Science from UCLA, an MS in Computer Science from USC, and worked for 11 years as a software engineer, but eventually realized teaching was her passion.

She studied nihon buyō (Japanese classical dance) for many years with Sumako Azuma II and graduated as natori (master) and shihan (instructor) at the Azuma school headquarters in Tokyo. After graduating from shihan, she began teaching dance lessons to a few students, and her classes quickly grew through word of mouth.

She currently teaches over 60 students from Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange counties and 15 students from Kapa’a and Līhu’e, Kaua’i.

She also volunteers for many community organizations, writes a monthly column on Japanese culture for children for The Hawaii’i Herald, and works as a math editor and tutor. She is married and has three children.

Over the years, Sumako, Kikusue and their students have performed both at professional venues – including the Greek Theatre, Hollywood Bowl and Universal Amphitheater – and at performances benefiting community and non-profit organizations. lucrative.

While teaching the classics of Japanese dance, they broke new ground artistically, reaching out to Sansei, Yonsei and Gosei by blending traditional Japanese dance techniques with modern influences. Sadly, Sumako Azuma II passed away in July 2020, but Kikusue continues her legacy. Through their efforts, the Azuma School in the United States continues to grow and perpetuate Japanese culture through the art of Japanese dance.

The 2022 Nisei Week Japanese Festival is a nine-day event first held in 1934 and is recognized today as one of the oldest ethnic festivals in the United States. This event will take place in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles from August 13-21. . For a calendar of events, log on to www.NiseiWeek.org, call the Nisei Week Foundation office at (213) 687-7193, or email [email protected] Nisei Week’s office is located at JACCC, 244 S. San Pedro St., Suite 303, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

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