By P.C. Staff
Celebrations are in full swing throughout August as Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Nisei Week festival.
The annual observance, which began in 1934 as a means to bring back the Nisei community to Little Tokyo (JACLers also had an influence in developing its origin), which was experiencing financial difficulty in the wake of the Great Depression, has evolved into a full-fledged celebration of the Japanese American community and culture.
An opening ceremony, presided by Terry Hara, 2015 Nisei Week Foundation president, was held July 19 at the Japanese American National Museum to officially kick off the events under the theme “Let the Good Times Roll.” This year’s Nisei Week Court consists of Michelle Kaori Hanabusa, Sara Kuniko Hutter, Kelsey Nakaji Kwong, Karen Naza Mizoguchi mVeronica Toyomi Ota, Caryn Michiko Rie Sugita and Tamara Mieko Teragawa. The queen will be crowned at the Coronation Ball on Aug. 15 at the Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo.
The Grand Parade is set to take place Aug. 15 at 5:30 p.m. This year’s grand marshal is Chef Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s Restaurants worldwide, and the parade marshal is legendary taiko master Kenny Endo. For the second time in L.A.’s history, the parade will feature a giant Nebuta float, designed by Japanese Master Nebuta Artist Hiroo Takenami, made of wood, special colored paper and LED lights and “inspired by the legendary Minamoto no Yoshitsune, the famous general of the Minamoto clan in the late Heian and early Kamakura period.”
Pioneer honorees are Richard Yutaka Fukuhara, Tery Handa, Kay Inose, Katsukiyo Matsumae, George Nagata and David Yanai.
Nisei Week concludes Aug. 23 with an Ondo and closing ceremony.