SANTA CRUZ — The 27th annual Japanese Cultural Fair will be held Saturday, June 8, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Mission Plaza Park (in front of Holy Cross Church), 103 Emmett St., Santa Cruz.

Entertainment includes Okinawan music and dance.

The purpose of the Japanese Cultural Fair is to provide an opportunity for the community to increase its awareness and understanding of the Japanese American community in Santa Cruz County as well as Japanese culture, both traditional and contemporary.

“We believe that through the arts, craft, and culture of Japan, we can improve mutual understanding among neighbors on the Pacific Rim as well as enrich our community life here in Santa Cruz,” organizers said.

In addition to food and crafts, the festival will feature performances, demonstrations and workshops at three locations:

Main Stage

11 a.m.: Chanting by Zen Center members

11:30 a.m.: Watsonville Taiko

12 p.m.: Aikido of Santa Cruz

12:30 p.m.: Official greetings from mayor of Santa Cruz and vice consul general of Japan from San Francisco

12:50 p.m.: Koto by Marimo Kai

1:10 p.m.: Minyo by Matsutoyo Kai

1:40 p.m.: Shakuhachi by Karl Young

2 p.m.: Bon Odori led by Chieko

2:30 p.m.: Kyogen by Theatre of Yugen

3 p.m: Shamisen by Hougaku Kai

3:30 p.m.: Okinawan dance by Ohtori Kinsen-Kai

4 p.m.: Shirley Muramoto Koto Studio

4:30 p.m.: Folktales by Brenda Wong Aoki

5 p.m.: San Francisco Taiko Dojo

Meditation Stage at Zen Center

11 a.m.: Bonsai demonstration by Don White

12 p.m.: Miso and natto workshop by Manfred Warmuth

1 p.m.: Ikebana by Ikenobo Watsonville Group

1:15, 2:15 and 4:15 p.m.: Otemae (tea ceremony workshop)

2 p.m.: Kimono workshop by Keiko

3 p.m.: Tea ceremony by Tsuji Shachu

4 to 5 p.m.: Obon sejiki ceremony (food offering to spirits and ancestors in Zen tradition)

Aikido of Santa Cruz, 306 Mission St.

1 to 1:30 p.m.: Iaido (art of drawing the sword) by Thomas Helm

1:30 to 2 p.m.: Renseikan kyudo (archer) by Steve Scott

2 to 2:30 p.m.: Sword and staff movements by Dov Nadel

2 to 3 p.m.: Traditional karate by Rod Sanford and Sean Sanford

3 to 3:30 p.m.: Aikido of Santa Cruz young people’s program by Aimen Al Refai, Jay Munyer, Gresham Andrews and Louise Alaniz

3:30 to 4 p.m.: Aikido of Santa Cruz with Linda Holiday

4 to 4:30 p.m.: Audience participation

In the children’s section, kids can dress in kimono, have their name written in Japanese, and enjoy origami and many other activities.

The event is free and open to the public.

Financial Problems

In March, JCF organizers said in a statement, “We did not receive a grant this year which in the past has been so necessary to bring the wonderful expressions of Japanese culture to the Bay Area. So we are ‘goin’ it alone.’ We’re not complaining (there are so many needing out there); rather we are offering an event where we can share some parts of the culture which has given so much to our country and culture, and hopefully raise some of the funds necessary to make this year’s fair happen.

“This is quite serious, because if we do not raise the extra money to pay the performers, we won’t be able to put on the 27th annual fair.”

A benefit concert was held March 9 at the Pacific Cultural Center in Santa Cruz, featuring shamisen master Masahiro Nitta with Kyle Abbott (shamisen), Karl Young (shakuhachi), Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto (koto) and Brian Mitsuhiro Wong (koto).

“Since we don’t charge for admission, we will need to count on the folks that have come and enjoyed the day … Please help us out. We’ve never had to ask before, and are working to not have to again,” organizers said.

For more information or to make an online donation, visit Checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 3458, Santa Cruz, CA 95063.

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