azuma kotobuki kaiThe 17th annual Monterey Park Cherry Blossom Festival was held April 26 and 27 in Barnes Park. Performers on the outdoor stage on Sunday included Azuma Kotobuki Kai, a Nihon buyo (Japanese classical dance) group instructed by Sumako Azuma II and Kikusue Azuma.

koshin taikoKoshin Taiko performed with electric guitar accompaniment.

ogawa-teriyakiKaren Ogawa, festival chairperson, and Ronnie Shishima in the chicken teriyaki area. This year’s festival was dedicated to Shishima’s wife, Kathy, who passed away last December at age 51. Kathy Shishima was a festival committee member for years and was dedicated to making the event a learning experience for kids. Daughters Skye and Alex and son Trey worked in the teriyaki and kids’ craft booths at this year’s festival.

cosplayCosplayers came dressed as their favorite manga/anime characters.

imagawayakiImagawa-yaki was a popular food item.

ikebana lessonSogetsu Ikebana offered mini-classes in flower arranging.

lolita fashionLolita fashion show on the indoor stage.

koiIndonesian fantail koi were displayed by So Cal Koi Club and Nishiki Koi Club.

kyo no kaiMasked performers from Kyo no Kai Kabuki.

lion danceChinese lion dancers in the food court.

miko shudoMiko Shudo sang several songs, including the Japanese hit “Nada Sou Sou,” and also played the violin.

ohana polynesian dancersThe Ohana Polynesian Dancers performed Hawaiian, Tahitian and Maori dances.

sunny sekiChildren’s author Sunny Seki acted out one of his books, “The Tale of the Lucky Cat,” with his wife Judy as narrator.

taikoprojectTaikoProject performed with its affiliated groups, Bombu Taiko, Kitsune Taiko and Tanuki Taiko.

tea ceremony demoThe Urasenke School gave a chado (tea ceremony) demonstration.

wu shuMembers of the U.S.-Chinese Wu Shu Team showed off their acrobatic skills with taiko accompaniment.

Other performers/demonstrators included Yuujou Daiko, Mark Keppel High School Aztec Singers, Kodama Taiko, Torres Kempo Karate, Halau Hula Moani’a’ala Anuhea, kotoist June Kuramoto, Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko, Local Mojo, Phyllis Chang, magician Allen Oshiro, Andy Matsuda of Sushi Chef Institute, Brian Kito of Fugetsu-do, Bando Hidesomi, Mark Keppel High School Pep Band, Yoki Daiko, Kuntau Martial Arts, Kayama Puppet Troupe, Magic Wayne, singer Momotama, and Michael Sanders (origami).

 Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo

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