Prize-winning kazari by Visual Communications (Theme), Little Tokyo Branch Library (Government), The Rafu Shimpo (Business) and Japanese American National Museum (Nonprofit Organization). (Photo by Steve Koyama)

The 10th annual Los Angeles Tanabata Festival was held in Little Tokyo on Aug. 11 and 12, the first weekend of Nisei Week Japanese Festival, with an opening ceremony attended by local dignitaries on Aug. 10.

Modeled after the Tanabata Festival in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, the L.A. event features large, colorful kazari or decorations from Sendai as well as several made by members of the local community, with awards given in various categories. The People’s Choice Award winner is chosen by visitors to the festival. This year’s winners are:

Two winning kazari by Nicholas Minato Gladkov (Anime/Manga, Family/Individual) and one by L.A. Gedatsu Church (People’s Choice). Gladkov’s Anime/Manga entry captured the Founders Award as the overall winner of the first-place winners. It is based on the title character from Osamu Tezuka’s “Triton of the Sea” (Umi no Toriton). (Photo by Miyako Kadogawa)


First: Nicholas Minato Gladkov

Second: We Be Cute (Johana and Marie)

Third: America Miyazaki Kenjinkai/George Mori

Fourth: SPJA Anime Expo


First: The Rafu Shimpo

Second: Taishi Judo Club

Third: Anzen Hardware

Fourth: Business Trippers


First: Little Tokyo Branch Library

Second: San Gabriel Valley Service Center

Third: San Gabriel Valley Service Center

Fourth: San Gabriel Valley Service Center

Fifth: Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell

Nicholas Gladkov won three awards.

Theme: “The Spirit of Togetherness”

First: Visual Communication

Second: Nishiyamato Academy

Third: Nanka Tochigi Kenjinkai

Fourth: Yasuko Sanka

Fifth: Nanka Ehime Kenjinkai


First: Nicholas Minato Gladkov

Second: Poppy Kwong

Third: Gregory Takashi Gladkov

Fourth: Noriko Shiba

Fifth: Takashi Nakazawa

Winning kazari by Yamanashi Kenjinkai.

Nanka Kenjinkai Kyogikai (Japanese Prefectural Association of Southern California)

First: L.A. Yamanashi Kenjinkai/Tomomi Kanemaru

Second: Hiroshima Kenjinkai/Tak Sorida

Third: Hiroshima Kenjinkai/Tak Sorida

Fourth: Nanka Yamaguchi Kenjinkai

Fifth: America Miyazaki Kenjinkai

Nonprofit Organizations

First: Japanese American National Museum

Second: Rinri Kenkyusho USA

Third: East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center Karaoke Club

Fourth: East West Players

Fifth: Campus Japanese Club (CJC)

Rafu Shimpo’s kazari.

Founders Award

Nicholas Minato Gladkov (anime entry)

People’s Choice

L.A. Gedatsu Church

The festival, which also featured entertainment, food, and craft booths, is held in the open area between the Japanese American National Museum, the Go For Broke National Education Center, and the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

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