Senshin Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles held its Bon Odori on July 2, with participation limited to members this year because of COVID concerns.
The gathering was greeted by Rev. Ryuta Furumoto, who also joined in the dancing. Chris Aihara served as emcee.
Participants, many wearing yukata or happi coats, danced to 14 songs, including “Kangie” (Gathering of Joy), a new composition by Nobuko Miyamoto commissioned by the Buddhist Churches of America Music Committee. Miyamoto and Nancy Sekizawa provided the vocals.
Food sales were limited during the Bon Odori, but the traditional otoki (meal with religious significance) in the form of noodles was served at the end of the event.
The dancing was followed by Obon observances in the Hondo and Sento Shogon (the lighting of 1,000 oil lamps) outdoors in memory of departed loved ones. The ceramic lamps were made and donated by Leo Sugano in 1976 after seeing the tradition on a pilgrimage to India.
The event closed with a performance by Senshin’s own Kinnara Taiko.
Report and photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo