Members of Rissho Kosei-Kai Buddhist Church

The first annual Nikkei Celebration in Boyle Heights was held last Sunday in the storied neighborhood east of Little Tokyo.

Hosted by Boyle Heights Community Partners and the Little Tokyo Historical Society, the event was an opportunity to learn more about Japanese American history, neighbors and business owners in the city’s second-oldest community.

The day of activities began with a parade originating at Saratoga and East First Street and finishing in front of Otomisan restaurant, a beloved Boyle Heights landmark.

Cultural entertainment and performances followed, including a public ondo led by Skid Row-kyo Mission’s Little Tokyo Dance Club.

Performers included classical Japanese dancer Nancy Hayata, pictured with dancers and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, and Hikari Taiko (below).

Other dignitaries joining the celebration were Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rep. Karen Bass (pictured at left), the Nisei Week Queen and Court, and Japanese Consul General in Los Angeles Akira Muto.

The parade included a model of the Japanese Hospital, which was pillar in the community for decades, located at First and Fickett streets in Boyle Heights.

Photos by MARIO GERSHOM REYES/Rafu Shimpo

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