Visitors admire giant kazari during the L.A. Tanabata Festival, held this month at the Japanese American National Museum. (JUN NAGATA/Rafu Shimpo)

The Los Angeles Tanabata Festival returned to the Nisei Week Japanese Festival activities after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic.  

LATF partnered with the Japanese American National Museum as part of its annual Natsumatsuri Family Festival on Aug. 13, and the giant kazari decorations remained on display through Aug. 21.

Eight-prize winning kazari shipped from the 2022 Sendai Tanabata Festival in Japan were hung outside JANM. Additional kazari from past Sendai Tanabata Festivals were on display at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.

Fifty seven-foot decorations were submitted by organizations and individuals as part of the restart of the festival with the theme “Fusion.” Three categories were offered this year for the contest: Fusion, Innovation and Creative. First-place winners were awarded $50 cash prizes and second- and third-place winners received gift certificates.

Fusion — First place, Kanagawa Kenjinkai (Joan Kawase); second place, Taishi Judo Club (Rob Oishi); third place, Miyagi Kenjinkai–Kokeshi (Junko Yonezawa)

Innovation — First place, Hiroshima Kenjinkai; second place, Miyako Kadogawa; third place, The Rafu Shimpo (Bhit Yoon)

Creative — First place, Tochigi Kenjinkai (Yoshie Sato); second place, Miyagi Kenjinkai–Taigar (Junko Yonezawa); third place, Susan Jekarl

This year JANM hosted the festival and the Tanabata Committee was delighted to find a home. The Tanabata Festival provides workshops on how to make kazari at their office at the JACCC, 244 S. San Pedro St., Room 405A. For more information, contact Miyako Kadogawa at For office appointments, call Junko Yonezawa at (323) 742-2494 or (323) 721-8523.

Follow the Los Angeles Tanabata Festival on Facebook at or on Instagram @tanabatafestivallosangeles.

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