And now we welcome
the new year.
Full of things
that have never been.
– Rainer Maria Rilke
Fears that rainy weather might discourage visitors to the annual Oshogatsu Festival were dispelled on Sunday as soon as the first bachi stick hit the taiko drum, and the sun beamed in Little Tokyo.
An estimated 10,000 visitors packed Weller Court and Japanese Village Plaza, where they sampled food, experienced Japanese culture and entertainment, visited Buddhist temples, and ushered in the Year of the Rabbit.
Consul General Kenko Sone commended the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce Foundation for helping to strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship “cultivated over many years by Japanese-affiliated companies as well as the Japanese and Japanese American communities.”
JCCSC President Haru Takehana thanked the sponsors, volunteers, vendors, and performers for their work in making Oshogatsu possible. Ryu Kato and Jeff Yamazaki served as event co-chairs.
JVP, Mutual Trading, and Union Bank sponsored the celebration, which was supported by Weller Court Shopping Center.
New Year’s Day services were held at four of Little Tokyo’s six Buddhist temples.
New Year’s reveling will continue on Sunday, Jan. 8, when the Japanese American National Museum presents its 2023 Oshogatsu Family Festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The free program features traditional mochitsuki (Japanese rice pounding), Kodama Taiko, candy sculpture by Shan Ichiyanagi, koto performance, interactive storytimes, scavenger hunt, and souvenir photos.
RSVP is requested. Visit www.janm.org.
Photos by TOMOKO NAGAI/Rafu Shimpo