TORRANCE — The City of Torrance Community Services Department presented the annual Cherry Blossom Cultural Festival on March 26 at Columbia Park. The annual event featured pan-Asian performances, a craft fair, and food trucks and booths.
Festivities started with a mikoshi (portable shrine) procession by Rafu Mutsumi Kai and Myo’on Taiko, and opening remarks by city officials.
Performances included Japanese scale on sitar by Aloke Dasgupta and Raga Ranjani; Viorhythm, a youth pop violin group; classical dance by Fujima Seiyumi Kai; Irvine Cheerleaders; drumming by Asano Taiko U.S.; and folk music by Matsutoyo Kai.
Community participants included organizers of the WWII Camp Wall, to be located in Columbia Park, which will include the names of thousands of Japanese Americans incarcerated by the government during the war; the Torrance Sister City Association, which holds student exchanges with Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, and hosts the annual Bunka-Sai in April; and the Torrance Rose Float Association, which puts together the city’s float in the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena.
Visitors also took the time to admire the park’s blooming cherry blossom trees.
The festival was co-presented by Soka Gakkai International USA, Torrance Craftsmen’s Guild, and North Torrance Neighborhood Association. SGI donated 20 cherry blossom trees to the city in 2012.
Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo