Okinawan drumming by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Los Angeles.
Japanese classical dance by Bando Hiromiya’s group.

TORRANCE — The 48th annual Bunka-Sai (Japanese Cultural Festival), presented by the Torrance Sister City Association (TSCA), was held April 15 and 16 at the Ken Miller Recreation Center in Torrance.

This year’s event, chaired by Werner Willoughby, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Torrance and Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture. Proceeds went to the student exchange program.

Bunka-Sai featured food concessions, an arts and crafts boutique, cultural exhibits and demonstrations, children’s art display and activities, and performances on the indoor and outdoor stages.

Kamishibai or Japanese storytelling for kids.

Serving as emcees were Steven Ihde and Yuki Tsujii on Saturday and Cara Ihde on Sunday. A raffle was held both days with a $300 grand prize.

Calligraphy lessons by Beikoku Shodo Kenkyu Kai.

Performers on Saturday were Hachijo Aikoukai and L.A. Miyake Kai (taiko); Urasenke Tanko Kai Los Angeles Association (tea ceremony); Yuki Yasuda and L.A. Koto Ensemble; Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko of Los Angeles (Okinawan music and dance); South Bay Judo Club; Wakahisa Kai (classical dance); El Marino Japanese Chorus; TSCA (Kashiwa Odori dance lesson); Bando Hiromiya Japanese Traditional Dance; and Prota (taiko).

Demonstration by Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai.
Kerry Cababa was a dango volunteer and also helped TCSA demonstrate Kashiwa Odori.

Performers on Sunday were Asano Taiko U.S. Youth Group; Wado-Ryu Karate Do Renmei; Shan Ichiyanagi (amezaiku or candy sculpting); Bando Hidesomi Nihon Buyo (classical dance); Los Angeles Kimono Club; Beikoku Shodo Kenkyu Kai (calligraphy); Matsutoyo Kai (folk music); Torrance Naginata Dojo (martial arts); Yoko Awaya Koto Music Conservatory; and Asano Taiko U.S./Los Angeles Taiko Institute.

Activities in the Assembly Room included Ikenobo flower arranging by Minamitani Semho; kamishibai (Japanese story reading for children); 3-D pictures by Seigyoku Kihara; horticulture demonstration by Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai; calligraphy by Beikoku Shodo Kenkyukai; origami by Nishiyamato Academy and Peninsula Paper Folders; and kimono dressing by Los Angeles Kimono Club. An anime contest was held and Saga Art Center had an exhibit in the lobby.

Nancy Hayata of Tierra Murra by Ecommshipments was one of 22 arts and crafts vendors in Toyota Meeting Hall.

Vendors at the Arts and Crafts Boutique: Anne Rennie Designs, Cards by Lorraine, Citron Samples, Creative Handcrafted Gifts, Flower Tricycle & Co., Handmade with Love, Hello Sushi Store, Jam Kitchen, Lopware Fused Glass, Madame Sakura Crafts, Mi So Happi, Moriko Design, N and M Enterprise/Masako Jewelry, Patricia’s Art Glass, Rainbow Flower Group, South Bay Judo, South Bay Strand Designs, Splat Workshop, 3-D Crafts & Shadowbox & Yarn Items, Tierra Murra by Ecommshipments, TSCA Gift Booth, and Wendy’s Origami.

Prota was one of the participating taiko groups.

High school students scheduled to visit Kashiwa for three weeks in July are Franco Lee (Peninsula), Gianna Solorzano-Kaatz (Bishop Montgomery), Jayden Chen-Ingram (North), Jasmine Villarie (Torrance), Kimiko Evans (North), Martin Grahmann (West), Maya Chou (West), and Victoria Arreygue (North). Maureen Ortega will be the adult leader. Each year participants in the exchange program and other local students serve as volunteers at Bunka-Sai.

Saga Art Center displayed works by young people.

A group of students from Kashiwa will come to Torrance for three weeks in August.

El Marino Japanese Chorus performed.

Over 350 students from Torrance and another 350 from Kashiwa have participated in the exchange program.

Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo

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