Taiko drummers on the yagura kept the beat during Bon Odori.

The San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple held its annual Obon Festival on June 24 and 25 at the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center in Pacoima.

Above and below: Dancers came from temples and community centers around the Southland.

The festival included SFVJACC club demonstrations of hula, tai chi, ondo dancing, country western and line dancing; displays on the Tuna Canyon Detention Station, Buddhism in the World War II camps, and the temple’s nearly century-long history. Cultural displays featured bonsai, ikebana and Japanese doll-making.

Cultural displays included Japanese dolls (above) and ikebana (below).

On both days, Sun Valley Taiko (Akaoni Daiko) performed, followed by Bon Odori. Temple members and guests from other temples and community centers joined in the dancing, which expresses gratitude to deceased loved ones.

Food booth volunteers served up a variety of dishes.

SFVJACC’s 2023 queen, Kaili Mika Inouye, was introduced along with the other 2023 Nisei Week queen candidates.

Above and below: Kids had many games to choose from.

In addition to games for kids, booths offered such dishes as chicken teriyaki and kalua pork sandwiches, dango, Chinese chicken salad, udon, somen, sushi, frozen treats, and baked goods.

2023 Nisei Week queen candidates at the SFVHBT Bon Odori (from left): Isabella Rose Polizotto (Gardena Evening Optimist Club), Kaitlyn Emiko Chu (Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council), Kamalani Higashiyama (Japanese Restaurant Association of America), Kaili Mika Inouye (San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center), Aiko Marie Matsumoto Dzikowski (Venice-West L.A. JACL/Venice Japanese Community Center), Nancy Izumi Chin (Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute), Sara Emiko Kubo (East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center).

The festival also featured a raffle, bingo, a Buddhist bookstore, and a Japanese flea market.

The lead dancers included Shuko Akkune of AFVJACC’s Meiji Ondo group.

Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo

Hands-on activities included origami.
A rousing performance by Sun Valley Taiko.

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