Tanabata kazari on display at JANM.

The Los Angeles Tanabata Festival will display award-winning kazari (decorations) from the Sendai Tanabata Festival during the 2023 Nisei Week Festival in Little Tokyo. 

Kazari will be on display from Aug. 12 to 20 at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) and the Japanese American National Museum (JANM).

JANM will host the community kazari display in the Grand Hall as part of its annual Natsumatsuri Family Festival on Saturday, Aug. 12, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the festival is free. The kazari remain on display through Aug. 20, and can be viewed with regular museum admission, but the exhibit will be closed to the public on Sunday, Aug. 13, for a private JANM event.

The kazari are created by individuals, families, Nanka Kenjinkai Kyogikai (Japanese Prefectural Association of Southern California), churches and other community organizations.

The Los Angeles Tanabata Festival seeks to maintain a presence in the spirit of community outreach and understanding. The festival aims to unite the community and give everyone reasons to feel they belong since the very core of the Tanabata legend is that everyone hopes to find happiness together.

The JACCC and the JANM agreed to partner with the LATF to ensure that the spectacular 8-foot kazari from Sendai will be on display as part of the 2023 Nisei Week Festival. 

Known for its giant bamboo decorations, Sendai has one of the largest Tanabata festivals, established over 400 years ago when the city was built by Date Masamune (1567-1636). Tanabata or Star Festival, celebrates the folklore of Japan’s best-known lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi, represented by the stars Vega and Altair, who are only allowed to meet once a year. Located on the opposite sides of the Milky Way, the two stars are closest to each other on the 7th of July.

Yoshihito Yonezawa, former president of the Miyagi Kenjinkai, fulfilled his dream to bring the Tanabata Festival to Los Angeles in 2009. Working together with the Nisei Week Foundation, Nanka Kenjinkai Kyogikai, and Brian Kito of the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association, his wish became a reality. The support of Ichiro Shiromatsu from Sendai was integral in establishing the festival in Los Angeles by sending the kazari from the long-running Sendai Tanabata Festival.

JANM (www.janm.org) is located at 100 N. Central Ave. at First Street. JACCC (www.jaccc.org) is located at 244 S. San Pedro St. between Second and Third streets.

For more information on the Los Angeles Tanabata Festival, visit  www.tanabatalosangeles.org.  

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