Rancho Palos Verdes and Sakura City officials gather to celebrate their sister-city program on Aug. 5.

RANCHO PALOS VERDES — The third year of the sister-city relationship between Rancho Palos Verdes and Sakura City, Tochigi Prefecture, was celebrated on Aug. 5 at the Ken Dyda Civic Center.

About 120 people attended the event, which was held outside of City Hall under mostly sunny skies. It started with a performance by Improv Taiko, headed by Lili Miura.

Opening remarks were made by Mayor Barbara Ferraro and, via video, Mayor Takashi Hanatsuka. Greetings were delivered by Mayor Pro Tem Yoshio Kotake, followed by Consul General Kenko Sone.

Redondo Performing Company, consisting of about 20 young girls, performed modern dances, and Megg provided ukulele music. Matsutoyo Kai performed minyo and Los Angeles Todo-kai played koto music.

The event concluded with gift exchanges between the two cities and remarks by Council Vice Chair Kazunori Takase and Mayor Pro Tem John Cruikshank.

Haru Takehana, representing the local Japanese American community, was asked by the City of RPV to arrange entertainment and was thanked at the event.

Located in central-east Tochigi Prefecture, Sakura City was established on March 28, 2005 with the merger of the towns of Kitsuregawa and Ujiie. Among the major sites are the Sakura City Museum of Art and the ruins of Kitsuregawa Castle.

RPV will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. at Terranea Resort Hotel, 100 Terranea Way in Rancho Palos Verdes. Delegates from Sakura City will attend.

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