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Kodomo No Matsuri: Sangha Hall to host Children’s Day Festival, taiko master

May 14 will be a day of child’s play and pulsating music with two special Japanese culture events at the Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin Sangha Hall.

The Hilo-based Japanese Community Association of Hawaii will present its eighth biennial Kodomo No Matsuri from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and a performance by the internationally acclaimed Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble at 6 p.m.

Admission to Kodomo No Matsuri, or Children’s Day Festival, is free and children and adults are invited to attend.

Kodomo No Matsuri is a day for children to learn about the Japanese culture through hands-on activities — many of them “make and take” — such as otedama, kazaguruma, kabuto hat and fish, origami, washi chigiri-e, paper lantern and bonsai. People also can learn how to play the Japanese board game Go and more. A special session, “Tea Ceremony for Children,” will be offered by the Urasenke Hilo Shibu and storytellers will share Japanese tales. Japanese children’s books will be on sale as well.

Another special feature will be demonstrations by Crystal Watanabe, author of “Yum-Yum Bento Box.” Program and entertainment includes the announcement and introduction of the 2016 JCAH Scholarship recipients, Hui Okinawa’s Tadashi, Subaru Telescope choir and action hero Kamen Rider V3.

There is a small fee for somen nagashi and sakana sukui. Snacks and andagi will be available at the food concession.

Later in the day, Endo and his ensemble musicians will present their rhythmic and syncopating sounds.

“We are extremely pleased to highlight a lecture and short demo by Kenny Endo, who is celebrating his 40 years of taiko,” said Paul Sakamoto, event chairman.

“He is at the vanguard of this genre, continuing to pave new paths in Japanese drumming. He is a consummate artist, blending taiko with rhythms influenced from around the world into original melodies and improvisation.”

Performing with Endo in Hilo will be his wife, Chizuko, Kirstin Pauka, Mike Yamazaki, Patrick Oiye and Noel Okimoto on drums, vibraphone and marimba; Yi Chieh Lai on guzheng, or Chinese zither; and Christopher Blasdel, shakuhachi.

Admission is $20 and tickets are being sold at the courtesy counters at KTA Super Stores Puainako and Downtown Hilo.

The nonprofit Japanese Community Association of Hawaii, with a membership of 400 families, perpetuates and promotes Japanese culture and fosters international relationships with cities in Japan.

For more information, contact JCAH at 969-6437, email or visit


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