Japanese Community Association of Hawaii slates Japanese Culture Day celebration

  • Joe Sugawara

  • Wataru Kohashi

  • Isamu Kanekuni

  • Larry Isemoto

  • Courtesy photo Gyotaku fish painting will be demonstrated by Laron Kageyama during Japanese Cultural Day on Saturday at Sangha Hall.

  • Courtesy photo Khou Sekine with a large calligraphy piece.

The Japanese Community Association of Hawaii is sponsoring its biennial Japanese Culture Day, or Bunka No Hi, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at Sangha Hall in downtown Hilo.

This year’s event is dedicated to the late Barry Taniguchi, who epitomized the theme “Okage Sama De,” which translates to “I am what I am because of you.” Admission is free.


Festivities kick off with a short Omikoshi parade at 9 a.m., starting at the Aupuni Center and ending at Sangha Hall. The mikoshi is a portable shrine that is carried during many festivals in Japan. Larry Shunji Isemoto, recipient of the Imperial Decoration The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, will be the parade grand marshal, along with AJA Veterans Isamu Kanekuni, Wataru Kohashi and Joe Sugawara, who will be honored as Cultural Treasures during the event.

The Bunka No Hi program begins at 10 a.m. and includes honoring the 2019 grand marshal and Japanese Cultural Treasures and recognition of JCAH members 90 years and older.

Entertainment includes performances by koto master Darin Miyashiro and So-shin Kai, Puna Taiko and a demonstration by Khou Sekine, a professional calligrapher from Japan who will be on stage creating an extra-large calligraphy piece that will be sold during the event, with proceeds going to benefit the JCAH.

A video history of KTA Super Stores also will be shown in honor of Taniguchi.

Keiko Fujishita, a professional kimono dresser from Japan, will dress three women in beautiful furisode and tomesode style kimono. Local chef and food writer Audrey Wilson will do a cooking demonstration based on her recent “Rice Bowls” column in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. Other demonstrations will include gyotaku fish painting by Laron Kageyama and a demo by Aikido of Hilo.

Other displays and demos include a display of washi chigiri-e by sensei Lily Nakao and her Hilo students, bonsai, a tea ceremony and ikebana.

Experienced calligraphers will be available to write your name or message for a fee.

Food concessions include chicken hekka, gyudon, nishime, somen salad, andagi, curry bowl, cone sushi, manju, bentos and more.


A limited number of event T-shirts also will be available for sale.

For more information or to join the JCAH, visit www.jcah.org.

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