Taiko to Tanabata

Little Tokyo celebrates Nisei Week with drums, dance, and the fluttery tanabata.

Nisei Week is one of our city's longest running festivals, though unlike many annual events, it took several years off during World War II.

But given the fact that the huge celebration of ondo dance and martial arts and music and Japanese culture and community began as an uplifting response to the Great Depression, it was not surprising to see the festival return, full-hearted and ready to again raise spirits, after the war's conclusion.

It did, and it still shines today, hosting and supporting a bevy of events in and around Little Tokyo, and perhaps most famously the Grand Parade, which will dance along 2nd and San Pedro on Sunday, Aug. 12.

But there are many Nisei Week to-dos to chose from, including the three-day Tanabata Festival, which will be centered around JANM Plaza from Friday, Aug. 10 through Sunday, Aug. 12. The much-photographed tanabata are colorful and wind-fluttery and full of wishes and history. The paper strips that descend from the top of the tanabata have a way of catching a breeze. Meaning? Don't be surprised to see many photographers capturing the beautiful display.

Basketball tourneys, a queenly coronation ball, and other events round out the many days that make up Nisei Week. Be sure to catch some taiko drumming if possible, an ondo dance, and the fluttery and fabled tanabata.

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