PICTURED (top to bottom):
1. Nancy Hom's MANDALA (detail), photo by Bob Hsiang©
2. Panelists from CULTURES OF RESILIENCE: Janice Mirikitani, Tanea Lundsford, KK Aoki Izu, Javonte Holloway (Kaly Jay), and devorah major, photos by Bob Hsiang©
3. During A WALK THROUGH TIME: Masaru Koga, Moy Eng, Shoko Hikage
4. Rev. Masato Kawahatsu performs a blessing ritual in A WALK THROUGH TIME
5. Ayana Yonesaka busts a move inside the dance circle in A WALK THROUGH TIME
6. Javonte Holloway (Kaly Jay) performs an original rap in A WALK THROUGH TIME
7. Kenny Endo performs taiko on the Peace Plaza in A WALK THROUGH
8. Lovers Divided: Marina Fukushima & Masaru Koga in A WALK THROUGH TIME

9. The Eternal Couple: Masaru Koga serenades Marina Fukushima with the shakuhachi in A WALK THROUGH TIME


 Japantown Mandala and Gallery Opening

Suite J-Town Artists, J-Tells, and Staff spent valuable time in the community making artwork that was presented in the Suite J-Town pop-up gallery. The featured commissioned pieces were a 10-foot MANDALA by Nancy Hom and a PRAYER PAGODA by Kevin King. Included in the exhibition were recently discovered pre-war Japanese artifacts hidden in the Buddhist Church during the incarceration: Kabuki theatrical flats, paintings of Jizo, and a steamer trunk that made it back from Heart Mountain prison camp. At the opening event, Rev. Masato Kawahatsu of Konko Church carried out a cleansing ritual to bless the space. The gallery also featured art by next-generation artists: Marissa Bergmann, Charlene Kelley, Junho Kim, Eryn Kimura, Celi Tamayo-Lee, Yuki Maruyama, Elena Nielsen and Ayana Yonesaka.

Cultures of Resilience

We were honored to present former Poet Laureates of San Francisco Janice Mirikitani and devorah major, who shared insight into the Afro-Asian cultural history of Japantown through storytelling, poetry, and community dialogue. By their side were next-generation artists and activists KK Aoki Izu, Javonte Holloway (Kaly Jay), and Tanea Lunsford moderated by Eryn Kimura and featuring Brenda Wong Aoki.

 A Walk Through Time: A New Obon for J-Town

We wrapped the festival up with site-specific multidisciplinary performances: a joyous, colorful celebration of Japantown's past, present, and future via music, dance, and storytelling featuring world class artists Kenny Endo, Moy Eng, Shoko Hikage, Mark Izu, Masaru Koga, Marina Fukushima, John-Carlos Perea, and Brenda Wong Aoki. At the end, everyone (audience included!) transitioned to the Japantown Peace Plaza where we encouraged everyone to dance and celebrate in our NEW OBON FOR J-TOWN! It was such a joy to see everyone that makes up Japantown standing together: community members, multiracial generations, young and old, artists, dancers, shopkeepers, families.  Together, our rainbow-hued festivities drew the attention of the entire Peace Plaza in a moment of culminating JOY!

Underground Film Festival

Junho Kim curated four nights of film screenings, a list which included Monk by Blood (2013) by Ema Ryan Yamazaki, Mrs. Judo (2012) by Yuriko Gamo Romer, Departing (2014) by Jing Niu, and After Life (1998) by Hirokazu Koreeda. 

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Community Partners & Support

National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS)
Nihonmachi Little Friends (NLF)
Nihonmachi Street Fair (NSF)
Japanese American Religious Federation (JARF)

Buddhist Church of San Francisco (BCSF) • Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC) • Japantown Merchants Association • Japantown Task Force • Kimochi, Inc. • Kinmon Gakuen (Golden Gate Institute) • Kokoro Assisted Living • Konko Church of San Francisco • Northern California/Western Nevada Pacific JACL • Pine United Methodist Church • Sei Ko Kai Christ Episcopal

Foundation & Corporate Support

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundationb
California Arts Council – Creative California Communities
Grants for the Arts
Ford Foundation
San Francisco Foundation
3-D Investments


 King & Meridee Moore
Robert Rusky & Karen Kai
George Ow, Jr.
Mary Ishisaki
Carolyn Izu Bergmann
May Takashima
Glide Foundation
Diane Murakami, D.D.S
Stan Hom
Nancy Ukai Russel
Carla Sakamoto Gordon
Eddie & Alice Moriguchi
George Nobori
Nion McEvoy
Matthew & Janice Barger
Jon & Hendy Dayton
Beth Rubenstein & Even Markiewicz
Janet Koike
Jeff Adachi
John Ota
Mari Matsumoto
Marvin & Miyo Uratsu
Edie & Tom Mitko
Jon Funabiki
Hiroshi Shimizu
Sandra Foster
Jay Garfinkle
Janice Mirikitani & Cecil Williams
Kim Aoki
Dorothy Ishimatsu
Celia Izu Muto
Susanne Baum


Cathy Inamasu
Mitzi Tawa
Nihonmachi Little Friends
David & Cindy Okuji DDS
M.J. Young
Susan & Thomas Aoki
Andy & Dorothy Nozaka
MJ Bogatin
David Ushijima
Sandy Cressman
Sumi Nakashima
Peter & Wendy Horikoshi
Lilian Murray
Emily Murase
Steven Chang & Helen Lee
Kim Baltzel & John Maine
Kenneth Matsumura
Nana Naito
Michael Yoshida
Betty Kano
Kim Overton
Nellie Wong
Mary & Kevin Aoki
Yone Fukui
Erwin Fredrich
Mark Horton & Megan Topping
Jane Wong
Dororthy Santo
Susan Yen Izu
Louise KInoshita
Melanie Elvena
Alan Hayashi

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