Popular Japanese Festivals: 4   Map New Rose ParadeJan 1 Largest Music ShowJan CES - Electronic ShowJan Japanese New Years!Jan 1 Fred Korematsu DayFeb Day of RemembranceFeb Girls DayMar

Cherry Blossom 

Cherry Blossom Events  Cherry Blossom LocationsMar-Apr

  Los Angeles

  Nisei Week Tips in Little TokyoAug 2021 Boys DayMay Auto Car ShowNov

November

  Obon Festivals & Practice:  4 Jun-Aug  Popular Obon FestivalsJun-Aug  Obon Festivals (Only):  4 Jun-Aug  Obon Practices (Only):  0 Jun-Aug  Obon MapJun-Aug 

Let's Go to Japan

  Japan TravelNew!

Places To Go

Landmarks Musts Japanese Garden Tea House Tea Ceremony Museums     Add Event

Guides

Little Tokyo Japantown San Francisco Japantown San Jose Japantown Sawtelle Japantown Seattle Seattle Japantown Bainbridge Islandupdates San Diego Map Oahu Map

Explore All Japanese Events & Locationsbeta

Show Menu
×
2022 - Annual Orange County Cherry Blossom Festival in Huntington Beach - Cherry Blossom Trees [VIDEO] (3 Days)
2022 - 23rd Annual Japanese New Year's Oshogatsu Festival-Little Tokyo (2 Locations, 2 Days) Entertainment, Food Booths, Taiko, Beer (Updates!)
2022 Cherry Blossoms at Brooklyn Botanic Garden! When is the Bloom?
+Executive Order 9066 (Description) - February 19, 1942
Studio Ghibli Fest 2021 - 4th Annual Studio Ghibli Fest to Experience the Wonder of 4 Beloved, Groundbreaking Animated Films
March 11, 2011 Japan Anniversary Earthquake & Tsunami that Struck Japan CNN
2021 - Enter Hayao Miyazaki's Enchanting Animated World at the Academy Museum - Creator of Studio Ghibli  (MUST SEE) Sept 30, 2021 - June 5, 2022
Setsubun - Japanese Holiday (Feb 2-3)
 The State of California's Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution - Jan 30th
Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution - January 30th
2021 Yayoi Kusama's 'Love is Calling' Installation - ICA Boston (October 16 to December 31, 2021)
 Saint Patrick's Day - March 17th
 Valentine's Day - Top Tips & Ideas for Your Love Ones

Nisei Week Bon Odori - Little Tokyo

Nisei Week Bon Odori - Little Tokyo | Japanese-City.com

Location Information

315 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Nisei Week History
Nisei Week Background and Events in August

History of Nisei Week
As it still does, the first Nisei Week in 1934 brightened Little Tokyo for seven days and nights. That was fifty-six years ago, August 12 through 18.

A global war disrupted its unbroken sequence. Its Golden Anniversary would have been, not 1990, but George Orwell's fateful 1984.

In the depth of the Great Depression, Nisei college graduates worked for Susumu Hasuike's 3-Star Produce chain for $80 dollars a month. Little Tokyo merchants catered mostly to Issei patrons. Even then Little Tokyo was the hub of the largest Japanese American population on the U.S. mainland, but it was an unpromising retail area, stable but not expanding.

The Issei controlled it completely, as they did the community. We respected our elders, but their ideas were getting old.

Exuberant Nisei came up with the idea of Nisei Week to lift the gray cloud of the Great Depression. They urged the Issei to cater more to Nisei patronage both in hiring and retail practice. That done, they would bring the customers. The JACLers sold the idea to leading Little Tokyo Issei merchants.

Enough Issei merchants believed them to help fund the early effort. The Nisei went to work. They organized. It was a milestone in Little Tokyo community cooperation.

Who were the Nisei? First general chairman of Nisei Week was Clarence Arima, his co-chairman was Kay Sugahara. Arima was the Nisei manager of the Issei-owned Union Paper Supply Co. Sugahara was owner of Universal Foreign Service, a customs brokerage firm. Names in the first Nisei Week program identify the nucleus of the organizing team: Seiichi Nobe, John Ando, Tetsu Ishimaru, John Maeno, Sue Ando, Ruby Sakai, Etsu Sato, Msao Igasaki, Yogoro Takeyama, John Yahiro. They were more than 10 years older than most Nisei. Established in their vocations, they were a Little Tokyo Nisei leadership group. John Maeno, who became chairman of the third Nisei Week, wrote in his program:

'The Nisei is a new American. Racially of the Orient, he is true and loyal citizen of the United States, his native land. Young, ambitious, hopeful, though at times oppressed, he seeks to take his place in civic development and community progress.'

This J.A.C.L. message became a fixture. It was interspersed with the commercial marketing thrust of Issei shopkeepers. Nisei Week became an instrument not only to revive and revitalize Little Tokyo's economic base, but to expose the non-Japanese audience out there to the Nisei's message that the successors to the Issei were a generation of Americans.

That mainstream community outside Little Tokyo was not terribly interested in, nor receptive to Nisei offerings of their Japanese cultural inheritance. But from the outset, the Nisei organizers planned their attractions around the best they could offer in ondo dancing, Japanese floral arrangements, tea ceremonies, martial arts, fashion shows, kimono-clad queen and attendants, calligraphy, art shows, and talent programs, in the hope that the transpacific cultural bridge would somehow flower and bloom.

In the ensuing half century, Nisei Week's format has undergone surprisingly little change from its basic orginal. The ondo dance parade has continued to be a crowd drawing spectacle.

Joseph Shinoda, Nisei graduate of Pomona who built San Lorenzo Nursery Company into a leading national grower and distributor of roses and floral products, wrote an occasional column for the Rafu Shimpo. About that First Nisei Week's ondo parade, he observed that some Issei, surprisingly, were out there in the streets with the dancers:

'They gyrate in those pigeon-toed steps with the seriousness of cogitating jurists; when not lost in the contemplation of the next dance step, they smile with the same ingenuous smile they use in business- a little sheepish but still a smile more than a grimace.'

Were the founders, Issei and Nisei alike, of Nisei Week satisfied with the results? I believe they were. It has become a tourist institution. As Southern California's population continues to explode, Nisei Week draws visitors from around the globe as well as participation from the third, fourth, and fifth generations descended from its founders.

Contact


Phone: (213) 687-7193
Website: Click to Visit
Events for this Location

 There are no current events. Click here to submit events.