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Nisei Week


Nisei Week is a week-long celebration of Japanese traditions and culture, taking place in LA’s Little Tokyo during August. This festival is one of the longest celebrated ethnic festivals in the US—the first Nisei Week happened in 1934. The festival aims to attract people to businesses in and around Japan Town, many of which are run by Japanese Americans. The festival also helps to honor the legacy of Issei (first generation Japanese) by passing their traditions onto Nisei (second generation Japanese). 


Nisei Week features a grand parade, which has many similar elements to Japanese festivals, but other elements unique to the festival. People will parade around with palanquins and perform Ondo dances, in a similar fashion to festivals taking place in Japan. However, Nisei Week also features intricately decorated floats, luxury car shows, and people dressed up in non-traditional costumes. The grand parade is certainly a spectacle to behold, and you won’t want to miss it if you have the chance to go.

Nisei Week also features a variety of Japanese cultural exhibits, which show off the arts of Ikebana (flower arrangement), Bonsai, doll making, Chanoyu (tea ceremony), and calligraphy. 

There is also a separate stage for performers of all types at Nisei Week. Here, you can watch taiko performances, hear bands play Japanese music, and watch the crowning of the Queen of the Court.


Queen and Court Program

The Queen and Court Program aims to give Japanese-American women more leadership opportunities and a chance to interact with their communities. Those who apply to become part of the court must train for 4 months prior to the festival. After coronation, they begin a year-long journey in which they attend cultural events around the world, meet foreign dignitaries, and do community service. 


Gyoza Eating Competition

Another notable event at Nisei Week is the Gyoza eating competition, which has become one of the major events on the high-level competitive eating circuit. You might see some famous competitive eaters appear at this event. 


Nisei Week is organized by the non-profit Nisei Week Foundation. You can learn more about this festival at their website, and you can even volunteer with them, too:!/main-content 

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