Family Fun: The 78th Annual Nisei Week Japanese Festival is August 11-19 in Little Tokyo

Los Angeles’ Oldest Ethnic Festival Celebrates the Japanese Community’s Cultural Diversity

The Nisei Week Japanese Festival is observing its 78th anniversary his year. It’s Los Angeles’ oldest ethnic festival that celebrates the Japanese community’s cultural diversity in historic Little Tokyo.The Celebration runs from August 11th thru the 19th . There is also a Baby Show on July 28th at the Centenary United Methodist Church.

The festival was established by the Nisei (second-generation Japanese Americans) in 1934 during the Great Depression. It was originally created to attract business to the Little Tokyo area and to promote goodwill. This first festival included a poster contest, an essay contest, radio broadcasts, a fashion show, various cultural exhibits and demonstrations and an “ondo” or “traditional Japanese street dancing” parade.

A queen pageant was added in 1935 with Alice Watanabe as the first Nisei Week Queen. Candidate selection was by nomination and the queen was selected by popular vote. Friends could cast a vote for their favorite candidate when making a purchase at one of the many businesses in Little Tokyo. Today, queen candidates are selected by various Japanese American community organizations. The Nisei Week Queen is selected and crowned at the Coronation Ball, which is held the first day of the festival.

Some of the major events include the Queen Coronation, Grand Parade, Taiko Drum Gathering, Tofu Festival, and a car show. Theatrical events, exhibitions of Japanese art and culture, fairs, fashion shows, and sporting events are also featured.

There is a big parade, national contests, and a carnival. The World Gyoza Eating Championship is also held during the Nisei Week Japanese Festival.

Location : Little Tokyo August 11-19


Calendar of Events

July 28

Baby Show – Centenary United Methodist Church, 9 am – 3 pm*

August 11 (Sat)

Nisei Week Japanese Festival/JACCC Plaza Festival

Golden Circle Dinner – Double Tree by Hilton, 4:30 pm (Dinner)*

Nisei Week Sunset on the Plaza – JACCC Plaza, 5-10 pm

Coronation – Aratani Theatre, 7 pm*

August 12 (Sun)

Nisei Week Japanese Festival/JACCC Plaza Festival

Aki’s Pup Up Party – JACCC Plaza, 10 am- 3 pm

Grand Parade – Little Tokyo, 4 pm

August 18 (Sat)

Nisei Week Rubik’s Cube Open – JACCC Plaza, 8 am

Nisei Week Japanese Festival/JACCC Plaza Festival

Nisei Week Car Show – Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple parking lot, 815 East First Street, Los Angeles; 11am-5 pm*

Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Championship – JACCC Plaza, 2 pm

August 19 (Sun)

Nisei Week Japanese Festival/JACCC Plaza Festival

Ondo Public Street Dancing – 1st Street, 4 pm

Closing Ceremony – 1st Street, following Ondo

Press Release & Photos Provided By the 2018 Nisei Week Japanese Festival