Azama Honryu Seifu Ichisenkai USA
Classical Okinawan Dance Academy by Master Kinuko Mototake
Born on Yonaguni, the most southwestern island in the Okinawan chain, Master Kinuko Mototake established her dance academy in 1996 on the island of Alameda, CA. She returns yearly to Okinawa to enhance and polish her skill with the original Azama Honryu group. She is the instructor and director of the Okinawa Eisa Shima Daiko group. She is also the Goodwill Ambassador to Okinawa and Arts and Culture Director of SF Okinawa Kenjinkai.
El Cerrito High School Japanese Soran Bushi Club
Soran Bushi folk dancing
The mission of the Japanese Soran Bushi Club at El Cerrito High School is to spread Japanese culture through the art of modern and traditional Soran Bushi folk dancing. The club meets on Mondays and Thursdays.
Japanese folk music and dance
Formed in 2006, Ensohza Minyoshu is a Japanese folk performing ensemble based in the San Francisco Bay Area. The group performs music and dance that evokes the festival spirit and character of Japan’s diverse rural communities. Ensohza Minyoshu offers training in folk dance and the traditional festival arts of Japan, and is also available for performances.
Ito – Yosakoi
Ito is a Yosakoi dance team in SF Japantown. Yosakoi is an energetic dance style that embodies the power of ocean waves. Our name “Ito” (糸 – “Tapestry”) emphasizes the relationships woven together between members of a community. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kiyonomoto Ryu USA
Japanese classical dance, minyo, contemporary dance
The Kiyonomoto Ryu USA classical dance group was established in the United State in 1994. Celebrating over 21 years, under the leadership of Kiyonomoto Katsunami (Minako Ohara)- head instructor and Kiyonomoto Katsuno (Kazuko Nishimura), the group has been performing at various venues to spread and promote their different style of traditional dancing.
Kagura Dance, Taiko, Interpretive Dance
Kohaku is a unique performance collaborative based in Sacramento that specializes in traditional and contemporary Japanese performing arts, such as Kagura dance (Sacred dance of Shinto shrines), Taiko drum and a variety of other celebrated cultural music and dance.
The Michiya Hanayagi Japanese Classical Dance Group
Japanese classical dance
The Michiya Hanayagi Japanese Classical Dance Group was established in 1956. This year is the group’s 51st year of participation, the only dance group that has performed annually at the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco since its inception. Michiya Hanayagi has been recognized by many organizations in the Bay Area as well as internationally for her contributions towards promoting the Japanese culture through Japanese classical dance and for encouraging goodwill between the U.S. and Japan. The Michiya Hanayagi & Michisuya Hanayagi dance group performs at various festivals and events to continue to educate and share this form of Japanese art in order to help preserve the Japanese culture in America.
Minyo Minbu Festival
Japanese folk music and dance
Minyo (Japanese Folk Dance and Song) has been handed down from generation to generation. These dances evolved from ancient traditions of dancing and singing to pray for good harvests and honor ancestors. Nearly every district of Japan has a rich heritage of songs that reveal the characteristics of the local people and their history. There are rice planting and fishing songs, as well as songs of carpenters, miners, sailors and craftsmen. Some lyrics praise scenic beauty, and others tell stories of historical figures and festivals. The performances by the Minyo Minbu Festival will include singing and dancing to Japanese folk songs and shamisen gasso (shamisen mass playing).
Nishikawa Ryu Nihon Buyo
Nishikawa Ryu Japanese classical dance
We are the California chapter of the Nishikawa School of Tokyo, Japan. We aim to share our love of Nihon Buyo with our community.
Japanese classical dance
Rinka started performing Nihon buyo (classical dance) at San Francisco Japantown’s Kimono Day in 2009. Their form is based on the minyo style of dance but also draws inspiration from other types of Nihon buyo. Their choreography includes contemporary and ethnic Japanese folk music.
Rosa Parks Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program
Learning language through culture and community
The only program of its kind in Northern California, the Rosa Parks Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program (JBBP) is a Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES) program, integrating instruction by native Japanese speaking Sensei with a rigorous core curriculum taught in English by credentialed teachers. Founded in 1973 and at Rosa Parks since 2006, the result is a truly unique and rich learning experience – marked by academic excellence and proficiency in a second language – in an environment that promotes community, diversity, and positive values.
Sakura-Ren, formed in October 2013, sincerely enjoys performing Japanese traditional Awa-Odori all over the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, we held 16 performances at Japanese festivals, local schools, churches, and association events. We are a serious Awa-Odori group that puts on choreographed stage performances accompanied by live instruments and vocals. While holding traditional styles in esteem, we keep bringing new and original ideas to Awa-Odori. Many members of Sakura-Ren are very active in performing art fields, and we all put different ideas into Awa-Odori to make it more interesting and exciting.
Awa Odori, traditional dance from Tokushima, Japan
San Francisco Awakko Ren is a Bay Area dance group founded in 2011. Its main focus is Awa Odori, a traditional dance from Tokushima Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. We have been participating in Cherry blossom festival for many years, and show up for other local events.
San Francisco Okinawa Kenjinkai
Traditional Okinawan dance and music
The San Francisco Okinawa Kenjinkai is a social organization serving the local Bay Area community. The goal of the club is to share Okinawan culture with people around the world. Every year, during the Cherry Blossom Festival we perform traditional Okinawan music and dance on the Peace Plaza stage and at the Grand Parade. If you watch and listen closely, you will see that our music, dance, and costumes incorporate cultural influences from Southeast Asia, China, Japan, and the U.S. You will also notice that our performers are of a wide range of ages, generations, ethnicities, and nationalities.
Cherry Blossom Taiko Festival
Enjoy the thunderous beats of a number of taiko musicians on the evening of Saturday, April 15. The line-up includes the San Francisco Taiko Dojo, along with their “Rising Stars”; student groups CAL Raijin Taiko and UC Davis Bakuhatsu Taiko; and a special guest from Japan, Reigen Fujii & the Wagakki Ensemble which features the tsugaru shamisen, taiko, shakuhachi and koto. Tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for students and seniors!
Children’s Tsuzumi Challenge
Two-headed Japanese drum
The tsuzumi is a two-headed Japanese drum with an hourglass-shaped body, and is often found in the music of noh and kabuki theater. The Children’s Tsuzumi Challenge is an after-school program run by NPO Infusion, which teaches elementary school students at the Clarendon School in San Francisco and Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito how to play the drum.
Male and mixed chorus group directed by Ruriko Miura
Chorale May is a male choir group, formed in 1995. The group sings primarily in Japanese and has sung at various events and places, such as the commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima/Nagasaki, NHK Nodo-Jiman, the reception for Japanese Emperor’s birthday, singing National Anthem at Oakland A’s major league baseball game and a performing at the Davies Symphony Hall. Chorale May’s rehearsals meet on 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC).
Classical music from the Edo period, Ikuta-Ryu koto music, Nogawa-Ryu shamisen, Kinko-Ryu shakuhachi
Comprised of shakuhachi, koto, and shamisen, the Edo Ensemble began performing professionally in 2011. Elliot Kallen is a former concert pianist who began studying shakuhachi more than 15 years ago. He now performs and teaches Chikuyusha lineage Kinko-Ryu shakuhachi from his home in Northern California. In 2006 he was chosen to perform at the National Theater in Tokyo. Naoko began studying koto at age 6. In 1987, she passed a professional music examination to teach Jiuta shamisen and Ikuta-Ryu koto while under the instructorship of Koji Kikuhara, a highly ranked student of the Living National Treasure Hatsuko Kikuhara. Naoko is currently learning Nagauta.
Male and mixed chorus group directed by Ruriko Miura
Ensemble Shiki is a mixed choir formed in 2004 in San Francisco. The group sings a wide variety of songs in Japanese, English and other languages. Our major activities include its annual Japanese choral concert and annual holiday concert. We also have performed at International Choral Festivals, Japantown 110th Anniversary Community Picnic, and senior homes etc. Ensemble Shiki ‘s rehearsals meet on 1st, 3rd and 5th Tuesdays at JCCCNC.
Essence is a musical group featuring shakuhachi master Masayuki Koga with Shota Osabe on keyboard and Jimi Nakagawa playing the taiko drum that has recorded several albums. Masayuki Koga, who came to the United States in 1973, is a teacher of the Kinko and Tozan Ryu shakuhachi and founded the Japanese Music Institute of America in San Francisco and Berkeley in 1981. The shakuhachi is a Japanese flute made of bamboo.
Japanese Taiko and Odori, Gintenkai taiko songs
Founded as Gen Taiko in 1995 and incorporated as GenRyu Arts in August 2008, its mission is to promote, present and participate in Japanese and Japanese American culture through Taiko (Japanese Drumming) and other traditional and contemporary music and dance forms. Deeply rooted in San Francisco’s Japantown and in the Asian American Community, GenRyu Arts engages in art-making that merges Japanese cultural forms taiko, dance and folk songs with new music, spoken word and visual design into singular expressions that honor community heritage and address key issues stemming from the legacy of internment and redevelopment.
Grass Valley Taiko
North American Taiko
Grass Valley Taiko was founded and continues to be directed under the leadership of Mitzi Garnett since 2000. Located in the high foothills of the Sierras, they work to bring the teachings of Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka of San Francisco Taiko Dojo and the history and meaning of Taiko to their community. As a former student and lifelong supporter of Osensei Tanaka, Grass Valley Taiko works to stay true to the disciplines and culture shared with them.
Japanese Music Institute of America
Offering shakuhachi instruction by Masayuki Koga, JMI is a nonprofit organization that breathes new life into traditional and modern Japanese music. Founded in 1981, JMI has performed and taught for over 30 years in the Bay Area, Canada, Germany and Japan. Enjoy their Japanese traditional, folk, and ensemble performances at the festival—to include Essence, a group consisting of instructors and guest teachers at JMI and led by Mr. Koga.
Kazuma Ishikawa Kai
Kazuma Ishikawa Kai performs the traditional Japanese koto music. The group has been performing through the Bay Area as well as in Mexico, Canada, Japan, and other countries. They belong to the Ikuta-ryu, Chikushi-school in Japan.
Marimo-kai is a koto performing group based in San Jose, which plays both classical and modern music. Marimo-kai was founded in year 2000. The group has been actively performing in the San Francisco Bay Area at cultural events, senior centers, weddings, other social gatherings and educational institutions. The group’s name, Marimo , means green, spherical, moss which grows in fresh water in northern parts of Japan. It is round, soft and mesmerizing. It starts its life very small, but it grows slowly but surely, which is just what this group is.
Sakura Minyo Doo Koo Kai
Japanese folk music (Minyo) performed with singers, shamisen players and dancers
A group of Issei singers got together shortly after WWII to sing for each other. They eventually started to act and sing and put on public performances. Singers of Japanese folk music broke away from the original group and formed their own club. They added shamisen players and dancers and called themselves Sakura Minyo Doo Koo Kai.
San Francisco Taiko Dojo
Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka founded the San Francisco Taiko Dojo in 1968 and introduced the taiko art form to America. Over the years, Grandmaster Tanaka’s students have traveled around the globe, forming new taiko ensembles and establishing taiko as an art form. San Francisco Taiko Dojo remains the most exciting and dynamic taiko group in the world. Grandmaster Tanaka’s style has developed the taiko from a primitive folk art to a powerful, sophisticated synthesis of rhythm, harmony and body movements.
SF Koto Group Hanaikada
We have been sharing our Koto music with residents of nursing homes, patients in hospitals and library audiences in the San Francisco bay area. We enjoy being able to share our koto performance with them.
Seiha Koto/Sangen Masazuka-kai
Koto-Sangen Masazuka-kai showcases ensemble and solo performances of koto and shamisen. The group is based in San Francisco and is active throughout the Bay Area. Koto-Sangen Masazuka-kai has participated in this Cherry Blossom Festival since its first year! The goal of the group is to share the appreciation for Japan’s traditional music through koto and shamisen.
Poem singing; individual & group singing; singing with other artists, sword dancer, ikebana, calligrapher and others.
Shigin is the art of chanting. Japanese or Chinese poems are often sung to express the feeling of joy or sorrow, the beauty of nature, or to offer a spiritual message. The ability to sing well and be able to express the feeling and concept of the author is very important to this art form. Shigin is attributed to a Japanese priest who brought the written language from China and introduced poems to Japan over 1,500 years ago. Gradually, Japanese scholars created and recited their own poems. Later, warriors added to the rich heritage, expressing their joyful victories or sorrowful defeats. Five Shigin Groups from San Francisco have performed for 50 years, going on its 51st year!
Wesley Ukulele Band
Aloha! The Wesley Ukulele Band from San Jose, was founded in 2004 for fun and fellowship. We have performed at Wesley Methodist Church functions such as Aki Matsuri, Mission Luau, Christmas Hanging of the Greens, Wesley Church Picnic, and at other sister church’s related events. We’ve even performed at the Grand Opening of the Ukulele Source store across the street from Wesley, and as well as Sake San Jose and Spirit of Japantown. We have over fifty members, about half of which are the active core group. Mahalo.
Taiko drum, guitar
The folk song, “Kawachi Ondo,” accompanies Bon dance in the Osaka/Kawachi region of Japan with over 600 years of history. Shogo Yamada will lead Yamasho Kai in performing Kawachi Ondo. Originally played with only two traditional instruments (taiko and shamisen), the song is now played with electric, guitar, bass guitar, and keyboard. Please join them in enjoying this cheerful dance.
Dragon School Of Kali
Filipino Martial Arts performing with weapons and music
KALI an ancient form of martial arts of Indonesia and the Philippines. Before Spanish colonization, the Philippine area was part of the old Indonesian empires. It is traced back to the Sri Vishayan Empire in Sumatra in the 5th century with Hindu-Malayan influence by Arab missionaries. This particular style of KALI is a complete system in that it offers a range of weaponry, empty hand (Kinamot and Panantukan or boxing), kicking (Sikaran), as well as fitness which includes conditioning, calisthenics and a wealth of drills.
The name ENSHIN is derived from two Japanese words: “en” meaning ‘open or unfinished circle’ and “shin” meaning ‘heart’ or ‘inner.’ The combination of these two words and their meanings embody the most important aspects of Enshin Karate. Established by Grandmaster Kancho Joko Ninomiya in 1988, this style of full contact karate emphasizes taking an opponent’s momentum to reposition oneself for a counterattack. The fighting technique involves kicks, punches, and blocks as well as grabs, throws, and takedowns.
Northern California Naginata Federation
Naginata, Japanese polearm fencing
Rarely seen outside of Japan, Naginata or Japanese polearm fencing, uses a sword mounted to the end of a staff. The art of wielding the naginata has been handed down through the generations since its use in the battlefields in medieval Japan. For the last three centuries, the tradition of Naginata has been kept alive primarily by women. We practice both a traditional school called Tendo Ryu and the all-Japan version called Atarashii Naginata. Take this unique opportunity to see traditional battlefield arts that have been passed down from the 1500s to today!
San Francisco Kendo Dojo
San Francisco Kendo dojo has been in SF Japantown since 1957, studying the art of kendo, or the study of Japanese swordsmanship. Kendo is a full contact martial art using bamboo swords with the main purpose to become a better person and citizen thru the study of the Japanese sword. SF Kendo dojo practices on Mondays at the Buddhist Church of SF and on Thursdays at the JCCCNC.
San Francisco Wushu Team
Chinese martial art
The San Francisco Wushu Team is a martial art that in recent time has been developed as sport to promote health and exercise with a focus on performing art which had been used for self-defense against animals as well as opposing clans and nomads. The team was formed after a world tour of China’s National Wushu Team in 1974 and interest has grown over the years as students have spread the martial arts throughout the Bay Area.
Japanese martial art
Shorinji Kempo is a martial art based on the concept of integrating body and spirit into a system of self-defense techniques with mental training to promote health. The Japanese martial artist Doshin So developed this martial art in 1947 to help individuals develop self-confidence, courage, and a spirit of compassion.
Soko Joshi Judo Club
Soko Joshi Judo Club founder was Keiko Fukuda Sensei, the highest ranking female judo Sensei in the world. Soko Joshi Judo Club has been performing at Cherry Blossom Festival for over 45 years. We are a women’s Judo Club in Noe Valley at the corner of Castro and 26th Streets. Class practice are Tuesday/Thursday from 6pm-8pm.
Suio Ryu Iai Kenpo
Japanese swords, ancient martial arts, Masaki-ryu Fukuhara-ha kusarigamajutsu
Suio Ryu Iai Kenpo is a traditional Japanese martial art founded around 1600, currently headed by Katsuse Yoshimitsu Kagehiro in Shizuoka, Japan. San Francisco is one of a handful of groups authorized to train in the United States.
World Oyama Karate
We practice a full-contact style of Japanese karate founded by Soshu Shigeru Oyama and Saiko Shihan Yasuhiko Oyama. We have been in the Bay Area since 2001, with dojos in San Francisco and San Mateo. Our performance at the festival will include kata (forms), kihon (basics), kumite (fighting), as well as breaking demonstrations of wood, baseball bats, and ice. We hope to inspire others to keep pushing themselves to do more and be more. We are all stronger than we realize.
Zanshin Dojo is a a traditional dojo teaching Okinawa goju ryu led by Sensei Mirko Buchwald 6th dan. They focus on health and self-defense in which students test their abilities and overcome inhibitions. The dojo was established in June 1988 to provide an opportunity for learning the physical and mental aspects of martial arts and through an affiliation with the International Okinawan Goju so students can train in the U.S. and Japan.