Dance | Music | Martial Arts

Peace Plaza and the JCCCNC Stages

Dance 踊り

10Tecomai Yosakoi Dance Project
Yosakoi dance
This Yosakoi Performance Troupe is based out of New York.  For over 14 years, their goal has been to spread knowledge of Yosakoi Dance across the United States.  10Tecomai is returning to the NCCBF for the second year.

Awaodori Sakura Ren 阿波おどり桜連
Awa odori, traditional performing art of Tokushima
Sakura Ren was formed in October 2013 and sincerely enjoys performing Japanese traditional Awa-Odori all over the San Francisco Bay Area. The group has been performing at the NCCBF main stage since 2015. They are sharing the spirits of Awaodori, peace, and prosperity in Bay Area communities.

Ensohza Minyoshu
Japanese folk music and dance
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 promotes opportunities for community building through training in folk dance and the traditional festival arts of Japan.

Hakata kai
Japanese classical dance
Hakata kai is a newly-formed dance group of three dancers. They practice at a senior center in Emeryville, j-sei, every Thursday from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. They have participated in this Cherry Blossom Festival grand parade for the last three years.

Ito – Yosakoi 糸よさこい
Yosakoi dance
Ito is a Yosakoi dance team in SF Japantown. This energetic dance style and its water-like movements emphasize the strength of people coming together. Their name “Ito” (糸 – “Tapestry”) symbolizes the relationships woven together between members of a community. Contact

Kansas State Tatsumaki Yosakoi
Yosakoi dance
The Kansas State Yosakoi returned to Yosakoi Soran Sapporo in 2008. The group previously performed at the NCCBF in 2010 at the 150th anniversary of Kanin Maru. Information to join or on their performance activities can be found on Facebook.

Kiyonomoto Ryu USA
Japanese classical dance, minyo, contemporary dance
The Kiyonomoto Ryu USA classical dance group was established in the United States in 1994. Celebrating over 22 years under the leadership of head instructor Kiyonomoto Katsunami (Minako Ohara) and Kiyonomoto Katsuno (Kazuko Nishimura), the group has been performing at various venues to spread and promote their different style of traditional dancing.

Matsutoyo Kai 松豊会
Japanese Folk Music and Dance Group
Established in 1966 by Artistic Director Matsutoyo Sato, the primary objective and purpose of Matsutoyo Kai is to pass on the traditional music of Japan and to create and leave a Japanese music legacy. Part of that purpose is to provide instruction in singing, shamisen, taiko, and ka-ne and to give public performances in Japanese folk and classical music. Matsutoyo Sato moved from Northern California to the Los Angeles area in 1976, extending the reach of Matsutoyo Kai to the Southern California area, where it is now based.

Michiya Hanayagi & Michisuya Hanayagi Japanese Classical Dance Group
Hanayagi – ryu, Japanese Classical Dance Group
The Michiya Hanayagi Japanese Classical Dance Group was established in 1956 and has participated in the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival 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. This 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.

Minnesota Yosakoi
Yosakoi dance
Biography is coming soon!

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. The performances by the Minyo Minbu Festival will include singing and dancing to Japanese folk songs and shamisen gasso, or mass playing.

Nishikawa Ryu Nihon Buyo
Classical Japanese dance
This group is the California chapter of Nishikawa Ryu, the oldest traditional dance school in Japan. Specializing in Nihon Buyo (classical Japanese dance), students are taught by master Sensei Minosuke Nishikawa V. Their aim is to introduce, educate, promote, and preserve Nihon Buyo in its authenticity and in an environment of discipline and etiquette.

Pikes Peak Yosakoi Ōbirin パイクスピークYOSAKOI桜美輪
Yosakoi dance
Pikes Peak Yosakoi Ōbirin started in winter 2017 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The name Ōbirin comes from their sister group Koshigaya Yosakoi Ōbirin in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. They were certified in 2018 as Yosakoi Ambassadors by the governor of Kochi Prefecture.

Rosa Parks Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program
Elementary School group, singing, dancing
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. Founded in 1973 and at Rosa Parks since 2006, the program integrates instruction by native Japanese speaking Sensei with a rigorous core curriculum taught in English by credentialed teachers. 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.

SF Awakko-ren
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. They have been participating in this Cherry Blossom Festival for many years and 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 with the goal to share the Okinawan culture with people around the world. Their music, dance, and costumes incorporate cultural influences from Southeast Asia, China, Japan, and the U.S. The performers are of a wide range of ages, generations, ethnicities, and nationalities.

Yosakoi dance and music
The leader, Ikumi, seeks to share the energy, fun, and smiles of Yosakoi as well as its tradition with others regardless of age, nationality and gender. She formed Uzumaru — which combines the words for whirlpool (uzu) and the circle (maru) symbolizing the Japanese flag — in December 2017 to carry out her mission. Her goal is to have each member shine through this dance and draw the audiences into their world and the joy of Yosakoi.  

Music 音楽

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.

Chorale May
Male chorus group
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 NHK Nodo-Jiman, the reception for Japanese Emperor’s birthday, Oakland A’s major league baseball game, and the Davies Symphony Hall. Chorale May’s rehearsals meet on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at the JCCCNC.

Dream Show
J-Pop, idol, singing, dancing, cosplay
The Dream Show is a showcase of J-Pop culture and music. The Anime talent show started in 2007 and has been a part of this Cherry Blossom Festival since then. Cosplay winners, idols, and Japantown Sailor Moon, Mari Tsukino, will be on stage.

Eden Aoba Taiko
Eden Aoba Taiko was formed in 1997 to promote the Japanese musical art of Taiko drumming under the direction of Masa Fukuizumi. The group initially started with 6 people and increased to 50 by the end of that year. They believe that Taiko is for everyone, no matter their age.

Edo Ensemble
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, a former concert pianist who began studying shakuhachi more than 15 years ago, 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.

Ensemble Shiki
Mixed-voice 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. They have performed at International Choral Festivals, Japantown 110th Anniversary Community Picnic, and senior homes. Ensemble Shiki’s rehearsals meet on the first, third, and fifth Tuesdays at the JCCCNC.

Essence is a music 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.

GenRyu Arts Celebrating 25 years serving the San Francisco Japantown!
Japanese Taiko and Odori, Gintenkai taiko songs
GenRyu Arts was founded as Gen Taiko in 1995 and incorporated as GenRyu Arts in August 2008. Deeply rooted in San Francisco’s Japantown and in the Asian American community, its mission is to promote, present and participate in Japanese and Japanese American culture through taiko and other traditional and contemporary music and dance forms. GenRyu Arts merges these forms into singular expressions that honor community heritage and address key issues in our community.

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.

Kazuma Ishikawa Kai, San Francisco Koto Ensemble
Ikuta-ryu Chikushi-kai School koto, sangen (shamisen)
Kazuma Ishikawa Kai performs traditional Japanese koto music. The group has been performing throughout the Bay Area as well as in Mexico, Canada, Japan, and other countries. They belong to the Ikutaryu, Chikushi-kai School in Japan.

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 and they eventually started acting, singing, and putting on public performances together. The singers of Japanese folk music broke away from the original group and formed their own club. They added shamisen players and dancers and now call 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. Grandmaster Tanaka’s style has developed the taiko from a primitive folk art to a powerful, sophisticated synthesis of rhythm, harmony and body movements.

Seiha Koto/Sangen Masazuka-kai
Koto, shamisen
Based in San Francisco, Seiha Koto/Sangen Masazuka-kai is active throughout the Bay Area showcasing their ensemble and solo performances of koto and shamisen. This group has participated in the NCCBF since its first year! The goal of the group is to share the appreciation for Japan’s traditional music through koto and shamisen.

Shigin Groups
Poem singing
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. 

Wesley Ukulele Band
Ukulele music
The Wesley Ukulele Band from San Jose was founded in 2004 for fun and fellowship. They 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. The group has over fifty members, about half of whom are the active core group.

YamaSho Kai
Japanese folk singing, guitar
The folk song, “Kawachi Ondo,” accompanies Bon dance in the Osaka/Kawachi region of Japan with over 600 years of history. Originally played with only two traditional instruments (taiko and shamisen), Shogo Yamada will lead the group comprised of electric, guitar, bass guitar, and keyboards. Please join them in enjoying this cheerful dance.

Martial Arts 武道

Enshin Karate
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
The Northern California Naginata Foundation (NCNF) has been participating in the NCCBF for almost 30 years!! Their various dojos promote both the modern sport form of Naginata and the classical style of Tendo Ryu Naginatajutsu. The NCNF has dojos in San Jose and San Francisco, and Tendo Ryu in El Cerrito.

Oshiro Karate Dojo
Traditional Okinawan Karate
Oshiro Karate Dojo was founded in the 1970s. They are located in San Mateo and have multiple branch dojos in Okinawa, New York, and throughout Europe. Their  style is Okinawa Matsubayashi-ryu. They practice karate, Yamanni-ryu bo-jutsu, and other kobudo.

San Francisco Kendo Dojo
Japanese fencing
San Francisco Kendo Dojo has been in SF Japantown since 1957, studying the art of kendo, or Japanese swordsmanship. Kendo is a full contact martial art using bamboo swords with the main purpose to become a better person and citizen through its study. San Francisco Kendo Dojo practices on Mondays at the Buddhist Church of San Francisco and on Thursdays at the JCCCNC, welcoming all genders and anyone in high school and older.

San Francisco Nipponto Society
Tameshi-giri (test cutting) on Ao-take (bamboo poles) with the real antique Japanese swords
The San Francisco Nipponto Society has provided the Japanese sword study and education in Japanese history and language at our Dojo (Martial Art School) in San Francisco since the summer of 1980. In the past two decades, they have demonstrated the Tameshi-giri (test cutting) and Ken-jutsu (sword fighting skills) during the Grand Parade. They exhibited many antique Japanese swords at the National Japanese American Historical Society office on Post Street.

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.

Shorinji Kempo
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. They are a women’s Judo Club in Noe Valley at the corner of Castro and 26th Streets.

Suio Ryu Iai Kenpo
Traditional Japanese martial art using the Japanese sword
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
Karate, full-contact style
Founded by Soshu Shigeru Oyama and Saiko Shihan Yasuhiko Oyama, World Oyama Karate has been in the Bay Area since 2001 with dojos in San Francisco and San Mateo. Their performance at the Cherry Blossom Festival will include kata (forms), kihon (basics), kumite (fighting), as well as breaking demonstrations of wood, baseball bats, and ice. They hope to inspire others to keep pushing themselves to do more and be more as we are all stronger than we realize.

Zanshin Dojo
Okinawa goju ryu
Zanshin Dojo is 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.