George Yamasaki, Jr. (Peace Plaza) & The Center (JCCCNC) Stages

Dance 踊り

Awaodori Sakura Ren 阿波おどり桜連
Awa odori, traditional performing art of Tokushima
Founded in 2014, Sakura Ren performs a traditional Japanese dance called Awa Odori around the Bay Area. The group has been performing at the NCCBF main stage since 2015. With experienced musicians and dancers, Sakura Ren is dedicated to promote and preserve the art form and spirit of Awa Odori for everyone to enjoy.

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.

Hoosier 風者
Yosakoi dance
Hoosier is a yosakoi team of students from the University of Southern Indiana. We are from Japan, Panama, Russia, and the US. We just started last semester, but we enjoy dancing and we will do our best! Our name Hoosier comes from Indiana being “The Hoosier State.

Ito Yosakoi 糸よさこい
Yosakoi dance
Ito Yosakoi is a yosakoi dance team founded in San Francisco Japantown in 2017 to support the Japanese American community through dance. We practice weekly at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC). Our name “Ito” (糸 “Thread”) emphasizes the relationships woven together between members of a community.

Kougyoku 紅玉
Yosakoi dance
Kougyoku is a fresh and newly formed YOSAKOI team from New York, proudly named after the Big Apple (紅玉 meaning Red Jewel). Founded in the summer of 2021, the year and a half of quarantine life has ignited a fire within our dancers hearts and we’re excited to bring our performance to the San Francisco stage once again! We will showcase our pride and love for YOSAKOI through our passionate and powerful dancing and crisp clacking of the Naruko.

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.

MinnesoDance みな総ダンス
Yosakoi dance
MinnesoDance began in July 2020 and is a group of Yosakoi enthusiasts from Minnesota, USA and other states. Our name is a pun on the long o’s of the Minnesotan accent, combined with the wish for everyone to dance together in sou odori, or group dances. While we began practices online due to the Covid pandemic, we were able to perform at in person events in 2022 and are excited to carry that momentum forward into 2023!

Nijikko Dance School
Dance, modern, hiphop, Japanese influence
The founder of NDS, Azusa Collins, has been dancing since her childhood. NDS began with a mission to share Azusa’s experiences, passion and enjoyment of dance with children in the Bay Area. The goal of NDS is for people to enjoy the culture, language, music, in addition to powerful dance by selecting popular Japanese idol and anime songs. The school is open to students from 4 years old to adults. The dancers are not only Japanese but also many other nationalities.

Nishikawa Ryu Nihon Buyo
Nishikawa Ryu Japanese classical dance
This is the California chapter of the Nishikawa School of Tokyo, Japan. The group aims to share their love of Nihon Buyo with the community.

Northern California Okinawa Kenjin Kai
Traditional Okinawan dance and music
The Northern California Okinawa Kenjin Kai 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.

Rosa Parks Elementary School 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, 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.

Sazan 沙燦
Yosakoi dance
Sazan, Uzumaru’s sister team, is a yosakoi team from Las Vegas that was founded by Nozomi Takahashi in December of 2021. They have performed at various festivals, parades, and events in Las Vegas, including ones held in hotels on the Strip. Sazan hopes to energize and make the audience smile through their performances.

Tatsumaki Yosakoi
Yosakoi dance
Originally Kansas State University Japanese Yosakoi Dance Club starting  in 2005, the name was changed to Tatsumaki Yosakoi.  Tatsumaki, meaning Tornado, was chosen as Kansas is often  associated with tornadoes (“Wizard of Oz”).  Also, our team performed a dance, “Tatsumaki”  in 2007, the first American team to participate at the Sapporo Yosakoi Soran festival. We were designated as official  Kochi Yosakoi Ambassadors in 2018. Tatsumaki is based out of Manhattan, Kansas, but has recently expanded to include a branch in Kansas City as well.

Yosakoi dance and music
Uzumaru is a yosakoi team that was established in San Jose of 2017, which hopes to help promote Yosakoi through their endeavors. They have performed at various different events, including the half-time shows for the Golden State Warrior’s Japanese Heritage Night and San Jose’s Earthquakes’ Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Night. Uzumaru is thrilled to be able to perform again at this year’s Northern California’s Cherry Blossom Festival.   

Music 音楽

Drum Revolution
Led by Kensuke Sumii, Drum Revolution is a taiko group devoted to promoting its unique character of taiko in the San Francisco Bay Area through teaching and performing. Since Drum Revolution was established in 2005, it has performed actively at various local community events and music festivals. It also regularly offers workshops and classes to adults. Over the last decade, the group has continued to expand and it has five rehearsal locations – Palo Alto, Milpitas, Los Gatos, Millbrae, and Emeryville – across the bay.

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.

GenRyu Arts
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 the Japanese diaspora 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.

Jiten Daiko
Jiten Daiko is a young Bay Area taiko ensemble affiliated with the Buddhist Church of San Francisco. With deep respect for the history of taiko, we strive for artistic excellence in creating new and exhilarating musical experiences for our audiences. We ground our practice in hard work, collaboration, and a fusion of innovation and tradition. Our name Jiten (roughly, “self-powered”) is inspired by our core value of consistently supporting each other in order to innovate and grow our collective energy.

Karaoke Kayo Rengokai カラオケ歌謡連合会
Kayo music, karaoke
Karaoke Kayo Rengokai was organized many decades ago to promote and enjoy karaoke singing among our Japanese American communities and currently consists of about 10 singing clubs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Our songs include not only traditional “Enka’s” but also popular contemporary Japanese songs as well as many English/American songs. Our member clubs are open to all people who are interested in learning and enjoying karaoke singing.

Ishikawa Kazuma Kai, San Francisco Koto Ensemble
Ikuta-ryu Chikushi-kai School, koto, sangen (shamisen)
Grand Master (Dai-Shihan) Kazuma Ishikawa teaches Koto and Shamisen in the Bay Area and has been performing in the Bay Area, throughout California, and Japan. She is the director of Ishikawa Kazuma Kai, established in 1996, and belongs to the Ikuta-Ryu Chikushi School in Fukuoka Japan.

Peaceful Forest ~Takumi Kato~
Music, taiko
Takumi Kato won the grand prize at the 7th Tokyo International Japanese drum contest, Odaiko division in 2008. He performed the dedication at Ise Jingu Shrine in 2012. He has also performed for the Japanese Emperor, the Royal family, and the Prime Minister of Japan. Currently, his ensemble, Peaceful Forest, has embarked on a tour to spread a message of Peace and Hope through traditional performing arts. Their goal is to perform 1000 concerts across all 50 States.

Sakura Minyo Doo Koo Kai
Japanese folk music (Minyo) performed with singers, shamisen players and dancers
Over sixty+ years ago, the Sakura Minyo Doo Koo Kai was formed by a group of first-generation Japanese immigrants who loved Japanese folk music. They learned how to play the shamisen, sing and dance. Today, the Sakura Minyo Doo Koo Kai’s focus is to learn and perform Japanese folk dances from all parts of Japan. Some contemporary Japanese American folk dances have also been added to the
repertoire. The group is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization funded by performances and personal donations.

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. 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.



YOYOKA is a 13-year-old drummer who has been playing the drums since she was one, performing live since age four, and forming a band with her family at age five. YOYOKA gained international recognition when she won the 2018 “Hit Like a Girl” drum contest where she covered Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times” at the age of 8, becoming the youngest ever to win the weekly championship. She is also the youngest drummer in history to be selected as one of the “World’s Top 500 Drummers” and has since performed with world renowned drummers and artists including Fall Out Boy and Cyndi Lauper, and has appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show twice.  YOYOKA released her original song “Sparkling” in 2021. YOYOKA would like to challenge herself in the US by creating music and collaborating with other musicians in live shows and jam sessions.

Wesley Ukulele Band
Ukulele music
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.

Cosplay • Anime コスプレ• アニメ

Dream Show: Japanese Culture through Cosplay
Singing, dancing, cosplay
The Dream Show is a showcase of J-Pop culture,Japanese language and music. The Anime talent show started in 2007 and has been a part of this Cherry Blossom Festival ever since. Cosplayers, idols, and, of course, Japantown Sailor Moon Mari Tsukino will be on stage and invite anyone and everyone to join.


Yanagiya Tozaburo III “ZABU” 柳家東三楼

Rakugo, comedic story telling in English

Born and raised in Tokyo, Yanagiya Tozaburo became a disciple of master Rakugo performer Yanagiya Gontaro III in 1999 after dropping out of a prestigious private university. He was promoted to the master Shin’uchi rank, in which he himself is certified to train disciples, in 2014. Ever since, he has performed all over Japan and appeared in the Shoten Rakugo show and other television programs.

Tozaburo excels in the classic Rakugo stories such as Ikuyomochi, a love tale set in Edo Period, Meguro no Sanma, comedy about Shogun’s misunderstanding and Toki Soba, depicting a silly man trying to cheat a soba noodle vendor. He is ambitious in expanding his horizons by adapting Rakugo stories into stage plays and vice versa. He created a Rakugo version of “The Darling” by Anton Chekhov in 2010 in celebration of Chekhov’s 150th anniversary. He was awarded the 2016 Rookie/New Artists Award in the category of popular entertainment (The 71st the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan National Arts Festival).

Theater 演劇

Theatre of Yugen
Kyogen in English
Theatre of Yugen was founded in 1978 as a site for experimentation with the 650 year-old Japanese theatre traditions of Noh and Kyogen, as well as a training center to teach these ancient theatrical forms to future generations. Housed in NOHSpace located in the Mission District of San Francisco, Yugen has been dedicated to presenting Kyogen in English and to creating original works inspired by Noh and Kyogen.

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 about 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 the Silicon Valley and San Francisco, and Tendo Ryu in El Cerrito.

Oshiro Karate Dojo
Okinawa Traditional Karate
Oshiro Karate Dojo was founded in 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 thru the study of the Japanese sword. SF Kendo Dojo practices on Mondays at the Buddhist Church of San Francisco and on Thursdays at the JCCCNC. All genders and anyone in high school or older are welcome.

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, we have demonstrated the Tameshi-giri (test cutting) and Ken-jutsu (sword fighting skills) during the Grand Parade. We exhibited many antique Japanese swords at the National Japanese American Historical Society office on Post Street.

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.

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
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
Martial arts
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.