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. Awa Odori is one of the biggest dance festivals in Japan – celebrated in the streets of Tokushima City every August for over 400 years. The members of Awakko Ren wanted to form a group for people who loved to dance Awa Odori. http://norcal-awakko.weebly.com/
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
The mission of the Japanese Soran Bush 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. ensohza.org
Ito is a Yosakoi dance team in SF Japantown. Yosakoi is an energetic dance style embodies the power of ocean waves. Our name “Ito” (糸 – “Tapestry”) emphasizes the relationships woven together between members of a community. The dancers include alumni from the NSU Yosakoi at UC Berkeley. https://www.facebook.com/ItoYosakoi/
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. https://www.facebook.com/Kiyonomoto-Ryu-223330384384108/
Michiya Hanayagi Dance Studio
Japanese classical dance
Michiya Hanayagi of Nagoya, Japan established a dance studio in 1956 with the desire to share Japanese culture throughout the United States. After 55 years of teaching, her contributions towards promoting the Japanese culture through classical dance gained her the prestige of being honored in 2004 as one of the recipients of The Foreign Minister’s Commendation in Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the U.S.-Japan Relationship.
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
Students of Minosuke Nishikawa V perform Nihon Buyo. Practices are held twice a year with Minosuke Nishikawa V at 1759 Sutter Street, San Francisco. https://sites.google.com/site/nishikawaryuca/home
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. https://www.jbbpsf.org/
San Francisco Okinawa Kenjin-Kai
Traditional Okinawan dance and music
The San Francisco 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. Please visit our website at OKKSF.org.
Yoko and the Sunshine Girls
Yoko and the Sunshine Girls was established about 13 years ago by Yoko Fitzpatrick for all senior citizens to improve their brain and health condition and enjoyment as dancing is really good for everything for seniors. Our member average age is about 80 years old; however, they are all in good health and young mind since they have been dancing for 13 years. Dance classes are offered at the Berkeley Senior Center every 2nd and 4th Saturday, and every Tuesday for 2 hours at the Richmond Annex Senior Center.
Chie & The Ronin
Original and cover songs in Japanese & English
A Kobe City native, Chie grew up with lots of music, Rakugo and kimchi. Chie moved to the U.S. in 1994 to look for something that she could be passionate about. That “something” turned out to be music. After studying jazz and classical voice, she began performing as a solo singer and also as a songwriter. Chie writes her original songs in both Japanese and English. Chie’s band, “The Ronin,” includes her ace bass-player hubs and some very talented musical friends who weren’t doing anything else at the time. (The real Ronin were Samurai without a lord, and sometimes vagabonds and drifters). Contact Chie for booking. www.youtube.com/chietreagus
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 tsugara 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. npoinfusion.org
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 Tuesday’s at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC). https://choralemay.com
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. This ensemble performs classical music from the Edo period through Elliot’s shakuhachi and Naoko’s koto and shamisen. For more information, visit japanflute.com l naokokoto.web.fc2.com
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 Tuesday’s at JCCCNC. https://sites.google.com/site/ensembleshiki
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 shakhachi 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. www.genryuarts.org
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. www.grassvalleytaiko.com
Hengenjizai Concert Invitation Committee
The Hengenjizai Concert of the San Francisco Executive Committee was founded in July 2016. Our mission is to provide Hengenjizai, world-class contemporary Japanese koto music performances to San Francisco Bay Area audience. And also, promotes mutual understanding between Japan and the U.S. through musical exchange. http://www.matsuhidecompany.com/MatsuHide/Hengenjizia_Concert_Invitation_Committee.html
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. For information on classes in San Francisco (Pine Church), Berkeley, and Richmond (East Bay Center for Performing Arts), visit jmia.org.
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.
Marimo-kai is a koto performing group based in San Jose which plays both classical and modern music, as well as a number of pieces written for western instruments. 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.
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.
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.
Chinese Poem Recitation
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 49 years, going on its 50th year!
Shimaoka Kazusa Kai
Kazusa Shimaoka Kai with San Francisco Koto Ensemble was established by Madam Kazusa Shimaoaka in 1967 and 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.
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
Yamasho Kai is a musical group featuring singer Yamada Akrirama with Buruman Mukoto Yoshiko playing taiko drum, Hideo Date on guitar, and Ruyuko Date and Tachibana GaYoko for festival music. The modern from of this musical group has origin from Osaka during the Edo period (1603-1868).
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. http://www.enshinsf.com/
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! http://www.naginata.org/ncnf/ncnf.html
Oshiro Karate Dojo
Okinawa Traditional Karate
Oshiro Karate Dojo was founded in 1970s. We are located in San Mateo, and have multiple branch dojos in Okinawa, New York & throughout Europe. Our style is Okinawa Matsubayashi-ryu group. We practice karate, Yamanni-ryu bo-jutsu & other kobudo. www.oshirodojo.com
San Francisco Kakashi Iaido Study Group
SFKISG is real Japanese swordsmanship taught in the heart of San Francisco. We practice Muso Jiki-den Eishin-ryu iaido as taught under the auspices of the All Japan Iaido Federation. Persons of all ages and abilities are welcome. Classes start at $5. All classes taught by an AJIF 7th Dan instructor. www.toryu-mon.com
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. sfkendo.github.io
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 street. Class practice are Tuesday/Thursday from 6pm-8pm. www.sokojoshijudo.com
Suio Ryu Iai Kenpo San Francisco Shibu
Ancient martial arts, Sogo bujutsu; Masaki-ryu Fukuhara-ha kusarigamajutsu
The Suio Ryu is one of the few extant koryu, or ancient systems of martial arts, practiced today. It was founded around 1600 by Mima Yoichizaemon Kagenobu, and has followed the traditional method of oral transmission. Today, the head of the Suio Ryu is Katsuse Yoshimitsu Kagehiro, who lives and teaches in the Shimizu ward of Shizuoka City in the Shizuoka prefecture of Japan. http://www.suioryu-usa.org/sf/index.html @SuioSF
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. oyamakarate-sf.com
Zanshin Dojo is a martial art with a focus on health and self-defense in which students test their abilities and overcome inhibitions. Sensei Mirko Buchwal established the dojo in June 1988 to provide an opportunity for learning the physical and mental aspects martial arts and through an affiliation with the International Okinawan Goji students can train in the U.S. and Japan.