The 31st annual “Arizona MATSURI: A Festival of Japan” was held at Heritage and Science Park in Phoenix, Arizona on February 21-22, 2015. The Arizona Matsuri is a celebration of Japanese culture organized by the Matsuri Steering Committee, co-chaired by Ms. Doris Asano and Dr. Ted Namba. It is estimated that 80,000 some people attended this year, in addition to more than 300 performers, vendors, and organizations joining the event.
The Arizona Matsuri started on Saturday with a Mikoshi Procession, shortly followed by an Opening Ceremony at which Phoenix Mayor Stanton, Phoenix Councilman Valenzuela, and Consul General of Japan Harry H. Horinouchi provided remarks. This year’s festival theme was Tanuki. Tanuki is known as a “Japanese Raccoon Dog” and has been significant in Japanese folklore as a trickster character. During the Opening Ceremony the Arizona Ondo Group performed a dance wearing tanuki costumes. The Japan Information and Culture Center of the Consulate General of Japan, Los Angeles also operated a booth during the festival. Approximately 500 people visited the booth, collecting hundreds of Niponica Magazines, JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program pamphlets, and various informational materials, including items from NHK, Japan Foundation, JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization), and JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization).
The Arizona Matsuri was alive with many activities, booths, performances, and demonstrations, including: Japanese dance, music, martial arts, cosplay, a kimono fashion show, calligraphy, kendama demonstration, and tea ceremony. New attractions this year included Haiku Expo, a Hina doll display, and a shakuhachi performer.
For more details about Arizona Matsuri, please visit the following website: http://www.azmatsuri.org/
The Arizona Matsuri is a celebration of Japanese culture and the diversity of the Japanese American community organized by the Matsuri Steering Committee, co-chaired by Ms. Doris Asano and Dr. Ted Namba.