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Tanabata at JANM 2009

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After witnessing the beautifully elaborate Tanabata decorations in Sao Paulo, the Discover Nikkei staff who went to Brazil in 2007 asked, Yoshihito Yonezawa, president of Nanka Miyagi Kenjinkai if he had a plan to have a Tanabata festival in Los Angeles. This one question motivated Mr. Yonezawa, it had been his dream to have one but didn’t have any plans at the time. He started approaching various Nikkei community leaders and organizations to make the tanabata festival happen in Los Angeles. In July 2008, Mr. Yonezawa came back to the Museum with five Tanabata decorations, which he and his family made for their Kenjinkai picnic, and asked if the Japanese American National Museum can put up the decorations during the Nisei Week. So the museum decorated the 5 kazari inside the museum during Nisei Week. They were so beautiful. Museum visitors & staff loved them. So, the National Museum agreed to do a tanabata program at the museum in following year (2009) and would hang 7 decorations in front of the museum building. Mr. Yonezawa had also approached Brian Kito of the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association and together with the Nisei Week Committee organized the First Annual Tanabata festival and the Museum immediately began collaborations on the project. The First Annual Tanabata festival took place outside of the Museum of Contemporary Art from August 14-17, 2009. The Japanese American National Museum contributed its own Tanabata decorations to the festivities and proudly displayed them outside the JANM Pavilion during this period. If you would like to know more about Tanabata festivals and the First Annual Tanabata Festival in Los Angeles, be sure to check out these articles! Tanabata Workshop: A Pre-Nisei Week Celebration by Japanese American National Museum: http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/2009/5/13/tanabata-workshop/ Los Angeles Tanabata Matsuri - Part 1: The Meeting of Two Dreams: http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/2009/9/17/tanabata/

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