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The Sakura Matsuri: Celebrating Japanese Culture For Over 50 Years

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Visitors strolling around the cherry blossoms at the 2015 Sakura Matsuri. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

Visitors strolling around the cherry blossoms at the 2015 Sakura Matsuri. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

Visitors strolling around the cherry blossoms at the 2015 Sakura Matsuri. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

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The Sakura Matsuri is a family-friendly street festival held in Washington D.C. every year to celebrate Japanese culture in the United States.

Visitors strolling around the cherry blossoms at the 2015 Sakura Matsuri. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

Visitors strolling around the cherry blossoms at the 2015 Sakura Matsuri. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

Since the cherry blossom trees by the Potomac River were donated by Japan in 1912, they have become a bridge between Japan and the United States. For more than 100 years, the river has represented a symbol of friendship between the two countries and offers an opportunity for Japan and the United States to communicate through cultural exchange. Since 1961, the Japan-America Society of Washington D.C. has presented the Sakura Matsuri Festival and it has become the largest one-day exhibit of Japanese culture in the United States.

Every year, the Sakura Matsuri welcomes different performers and vendors so there is always something new to see each time. There is always a wide variety of performances to cater to every person’s interest. From traditional folk dances to cooking lessons, you are bound to see something to enjoy.

This year, the Sakura Matsuri will be hosting several guest visitors from around the world to perform at the festival. Among the performers includes the Daidengaku, which is a group that travels around the country doing traditional Japanese dances originating from the 11th to 16th centuries. They have performed at many prestigious events including the Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C. and the NISEI Week Japanese Festival in Los Angeles, California.

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D.C. Kimono Club from the 2015 Sakura Matsuri. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

Another popular group coming to the Sakura Matsuri will be the Washington D.C. Kimono Club. They will be demonstrating a kimono fashion show as well as a dressing demonstration using different types of kimono which is entertaining and educational.

There will be many other music and dance group coming to the festival this year to entertain the crowd. Even DOMO, the big fluffy mascot of NHK World, will come to the visit. NHK World is Japan’s largest and most renowned broadcasting organization. DOMO is an iconic character who has grown to become popular among the kids and teens.

According to their website, the festival will be held at the Capitol Riverfront Neighborhood this year on Saturday, April 16. The Sakura Matsuri is typically celebrated along with the National Cherry Blossom Festival since they are both on the same day. It is a time for performers, vendors and tourists from around the world to come to D.C. and share their love for Japanese traditions.

This year at the Sakura Matsuri, there will be many volunteer opportunities for adults and teenagers to participate in. There is something for everyone at the Sakura Matsuri. Booths specializing from Japanese arts and culture to food and goods will be open for both volunteers and visitors all day at the event.

Volunteer positions include the children’s corner, culinary arts pavilion, Matsuri market, arts and culture vendors, visitor information booths and many more. There are two shifts, one from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and one from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Anyone is free to sign up as long as they are at least 15 years of age. To sign up, just fill out and submit the online application found on the Sakura Matsuri website.

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The Online News Magazine of Fairfax High School
The Sakura Matsuri: Celebrating Japanese Culture For Over 50 Years