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Japan Fair to Gather as Community

Photos from Aki Matsuri in 2015. Photos courtesy of Japan Fair 2016 Committeea

By The North American Post Staff

The local Japanese and Japanese American community will celebrate Japan on Sept. 3 and 4 in the Japan Fair 2016 at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue.

The fair committee has already begun spreading the word for support from the community, especially in ordering food tickets to archive the financial success.

Since the Eastside Nihon Matsuri Association (ENMA) declared the end of Aki Matsuri after its 18 years being celebrated, the Japan Fair 2016 is now expected to act as successor of the seasonal Japanese community and culture festival.

Yuka Shimizu, co-chair of the Japan Fair 2016 committee, said that the event will uphold an “all for one” concept as the community members gather and support each other in building a huge success.

ENMA announced Tom Brooke’s retirement to local community leaders about two years ago. He led Aki Matsuri for its 18 years as president of ENMA. The last Aki Matsuri was held last year but no one raised a hand to become his successor and the Japan Fair 2016 committee was formed this past March under ENMA to prevent the end of the legacy.

Through the last six-months of preparation, over 70 exhibitors and over a dozen stage performance programs were set. Additional activities and entertainment may occur during the event on stage or at individual booths.

The Japan Fair will add a “Market” booth section featuring Japan’s latest business and popular items in addition to Japanese traditional culture and art and crafts that Aki Matsuri had previously featured. The “Community Friends” section will feature activities by local Nikkei community groups and organizations.

Shimizu said that the fair has missed a major grant application due to its late launch. She added that the new Japan Fair searched for the event space at a commercial location and the Meydenbauer Center was the only site available in early September.

In agreement with the Meydenbauer Center, presale results will directly benefit covering the lease amount for the event space. The foods, including karaage or salmon bento, takoyaki, edamame and various drinks, are available to purchase on the Japan Fair website at <www.japanfairus.org> or with the Japan Fair Office located in the Bellevue Children’s Academy. Raffle tickets will be included with food tickets.

According to the Japan Fair committee, the Meydenbauer Center does not allow food or drinks in the event center.

The event is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

While seeking success for the first Japan Fair event, Shimizu and committee members are also looking for new and younger leadership for the future of the fair. Shimizu said that the Japan Fair and its transition will help build ties for the future Japanese community.


Photos from Aki Matsuri in 2015 Photos courtesy of Japan Fair 2016 Committeea
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The North American Post is a community newspaper that celebrates Japanese culture in the Greater Seattle area. Founded by 1st generation Japanese-Americans in 1902, the publication is one of the oldest minority-owned newspapers in the region. Today, with bilingual articles in English and Japanese, the publication connects readers with diverse cultural backgrounds to Seattle’s Japanese community. Our articles include local news, event calendars, restaurant reviews, Japanese cooking recipes, community interviews, and more.