Home Community The 49th Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival

The 49th Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival

The 49th Seattle Cherry Blossom &
Japanese Cultural Festival

By Yutaka Sasaki
NAP Contributor

Sakura Matsuri, the annual celebration of Japanese culture at the Seattle Center, has been a rite of spring for nearly a half century. Come join the fun on April 12-14 as the festival celebrates its 49th year.

Sakura Matsuri is officially known as the Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival. It is part of Seattle Center’s FESTAL cultural festival series, the matsuri first moved to the center in 1979. It became the first cultural community event in its third year with other community festivals followed.

In the early 1990s, six groups including Sakura Matsuri formed the Coalition of Ethnic Festivals. Seattle Center assigned staff to help with planning and preparation. In 1997, the coalition membership reached nine. That is when the Seattle Center and the City of Seattle established the Cultural Festival Series FESTÁL as the city’s official annual event.
Today Cultural Festival Series – FESTÁL has 24 festivals throughout the year bringing more than 200,000 visitors. As the oldest cultural festival, Sakura Matsuri is in the vanguard of promoting multiculturalism in the USA. Looking ahead to our 50th, we are promoting the Japanese phrase “MINNA CHIGATTE MINNA II” (everyone is different, everyone is good) from Japanese poet Kaneko Misuzu.

Our general theme continues to be regional Japan, with focus on Regional legends, both in the forms of corporations and individuals.

This year’s festival will be held at the Seattle Center Armory and Fisher Pavilion from 11am to 5pm. The festival is a free family-friendly event and a great place to learn more about Japanese culture, tradition, and the arts.