Phoenix Celebrates the 28th Annual Matsuri: A Festival of Japan!

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The 28th Annual Matsuri Festival takes over Heritage & Science Park in downtown Phoenix on Saturday and Sunday, February 25 & 26, 2012. This two-day celebration features colorful displays of authentic Japanese art, crafts, and entertainment. Traditional Japanese food and merchandise will be on sale. Special guests from Japan: Consul General Niimi, Consul Wajima, and Ambassador Fujisaki.

28th Annual Matsuri: A Festival of Japan

The 28th Annual Matsuri Festival takes over Heritage & Science Park in downtown Phoenix on Saturday and Sunday, February 25 & 26, 2012. This two-day celebration features colorful displays of authentic Japanese art, crafts, and entertainment. Traditional Japanese food and merchandise will be on sale.

For 2012, the festival committee chose the theme Daruma; a hollow, round Japanese traditional doll modeled after Bodihdharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism.

These dolls are typically red, depicting a bearded man named Dharma. These dolls may vary in color and design depending on the region in which the artist resides. It is a toy, but it is rich in symbolism and looked upon as good luck to the Japanese. These dolls symbolize perseverance and good fortune. A modern, motivational Buddhist teacher may use it alongside goal setting and achieving success.

ALSO NEW! Sakura: The Cherry Blossom Tree ~ Upon special request by the Japanese Consulate, The Matsuri 2012 Committee has happily added this element: The 100th year celebration of the Cherry Blossom (donated to Washington from Japan) to the Festival.

Flowering cherry trees have been symbols of Japan’s friendship to the people of America for 100 years.
In 1912, over 3,000 cherry trees were gifted from the City of Tokyo to the City of Washington, D.C. as a symbol of lasting friendship from the people of Japan. Since that time, Japanese organizations have made gifts of cherry trees to America to commemorate significant milestones in the relationship between Japan and the United States.
In Southern California, there are many places where you can see flowering cherry trees which were planted by Japanese individuals or Japan-related organizations.
In 2012 there will be twelve cherry blossom festivals in Southern California. There will be more events in 2012 commemorating the centennial.
ENTERTAINMENT SCHEDULE (TENTATIVE, Stay posted to AZMatsuri.org for entertainment updates.)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Plaza Stage
9:45 a.m. Assemble for the Mikoshi Procession
10:00 a.m. Procession Begins
10:35 a.m. Kyo Rei Taiko Kai (Japanese Drums)- Arizona Buddhist Temple
10:45 a.m. Opening Ceremony
City of Phoenix
Consul General of Japan, Los Angeles
Himeji Sister City
Sakura Dance – Mari Kaneta Suzuyuki Kai – Nihon Buyo
(Japanese Dance)
11:30 a.m. Ondo (Japanese Folk Dance) – Arizona Buddhist Temple
12:00 p.m. Taiko Project (Japanese Drums)
12:30 p.m. Sunny Seki, Author/Illustrator
12:45 p.m. Karaoke (Japanese Folk Singing)
1:15 p.m. Kimono Fashion Show
1:45 p.m. Kishin Daiko – Kotobuki Jishi (Japanese Lion Dance)
2:15 p.m. Mari Kaneta Suzuyuki Kai – Nihon Buyo (Japanese Classical Dance)
3:45 p.m. Kokin Gumi & Frieds – Music with Traditional Japanese Instruments
4:45 p.m. (Japanese Friendship Garden play)

Sunday, February 26, 2012
Plaza Stage
10:30 a.m. Kyo Reir Taiko Kai (Japanese Drums) – Arizona Buddhist Temple
11:00 a.m. Sakura Dance – Mari Kaneta Suzuyuki Kai – Nihon Buyo (Japanese Dance)
11:15 Kinshin Daiko – Kotobuki Jishi (Japanese Lion Dance)
11:45 Kokin Gumi & Friends – Music with Traditional Japanese Instruments
12:45 p.m. Taiko Project (Japanese Drums)
1:15 p.m. Karaoke (Japanese Folk Singing)
1:45 p.m. Ondo (Japanese Folk Dance) – Arizona Buddhist Temple
2:15 p.m. Sunny Seki, Author/Illustrator
2:30 p.m. Gassho Bu (Children’s Choir) – Arizona Gakuen School
2:45 p.m. Mari Kaneta Suzuyuki Kai – Nihon Buyo (Japanese Classical Dance)
4:15 p.m. (Japanese Friendship Garden play)

2012 Taiko Entertainment
The following Japanese Taiko Drumming groups and entertainers will be performing on the ASU Stage at Heritage Square and Science Center from 10:30 am - 5:00 pm:

Fushicho Daiko*Phoenix Drummers
All Arizona Taiko Team
Phoenix Taiko Kai
Saboten Taiko
Aozora
Kemushi
Ken Koshio, a native Japanese singer & song writer, Taiko player and Japanese folk artist.
Washington Elementary Taka Taiko Drummers
Faith North Montessori Taiko
Senators Taiko
SGI Taiko
Awa Odori Dancers from Los Angeles, CA
Hands On Taiko ~ you know you want to try it!

Martial Artists:
Araki Ryu Iaido, Kenshin Dojo http://www.kenshindojo.net/
Arizona Aikido http://www.azaikido.com/index.html
Arizona Karate Association http://web.mac.com/azkarate/Arizona_Karate/Home.html
Arizona Kyudo Kai and University of Arizona Kyudo Club http://www.mindspring.com/~bsavary/kyudokai.html
Arizona Shotokan Association http://www.azshotokan.com/azshotokan/Home.html
Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu http://www.arizonabujinkan.org/links.html
Phoenix Kendo Kai http://www.phoenixkendo.org/
Southwest Dojo http://www.southwestshinkendo.com/

Monroe Street Stage Performers:
Araki Ryu Iaido, Kenshin Dojo http://www.kenshindojo.net/
Arizona Aikido http://www.azaikido.com/index.html
Arizona Karate Association http://web.mac.com/azkarate/Arizona_Karate/Home.html
Arizona Kyudo Kai and University of Arizona Kyudo Club http://www.mindspring.com/~bsavary/kyudokai.html
Arizona Shotokan Association http://www.azshotokan.com/azshotokan/Home.html
Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu http://www.arizonabujinkan.org/links.html
Kitsune Robot http://www.kitsunerobot.com/
Phoenix Kendo Kai http://www.phoenixkendo.org/
Southwest Dojo http://www.southwestshinkendo.com/
Toybox http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/uponsun/2010/08/toybox_stay_alive.php

Stay posted to http://www.AZMatsuri.org for entertainment updates.

Admission to attend the festival is FREE! For more details, please call Heritage Square Office at 602.262.5071. Recorded information is available at 602.262.5029. Or at the website: http://www.azmatsuri.org

Matsuri: A Festival of Japan has been a Phoenix favorite for years and draws 75,000 people during the course of the weekend.

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Jacqueline Carro
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