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BCSF’s Ginza Bazaar and Bon Odori

SAN FRANCISCO — Buddhist Church of San Francisco, 1881 Pine St. (at Octavia Street) in San Francisco, will present its 79th Ginza Bazaar on Saturday, July 22, from 1 to 6 p.m. and Sunday, July 23, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The 86th Bon Odori wll be held on Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.

The first organized Bon Odori was held in the BCSF gym in 1931. In 1938, the first Ginza Bazaar was organized, adding to the festivities and celebration of San Francisco’s Japantown community.

“Open Hearts, Open Minds: Compassion, Wisdom, Gratitude” is the theme. “It reflects what is needed today,” explained a BCSF spokesperson. “From the teachings of the Buddha, kindness, compassion, appreciative joy, and equanimity are the Primal Vow of Unconditional Love. The public is invited to join in this special weekend that will bring over a thousand visitors and many newcomers to the Japantown community to share that compassion, wisdom and gratitude. It is our most popular and festive fundraising community event of the year.”

The bazaar, which has become an annual tradition, features two days of delicious Japanese food, cultural art performances and demonstrations such as taiko, Awa-Odori dances, ikebana, Japanese American book readings and shopping opportunities at the silent auction and BWA Boutique featuring handmade Japanese arts and crafts.

The weekend culminates with the festive Bon Odori street dancing on Sunday. The San Francisco community is welcome to don traditional dress and join the sangha in dance, to reflect a sense of appreciation for the perseverance of our predecessors in the past, and to take responsibility for our actions in the present for the well-being of others and future generations.

Featured performers, demonstrators and speakers;

Jiten Daiko, a young Bay Area taiko drumming ensemble that presents a fusion of innovation and tradition drawn from both Japanese and American influences. Their unique training system aspires to bring a youthful and energizing sound to the stage. Saturday and Sunday, 12:30 p.m. (

BCSF Children’s Taiko, established to offer children of the Buddhist Church of San Francisco the opportunity to appreciate the art of taiko. The children learn, practice, and perform together, and have performed at the Ginza Bazaar for many years. Saturday and Sunday, 12:30 p.m. (

SF Awakko Ren, a Bay Area dance group that performs Awa Odori, a type of dance that originates from the largest dance festival in Japan, celebrated in the streets of Tokushima City every August for over 400 years. Saturday, 2 p.m. (

Gay Asian Pacific Alliance Men’s Chorus, which provides a showcase for the vocal music talents of gay, bisexual and transgender Asian and Pacific Islander men. They perform songs in English and in Asian Pacific languages at community events and their own concerts around San Francisco. Saturday, 1:30 p.m. (

Shogo Yamada, head chef and owner of Yamasho Restaurant in San Francisco, will perform “Kawachi Ondo” (河内音頭), a Japanese folk song that originates from Osaka Prefecture. It accompanies the Bon dance in the Osaka/Kawachi region, but has recently grown in popularity and is often played at other major Bon dances, even in Tokyo. Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

Ensohza, a minzoku-geino or Japanese folk performing ensemble that evokes the festival spirit and character of Japan’s diverse rural communities. With lively vocals accompanied by fue and shakuhachi (bamboo flutes), shamisen and the beat of the taiko, Ensohza transports you to Japan’s mountain and fishing villages with traditional folk songs and festival dance music. Sunday, 1 to 3 p.m. (

Theatre of Yugen is an experimental ensemble dedicated to the pursuit of the intangible essence of yugen (幽玄) — yu (“profound” and “tranquil”) and gen (“mysterious”). With a foundation in noh drama and kyogen satire — the world’s oldest living style of theater — the group creates works of world theater by crafting original material and exploring dramatic and literary classics. Saturday, 3 p.m. (

Ikebana, the art of flower arrangement, will be demonstrated by Nobu Kurashige, professor of Ikenobo ikebana and managing director of Ikenobo Ikebana Society of America. She holds a master’s degree in international culture from Yamaguchi Prefectural University and studied ikebana at the Ikenobo Kensyugakuin training school, after which she taught at Ikenobo Junior College in Kyoto and was a lecturer for Doshisha University. Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (

Reading by celebrated author Dr. Satsuki Ina, who will read from her new book “The Poet and the Silk Girl: Love Letters from an American Concentration Camp,” which is based on “From a Silk Cocoon,” a documentary about her parents that she produced, wrote, and directed. Shizuko and Itaru Ina, who met at the 1939 World’s Fair on Treasure Island, exchanged 180 letters during their 4½ years of confinement behind barbed wire bound prison camps. The book also includes their diary entries, haiku, family photos, and secret letters stitched into clothing. Saturday, 4:30 p.m.

Reading by renowned poet, playwright, and actor Hiroshi Kashiwagi, the Nisei author of “Swimming in the American: A Memoir and Selected Writings,” “Ocean Beach,” and multiple plays. For his writing and performance work on stage he is considered an early pioneer of Asian American theater. Saturday, 4:30 p.m.

Other activities include bingo, silent auction, tours of the Hondo, kids games, arts and crafts, a bookstore, and more. The festival is free to the public and is a wonderful weekend outing for the entire family.

For more information, call (415) 776-3158, email or visit

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