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About

Japan Fair is a free, two-day festival in Bellevue, WA across the lake from Seattle that celebrates Japanese art and culture. Formerly known as "Aki Matsuri", Japan Fair is a communal endeavor of musicians, artisans, community organizations, and businesses from both Japan and the U.S. who come together to share their products, talents, and knowledge of Japan. Through live performances on stage, hands on exhibits, cultural workshops, and vendor booths, the public is immersed in the music, dance, artisanry, and philosophy of Japan.

Japan Fair is operated by ASUNARO, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Japan Fair does not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, or disability.

Japan Fair

Mission

To nurture and promote the traditional and modern cultural arts of Japan.

We strive to celebrate Japan’s heritage while also sharing new trends in today’s Japan.

Mission
Vision Statement

Vision Statement

Awareness

Increase awareness of Japanese culture in the community by sharing traditional and modern art, crafts, technology, and culture of Japan.

Relationships

Build relationships between people of diverse communities in order to foster understanding and explore perceptions of cultural values.

Community

Bring together American and Japanese organizations and businesses to engage in the promotion of education and cultural exchange.

Community Leaders

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Consul General Makoto Iyori
Consul-General of Japan in Seattle

The Japan Fair serves as the gateway for introducing Japanese art and culture not only to the Bellevue community but also beyond.   As the Consulate-General of Japan, we are pleased to offer our support to this significant event, which aims to foster connections between Japan and America through captivating and interactive programs. I eagerly anticipate experiencing everything that Japan has to offer.

Ms. YUKA SHIMIZU
FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of BELLEVUE CHILDREN'S ACADEMY and WILLOWS PREPARATORY SCHOOL

It has been several years since we carried on the legacy of ENMA’s Aki Matsuri. Japan Fair introduces a wide range of cultural and educational experiences. We offer everything from traditional Japanese art and culture to modern industries and products, educational experiences for children, and amazing performances and workshops. Japan Fair is the annual event where individuals, organizations, and community groups come together to celebrate Japanese culture – all in the heart of Bellevue! We continue to show appreciation for previous generations of our Japanese- American community; due to their dedication, we now live in a thriving community. Today we strive to enhance that community for our future generations. Meydenbauer Center is centrally located, accessible to all, and has superior indoor facilities to host our fair. Please bring your family, friends and neighbors to our event!

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Mr. ALLEN NAKAMOTO

NISEI VETERANS COMMITTEE

While United States and Japan form a cornerstone of the Pacific peace policy, a mutual understanding is vital in this collaboration. The Japan Fair is a special community project to introduce Japan as an advanced developed economy of Asia that treasures its art and culture. The Japan Fair will highlight Japan’s technological advancement while it maintains its social balance and promote its traditional art. Japan is a neighbor across the Pacific and the Japan Fair hope to show some familiarity and uniqueness of the culture. Over 100 years of Immigration from Japan have brought many familiar arts, crafts and customs to the Pacific North West. We hope that the Japan Fair will open up new opportunities to learn and to grow for all visitors and exhibitors.  

 

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Mr. TOMIO MORIGUCHI

CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF UWAJIMAYA INC.

Although the USA is a land of immigrants of varying generations, it is very important to have knowledge and if possible to have experiences related to our heritage family culture.  These unique cultural education and experiences made available at the Aki Matsuri and Japan Fair provides enduring strength for both our ethnic minority community and a better understanding for the larger whole community. Thank you.

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Community Leaders

Japan Fair 2024 Committee

Board of Directors

Yuka Shimizu

Allen Nakamoto

Susumu (Sam) Takahashi

Noriko Palmer

Tsutomu (Tom) Sasaki

Advisors

Barbara Asahara

Dale Kaku

Ryota Kosugi

Kotoku Kurachi

Sumiko Kurachi

Yoshiaki Minegishi

Lynn Miyauchi

Tomio Moriguchi

June Nakamoto

Harry Nomoto

Rakuko Rubin

Sara Sandford

Akemi Sagawa

Asami Tsuruta

Honorary Advisors

Consul General Iyori Makoto

Committee

Japan Fair History

Japan Fair formed in 2016 as a continuation of the legacy of the “Aki Matsuri”, an annual festival in Bellevue across the lake from Seattle that was presented by the non-profit organization Eastside Nihon Matsuri Association (ENMA). The Aki Matsuri was a two-day program that celebrated Japan’s rich cultural heritage, and featured cultural, educational, and fun events for all age groups. It was held each Fall season for 18 years and was greatly appreciated by the community. In 2016 ENMA retired as a non-profit, and the Aki Matsuri began its transition into a new, sustainable community event. This event, headed by a new volunteer team with the goal of carrying on the annual festival tradition, was called Japan Fair.

 

The first Japan Fair was held at Meydenbauer Center on September 3 – 4, 2016, under the guidance and help of ENMA as the official successor to the Aki Matsuri. 15,000 people were estimated by Meydenbauer Center to have attended the launch of Japan Fair. Many were returning attendees of the Aki Matsuri, although the festival drew many new, first-time attendees as well, along with a number of new exhibitors from both America and Japan who shared their projects and products with the people of the Pacific Northwest.

Japan Fair event underwent significant changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the event shifted to a remote format, necessitating the execution of a six-hour livestream, video channels, and online seminars and workshops. In addition to these main components, there were various pre-event activities such as a Haiku workshop and contest, a Kimono photo gallery, and a Cosplay show gallery. These efforts resulted in reaching over 20,000 people worldwide.

The following year, in 2022, the event continued in a remote format, featuring a two-hour interactive livestream and video channels. Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic, Japan Fair remained committed to engaging its audience through innovative virtual experiences.

Finally, in 2023, Japan Fair was able to return to an in-person format at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue. This marked a significant milestone, and the event saw a record-sized crowd in attendance.

History
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