Japan Fair is a free, two-day festival in Bellevue, WA, 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.
Virtual Japan Fair 2021 will focus on supporting and encouraging our Nikkei Community by spotlighting Japanese art, food, and cultural uniqueness in this difficult time.
Mr. HISAO INAGAKI
CONSUL GENERAL OF JAPAN IN SEATTLE
I would like to commend ASUNARO’s efforts to reimagine and adapt Japan Fair in Bellevue to meet the challenges of our “new reality” brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. I greatly appreciate everyone working hard to keep the momentum moving forward and finding innovative ways to promote Japanese businesses and culture.
The Consulate-General of Japan will continue to offer our support to the organizers and volunteers in all their endeavors to launch Japan Fair 2021 into the world of virtual programing. This will be my first Japan Fair, and I am very excited to participate, along with the local community. I am sure that a new audience from beyond this area is also eagerly awaiting to tune in as well!
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!
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.
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.
Japan Fair 2020 Committee
Board of Directors
Susumu (Sam) Takahashi
Tsutomu (Tom) Sasaki
Eriko (Elly) Baxter
Japan Fair History
Japan Fair formed in 2016 as a continuation of the legacy of the “Aki Matsuri”, an annual festival in Bellevue 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.