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 seeks to do the following:
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.