JapanFest (September 20-21, 2014)
The theme of this year’s festival will be “Washoku—Traditional Japanese Cuisine” and the JapanFest Organizing Committee has made plans to have various kinds of Japanese foods for everyone to experience. Washoku practices have been passed down through families and has been added to UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage list. JapanFest will have an assortment of the best Japanese food from local Japanese restaurants in Atlanta. This year’s festival has a special group of food vendors, including more than 10 local established restaurants providing roll sushi, bento boxes, ramen noodles, takoyaki, shaved ice, curry rice, yakisoba, torikaraage and more.
Guest performers include Sushi for Dummies author, Mineko Moreono, Japanese candy artist, Miyuki Sugimori, Samurai Yoshi Amao; J-Pop/J-Rock artist Junko Fujiyama; and the always popular taiko drum group, Matsuriza.
JapanFest will also feature a variety of local and regional Japanese musical performances sure to suit all ages and interests, including taiko drumming, J-Rock and J-Pop, and classical music. Dance performances will include both traditional and modern Japanese dance, as well as traditional Okinawan dance. All are invited to join in the spirited Bon dance!
For visitors who have always wanted to try on an authentic Japanese kimono, the Konnichiwa Club will dress attendees from head to toe in the latest kimono from Japan. JapanFest will also feature a variety of exciting workshops on various aspects of Japanese culture. For fans of martial arts, JapanFest will feature demonstrations of virtually every Japanese martial art in existence, including aikido, karate, kendo, kyudo, and sumo.
Visitors can purchase an amazing array of Japanese goods, including kimono, Japanese tea, dolls, and rice paper. The Japan-America Society of Georgia will have various Japanese-related items, t-shirts, and temporary tattoos; the Ginza-dori, organized by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia and named after Tokyo's famous shopping district, will feature Japanese ceramics, traditional Japanese clothing and accessories and fun items such as masks and toys; at the Bazaar on Sunday organized by the Georgia Japanese Language School you will find books and household goods. Traditional Okinawan items will also be available.
Kids will have a fantastic time experiencing Japanese culture firsthand. In our Children’s Area, they can make their own Japanese tops, and the Suburban Atlanta Kite Enthusiasts will be on hand to teach them how to make a Japanese kite. The Ginza Dori shopping arcade has tons of games and activities for kids as well, such as ring toss, water yo-yos, Japanese toys, and more! They can even take part in carrying the o-mikoshi, a traditional Japanese portable shrine.
Many of the approximately 460 Japanese companies based in Georgia will display their products in the Made in Georgia exhibition. Interactive exhibits include the latest in Japanese technology, such as automobiles, tractors, and electronics.
JapanFest features the best of Japanese cuisine in Atlanta! Local Japanese restaurants will offer a tantalizing menu of roll sushi, bento boxes, ramen noodles, takoyaki, shaved ice, curry rice, yakisoba, torikaraage, kakigori, Japanese baked goods, and much more!
JapanFest is not possible without the help of over 150 volunteers. To fill out an application, please visit www.japanfest.org. No pets other than guide dogs are allowed inside the convention center. Booth space, performance/workshop times, and sponsorship packages are still available if you or your company would like to be part of this year’s exciting events. For more information, call 404-842-0736 or contact the JASG at 404-842-1400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
JapanFest, now in its 27th year, is the largest Japanese festival east of Houston and south of Washington, DC, and typically draws crowds exceeding 19,000. Organized by The Japan-America Society of Georgia and The Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia, JapanFest is designed to promote understanding between Japanese and Americans in the Southeast.
The mission of JapanFest is to improve understanding and appreciation of linkages between Japanese and Americans residing in the Southeastern United States through an annual salute to Japanese culture and friendship entitled JapanFest. This celebration will promote multicultural education, encourage social harmony, and ensure the cultural integrity of JapanFest by providing an appropriate mix of authentic contemporary and traditional programs on Japanese art and culture. Activities include a wide variety of performing arts, demonstrations, hands-on workshops, and exhibitions. These grassroots efforts are coordinated by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia and The Japan-America Society of Georgia, and implemented by a host of community volunteers. JapanFest is committed to organizing a self-sustaining event, supported in part by non-Japanese Chamber of Commerce and non-Japan-America Society of Georgia members, and provides meaningful financial support to educational endeavors in Georgia.
What is now referred to as "JapanFest" began in 1981 as Japan Week, a biannual series of Japan-related cultural events organized by the Consulate-General of Japan that took place around the city of Atlanta. In 1986, the name was changed to JapanFest, and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia, the Japan America Society of Georgia, and the Consulate General of Japan organized their own events under the title of JapanFest. In 1993, the first Picnic and Sports Day was held at Mercer University. In 1995, Picnic and Sports Day became Japan Day at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. In 1996, JapanFest moved to Stone Mountain Park and became an annual event. In 1997, JapanFest, Inc. was incorporated as a non-profit corporation. In 2012, JapanFest had over 17,000 attendees, making JapanFest the largest Japanese festival south of Washington, DC and east of Houston, TX.
JapanFest was selected as a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society in 2003, 2010, and 2011 and was a 2004 recipient of the Certificate of Commendation on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of US-Japan relations from former Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi for its contributions to the friendship and goodwill between Japan and the United States.