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Seattle’s Cherry Blossom Festival, April 20-22

Join us for Seattle Center Festál: Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival, Friday, April 20 through Sunday, April 22 in Seattle Center Armory, Seattle Center Pavilion and Fisher Pavilion. You’ll discover and experience the cultural roots and contemporary influences of Japan through live performances, visual arts, artisan demonstrations, hands-on activities, food and games.

New to the 2018 Festival in its 43rd year are Hapa Hafu Heritage Art Expo, which highlights young artists in film, dance, music and other artists expressions. Prominent artists including:

  • Paul Kikuchi, percussionist composter, and discuss his new documentary “9066”
  • Ramon Isao, writer and actor
  • Gabrielle Kazuko Nomura, dancer and choreographer
  • Donna Carpenter Fukushima, mother of Aisha Fukushima

The Festival will highlight the works of Tamiko Thiel, an international media artist whose virtual and augmented reality works explore cultural issues, along with Anime-documentary films and a new work, Be The Match, by Jeff Chiba Stearns and prints by graphic artist Robert Thompson.

Guests from Japan include Hideko Yamashita, founder of DanShaRi, who will speak on decluttering one’s inner world and how to be released from daily stress, and a representative from Banshu Abacus Company in Hyogo, who will share how to make a Soroban abacus. Several dance ensembles will also participate including: Dance Fujima Dance Ensemble, Okinawa Kenjinkai, Kabuki Academy, and the John Stanford Soran Bushi Dancers. Musical guests include: Okinawa Kenjinkai, the Cherry Blossom Trio, Uguisukai, Miyagi Kai Koto and Taiko drumming groups from across the region. Several martial arts groups also will present.

This annual springtime festival offers numerous child-oriented activities as well. Friday focuses on hands-on activities for students, and many of the activities continue through the weekend: calligraphy workshops, play with traditional toys, happi making by Bothell High Japanese Club on Friday, kite making, origami and kirie paper cutting and a special Friday dance workshop.

The festival gift shop offers many Japanese items including books and vintage goods, and a variety of Japanese edibles will be available for purchase including: the Festival’s own gyudon, curry rice, sushi burritos, Spam rice ball, traditional tea and more.

The Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Festival, founded 42 years ago, was an early ethnic festival held at Seattle Center. It celebrates the 1,000 cherry trees gifted to Seattle by Prime Minister Takeo Miki on behalf of the Japense government during the US Bi-Centennial.

Seattle Center Festál is a public program presented by Seattle Center in partnership with Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival. Admission is free-of-charge. Learn more about this collection of ethnic cultural events and other Seattle Center public programming at Seattle Center or call 206-684-7200.