After a two-year absence during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Japan Festival returned to Sudbury on July 16 and people couldn’t have been more excited.
Upwards of a 1,000 people visited the grounds of the Grace Hartman Amphitheatre in Bell Park on an absolutely sweltering Saturday for the event.
The first festival took place back in 2019 when lead organizer Takako Boyle noticed a gap in Japanese cultural representation in Sudbury.
“We have a small community here,” Boyle said. “Like 20 people make up the Japanese population here. So we need something to feel like our culture.”
The festival celebrates Japanese art, food and culture, while providing an opportunity for Japanese-Sudburians to share a bit of their culture with their neighbours.
Boyle also said it’s important to establish a community so that recent immigrants have a way to feel connected to Japan and to help pass on Japanese culture to the next generation.
“My hope is that by exchanging Japanese culture with Sudburians we can better connect with my community and also to help pass on our culture to the next generation,” Boyle told Sudbury.com. “This is the importance of the annual festivals — they keep us connected to the past and help us guide the future.”
With the help of an organizing committee (something she didn’t have back in 2019 when she organized the event single-handedly), Boyle and the group arranged for food and entertainment for the day.
There were traditional dancers on hand, and a taiko drum team was brought in as well. There were henna tattoos available, too. The Japanese consulate also sent a representative, who provided a statement of support.
As well, organizers arranged for Canadian actor Donno Mitoma to visit as a special celebrity guest. The Sudbury-based actor served as the event emcee.
With 2022’s event in the bag, organizers said they will soon begin work planning for the 2023 festival.
A special thank you to photographer George Bardeggia, who attended the event and shared these photos with Sudbury.com for readers to enjoy.