“Of all the cultural exchange festivals in Houston, Japan Festival is probably the best,” -Jef Rouner, Correspondent, Houston Chronicle.
Japan Festival Houston, one of the city's largest free outdoor music and entertainment weekends, returned to Hermann Park on April 13-14 with two full days of Japanese-inspired music, dance, martial arts, food and merchants presenting an array of items reflective of traditional Japanese handicrafts and the latest Japanese trends.
Japan Festival Houston welcomed the headlining group Yano Brothers, a trio of half Japanese half Ghanaian brothers who have turned their experiences with prejudice and racism into powerful fusion of Japanese lyrics and African beats. Crowds delighted in this “Jafrican” fusion as they danced and sang along.
Also, making their Houston debut was Sachet who blended Japanese and Western musical elements. Their use of piano/pianica, violin, and shakuhachi flute created a dynamic sound as the trio performed a variety of music from traditional Japanese song Sakura to familiar folk songs.
Break Free featuring International Olympic Committee (IOC) “Athlete Role Model” BBoy Moy and Japanese BBoy champion Sota Sky lit up the main stage with their high-energy hip-hop moves, and Kaminari Taiko, a crowd favorite at Japan Festival Houston, rocked with toe-tapping beats. Singer, songwriter, and composer Kohei also returned to Japan Festival Houston to share his vocal and emcee talents.
At the Japan-America Society of Houston (JASH) booth, a favorite Japanese warm-weather treat, matcha soft-serve ice cream, was being served in fish-shaped taiyaki cake cones. JASH booth visitors also had the opportunity “to be a samurai” with origami “kabuto” helmets and photos with suits of samurai armor.
Special thanks go to our spirited volunteers who worked tirelessly to make JASH's many festival offerings possible! Makoto ni arigatou gozaimashita.
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HOUSTON CHRONICLE – If it’s spring, it’s time for an outdoor festival guide
HOUSTON CHRONICLE – Japanese Fest draws crowds to Hermann Park
CULTURE MAP HOUSTON – Japan Festival Houston
FOX NEWS – Japan Festival Houston this weekend
YELP REVIEWS – Houston Japan Festival
Photography by Jeff Fantich and Thomas Dwyer