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Japan Performers Will Delight Audiences At 33rd Annual Pan-Pacific Festival June 8-10

Members of Japan’s Pan Village All Stars bring the tropical sounds of the Caribbean to Waikīkī by playing music on steel pan drums.

Both Traditional and Non-Traditional Groups will be Showcased as Part of the Festival that Celebrates Bridging the Cultural Gap

Hundreds of performers and musicians from Japan will be in Hawaii June 8-10 to share their traditions and culture at the annual Pan-Pacific Festival. In its 33rd year, the three-day festival will feature cultural performances, demonstrations and food during the Ho‘olaule‘a (block party) and a colorful parade down Kalākaua Avenue in Waikīkī. Organizers are expecting more than 85,000 people to attend the event that was founded to promote cultural understanding.

One of the featured Japan groups is Yo U Kai – Gagaku. Gagaku, which literally means “elegant music,” was introduced into Japan from China approximately 1,300 years ago, and is thought to be the origin of Japanese music. Yo U Kai is from Takaoka-city in Toyama Prefecture, and has been trained by the Imperial Household agency since the Meiji Era. They are one of the main private Gagaku groups in Japan.
Another group that is less traditional, but very popular, is the Pan Village All Stars. Since the year 2000, the Pan Village Steel Pan School teaches students in Japan how to play the steel pan drum. The drum originates from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, an archipelagic state in the Caribbean. Also known as the “steel drum,” its sounds are recognized as a popular symbol of the tropical islands. The school now has more than 180 students ranging from children to adults.

In addition to the diverse entertainment from Japan, both residents and visitors will get to see a Mikoshi (portable shrine) from Ohkunitama Shrine, one of Japan’s most prestigious shrines located in an area of Tokyo formerly known as “Musashinokoku.” It has more than 1,900 years of history and many people visit the shrine annually to ward off evil spirits and to be blessed with a happy marriage.

Crews pull the giant Noto Kiriko Matsuri shrine down Kalākaua Avenue in Waikīkī to bring good luck to visitors at the Pan-Pacific Festival.

There will also be a Shinto-style lantern float known as Noto Kiriko. The word Kiriko comes from “Kiriko Toro” or “hanging lantern.” Villagers once carried these huge Shinto-style lantern floats to guard the front and back of the Mikoshi parades at local evening festivals during the summer and autumn seasons. The usual size of a Kiriko is between 13 feet and 16 feet, but some can reach nearly 50 feet and require more than 100 people to carry them. The Farrington High School football team is returning to the Pan-Pacific Parade for a second year, to carry the Noto Kiriko down the parade route that begins at Fort DeRussy and ends at Kapi‘olani Park.

The festival kicks off on Friday, June 8, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., with a Ho‘olaule‘a block party in Waikīkī. Multiple stages along Kalākaua Avenue will be filled with cultural performances, live entertainment by local and international bands, performing arts groups, and a wide range of island crafters and vendors selling unique items. From Filipino food to Hawaiian style flavored popcorn, there will be dozens of food vendors offering tasty edibles.

The Performing Arts Showcase and Hula Festival will be held throughout the weekend with presentations from more than 40 groups from Japan and Hawai‘i. Performances start at 10 a.m. each day.

The festival culminates on Sunday, June 10, with the highly-anticipated Pan-Pacific Parade on Kalākaua Avenue, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Pan-Pacific Festival is sponsored by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. For more information, or to see a schedule of events, please visit www.pan-pacific-festival.com, or call the hotline at (808) 265-7644. You can also like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PanPacificFestival, and check out our great photos from past events.


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