Japan Fair is a free, two-day festival in Bellevue, WA, that celebrates Japanese art and culture. It is a communal endeavor of musicians, artisans, community organizations, and businesses from both Japan and the U.S. who come together to share their products, talents, and knowledge of Japan. Through live performances on stage, hands on exhibits, cultural workshops, and vendor booths, the public is immersed in the music, dance, artisanry, and philosophy of Japan.
To nurture and promote the traditional and modern cultural arts of Japan. We strive to celebrate Japan’s heritage while also sharing new trends in today’s Japan.
Japan Fair seeks to do the following:
- Increase awareness of Japanese culture in the community by sharing traditional and modern art, crafts, and culture of Japan.
- Build relationships between people of diverse communities in order to foster understanding and explore perceptions of cultural values.
- Bring together American and Japanese organizations and businesses to engage in the promotion of education and cultural exchange.
Japan Fair formed in 2016 as a continuation of the legacy of the “Aki Matsuri”, an annual festival in Bellevue that was presented by the non-profit organization Eastside Nihon Matsuri Association (ENMA). The Aki Matsuri was a two-day program that celebrated Japan’s rich cultural heritage, and featured cultural, educational, and fun events for all age groups. It was held each Fall season for 18 years and was greatly appreciated by the community. In 2016 ENMA retired as a non-profit, and the Aki Matsuri began its transition into a new, sustainable community event. This event, headed by a new volunteer team with the goal of carrying on the annual festival tradition, was called Japan Fair.
The first Japan Fair was held at Meydenbauer Center on September 3 – 4, 2016, under the guidance and help of ENMA as the official successor to the Aki Matsuri. 15,000 people were estimated by Meydenbauer Center to have attended the launch of Japan Fair. Many were returning attendees of the Aki Matsuri, although the festival drew many new, first-time attendees as well, along with a number of new exhibitors from both America and Japan who shared their projects and products with the people of the Pacific Northwest.
As it moves forward, Japan Fair will continue to be hosted at the new Meydenbauer Center location.
Congratulations to Mr. Thomas Brooke for his decoration from the Consulate General of Japan!
Japan Fair 2017 Committee
Tsutomu (Tom) Sasaki
Elaine Ikoma Ko
Messages from Community Leaders
Mr. Masahiro Omura
- Consul General of Japan
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those working hard to produce Japan Fair in Bellevue this July. I am sure that everyone is looking forward with great anticipation to celebrating Japanese culture, society and business at Japan Fair 2017. The Consulate-General of Japan appreciates the efforts made towards such large-scale Japanese cultural festivals like Japan Fair and intends to provide as much support as possible.
Mr. Tomio Moriguchi
- Chairman of the Board of Uwajimaya Inc.
Although The USA is land of immigrants of varying generations, it is very important to have knowledge and if possible to have experiences related to our heritage family culture. These unique cultural education and experiences made available at the Aki Matsui provides enduring strength for both our ethnic minority community and a better understanding for the larger whole community. Thank you - Tomio
Mr. Jefferey Hattori
- CEO of Keiro Northwest
On behalf of Keiro Northwest, we extend our appreciation for the annual Aki Matsuri Festival. Over the years, it has become a well-recognized event with a wonderful array of booths, entertainment, food and activities that promotes Japanese/Japanese American culture. We are excited to support the next evolution…now known as Japan Fair, which will continue to honor the tradition of Aki Matsuri while enhancing and diversifying the attendees experience!
Mr. Allen Nakamoto
- Japan Fair 2016 Co-chair / Nisei Veterans Committee
I am honored to have served as a co-chair with Yuka Shimizu for the Japan Fair 2016. The success of the Japan Fair and the concept of sharing many aspects of Japanese culture with other diverse community of Bellevue is, foremost in my mind, to honor and to revere the Japanese immigrant experience. We are very fortunate to have this opportunity to show case the Japanese culture in order to let new generation taste the past and to contemplate the future.
As many community groups, volunteers, exhibitors and visitors came to share in the excitement of the fair, we were all grateful for the opportunity to be part of the moment.
Japan Fair 2016 Committee
The Japan Fair 2016 Committee was operating under the auspices of the Eastside Nihon Matsuri Association (legal entity), and 2016 Japan Fair Event is a presentation of Eastside Nihon Matsuri Association (a.k.a. ENMA).
Committee: Allen Nakamoto, Yuka Shimizu, Noriko Palmer, Josh Dwight, Tsutomu (Tom) Sasaki, Eriko Baxter,
Advisory Committee: Tom Brooke, Katsuko Brooke, Naoki Hayasaka, Daisaku Izawa, Yoshiharu Kurosawa, Tomio Moriguchi, Jeffrey Hattori, Hiroko Huntoon, Hiroshi Onaka, Shinji Kokage