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ART, ANIME, AND JAPANESE CULTURE
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kendo student
Always fascinating are the exhibitions of kendo, or the "way of the sword." This discipline was developed by the Samuri of old as a way to keep in form and to achieve total mastery in the art of swordsmanship. Today's kenshi (one who practices kendo), wear full body armor (budogu) and fight with a split bamboo sword called a shinai. Kendo is not a method of winning real sword fights, but rather a path to self enlightenment.
There is also a sporting side to the art, with tournaments attracting many fans, especially in Japan. The word dojo literally means "the place to learn the way," and there are 14 kendo dojo in Southern California, representing some 475 kenshi. The Southern California Kendo Federation (SCKF) is the largest kendo federation in the United States and its members helped make the 2000 Kendo Tournament a real success.
kendo student
Student of Naginata
Pictured at left is a practitioner of naginata. This discipline teaches the art of fighting using a traditional pole arm (called the naginata), that has a long curved blade on one end. Today's practitioners of the art use naginata made from wood and split bamboo. Full body armor is worn during competitions.

Naginata is very graceful and powerful, with the weapon being an extension of the wielder and employed in wide sweeping motions. There are three naginata dojo in the Los Angeles area.

A community Elder enjoying the proceedings
A community Elder enjoying the proceedings

All members of the community become involved, from the oldest to the youngest. Elders pass along their wisdom and experience to the young, who seek to preserve and sustain the old ways, and keep them as a living, growing tradition.

In this photo, Cindy Kiyoko Iwami (deemed Miss Tomodachi and shown at left), and Nisei Week Princess, Michelle Yoshiko Moy, pose with the Beauty Queens of the future.
Nisei Week Beauty Queens
Nisei Week Beauty Queens
Obon Dancer
Obon Dancer

What makes the Nisei Week celebrations so special is that it is a genuine expression of the people's pride and self reliance. Nisei Week presents to the world the best of what Japanese Americans have to offer in the way of their rich cultural heritage.


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