Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, June 10, 1999

File photo
Dance and music are key to the Matsuri festival.

A Japanese cultural



Japan's poor economy isn't stopping the 20th anniversary of the Pan-Pacific Festival -- Matsuri in Hawaii.

More than 3,000 visitors from Japan, including musicians, dancers, artists and athletes from Japan will be here to show off their culture, or simply enjoy the festivities along with residents.

Since the festival started in 1980, its mission has been to promote intercultural friendship, overcoming language and geographic barriers through shared interests. At its peak six years ago, the festival brought in 7,000 people from Japan, according to Kinjo Akira of Kintetsu International, which helps to sponsor the event.

Even with the smaller Japan contingency, the show must go on. Activities are free, except where noted:

Bullet Pan-Pacific Ho'olaule'a: The street party takes place 6:30 to 10 p.m. tomorrow along Kalakaua Avenue. Entertainers from Japan and Hawaii will perform on five stages, and there will be street performers and food booths.

Kalakaua will be closed to traffic. Park at the Honolulu Zoo and along Kapiolani Park, use the ProPark lot at Hula Hut, 270 Saratoga Road, for $4, or the APCOA lot at King Kalakaua Plaza for $5 with courtesy validation from Official All Star Cafe store.

Bullet Bon dance: Japan and Hawaii bon dance clubs will take part in this joint celebration to honor ancestors. Novices are invited to join the colorfully costumed dancers under swaying lanterns at Magic Island, 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

Bullet Dento Geino (Japanese Traditional Performing Arts Festival): Entertainment from drum performances to snake dances at a mini-festival at the Hawaii Theatre Center, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10*. Call the theater box office, 528-0506.

Bullet Taiko Festival: See and hear Japan's best taiko drum groups, 1:45 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Hawaii Theatre. Tickets are $10*. Call 528-0506.

Bullet Karaoke Festival: What began as a Japanese nightclub activity has swept the world. Watch 57 contestants from Japan and Hawaii compete for a grand prize of roundtrip tickets for two between Hawaii and Japan. The contest runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Rumours at the Ala Moana Hotel. Admission is $1. Call 947-1750.

Bullet Minyo Show (Folk Song and Dance Fair): Folk songs and dances, performed by groups from Japan and Hawaii, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Hawaii Theatre. Tickets are $10*. Call 528-0506.

Bullet Pan-Pacific Festival Parade: Performers will march to the sounds of taiko drums and marching bands beginning 5 p.m. Sunday in Waikiki. The parade will move along Kalakaua Avenue, from Fort DeRussy to Kapiolani Park.

A highlight of the parade are the mikoshi, the portable shrines or dwellings of the kami (Shinto gods). The mikoshi are carried on platform poles sitting on the shoulders of carriers.

Traditionally, women were not allowed near the mikoshi. Today, they often help lift the heavy shrines, which are said to bestow good fortune on their carriers. However, women often tie their headbands with the ends pointing up to look like horns in order to confuse the gods into thinking they are devils, or men.

* Hawaii Theatre events require an extra $2 restoration fee.

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