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CITY ARTS

Sounds Like Fun

July 31, 1994|TOMMY LI

Listen to the rhythmic beat of drums, ethnic tales that spotlight the city's diverse cultures and the chanting of old ballads.

Those are just a taste of "The Sounds of Little Tokyo," this year's theme for the 54th annual Nisei Week Japanese Festival.

From Saturday to Aug. 14, a myriad of events and exhibits will inform and entertain festival-goers about Japanese customs and traditions, as well as about other cultures.

"We want (Nisei Week) to be fitting of our community and the things that go on in our community," said Chris Naito, the event's general chairwoman. "We are hoping that everyone comes, not just Japanese people."

Highlights include tales of Hawaiian, Chinese, Mexican, African and Japanese cultures from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Maryknoll Japanese Catholic Center, 222 S. Hewitt St., and a traditional taiko drum performance from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday outside the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.

A parade through the streets of Little Tokyo will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday. Mayor Richard Riordan is scheduled to join Mayor Takeyoshi Nishio of Nagoya, Los Angeles' sister city for 35 years, in the two-hour procession of dancers, bands and performers.

Nisei Week earned its name from the nisei, or second-generation Japanese Americans, who first organized the festival in 1934 during the Great Depression. Their hope was to generate jobs, attract business in the Little Tokyo area and promote goodwill. Today, it's planned and run by volunteers from the Japanese American community.

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Nisei Week Japanese Festival, Little Tokyo, Saturday through Aug. 14. Most events are free. For calendar of events and information: (213) 687-7193.

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