2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival

The Embassy of Japan is proud to present a fabulous lineup through the Japan Information & Culture Center (JICC) during the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival. The Festival, which commemorates the gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington, DC, is an annual celebration to honor the lasting friendship between Japan and the United States.

In 1912, the Mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki, gifted 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, DC as a symbol of the friendship between the two nations. Ms. Eliza Scidmore, the author of a travel journal who was deeply impressed by the beauty of the cherry blossoms at Mukoujima in Tokyo, had campaigned for years to have them brought to DC. Along with Dr. Joukichi Takamine, famous for his work on adrenaline and the enzyme taka-diastase and a long-time friend of America, she urged First Lady Helen Taft to have the trees planted along the Potomac. Now every year the public parks along the banks of the Potomac River in Washington are covered in gorgeous blooming trees, delighting the public who come to see them.

The first festival commemorating the gift from Japan and the friendship it represented was held in 1927. Now it has grown into the largest such celebration in America, welcoming more than 1.5 million visitors each year. The Opening Ceremony in particular, with its captivating performances from artists representing both Japan and the US, enjoys a high degree of popularity both locally and abroad in Japan. The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and the Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival also draw packed crowds.

Helpful Links: New York Times: The Gift of Cherry Blossoms | National Cherry Blossom Festival | Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival


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  • Event
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  • MAR-
    MAY
  • Exhibition: Meet Netsuke!
  • JICC
  • The JICC and JASWDC welcome you to a special spring exhibition of finely-crafted fashion accessories from the Edo era known as netsuke!
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  • Mar 15 2017
  • Netsuke: Japan's Tiny Goodwill Ambassadors
  • JICC
  • The JICC opens our special Meet Netsuke! exhibition with a demonstration and lecture by the acclaimed Komada family.
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  • Mar 16 2017
  • Art in the Palm of Your Hand
  • Freer|Sackler Galleries
  • Discover netsuke, artful miniature sculptures from Japan’s Edo period at the Freer|Sackler Galleries.
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  • Mar 17 2017
  • J-Film: Samurai Hustle
  • JICC
  • A samurai comedy about a leader of a small clan making the impossible happen to reach Edo in five days!
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  • Mar 21 2017
  • Shigeyama Kyogen Performance
  • Library of Congress
  • The Library presents a special evening of Kyogen plays, presented as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
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  • Mar 23 2017
  • Shigeyama Kyogen Workshop
  • Freer|Sackler Galleries
  • Learn how traditional Japanese comic actors utilize facial expression, posture, movement, and voice to convey their characters’ humorous qualities.
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  • Mar 23 2017
  • Mifune: The Last Samurai
  • JICC
  • Mifune: The Last Samurai explores the accidental movie career of Toshiro Mifune, one of the true giants of world cinema.
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  • Mar 24 2017
  • May J. at Millennium Stage
  • Kennedy Center
  • Multilingual J-Pop artist May J. will make a rare, one-night appearance on the John F. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage!
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  • Mar 24 2017
  • EL SQUAD Workshop
  • Joy of Motion
  • An amazing opportunity for local adult hip hop dancers and enthusiasts to study under these master teachers and experience Japanese hip hop culture and style.
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  • Mar 25 2017
  • Yojimbo
  • American History Museum
  • Toshiro Mifune plays a masterless samurai who exploits a war between two village clans for his own gain.
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  • Mar 25 2017
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Ceremony
  • Warner Theatre
  • Featured performers include: Shigeyama Kyogen, EL SQUAD, May J., The 6821 Quartet
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  • Mar 26 2017
  • EL SQUAD at Arena Stage
  • Kreeger Theatre
  • EL SQUAD from Wrecking Crew Orchestra has revolutionized the contemporary dance genre with their signature “Light Dance” performance.
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  • Apr 1 2017
  • 19th Annual Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk
  • National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II
  • The Freedom Walk aims to educate a new generation of Americans about the Japanese American expeirence during World War II.
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  • Apr 1 2017
  • Duo YUMENO
  • Kennedy Center
  • New York-based koto/shamisen player and vocalist Yoko Reikano Kimura and cellist Hikaru Tamaki create a singular fusion of sound with Duo YUMENO.
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  • Apr 2 2017
  • Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony
  • Japanese Stone Lantern Plaza near the Tidal Basin
  • The Stone Lantern is lit once each year by the Princess representing the Embassy of Japan, and only during the Cherry Blossom Festival.
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  • Apr 7 2017
  • Japan Bowl
  • National 4-H Youth Conference Center
  • An academic competition that tests the achievements of high school students throughout the United States who are studying the Japanese language.
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  • Apr 7 2017
  • Grand Ball Dinner
  • Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel
  • Join top officials and diplomatic leaders for one of our nation's most beloved spring traditions – the Official Cherry Blossom Grand Ball and Sushi Reception.
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  • Apr 8 2017
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
  • Constitution Avenue
  • One of DC’s largest spectator events, the energy-filled National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade runs for 10 blocks along iconic Constitution Avenue.
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  • Apr 8 2017
  • Sakura Matsuri
  • Capital Riverfront Neighborhood
  • The Sakura Matsuri—Japanese Street Festival is the largest one-day celebration of Japanese culture in the U.S.
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  • Apr 14 2017
  • J-Film: Kakekomi
  • JICC
  • Old Tokyo (Edo): A world of samurai, pop culture, and…divorces?
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  • Apr 15-16 2017
  • Tiger Okoshi
  • Blues Alley
  • Japanese Jazz Series sponsored by Blues Alley & Japan Foundation
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  • Apr 17 2017
  • Rachel Kudo
  • Kennedy Center
  • Japanese-American pianist Rachel Kudo will share her passion in a richly varied program of classical masterpieces.
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  • Apr 17 2017
  • Mao Soné
  • Blues Alley
  • Japanese Jazz Series sponsored by JICC, Blues Alley, & Japan Foundation
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  • Apr 18 2017
  • Erena Terakubo
  • Blues Alley
  • Japanese Jazz Series sponsored by JICC, Blues Alley, & Japan Foundation
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  • Apr 19 2017
  • Ami Nakazono
  • Blues Alley
  • Japanese Jazz Series sponsored by JICC, Blues Alley, & Japan Foundation
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  • Apr 20 2017
  • Senri Oe
  • Blues Alley
  • Japanese Jazz Series sponsored by Blues Alley & Japan Foundation
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  • Apr 21 2017
  • Animezing: Miss Hokusai
  • JICC
  • From award-winning director Keiichi Hara and Production I.G comes a remarkable story of the daughter behind one of history’s most famous artists!
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  • May 3 2017
  • Animezing: Miss Hokusai
  • JICC
  • From award-winning director Keiichi Hara and Production I.G comes a remarkable story of the daughter behind one of history’s most famous artists!
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PARTNERS

  • Blues Alley Jazz
  • Japan Foundation
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Library of Congress
  • NHK WORLD TV
  • ANA
  • The Freer|Sackler Galleries
  • The Kennedy Center
  • JASWDC
  • Joy of Motion