Report on the City of Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial Parade

The Sakura Project joined the Japanese Nationality Room Committee of University of Pittsburgh and the Japan Association of Greater Pittsburgh to participate in the city’s bicentennial parade on July 9th, 2016. Pittsburgh was established in 1816 by immigrants like other American cities, and has grown with contributions of many ethnic immigrants since.

We were all invited to participate in the parade as ethnic groups, and the Japanese community decided to dance bon-odori dressed in yukata. The leader, Sono Hayes of Japanese Nationality Room, kept in close contact with the city and arranged a truck, a loud speaker for music, banners, two practice sessions with dance instructor, Yuko Eguchi, and yukata for those without one. She even managed to put bamboo on the truck for July 7th Tanabata decoration where we could write and hang our wishes. What a great idea! Thank you, Sono!

Our participants counted 47, including strollers and children and our group showed variety of people as well, such as Japanese immigrants who are long time Pittsburgh residents, Japanese Americans of pure Japanese descent and of mixed heritage, Japanese people temporarily residing in Pittsburgh, and people who are related to Japanese through marriage or by cultural identification. We received a lot of applause and cheers, such as “great, awesome, beautiful.” Certainly we were the largest group who supported world peace, and energy toward healthy and enjoyable life in Pittsburgh following the city’s theme of diversity and peace of past, present and future. Oh, what a day!

Here are the newspaper and video links.

Japanese version of the report is available on the JAGP website.