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Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival is part of the Seattle Center Festál series and produced in partnership with the Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival Committee.

In 2022, Seattle Center Festál is celebrating 25 years of stories and traditions. The theme, "Where the World Gathers" links together the series of 24 free festivals presented throughout the year, each with a unique cultural focus, identity, and range of engaging activities.

The festival took place in-person  April 8-10, 11am-4pm in the Armory Food & Events Hall and Fisher Pavilion. In tandem, virtual programming is also available on the festival website and below

The festival was initiated by a gift of 1,000 cherry trees that were given to Seattle on May 8, 1976, by Japan’s former Prime Minister, Takeo Miki, in commemoration of America’s bicentennial and the long friendship between the people of Japan and Washington state. Today, the festival is the largest and oldest of its kind in the Northwest.

Hanami, cherry blossom viewing, is a reminder to celebrate life, and the pink petals carried on the breeze at the first festival engendered that thought.

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OVERVIEW

Seattle Center Festál presents Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival in partnership with Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival Committee (SCBJCF). The festival deepens the understanding and serves as a vehicle for sharing Japanese and Japanese American culture and heritage through hundreds of performing and martial arts, exhibits and demonstrations, hands-on children’s activities, culinary treats, and more!

HISTORY

Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival Committee (SCBJCF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, comprised of volunteers and overseen by an advisory group:

  • Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle
  • Hyogo Business and Cultural Center
  • Japan Business Association of Seattle
  • Japan-America Society of State of Washington
  • Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) - Seattle Chapter
  • Japanese Community Service of Seattle
  • Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington
  • Office of the Mayor, City of Seattle
  • Seattle Center
  • Seattle-Kobe Sister City Association (SKSCA)

Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival is the first ethnic festival held annually at Seattle Center and the oldest in the Festál series. It distinguishes itself through innovative and in-depth outreach to the public through traditional/contemporary Japanese art, new scientific and technological innovations, and cultural examinations, especially race and social justice of Japanese in America, Japanese Americans, and Japanophiles.

The festival strives to deepen and expand mutual understanding, serve as a vehicle for people to exchange ideas, and promote as well as recognize cultural contributions and achievements of the Japanese American community.

The first festival was initiated by Mayor Wes Uhlman and community leaders to commemorate a gift of 1,000 cherry trees to Seattle on the occasion of the U.S. Bicentennial by Japan’s former Prime Minister, Takeo Miki. It was held at Seward Park for three years.

In 1979, the festival moved to Seattle Center and has now grown into a three-day celebration enjoyed by thousands of people each year.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The beauty of cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
  • “Hanami” or the custom of viewing cherry blossoms, is a reminder to celebrate life.
  • Thousand-years old cultural traditions co-exist with contemporary/pop culture in Japan. No other country can attest to the same degree.
Learn more about Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival (SCBJCF) Committee.
Visit Cherry Blossom Festival Website

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