Saturday, May 14 from 1:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Along Central Park West from 81st Street to 68th Street
Japan Day @ Central Park has an annual event celebrating Japanese culture, food, and tradition in Central Park since 2007. After two years of not being able to hold an in-person event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan Day is organizing the first-ever Japan Parade in New York City this Saturday, May 14. The parade will begin at Central Park West and 81st Street and will proceed south to 68th Street.
2022 marks the 150th anniversary of the visit of the special Japanese mission led by Iwakura Tomomi in 1872, which sparked the remarkable development of Japan-US relations. The Japan Parade will be the first parade in New York to honor Japanese heritage and friends of Japan on this milestone anniversary.
The purpose of the Japan Parade is to celebrate and promote the friendship between the US and Japan, to express gratitude from the Japanese American community to New York City, and to strengthen the solidarity of the Japanese American community. This event is timely as May commemorates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Actor, author, civil rights activist, and influencer George Takei will be the Japan Parade’s inaugural Grand Marshal. The parade will feature live performances by the cast of “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon” The Super Live, The Young People’s Chorus of New York City, Japanese Folk Dance of NY, International Karate Organization Kyokushin-kaikan, taiko troupes Cobu and Soh Daiko, and Anime NYC. In all, there will be nearly 100 groups participating, including activists protesting recent attacks targeting Asian citizens and anti-Asian rhetoric.
An opening ceremony will take at 12:30 p.m. at the grandstand on Central Park West between 70th and 71st Streets. It will feature speeches from Parade Grand Marshall George Takei and Ambassador Mikio Mori, a proclamation from New York State and New York City, and a performance from Japanese drumming group Soh Daiko. The Japan and U.S. national anthems will also be performed.
Japan Street Fair
At the end of the parade route at W. 69th Street, there will be a street fair with the theme “Festival Yatai (Outdoor) gourmet.” Local restaurants will introduce various Japanese street foods such as ramen, soba, okonomiyaki, as well as Japanese tea. In addition to activity tents, Japan Parade organizers will also have a charity tent to collect donations in support of the people of Ukraine.
Food and Activity Tents
Cha-Shu Pork Belly Bowl
Dessert (Rice Cake Donuts, Houji Tea Pudding)
Karaage and Onigiri
Hello Kitty Photo Booth
Charity tent in support of Ukraine
For more information about Japan Parade, please visit Japan Day’s website.
About George Takei, Grand Marshal
George Takei is a social justice activist, social media superstar, Grammy-nominated recording artist, New York Times bestselling author, and pioneering actor whose career has spanned six decades. He has appeared in more than 40 feature films and hundreds of television roles, most famously as Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek, and he has used his success as a platform to fight for social justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and marriage equality.
His advocacy is personal: During World War II, Takei spent his childhood unjustly imprisoned in United States internment camps along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans. He now serves as Chairman Emeritus and a member of the Japanese American National Museum’s Board of Trustees. Takei served on the board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission under President Bill Clinton, and, in 2004, was conferred with the Gold Rays with Rosette of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan for his contribution to US-Japan relations.