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Powell Street Festival celebrates Japanese Canadian culture

Traditional Japanese flute and zither musician and VO contributor Kozue Matsumoto. Photos by Parisa Azadi

The Powell Street Festival, an annual celebration of Japanese Canadian arts, culture and heritage, took place over the weekend at Oppenheimer Park, in the heart of the Downtown Eastside. The festival features dance, music, book readings, flower arrangement, tea ceremonies, martial arts demos, amateur sumo tournament, craft vendors, and many types of Japanese street food such as imagawayaki (a red bean-filled snack) and takoyaki (fluffy pancake-like balls filled with octupus pieces and topped with sauce).  

The festival, now in its 35th year, is the longest-running community arts festival in the Lower Mainland. The Powell Street Festival was founded by Japanese Canadians reclaiming their heritage after the wartime internment, and takes place in the historic Japantown. 




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