July 1st (Sat)
Canada Day Parade
Garry Point Park, Steveston (7th Ave & Chatham St)
POWELL STREET FESTIVAL
Aug 5th (Sat)
HELD YEARLY AT Oppenheimer Park (400 block of Powell Street) and the surrounding streets and nearby venues in Vancouver, BC!
Sept. 2nd (Sat)
Sept. 3th (Sun)
Nikkei Matsuri will be held on the Labour Day Weekend, from 11am-7pm at the Nikkei National Cultural Centre
Mikoshi at Noon
(Kingsway at Sperling in Burnaby).
Stay tuned for more information
POWELL STREET FESTIVAL 2022
This year we were able to only carry the smaller Mikoshi with limited people but we are happy to be able to attend the event again. Please visit us at Nikkei Matsuri both days on Sept. 3rd and 4th
Rakuichi Celebrating 20th Anniversary
A Mikoshi is a portable Shinto shrine. Shinto followers believe that it serves as the vehicle of a divine spirit at the time of a parade of deities. Often, the Mikoshi resembles a miniature building, with pillars, walls, a roof, a veranda and a railing. Typical shapes are rectangles, hexagons, and octagons. The body, which stands on two poles (for carrying), is usually lavishly decorated, and the roof might hold a carving of a Phoenix. During a matsuri, people bear a mikoshi on their shoulders by means of the two poles. They bring the Mikoshi from the shrine, carry it around the neighbourhoods that worship at the shrine, and in many cases leave it in a designated area, resting on blocks, for a time before returning it to the shrine.
The Mikoshi currently being used by the Vancouver Mikoshi Group, a.k.a. Rakuichi, was donated by the “Japan Traffic Cultural Association” (Nihon Kotsu) in 1985. The donated shrine was flown to Vancouver from Japan and at that point the Pacific Rim Inter Cultural Action Society (ICAS), a Japanese non-profit organization, assumed the responsibility over the shrine. In 2002, Rakuichi was formed and oversees the involvement of the shrine in the Powell Street Festival, as well as other festivals/events in and around Vancouver, BC.
On July 1st 2003 (Canada Day), Rakuichi also began participating in the Steveston Salmon Festival. The Mikoshi was part of the parade procession that marches 1.6 kilometers down the main street in Steveston. More than 100 organizations participate in this annual festival. Since 2003, the mikoshi has been in the Steveston parade every year. In 2012, the group also participated in the Canada Day Parade that took place in downtown Vancouver.
In 2009 Rakuichi receieved a donation of a Lion Head Costume used in the Japanese Lion Dance, or “Shishi-Mai” in Japanese. The lion dance is used in Japanese festivals and new year celebrations. The Japanese lion consists of a wooden, lacquered head called a “shishi-gashira” and a characteristic body of green dyed cloth with white designs. It can be manipulated by a single person or two people. Lion Dance is performed accompanied by music, usually flute with the beating of drums, cymbals, and gongs to help synchronize the lion’s movements and actions. When the group received the lion head they decided to incorporate it into their events, and several members of the group learned how to play the music to accompany the dance. A parade float, or “dashi” was built to house the players, and is pulled by people behind the Mikoshi.
With donations and the community support, Rakuichi completed the new shrine, to replace the aging shrine that was donated in 1985. With number of fundraising campaigns, we were able to purchase the beautiful and ornate decorations that adorn the mikoshi.
The group is very excited about the completion of the new Mikoshi built in Vancouver!