HomeAAPI ActorsJapan Day Parade a First in New York

Japan Day Parade a First in New York

By Shirley Ng, AsAmNews Staff Writer

After waiting for two years due to the COVID pandemic, New York finally held its first parade to commemorate Japan Day.

Many groups and performers participated to celebrate the history and culture of Japan Saturday. The Grand Marshal was none other than Star Trek star George Takei. Before the parade Takei participated in a Japanese blessing ceremony, then walked a few yards for the ribbon cutting ceremony, with a snip of a giant pair of scissors the parade was ready to begin.

Grand Marshal, George Takei cuts the ribbon to start the Japan Day Parade.
Photo credit: Shirley L. Ng

“When I was 5 years old to about 8 and a half years old, I was behind barbed wire. That was in Arkansas,” Takei said about his experience as a young child living in an internment camp before the parade began.

In 1942, Executive Order 9066 was signed by FDR to forcibly move Japanese Americans living in the West Coast to live in internment camps because the US felt they were a national threat during World War II.  The executive order forced 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes and livelihood.

The parade was very colorful, many dressed in anime and traditional clothing such as the kimono. Musical performers, bands and dancers entertained the long stretch of parade watchers from West 81st Street to West 69th Street. Other groups marched in support of Japan Day to show solidarity and unity.  A Japanese food festival was held a few blocks away.

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