NYC Is Hosting Its First-Ever Japan Parade This Spring

The parade will showcase Japanese art forms and celebrate Japan–US relations.

Photo courtesy of Kazanami - Yosakoi Dance Project

New York City is hosting its first-ever Japan Parade on Saturday, May 14.

As a celebration of Japanese culture and to honor the relationship between Japan and the US, a parade filled with live performances will depart from Central Park West at West 81st Street at 1 pm. The parade was originally supposed to take place in 2020 as a celebration of both the 160th anniversary of the first Japanese delegates' visit to the US in 1860 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, but it was canceled due to the pandemic.

This year, the Japan Parade is finally happening in full glamor. Helmed by Star Trek actor and New York Times best-selling author George Takei as inaugural Grand Marshal, the parade will showcase a vast array of Japanese performing arts. Organizations such as Japanese Folk Dance of NY, International Karate Organization Kyokushin, and Anime NYC will all make an appearance during the celebration, which will feature news correspondent Sandra Endo as emcee. The cast of the musical Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon the Super Live will also be there, with more guests to be announced in the next few weeks.

"I am honored and proud to be the Grand Marshall of the inaugural Japan Parade," George Takei said in a statement. "To see the Japanese community in New York celebrated is a beautiful thing and it will be exciting to see Japan's friendship with New York on full display."

This year's Japan Parade will fall on the 150th anniversary of the 1872 Japanese mission, which led to the foundation of the Japanese Consulate in New York. In addition, 2022 also marks the 150th anniversary of the introduction of baseball to Japan from the US, which quickly became a popular sport in the country and helped draw the two cultures closer together.

The Japan Parade was a project developed by the Consulate General of Japan in New York to celebrate these anniversaries and Japanese culture at large.

"Japan and the US have come a long way in our relations, from early official exchanges to economic and diplomatic partnership backed by multi-layered people-to-people exchange in recent decades," Ambassador Mikio Mori said in a statement. "The Japan Parade is a symbolic evolution of this relationship, and a landmark culmination of Japan and New York's friendship. We hope many will join us for this historical moment."

For more information, you can visit the Japan Parade website.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.