A big thank you to everyone who came out to the third Hapa Japan Festival, which we hosted at the Japanese American National Museum and the USC campus from February 22nd to February 26th. The 5-day festival was jam-packed with live music, film screenings, interviews with mixed-race Japanese cultural icons, free food, and a 3-day academic conference. This year we hosted the festival alongside the Critical Mixed Race Studies conference that explored issues in trans (gender, gressions, migrations, racial). On Saturday night, Kina Grannis, Marié Digby, Kris Roche, and Andy Suzuki and the Method rocked out at the Hapa Japan Concert, the festival’s flagship event at Bovard Auditorium. Some people traveled from around the world to attend the festival.
Hanna Thomas, who came in from London, said, "I'm back at home with a bigger mind and bigger heart. The Hapa Japan Festival and Critical Mixed Race Studies conference was everything I could have hoped for—just being in a room of people with overlapping and intersecting backgrounds and stories, with people who looked a lot like me, caused a little part of me to relax in a way that I didn't even know was there.”
If you missed the festival, check out the full program. Photos and videos are on the Hapa Japan Festival Facebook page.
The Hapa Japan Festival/CMRS conference was a massive logistical production with many moving parts. We owe its success to Hapa SC president Elisabeth Gilmore and her Hapa SC group who helped staff our event; Nadia Kanagawa who led the CMRS conference team; Jessica Mahon, Daniel and the entire Bovard production team; Valerie Mellon from Tutor Campus Center; the CJRC student workers and lead volunteers Tyler Sadoff and Grace Liu; Evan Kodani from JANM; Dilip Patel for concert production; the CMRS conference organizers Laura Kina and Chandra Crudup; Aki Lippit for making it possible to use the Eileen Norris Theater; the team at Spoon and Fork for designing the festival promotional materials; Jamal Armstrong and Kaya Students for Independent Publishing; and our photographers Ed Haugh, James Ong, and Ken Tanabe. We also want to thank the Hapa Japan Board (Mitzi Carter, Megumi Nishikura, Ken Tanabe, Jeff Chiba Stearns, Edward Sumoto, and Duncan Williams), the Hapa Japan Academic Committee (Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu, Cindy Nakashima, Lily Anne Yumi Welty Tamai, and Jane Yamashiro) and the Hapa Japan Social Media Committee (Athena Asklipiadis, Naomi Hayase, and Vanessa Haugh), as well Anne Alderete who helped with PR.
The Hapa Japan Festival is held every 4 years, but the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Culture and Religions hosts many Hapa Japan-themed events throughout the academic year.