Celebrate Japanese American History at the 74th Annual Obon Festival

BRIDGETON, N.J. – The Seabrook Buddhist Temple will be celebrating Japanese American history with the 74th annual Obon Festival.

The festival will have the Contested Histories exhibit from the Japanese American National Museum and a special opening for the Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center with a presentation by John M. Seabrook Jr.

The Obon Festival will feature traditional Japanese folk dancing, taiko drumming, Kendo-Japanese Fencing and Swordsmanship, a mini-lecture and Q&A on Buddhism, and more.

Below is a list on all the activities at the festival:

• 4 p.m. to close: Food booths and craft tables will be open.
• 4 p.m. – dusk: Temple Meditation Garden open for viewing. Memorial luminaries are available for purchase.
• 4 p.m. Cherry Hill Ken-yu Kai: Kendo-Japanese Fencing and Swordsmanship
• 4:15-4:45 & 5:00-5:30 p.m. Mini lecture and Q&A on Buddhism in the Temple with Rev. Earl Ikeda
• 4:30 p.m. Shotokan Karate Academy: Traditional Japanese Karate Demonstration
• 5 p.m. Woodruff School Ace Music Performance
• 6:15 – 6:50 p.m. & 8:00 – 8:40 p.m.: Japanese folk dancing. Audience participation is encouraged.
• 6:50 – 8 p.m. Japanese taiko drumming will be performed by the Seabrook Buddhist Temple’s Hoh Daiko Drummers. There will be a special guest performance by the Soh Daiko Drummers of the New York Buddhist Church and Nen Daiko of the Ekoji Buddhist Temple, Fairfax Station, Virginia.

The Japanese American National Museum will present its pop-up display of the Contested Histories: Art and Artifacts from the Allen Hendershott Eaton Collection. The display includes physical or digital representation of every item in the collection—more than 400 individual photographs, sculptures, paintings and watercolors, jewelry items, vases, beads, nameplates, and other handmade items made by Japenese Americans held in incarceration camps during World War II.

The collection was saved from the auction block in 2015 through the efforts of Japanese American community leaders and activists from the Upper Deerfield Senior Center. The display will be free and open to the public on Saturday, July 20th, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, July 21st, from noon to 3 p.m.

The President of Seabrook Educational Center, John M. Seabrook, Jr., will be holding a presentation, Bloody Harvest: The 1934 Farmworker Strikes at Seabrook Farms, at the Upper Deerfield Municipal Building at 1 p.m., in the courtroom.

Finally, on Sunday, July 21st, the Seabrook Buddhist Temple will observe Obon Memorial Service at 10 a.m.

The 47th annual Obon Festival will be held on Saturday, July 20th from 4-9 p.m. at the Seabrook Buddhist Temple, located at 9 Northville Road, in Bridgeton. Admission and parking are free.