LETTER from LIMA No.1 – William White Makes MATSURI

[Now settling into his Limarkian Adventures, Bill – our Party in Peru –  will share some of what he finds in Lima, Peru and its surrounds – beginning below with MATSURI.  We will attached all the photographs he sent except the fireworks.  Those  you may imagine. Bill may well write a song about the adventure, and sing it too.]

Japanese Cultural Week in Lima usually occupies the last week of October, but this year things got pushed back a few days, enabling this new arrival to the city to attend  “Matsuri,” the traditional festival that closed the week on November 10th.  The festival is a cornucopia of food, dance, music, and fireworks to celebrate the contributions the Japanese have made to Peruvian culture.

Although the first Japanese appeared in Peru as early as the 17th century, the epic immigration of Japanese to this new world did not begin for another two hundred years. By the end of the second world war, when another wave of immigrants arrived,  five generations of Japanese-Peruvians had already established their presence here. Their influence can be seen throughout the country in the food, art, music, and architecture.

This is the 40th year that Japanese Cultural Week has been celebrated in Lima. Its closing festival, Matsuri, sponsored by the AELU (Asociation Estado le Union), is a Peruvian version of what is in Japan a traditional religious ceremony.  Here in Lima, it is an opportunity for everyone to share in Japanese customs, from traditional dance and martial arts to the contemporary fun of  manga and cosplay.  There are J-Pop concerts and saki tastings, graffiti exhibits and a fashion show of traditional clothing.

Peru is home to over 50,000 descendants of Japanese immigrants. Matsuri is the perfect occasion to become familiar with some of them.

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