My sincere thanks to the Nisei Week Foundation for the honor of being asked to contribute my art to the festival once again. Aki the Akita is the featured star on this year’s Nisei Week poster and tshirt – by special request by our friends at the Nisei Week Foundation. “Aki was first… introduced in 1997 as a t-shirt design by famed artist Dick Sakahara to promote an Akita dog show at that year’s festival.”
I placed Aki in the center of a Japanese garden connecting both Japan and Little Tokyo, with Mount Fuji on the left and some well known icons of Little Tokyo’s history on the right. You can see a ton of Kokeshi-esque characters throughout the art involved in various activities like the Nisei Week parade, Taiko drumming, the Coronation, checking out Kingyo (Japanese goldfish) – in this case, luckily swimming upstream, Ondo dancing and placing their wishes on the wishing tree as part of the Tanabata festival.
The poster also features Mayumi-Chan and a host of other new (and old) characters…even two inspired by my favorite Tattoo artists (Jakoh-san and Jiro-san) from Onizuka Tattoo (see their work at the Japanese American National Museum right now!)
This year’s Nisei Week theme is “Continuing the Legacy” and refers to passing on some of the wonderful aspects of Japanese culture from the past generation to the next. As many are aware, being ethnically Japanese is not a pre-requisite to partake in, enjoy and make Japanese culture part of your own life. Japan, much like America, has a culture open to those willing to take the time to learn about and embrace it.
Shirts, Posters, Booklets
Japangeles: Shirt, Posters, Booklets
Kinokuniya: Shirts, Booklets
Rafu Bussan: Posters, Booklets