The Maui Matsuri Festival celebrated its 21st year at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College campus on Saturday with saimin and natto eating contests, cosplay, taiko drum performances, food and craft vendors, cultural exhibitions and the iconic Community Obon Dance finale.
Thousands attended the free annual event, which returned to the UHMC campus for the first time in four years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Maui Matsuri also celebrated the Children’s Day Festival last week Saturday at the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center.
“This year’s Maui Matsuri was a tremendous success, with many families and their keiki excited to participate in the activities and enjoy the performances,” said Kit Furukawa, president of Japanese Cultural Society of Maui. “We are so grateful again to the college and to all of our sponsors, as well as the many volunteers that helped us continue to perpetuate Japanese culture in our community.”
JCSM also presented the distinguished Business Award to the Nakashima family of Upcountry landmark Pukalani Superette. The award recognizes an outstanding business that is Japanese-owned, and has been an ally in its mission to preserve and perpetuate Japanese culture and traditions.
Maui Matsuri is produced by a team of volunteers led by co-chairs Kay Fukumoto, Brian Nagami and Jennifer Sumida. The festival is presented by the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui, and supported in part by the County of Maui and the Office of Economic Development. Other major sponsors are Island Honda, IBEW Local 1186, UH Maui College, Queen Kaʻahumanu Center and Maui Taiko.