On Sunday, September 17, 2023, Keiro hosted its sixth annual Keiro no Hi Festival at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) — the first time since 2019 that the festival returned in-person to Little Tokyo. Some community members arrived on buses from six local transportation hubs, and even more attendees traveled from all over Southern California to participate in the celebration. Around 500 older adult attendees were greeted and celebrated at the museum by eager volunteers and Keiro staff members with a variety of activities set for the day. From the entertainment and Quality of Life Classes throughout the day, to the bento lunch and commemorative portrait studio, the entirety of JANM was filled by countless smiles, laughter, and friendly faces upon those in attendance throughout the event. 

This celebration was not only an opportunity for Our Community to share their appreciation for the contributions of our older adults, but the day’s activities were particularly tailored for attendees to enjoy and actively participate in experiences that would help them explore, rediscover, and showcase their individual purpose. Here are a few voices of Keiro no Hi Festival participants about the festival and reflections on this year’s theme of “purpose”:

Attendee, Sakura Gardens Ukulele Performer

woman smiling wearing an aloha shirt

“For today’s festival, I am overwhelmed by the wonderful participation from the workers and the performers, and just the general public coming to see us. That’s what makes the festival so great, we are getting together for something so wonderful like this…  [Keiro has] to continue it for everybody else, for our younger ones too. This is the best way to show our culture… The event here has really inspired me to learn more about the Japanese culture, the music, the dancing, the arts. My purpose in life is to keep continuing to get involved, learning and studying the language, the dance, the music, etc.”


man with glasses smiling outside

“I thought [the Keiro no Hi Festival] was encouraging, and I wanted to find out what [other attendees] thought about Japanese culture. The performance that stood out to me was the Japanese characters and the costumes that [the Fujima Kansuma Classical Japanese Dance group] wore. I like that it gives it more color when they work the kimono… It is important that we bring awareness to Japanese culture because Japan is not just an island across the Pacific Ocean, but Japanese culture throughout the world is used now.”

Kaitlyn Chu
2023 Nisei Week Queen, Volunteer

nisei week court

“My favorite part about today’s festival is the multi-generational aspect of it. It’s great to see people’s families come out and be together today. One of the things [the Nisei Week Court and I] did today was go around to the different attendees and ask them what their bucket list item was. I learned that a lot of people feel like they’ve achieved all that they wanted to do in life… To know that you can feel you can achieve fulfillment by having the people you love around you and having a community and being able to experience what life has to offer, has inspired me to be optimistic about our purposes and futures too.”

Jack Kurihara
Keiro Board Member, Festival Emcee

man speaking into microphone on a stage

“The Keiro No Hi Festival is beneficial for our community to come together, especially post-COVID, and to have a venue like [JANM] where you can get parts of our community from various counties in one place to experience a lot of the Japanese cultural events and learn new things. For myself, purpose is giving back to the community, and that’s why I joined Keiro’s board of directors. Given my background in health care, I think I can contribute to Keiro’s mission of improving the quality of senior life. It would be important for me to do that and that would serve one of the purposes in my life.”

Nikkei Student Union Volunteer

two volunteers at a Keiro info booth

“I really enjoyed today’s festival. It was really nice to see people of all generations and ages come together to really celebrate the older adults in our community… I’m currently a nursing student, so I’m exploring different specialties, including geriatric care. I really like to see the work that Keiro does, especially with its emphasis on quality of life because I think that’s really important. It has really helped to inspire how I can combine my interests in working in the Japanese American community and also my career path in something like supporting older adults in the community.”

Photo Highlights from the 2023 Keiro no Hi Festival:

Click here to view more 2023 Keiro no Hi Festival photo highlights.