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Obon Fest 2023

Obon Schedule


Outdoor Events             click on underlined parts for more information

3pm    Obukan Kendo Club

4pm   Tsubaki Buyo Doukou Kai

4:30pm   Aikido Hibiki

5:30pm  Portland Taiko Student Group

6:30pm  Portland Taiko Performance Group

7 - 9pm  Bon Odori, Japanese Folk Dancing

Indoor Events


2-7pm  Merchandise Sales

Upstairs Lobby

2-7pm  Haiku Poems

2-7pm  They Never Asked, featuring poetry from WWII Portland Assembly Center

Upstairs Hondo

2-7pm  Calligraphy and Artwork by the late Mrs.Judy Yamauchi

2-7pm  Art Showing

2pm  "Traditions and Innovation of American Bon Dance"

3pm/4pm  Temple Talk  by Rev.Koyama

3:30pm/4:30pm  "They Never Asked" by Duane Watari and Shelly Baker-Gard

6pm  Dancers' Service

Garden Events

2-6pm  Ikebana International

2-7pm  Children's Corner

2-7pm  Teen Scene

Judy Yamauch
Art Exhibit
Dancers Service
Children and Teens

Obukan Kendo Club (Outdoors / 3:30pm)

Kendo (way of sword) is a traditional Japanese style of fencing with a two-handed wooden sword, derived from the fighting methods of the ancient samurai (warrior class). The unification of Japan about 1600 removed most opportunities for actual sword combat, so the samurai turned swordsmanship into a means of cultivating discipline, patience and skill for building character.

Founded in 1932, Obukan Kendo Club is a non-profit organization part of the Pacific Northwest Kendo Federation (PNKF), which is a member of the All United States Kendo Federation. Obukan practices Kendo, Bokutoh Kata and Laido in Beaverton, Oregon.  Beginner classes offer students of all ages to try and experience this martial art. Please see or call 503.381.9015 for more information.

Tsubaki Buyo Doukou Kai (Outdoors/ 4pm)

Features graceful storytelling in traditional Japanese dance form.

Aikido Hibiki  (Outdoors/ 4:30pm)

Newly opened in April, Aikido Hibiki teaches aikido, the art of peace with an emphasis on nonconflict and polishing of the self. Aikido is a noncompetitive practice that can be begun and continued at any age. Classes are offered for kids and adults. Visitors are welcome to join or observe a class at any time. The instructor has over 30 years in the art and is experienced with numerous master level teachers. Practice is held at the corner of Foster and Powell at Hibiki Wellness Center, where energy work and mental health counseling services are offered.

Portland Taiko   (Outdoors/ 5:30pm Student Group,  6:30 Performance Group)

This year Portland Taiko will show case two groups. The first Obon performance will join Portland Taiko student classes together for a community performance. The second Obon performance is presented by Portland Taiko's principal performance drumming group.

Portland Taiko blends the tradition of Japanese taiko drumming with a sense of Asian American identity, creativity, and empowerment. Formed in 1994 by Ann Ishimaru, Zachary Semke, and Japanese American community activists, Portland Taiko has headlined at arts festivals and concert halls, released three CDs, and has performed at hundreds of community events and school assemblies. To date, Portland Taiko has reached over 1 million audience members at over 1500 performances at theaters, schools, community events and festivals.  For information about joining a class, see

Bon Odori, Japanese Folk Dancing  (Outdoors/7-9pm)

Everyone is invited to join in the celebration of Japanese and Japanese American folk dancing. At Oregon Buddhist Temple, we emphasize two things about Bon Odori: 1. This is not performance dancing, it is dancing for joy. The idea is to lose your ego and enjoy the experience.  2. This dancing is about community, and everyone is welcome. It is for everyone to just be together and enjoy.

For this year's dance list and videos, see:

Merchandise (Indoor/ Downstairs/ 2-7pm)

     Omiyage Shop: Fill your basket with a treasure trove of Asian novelties!

     Kimono Store: Choose a kimono, yukata or hapi to Dance for Joy!

     Religious Items: Butsudans, nenjus and other Buddhist items.

     Book Sale: Assorted genres; find the read that has been waiting for you!

     Japanese pop culture items: Explore a vibrant collection of Japanese pop culture products featuring Pokemon and anime themed stickers, pins, keychains and more!

     Silent Auction : Come find out what amazing pieces we have!

Caligraphy and Artwork by the Late Mrs.Judy Yamauchi

Exhibit (Indoor/ Hondo/ 2-7pm)

Before she died Judy Yamauchi had several goals, one was to give renewed life to her mother’s poetry through art and calligraphy.  Mrs. Chiyoko Sakurai's poetry was award winning and published in Japanese literary periodicals.  While Judy was unable to complete her task, we hope you agree that this body of beautiful work truly honors both women.

Some pieces will be offered in the Obon Fest Silent Auction.


ART Pieces by Beth, Mayu and Maho    Exhibit  (Indoor/Hondo/ 2-7pm)

About Beth:

  " I graduated from George Fox Univeristy in 2011 as a double degree major in General Music with a concentration in piano and Studio Arts with my senior thesis conducted in acrylics.

   Since the time I was able to pick up a pencil as a child, I have been drawing people, almost obsessively, trying to capture a person's likeness an expression. Over time the drawings and now paintings I've created have taken on a life of their own, with hauntingly realistic portraits that stare back at viewers. For as long as I can remember I've always loved drawing portraits. Being able to draw and paint is like being able to breather for me, I have to do it".

Beth is one of our amazing Dharma School teachers. She incorporates various art techniques and skills to teach Buddhism in her classes. She is also one of our pianists for singing gathas.

About Mayu:

   "Hello, I'm Mayu. I've been going to Oregon Buddhist Temple my whole life, and have graduated from highschool this June. Most of these pieces I made while I attended my highschool, which incorporate art into academic curriculum. Coming to the temple has influenced me with how I view the world, and I think how I create art".

Mayu went through OBT's Dharma School from Lumbini Class to Dana Class, and has helped various temple events and activities. She will be going to Willamette University in late August. She enjoys creating art, especially painting and making animation.

About Maho:

     "I have always doodled a lot. My old text books prove that.  I hope you will enjoy the art pieces shown at OBT Obon Festival 2023! The pieces I brought are my past submissions for BCA Virtual Art Exhibit, that showcases artworks by all BCA sangha" 

      And if you like creating art as  Beth, Mayu and Maho,  please consider submitting to Upcoming BCA's Virtual Art Exhibit!!!  Deadline for submission is August 31st at the following link:


 H T T P S : / / T I N Y U R L . C O M / A R T B C A


HAIKU POEMS  Exhibit  (Indoor/Lobby/  2 - 7pm)

Oregon Haiku Group was started by several Japanese people living in Portland area in 2001 to compose and appreciate haiku under the guidance of Mashita Masuji, a sensei in Japan.  Today, the group has grown to 20 active members. Before Mashita Sensei passed away, he introduced us to Matsuda Yoshiko Sensei, the granddaughter of one of most recognized haiku masters, Takahama Kyoshi.  We have been with her for more than 10 years.  We currently use an internet system to submit our haiku, which are then shared with all other members.  We follow up with in-person monthly meetings.


THEY NEVER ASKED, featuring poetry from the WWII Portland Assembly Center   Exhibit and Book Sale  (Indoor / Lobby/ 2-7pm)

As much a book of poetry, it is a story of injustice and cruelty, but, also, of friendship, fortitude and survival.  It is a tale that might as easily been lost as found had it not been for Duane Watari’s careful eye on a day in 2017, as he cleaned out the basement of his childhood home.   The book is available for purchase. 

For more of the story see this article 


Traditions and Innovations of American Bon Dance (video, 55 minutes)

(Indoor/ Hondo/ 3pm)

"Traditions and Innovation of American Bon Dance" is a video brought to you by the Buddhist Churches of America, Center for Buddhist Education.  Oregon Buddhist Temple sangha member Wynn Kiyama reviews the history and practices of Obon in the United States.  Wynn will be able to see many more Obon festivals when he and his family moves to Hawaii this summer. 


Temple Talk – Rev. Tadao Koyama

(Indoor/Hondo/ 3pm and 4pm)

Learn a bit about Buddhism, Jodo Shin Shu practice and our temple.  

Rev. Tadao Koyama is the recently appointed supervising minister for the Oregon Buddhist Temple.  He is the officiating minister of Tacoma Buddhist Temple. A West Coast native, he was born and raised in Sacramento California.

His connections to our Temple and the Northwest District were made long ago. He is the nephew of Rev. Dean Koyama of the Palo Alto Buddhist Temple, who was Tacoma Buddhist Temple’s minister from1996 to 2002,  and he studied under Rev. Yuki Sugahara, Oregon Buddhist Temple’s previous minister.

Rev.Koyama attended University of California Santa Cruz to study Political Science but then realized he loved history more. He changed majors and got his Bachelor of Arts Degree in History with an emphasis in Japanese History.

After graduating from U.C. Santa Cruz, he worked for the California State Assembly for two and a half years as a field representative to former Assembly member Mariko Yamada. It was also during this time that he studied to become a minister under Rev. Yuki Sugahara at the Buddhist Church of Florin.  Under the guidance of Rev. Sugahara, Rev.Koyama became an official minister’s assistant in 2013,  and the following year received his Tokudo ordination in Kyoto, Japan.

He attended the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley California for three years. After graduation, he spent two years in Japan studying first at Nishi Hongwanji’s seminary school, Chūōbukkyōgakuin (Chūbutsu) where he eventually received his Kyoshi, and the next year he studied for the year-long program at ritual and chanting school, Gonshikishidōsho. Rev. Koyama is the first North American-born minister to receive the specialized chanting and ritual license from Nishi Hongwanji.

He enjoys practicing Aikido and spending time with his family and wife Cyndi Yasaki. Cyndi was the minister’s assistant at the Gardena Buddhist Church in California and received her Tokudo in the Summer of 2019.  She now serves at the White River Buddhist Temple.


THEY NEVER ASKED, Senryu Poetry from the WWII Portland Assembly Center

Shelly Baker-Gard (co-translator)  and  Duane Watari

(Indoor/ Hondo/ 3:30pm and 4:30pm)

A presentation by a poet's grandson with the co translator, on his discovery of a historic journal of WWII senryu poems written by incarcerated Japanese Americans at the WRA Assembly Center in Northern Portland in 1942.



(Indoor / Hondo/ 6pm)

A brief Jodo Shin Shu Buddhist service for Obon dancers and anyone else who would like to observe.


(Outdoor/ Garden / 2-6pm)

Create your own ikebana flower design with teacher, Mrs. Nana Bellerud and other artists from the Ikebana International, Portland Chapter #47 School of Ikebana.   Ikebana explores artistic concepts of balance, contrast, and negative space. Chapter members will show some ikebana and interact with the visitors.  The history of the chapter is discussed in this article 



(Outdoor / Garden/ 2-7pm)

Enjoy creative games and crafts for children of all ages.  Games include Dharma Ducklings, 3 Poisons,  Festival Ball Drop, and Maneki Neko.  There will be information table on Oregon Buddhist Temple Dharma School with free coloring and activity papers! There will be one time charge for the games.



(Outdoor / Garden/ 2-7pm)

Our Dharma School Youth Group led activities - Photo Booth, Community Art Wall, Origami Station, Learn to Eat with Chopsticks, Scavenger Hunt.

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