Downtown Yokosuka came alive with tradition and jubilation on Sunday, October 29, as the 44th Yokosuka Mikoshi Parade made its long-awaited return to Chuo Odori, also known as Blue Street. Among the participants was the mikoshi from Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY),
marking a significant presence in this time-honored event.
This year’s parade was particularly special, not only for its storied history but also because the beloved event had been on hiatus for four years. The streets buzzed with excitement as thousands of local community members and visitors converged to witness the spectacle.
Volunteers from CFAY proudly took their place alongside 43 other teams in the parade. While some teams hoisted ornate mikoshi on their shoulders, others showcased their talents, playing taiko drums and other traditional Japanese musical instruments. The synchronized beats of the drums, combined with the sights of the mikoshi, created an atmosphere that was both electric and nostalgic.
Dmitry Kaminsky, a volunteer who helped hoist the CFAY mikoshi, said the experience was unforgettable. “It was such an amazing experience for me to participate in while in Japan, and one I will not forget. Coming together from different commands and building a team while also being part of the larger group of mikoshi teams allowed us to further build
the community amongst all of us in Yokosuka. It was a huge honor to participate in a tradition that honors and celebrates Japanese culture. I definitely look forward to participating in future joint celebrations here in Japan.”
Mikoshi parades have deep roots in Japanese culture, traditionally believed to transport deities between shrines during religious festivals. Parading the mikoshi is both a form of entertainment and a sacred ritual, signifying the sharing of divine blessings with the community. For Yokosuka, this parade has also been a symbol of unity and cultural exchange, especially with the presence of CFAY and other international
For CFAY, participating in the parade was not just about representing the U.S. Navy but also about strengthening the bond between the U.S. military and the Japanese community.
Events like these underscore the mutual respect and friendship fostered over the years.
“Participating in this parade is very important to our bilateral relationship between CFAY and the City of Yokosuka,” Kaminsky said. “It highlights our friendship between the two and signifies that we are all together as one team, participating in traditions together and making history together.”
The parade’s four-year absence made this year’s event all the more sentimental. Past participants and first-timers alike felt the weight of the occasion and the sense of community spirit needed to ensure a parade like this was successful.
“It was not possible to hold the event for three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so organizations that carry the local mikoshi were looking forward to this parade being held for the first time in four years,” said Yuji Yasuda of the Yokosuka Tourism Association. “We were able to hold the event successfully because of everyone’s cooperation.”
Mikoshi parades are also regional and sometimes national tourist attractions, where local neighborhoods, groups, and organizations can display their pride and spirit for all to see.
While Yokosuka City is already a popular tourist location, the parade is the perfect opportunity to visit and see the city up close.
“Recently, the number of visitors to Yokosuka City for sightseeing from other areas has been increasing,” Yosuda said. “The Yokosuka Mikoshi Parade, while held as a local community event, also turns out to be a great tourist attraction.”
An estimated 40,000 community members, visitors, and tourists passed through Blue Street during the celebration. As the celebration drew to a close, the sounds of taiko drums faded, and the mikoshi were returned to their resting places.
Still, the memories of the 44th Yokosuka Mikoshi Parade will remain. For many, it was a day of reconnection — with tradition, community, and each other.
For members of the CFAY community, the parade is an annual tradition that they circle on their calendars that will continue to bring joy, cultural exchange, and a shared community spirit to the streets of Yokosuka for many years to come, reaffirming the ties that bind them together.
For more than 75 years, CFAY has provided, maintained, and operated base facilities and services in support of the U.S. 7th Fleet’s forward-deployed naval forces, tenant commands, and thousands of military and civilian personnel and their families.
|Date Posted:||11.07.2023 00:30|
|Location:||YOKOSUKA, KANAGAWA, JP|
This work, CFAY Joins in Celebrating the Return of the Yokosuka Mikoshi Parade, by Justin Keller, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.