US-Japan Friendship for Peace Festival in Southern California
On April 16, SGI-USA hosted the "2006 US-Japan Friendship for Peace" festival at the SGI World Culture Center in Santa Monica, California, USA. Begun in 2005 to promote amity between the people of USA and Japan by the SGI-USA Southern California Japanese Language Group, this year's event drew over 2,000 local residents, a two-fold increase over last year's attendance. The Kenjinkai Kyogikai (Southern California Residents Society Council), Tokushima Kenjinkai (People of Tokushima Prefecture Society) and the Fukushima Kenjinkai (People of Fukushima Prefecture Society) supported the festival. The Ikeda Kings Orchestra, Japanese folk dancers, jazz dancers, the Ryukyu (Okinawa) Classical dancers and choruses performed. World-class jazz pianist Herbie Hancock gave a solo performance. A UCLA professor spoke on how peace begins in the family and community. A Japanese instructor said the two hours spent sharing the cultures of the USA and Japan passed by all too quickly. A public high school teacher was moved by the courtesy of the youthful volunteer staff.
During the event, the California State Assembly, Los Angeles County, and the Cities of El Monte and Walnut recognized the peace contributions of the SGI and its leader SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, as well as Mrs. Kaneko Ikeda.