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Join us for the final day of Mochitsuki 2021. This live event will be the culmination of our month-long virtual New Year’s festival. Celebrate 25 years of Mochitsuki in Portland with a Grand Finale program broadcast on YouTube. Alton Takiyama-Chung will MC the program which will include:

  • 00:00 Welcome and Introductions,
  • 08:36 The 25-Year History of Mochitsuki,
  • 16:13 Tribute to Valerie Otani, Core Member of the Mochitsuki Planning Committee,
  • 26:36 Performances from Elena Moon Park, and
  • 49:32 Panel Discussion of Asian American Artists.

Panelists will include performer, Elena Moon Park; spoken word artist, Sachi Kaneko; violinist, Joe Kye; and visual artist/activist, Ameya Okamoto. This virtual event is partially funded by the JACL Legacy Fund Grants Program and our other sponsors. See below for more information on our live Grand Finale program.

25-Year History of Mochitsuki

Mochitsuki was first held in 1996 in the basement of the Oregon Buddhist Temple. There were taiko performances and mochi pounding for a full house. Since then, the event has continued to grow and fill larger and larger venues. What started as a 100-person gathering has grown to a nearly 3,000-person festival last year. The goal of Mochitsuki is to keep our traditions alive and vital by sharing rich cultural experiences. We want you to experience the joy of celebrating community while enjoying the great foods, performers, and resources of the Japanese American community. To celebrate our first quarter of a century we will take a look back at historical photos, videos and interviews.

Performances by Elena Moon Park

For Mochitsuki, Elena will perform a short set of songs from Korea, China and Japan to celebrate the New Year. The songs are selections from her last two albums, Rabbit Days and Dumplings and Unhurried Journey, which feature reimagined folk and children’s songs from East and Southeast Asia. Elena learned these songs from friends and family, in talking about songs that linger in their memories from childhood. Sol Nal and Gong Xi are both songs that celebrate the New Year, while Zui Zui Zukkorobashi is a delightful nonsensical song that accompanies a hand game, and Soran Bushi is one of the most famous traditional songs and dance in Japan.

Elena Moon Park is a musician, educator, and producer living in Brooklyn, NY. She is a freelance violinist and multi-instrumentalist in NYC, specializing in contemporary classical and family music, and has performed on stages ranging from Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center to the Southbank Centre and the Melbourne International Arts Festival. She is also co-Artistic Director of the Brooklyn-based arts organization Found Sound Nation, which uses collaborative music creation to connect people across cultural divides.

Live Q&A – The Intersection of Art and Community

Mochitsuki is about celebrating community, sharing traditions and culture. Portland JACL presents a live panel of Asian American artists who will discuss the intersection of art and community. Each artist will share how their background influences their art and how they choose to celebrate community.

More about our panelists:

Sachi Kaneko, Spoken Word Artist
Sachi Kaneko is a mixed race, queer, yonsei who is committed to social justice, community healing and organizing work. She is a spoken word artist and short story writer who completed her undergraduate through the University of Oregon’s Honors College with a creative thesis- examining the relationship between systems of oppression, character and place. She spent three years in Japan reconnecting with family while working for the JET Program and served as an API leader for her area. She is applying to medical school in the summer and is currently in her second term serving as a Portland JACL board member.

Joe Kye, Violinist-Looper
Born in Korea and raised in Seattle, Indie String Pop violinist- looper and vocalist Joe Kye has drawn rave reviews since launching his career. After studying music and culture at Yale University, Kye left a career as a high school educator to pursue music full-time. Kye has toured the United States with performances opening for world-renown cellist Yo-Yo Ma, comedian Hari Kondabalu, rapper Warren G, and Senator Bernie Sanders, along with nationally broadcast performances on NPR and BBC. His music has also been featured on the NPR Politics Podcast. Kye recorded his first TedX talk in November of 2018, and has been invited to speak on immigration, creativity, and cultural activism at schools, community organizations, and spiritual centers. Kye is a board member of BRAVO Youth Orchestras in Portland, Oregon.
Kye is currently touring in support of his album, Migrants, released in 2018. Featured on BBC World News, PRI’s The World, and LA’s Music Friday Live, the new record has been praised as “lovely and nimble” and “delightfully unique.”

Elena Moon Park, Musician
See bio above.

Ameya Okamoto, Visual Artist
Artist + organizer Ameya Okamoto is a dynamic 20-year-old whose creative work lives at the intersections of art and social justice. Her work has been profiled by Paper Magazine, NPR and Hyperallergic among others. In 2018, Ameya was announced a YoungArts Finalist in Visual Art and US Presidential Scholar in Art and was included in the NY Post’s top 6 rising art stars at Miami Art Basel. She is a 2019 Adobe Creativity Scholar and Laidlaw Fellow, researching the role of protest art in social movements and sustainable beautification. She is the founder and creative director of IRRESISTIBLE, creating art for social change.

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