About the Festival

The Japan Festival is a one-day event held annually at Johnson County Community College. We’re dedicated to educating and entertaining the Greater Kansas City Metro Area through an introduction to Japanese culture.

The Japan Festival is presented by the Heart of America Japan-America Society. Since 1962, the Heart of America Japan-America Society (HAJAS) has made it our mission, “To further the understanding between the peoples of Japan and the Greater Kansas City area by promoting social, cultural and educational exchanges.”

The Festival showcases the traditional culture, pop culture, food and art of Japan, along with the vision, technology, and hopes for the future shared by the people of Japan and the people of the Kansas City area. It features Japanese musical performances, traditional Japanese foods, a Japanese candy artist, Japanese snacks and sweets, a Bazaar shopping extravaganza, exhibits Japanese cultural village for kids, martial arts, anime & manga, workshops, demonstrations, cultural presentations, and more!

During the pandemic, we created an all-digital experience for the Festival. To view videos of performances and workshops, visit our 2020 Virtual Festival page.

2024 Festival

Saturday, October 5th, 2024
10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. 

  • Adults: $25
  • Students: $20 with proper ID
  • Children 6 to 13: $15
  • Children 5 and under: Free!

Special Presale Ticket Discount

Buy your tickets online prior to 9/26/24 and get $10 off each ticket.
Use the code YOKAI2024 at checkout.


Have questions about the festival? Unable to find something on the website? Contact us and let us know!


The first Greater Kansas City Japan Festival was held on September 13, 1997, on the campus of the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Dr. Andrew Tsubaki was the first chairperson of the Japan Festival Committee. At that time there was a Japanese Consulate in Kansas City that was led by Consul General Tatsuo Tanaka. Consul General Tanaka was the driving force behind starting the first festival.

In 2004 the festival was moved to the Johnson County Community College where it is still held today. The 2024 GKCJF will be the nineteenth festival held on the campus of Johnson County Community College.


Consul General Jun Yanagi is currently the Consul-General of Japan in Chicago. He joined the Chicago Consulate in August of this year. Prior to joining the Chicago Consulate, he was the Deputy Director, Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office in Tokyo.

Since joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1988, he has held numerous positions, including: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan,  (MOFA) North East Asia Division; First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Nigeria; South East Asia Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Deputy Director, APEC Division, MOFA; Principal Deputy Director, Analysis Division, IAB, MOFA; Principal Deputy Director, Public Diplomacy Division, MOFA; First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Australia; Counselor, Embassy of Japan in Russia; Counselor, Embassy of Japan in Canada; Director, International Science Cooperation Division, MOFA; Director, Western Europe Division, MOFA; Professor, Tohoku University; Minister, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Vietnam; Minister, Permanent Mission of Japan in Vienna.

Consul General Yanagi has a B.A. from Tokyo University (Faculty of Law) and a BA and MA from Oxford University, Worcester College (Philosophy, Politics and Economics).


On August 1, 2016, the Government of Japan officially appointed Mr. James Satoshi Kanki as the Honorary Consul of Japan in Kansas City.

Honorary Consuls of Japan represent Japan in various jurisdictions. Their responsibilities include providing consultation and support for Japanese nationals, facilitating close relationships with Japan-related organizations and promoting a better understanding of Japan.

Members of the Heart of America Japan-America Society know that Jim Kanki is extremely deserving of this appointment. As life members, he and his wife Lydia have served in numerous board and committee roles. During the 2016 Shinnenkai celebration, Jim was recognized with a Special Commendation by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Sponsors and Contributors

The Greater Kansas City Japan Festival Committee thanks all of our very generous contributors who make our Festival a reality. Without their financial support it would not be possible to hold this great event for the Greater Kansas City area.

Festival Co-Sponsor

Johnson County Community College

Yokozuna Sumo Grand Master

Molle Automotive Group

Ozeki Sumo Grand Master

Consulate General of Japan at Chicago

Marshall V. Miller, Miller & Company, P.C.


Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts

Komusubi Sumo Grand Champion

Asian American Chamber of Commerce

Francis and Charlene Lemery


TYR Energy

Maegashira Sumo Grand Champion

Aikijuku Dojo
Center for East Asian Studies KU

Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Kawasaki Motors Mfg. Co.
Benny Lee

Panasonic Energy
Jo and Yoshiko Yamanaka

Juryo Sumo Champion

Jim and Lydia Kanki
Kansas City Japanese School

KC Japan Circle Sakura
Denny and Patti Kurogi
Gabriel and Natsumi Rebeck

Bob and Kazuyo Rumbach
Masami and Eunice Willis

Makushita Sumo Champion

David Albrecht and Laura O’Brien
Pegeen and John Blank
Ryan Block
Ruth Chiga
Jane Drury and Russ Amos
Julie Elfving
Michiko Gross
Chris Haden
Nicholas Hoyt

Darlene Jones
Carolyn Kadel
Terry Kipper
David and Hiromi Lessmann
John Matthews
Ryan and Meghan May
Atsuki Mori and David Kreiner
Catherine Browder Morris
Minako and Douglas Oliver
Carole Owsley

Martin and Kyoko Peters
Hideko Schackmann
Pradeep and Haruko Shukla
Howard Snyder
South KC Shotokan Karate Dojo
Sachie Stroder
Roy and Maki True
Doug and Beth Viehland
Patty Woods and Mickey Coalwell
Stephen and Tami Woodsmall


Suzanne Baker
Betty Birzer
Hiroko Bray
Mitsue Clevenger
Jo Anne Gibson-Lucas and Gary Lucas
Joyce Gillespie
Kaoru Harvey
Mary Head and Donald Watkins

Sadako Kimes
Patricia A. Knott
Noriko Lowell
Angelena Mahalingam
Linda McCurry
Deb Mitchell
Kenji and Peggy Oba
Byron and Kate Pendleton
Deepak and Rohini Phadke


Mahendra Rupani
Michael and Leslie Sciolaro
Chris Steineger and Shari Wilson
Vivian Swafford
Walter and Kaye Thompson
Chris and Mayumi Wagner
Karen Whitlow and John Neal
Ryoko Yamanaka