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.

2023 Festival

Saturday, October 7th, 2023
10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. 

  • Adults: $20
  • Students: $15 with proper ID
  • Children 6 to 13: $10
  • Children 5 and under: Free!

Special Presale Ticket Discount: Buy your tickets online prior to 10/6/23 and receive $5 off your ticket price. Online ticketing coming soon!


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 2022 GKCJF will be the sixteenth festival held on the campus of Johnson County Community College.


Consul General Hiroshi Tajima is currently the Consul-General of Japan in Chicago. Until August 2021, he was Deputy Assistant Minister / Deputy Director-General of Economic Affairs Bureau and Foreign Policy Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan. He also held the title of Ambassador in charge of Economic Diplomacy and Senior Official of Japan for APEC.

Previously he was Counsellor (Foreign Policy) at the Cabinet Secretariat, Office of Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan in charge of overall foreign policy. Before returning to Japan, he was Minister (Economic) at the Embassy of Japan in Moscow from 2015 to 2018.

Since joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1989, he has held numerous positions, including Director of the Economic Policy Division, Consular Policy Division, Southwest Asia Division, Central Asia and Caucasus Division and Southeast Asia Economic Partnership Agreement Division, as well as Legal Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations in New York. During 2008 and 2015, he was Official Interpreter to His Majesty the Emperor.

He also served in the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty Division, Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement Division, and National Security Policy Division dealing with National Security issues as well as divisions dealing with foreign affairs with Western European countries and economic relations with North America in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

His first overseas assignment was in the Embassy of Japan in the United Kingdom.

Consul General Tajima has a B.A. in Economics, Keio University, Japan and a M.A. in Politics and Economics, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.


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
Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts
Marshall V. Miller Family Fund
United Instruments, Inc.

Komusubi Sumo Grand Champion

Agrex, Inc.
Asian American Chamber of Commerce
Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Francis and Charlene Lemery
TYR Energy

Maegashira Sumo Grand Champion

Aikijuku Dojo
Capitol Federal Foundation
Center for East Asian Studies KU
Kawasaki Motors Mfg. Corp USA
Jo and Yoshiko Yamanaka

Juryo Sumo Champion

Jim and Lydia Kanki
Kansas City Japanese School
KC Japan Circle Sakura
Denny and Patti Kurogi
Benny Lee
Lighton Fund
Gabriel Rebeck
Bob and Kazuyo Rumbach
Masami and Eunice Willis

Makushita Sumo Champion

David Albrecht and Laura O’Brien
Ryan Block
Michael and Melinda Burke
Ruth Chiga
Jane Drury and Russ Amos
Yumi Foster
Chris Haden
Susan Ikazaki
Terry Kipper
David and Hiromi Lessmann
Rosalyn Lucas
John Matthews
Ryan and Meghan May
Larry and Cindy Meeker
Ann Modrcin
Atsuki Mori and David Kreiner
Kazushi Okada
Minako and Douglas Oliver
Carole Owsley
Mark Saito
Hideko Schackmann
Pradeep and Haruko Shukla
South KC Shotokan Karate Dojo
Howard Snyder
Sachie Stroder
Roy and Mari True
Patty Woods and Mickey Coalwell
Stephen and Tami Woodsmall


Yael Abouhalkah and Beci Bosley
Suzanne Baker
Hiroko Bray
Mitsue Clevenger
Miyako K. Fraley
Ryan, Kotoko, Luca & Shannon Grass
Kaoru Harvey
Nobuko Kawase
Sadako Kimes
Patricia A. Knott
Noriko Lowell
Angelena Mahalingam
Deb Mitchell
Catherine Browder Morris
Kenji and Peggy Oba
Martin and Kyoko Peters
Deepak and Rohini Phadke
Mahendra Rupani
Michael and Leslie Sciolaro
Vivian Swafford
Kaye and Walt Thompson
Gary Uchiyama
Karen Whitlow and John Neal
Ryoko Yamanaka