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Yo! Mural: Happi Coat Patterns

Happi coat, happy life - that’s how the saying goes, right? Check out some happi coat patterns designed by several of our talented friends in honor of obon season!

Yo! Mural is an ongoing art series that sources work of all mediums from our community around a given theme. Through this series, Yo! Magazine hopes to showcase talent, share inspiration, and encourage dialogue.

During obon festival season, I see the happi coat as an emblem of Japanese American heritage.

It’s not as traditional as the full kimono or yukata, but instead a gentle nod to Japanese culture as an identifier of one’s involvement in a community organization, church, basketball team, or taiko group, with a coordinated outfit to reflect one’s own personal style. 

In the “young adult” demographic, you’ve seen it at obons on guys paired with khaki or basketball shorts, a t-shirt or tank underneath, maybe a cap, and a footwear choice of slippers, Vans, or Nike Air Max. You’ve seen it on girls styled with denim shorts or leggings paired with some Converse or slippers. You’ve seen it on moms paired with shorts or cropped capris, strappy sandals/slippers or athletic shoes, some sort of hair piece or visor, and a crossbody bag/purse to hold food/drink tickets, your kachikachi, etc. And you already know what I think JA dads would be wearing. 

For all intents and purposes, it’s safe to say that the happi coat is an obon classic. But who’s to say classics can’t be jazzed up? Enter stage left: a handful of talented and artistic friends in our Yo! Magazine network. We asked them to contribute a unique happi coat design and they did not disappoint. Be sure to check out all of their designs, read a bit about each of the contributors, and let us know which ones you loved!


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Article featured in this issue:
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
June 27, 2020

No, we don't mean Christmas. For many Japanese Americans, the food, friendships, and frivolities found at cultural festivals across the country make summertime the most wonderful time of the year.

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“Isn’t It Good?”: How an Obon Dance was Created for Community

"Ei Ja Nai Ka" is a popular obon dance loved by many, but unlike other dances, it's not directly from Japan. Learn more about how PJ Hirabayashi of San Jose Taiko created the dance to be for the Japanese American community.

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Yo! Mural: Happi Coat Patterns

Happi coat, happy life - that’s how the saying goes, right? Check out some happi coat patterns designed by several of our talented friends in honor of obon season!

Read More >>

The Christian Conundrum of Obon

The Buddhist origins of obon festivals pose a predicament for some Christians, noted as being in conflict with their religious beliefs, while others view them simply as a cultural event to celebrate Japanese American heritage.

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Letting Go: A Short Story

The intense and passionate dancers found in the bon odori circles (you know who we're talking about) are true obon legends. Dance on!

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The Japanese summer festival season has a lot more to offer than obon. Learn more about the various food and fun-filled events that are held throughout Japan every summer.

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Ultimate Obon Food Bracket

We've created the ultimate obon food bracket for you to download and enjoy with friends and family. We hope this bracket brings you joy and reminds you of the delicious tastes of obon.

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How One of the Largest Obons Celebrates at Home

This year, many temples and community centers are faced with the big challenge of capturing the spirit of obons and matsuris while at home. San Jose Obon's committee member Matt Ogawa shares how the largest obon in North America transitioned to having "Obon@Home."

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An Icy Treat to Beat the Summer Heat

No shaved ice machine? No problem! You can make granita.

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