Ambassador Mikio Mori spoke to The Natural Aristocrat® about Japan Parade 2023 in New York City, Grand Marshal Kristi Yamaguchi, the ‘Naruto 2.5D Live Spectacle’ performance, and NYC’s Japan Street Fair.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT (NIR REGEV): What are the biggest challenges of hosting the Japan Parade in New York City?
AMBASSADOR MIKIO MORI: The biggest challenge for us is to have a sunny, good day on the 13th of May when we operate.
But in fact, there are various factors we have to look into. Starting with permission to use the road. How do we gather spectators safely? And of course, food safety, hygiene and everything we have to check as far as vendors are concerned.
Having over 90 groups of people, who are marching with us. How do we organize these things? We have days and months of preparation for this.
But in the end, when we see everything is all organized and a success, we will be very happy.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Are there certain lessons you took away from last year’s Japan Parade experience?
AMBASSADOR MIKIO MORI: Of course, there’s a hundred things we learned from last year’s experience.
Last year of course, was the first time the Japanese community had a parade in New York City. We knew nothing about a parade back then.
But based on last year’s experience, we’ve been able to make it better, make it bigger, and make it more fun!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: What goes into selecting a Grand Marshal? Is there a particular criteria you look for?
AMBASSADOR MIKIO MORI: Well, we have looked into various options, dignitaries, performers, TV stars and movie stars, everybody really. But we primarily look for somebody who has a very in-depth connection with the Japanese community, such as George Takei (* last year’s Japan Parade Grand Marshal).
Who’s very well known to both the American and Japanese community.
I think the nomination of Kristi Yamaguchi is phenomenal. I believe we have the best Grand Marshal for the second time!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: How did Kristi Yamaguchi first react when you contacted her to be Grand Marshal?
AMBASSADOR MIKIO MORI: She said, “Wow, it’s her honor!” And we felt honored when she accepted the offer.
So we are both very happy and she’s very much determined now to go forward with us on May 13th.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: What’s your favorite Japan Street Fair activity and food?
AMBASSADOR MIKIO MORI: Well, I like everything! (laughs) But just like American kids, I like ramen or sushi or tempura, everything.
But what is special for this street fair is we do serve something Japanese people are usually having at home or at the shops.
Not necessarily high class, omakase sushi restaurant. But just like today (April 21, 2023) we are sampling some of the street fair foods upstairs, like Tori Nanban.
These are things Japanese people eat daily. So please enjoy what Japanese people are having when you go to the Street Fair.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: What can Japan Parade attendees expect from the 2.5D “NARUTO” live performance?
AMBASSADOR MIKIO MORI: Naruto is a fantastic choice, I believe. We have hundreds of million people in the world who like Naruto.
These 2.5D performers, kindly accepted to come to New York to perform on the float. This is unprecedented and I believe will draw the attention of many of the spectators on the day.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Thank you, Mr. Ambassador!
AMBASSADOR MIKIO MORI: Thank you very much!
– You can also watch this interview with Ambassador Mikio Mori on YouTube! Be sure to comment and let your voice be heard below:
About Japan Parade:
“The 2nd Annual Japan Parade will take place on Central Park West from 81st Street to 67th Street on Saturday, May 13th, beginning at 1:00 pm with the opening ceremony from 12:30 pm. Olympic gold medalist, author, and Always Dream Founder Kristi Yamaguchi will serve as this year’s Grand Marshal.
This year’s parade will also feature a live performance by the cast of the 2.5-Dimensional show from Japan, Live Spectacle “NARUTO”. We are also seeking the attendance of senior representatives of NYC for the parade’s opening ceremony.
Alongside the Japan Parade, the Japan Street Fair will be held on West 72nd Street, and will feature activities including calligraphy, water balloon yo-yo fishing, origami, photo opportunities, and a giveaway.
Also at the street fair, JAPAN Fes will be organizing over 20 tents serving authentic Japanese food, nearly doubling the number of tents from last year.
Participating groups include Anime NYC (Anime Convention), COBU (Drum), Harlem Japanese Gospel Choir, International Karate Organization Kyokushinkaikan, The Japanese Folk Dance of NY,Katsura Sunshine (Rakugo Comedian), Midori & Friends (Music Education Group), Soh Daiko (Drum), TATE Hatoryu NY (Sword Fighting), Yosakoi Dance Project 10tecomai, Young People’s Chorus of NYC, and many more.”
– Learn more about the parade at the official Japan Parade NYC website.
– Be sure to read our interview with George Takei on being Japan Parade’s inaugural Grand Marshal!
Visit the NYC Local News section for exclusive event coverage, including photos & videos on the scene, interviews, and much more!