Iwakuni City celebrates 63rd Iwakuni Matsuri

U.S. Marines from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni and local Japanese volunteers pose for a group photo during the 63rd Iwakuni Matsuri parade in Iwakuni City, Japan, Oct. 20, 2019. The Iwakuni Matsuri Festival is an annual festival and parade that features the local community and local organizations coming together to promote safety and development in the city. (Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Triton Lai)
U.S. Marines from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni and local Japanese volunteers pose for a group photo during the 63rd Iwakuni Matsuri parade in Iwakuni City, Japan, Oct. 20, 2019. The Iwakuni Matsuri Festival is an annual festival and parade that features the local community and local organizations coming together to promote safety and development in the city. (Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Triton Lai)

Iwakuni City celebrates 63rd Iwakuni Matsuri

by Lance Cpl. Triton Lai
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni

U.S. Marine Corps Col. Lance Lewis, commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni and Marines and sailors from Marine Corps Station Iwakuni attended the 63rd Iwakuni Matsuri Festival in Iwakuni City, Japan, Oct. 20, 2019.

The Iwakuni Matsuri Festival is held to promote safety and development within Iwakuni. Over the past four years residents from MCAS Iwakuni have volunteered to be a part of the parade that takes place at the end of the festival.

Marine and sailor participants dressed up in festival costumes and marched in the parade alongside the local Japanese community; one of those Marines was U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Emma Keppler, meterology and oceanography analyst forecaster and SMP vice president with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron.

“This is one of my favorite volunteer events,” said Keppler. “It’s more than going out to help the community, it’s about being a part of it. We get to be a part of their culture and they get to share that experience and those memories with us.”

Yoshihiko Fukuda, mayor of Iwakuni City, participated in the parade, gave a speech during the event and threw rice cakes to a crowd of U.S. Marines from MCAS Iwakuni and local Japanese volunteers.

The festival had many opportunities for Marine and Navy volunteers to experience all that Iwakuni has to offer. It had street vendors that had different varieties of food, goods for purchase, and booths to enjoy such as face painting and Japanese calligraphy. There were also people walking through the streets playing music and dancing.

Once the street festival wrapped up, the community gathered for the parade which was the main event that brought the residents from the air station and the local community together.

“The festival is important because this is our home,” said Lewis. “We aren’t just neighbors or people who are at the air station. Iwakuni is our home and this is a festival for the town so this is our festival as well.”

Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Okinawa
Stripes Korea
Stripes Guam

Recommended Content