Youko and Kazuma Yamamoto will host a Bon Odori Dance Festival for Peace Photo Exhibition, 2011-2017 at The Lace Mill, 165 Cornell Street, Kingston, from January 5 to 31. The opening reception is January 6 from 4-7 p.m. in the West Gallery as part of Kingston’s First Saturday. Displayed photos commemorate peace efforts against nuclear war and promote advocacy of nuclear-free energy consumption.

During the month of August, Japanese citizens observe two events: “Genbaku-Kinenbi” and “Obon.” On August 6, Genbaku-Kinenbi is the Atomic Bomb Memorial Day for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks during World War II. From August 13-16, Obon welcomes home ancestors and rekindles family ties.“Bon-Odori” is the dance festival held within small communities during that time.

In 2008, after opening their restaurant Gomen-Kudasai in New Paltz, NY, the Yamamoto’s began protesting the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings with newletters and meetings. They created peaceful energy by putting out lanterns along the street as a form of remembrance, and meditated with like-minded people. After the Fukushima power plant meltdown in 2011, the couple organized a movement that would combine meditative practices and advocacy under one event, the Bon-Odori Dance Festival for Peace. The couple now hosts the annual dance festival in Kingston and coordinates fundraisers to help pay for event equipment, food, drink, and related expenses. The photo exhibitions are free and open to the public; freewill donations benefit the 2018 Bon Odori Dance Festival for Peace.

“I began organizing Bon-Odori Dance Festival to share and heal everyone from the reality of radiation disasters. I believe now is the time to reflect on how nuclear [energy] effects our present and future generations,” says Youko Yamamoto. “We are not content to be victims. We refuse to wait for an immediate fiery end or the slow poisoning of our world. We refuse to sit idly in terror as the so-called great powers take us past nuclear dusk and bring us recklessly close to nuclear midnight. We rise up. We share our stories of survival. We say: humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist.”

Guest parking available on South Manor Street and Progress Avenue.

For more information or a private showing, e-mail  Youko Yamamoto or visit BonOdoriKingston on Facebook.