Heading Full Boar Into 2019

The Chinese Zodiac tells us that 2019 is the Year of the Pig.

Some say swine represent filth and greed, but Chinese astrologers are calling 2019 a great year for investment, joy, and friendship. Even though MCCS is starting the year behind the financial 8-ball, we’re going in “full boar” to provide some exciting events to the community.

“I’m really excited about Jabbawockeez this year; it’s going to be a great show. The community is going to enjoy what they have to offer.”
– Caleb Clark, Assistant Special Events Manager

Special Events – Hog Heaven

Our Special Events team brings together many of our most impactful events and activities on the installation. Teaming with Armed Forces Entertainment, we’re looking forward to bringing world-class entertainment to the community.

With the Atago Sports Complex becoming fully operational last year, we’ve expanded our reach into the Japanese community also with events like the Iwakuni Friendship Flea Market which was highly successful last year.


The 2008 America’s Best Dance Crew winners are coming to the Sakura Theater on February 14. Show starts at 7, doors open at 6.

Franky Ballard

On March 27 country music singer Franky Ballard is coming to the Sakura Theater.
Country-blues-rocker Frankie Ballard released his latest album El Rio to critical acclaim and was selected by Rolling Stone as one of the 25 Best Country and Americana albums of 2016 and The Tennessean as one of the best 16 Nashville albums of 2016. The singer songwriter has three number one country hits to date and more than 2.2 million Spotify streams.

Cirque Dreams

Coming early summer to the Sakura Theater.
Since 1993, the Cirque Dreams brand has entertained more than 50 million people worldwide under the artistic direction of founder Neil Goldberg.
Cirque Dreams shows have appeared in theaters, casinos, theme parks, at sea, and on Broadway.

Iwakuni Friendship Flea Market

February 3 at Lotus Cultural Center
This was a popular event with both the US and Japanese communities last year. Our special events team is working to make it an even bigger event this year – preparing for more than 100 U.S. and Japanese vendors. A significant increase from last year’s 40 vendors.

Comic Con

Early October
Riding off the success of last year’s inaugural Iwakuni Comicon, this year promises to be bigger and better, not only with our potential guests but with a bigger venue at the Lotus Cultural Center at the Atago Sports Complex. This new venue allows us to expand our guest list and the potential for more of our Japanese neighbors to enjoy
the event.

What to Expect at Comicon

Long-time Comicon ambassador Steve Bennett to make his return to Iwakuni for the second year in a row.
Cosplay Contests
Group Meet-ups: Star Wars, Pokemon, Harry Potter
Video and Card Gaming Tournaments
Food from Club Iwakuni and Local Vendors

Club Iwakuni – Swine & Dine

“Our events this year provide our community with an opportunity to come together and celebrate with live music and a spirited atmosphere.”
– Cam Mangels, Club Iwakuni

St. Patrick’s Day

March 16
This is a new event for the community to celebrate St. Paddy’s. There will be food and beverages and live traditional Irish music from Orange County-based The American Wake. Slàinte!

Iwakuni Wine Fest

Early Summer
The reimagination of our annual Red, White, & Food event gets a new moniker but brings the same food and beverage as years past with local Jazz music. Kampai!


End of September
Oktoberfest is a great success every year for Club Iwakuni and this year promises to be no less
of a win. Along with craft German beverages and food, expect a possible showing from Tokyo-based German Polka band Woho & Kalendar Band. Prost!

Spring and Fall Bazaar – Break Open the Piggy Bank

The MCCS Iwakuni Spring and Fall Bazaars bring vendors selling everything from kawaii things to tapestries. The Bazaar brings in vendors from the U.S., Japan, China, and Korea.
Marian Orihashi is the Area Services Supervisor for MCCS Iwakuni and is the lead on all things Bazaar, “Americans are very interested in Japanese art and culture, so for most Americans who are new to Iwakuni the Bazaar gives them a taste of that.” The Spring Bazaar is April 13-14 and the Fall Bazaar is October 12-13.

Kanji Company & the History of Kanji

One of the mainstays at our Bazaars is Mr. Tadaaki Kunimoto from the Kanji Company in Nagano City. Give him your family name, and he’ll beautifully script it in kanji, a souvenir from Iwakuni worth taking back to the states.
Kanji as a part of the Japanese language has a storied past. Kanji originated in China and made its way to Japan through imported goods. Between the 4th and 5th Century, Chinese characters were added into the Japanese language as a modified version called kanbun that became a system based off sounds, or man’yōgana. Monastery students then simplified man’yōgana into a kana script, commonly known as kanji. In the past, kanji was used to attribute Chinese pronunciation with Japanese words. This is why there are two pronunciations, onyomi (Chinese) and kunyomi (Japanese).
Today, however, kanji are used as characters that correspond to a word. They are also used to write nouns, verbs, and adjectives. The Japanese choose the Chinese characters based on the verbal pronunciation, not the actual meaning. For example, the Chinese word spoken as Yama, the Japanese word for mountain, was used as kanji although in Chinese it did not correlate to the Japanese meaning. Kanji was later changed to have the same meaning as their Chinese origins but was still pronounced the same.

Semper Fit – Bringin’ Home the Bacon

Semper Fit is the cornerstone of fitness for us. Our community of servicemembers, dependents, our Japanese counterparts, and everything in between normally come together under the banner of sports and competition. Our big events for 2019 are centered around running, and the Japanese population is just as excited to come on and compete with our community.

MCAS Iwakuni Marathon/Half Marathon
April 7

MCAS Iwakuni Triathalon
September 15

2019 Special Olympics

Semper Fit assists with the Special Olympics every year. It’s a field day for those with special needs and is open to all personnel (U.S. and Japanese) from kids to adults.
Last year’s competitions had over 120 competitors and 130 volunteers. The volunteers consisted of servicemembers and non- uniformed personnel.
Events include soccer, tennis, biking, disc golf, and bowling. The community is always welcome to either participate or spectate. This year’s event is in October.

“To help facilitate interaction with the Japanese, we make our events a joint endeavor.
We’re always looking to move more of our events up to the Atago Sports Complex to achieve this.”
– Curtis Brown, Chief of Semper Fit, MCCS Iwakuni

SMP – The Whole Hog in Community Service

The Single Marine Program’s 5th Annual Days of Service is April 15-19. This is a week of community relations bridging the cultural gap between our servicemembers and the Japanese community. This year is on point
to be as impactful as years past with Marine Lounge Manager, Oana Ivanoff saying, “We’re going to go big or go home.”

This year’s schedule includes three days of cleanups and a picnic with residents from a Japanese nursing home. The final day culminates with on-base off- base cleanups and a BBQ where servicemembers are recognized for their volunteer work.

“I enjoyed volunteering at the SMP Days of Service in 2018. It felt great just seeing the community come together as a whole and build further relations with the citizens
of Iwakuni, Japan, servicemembers aboard MCAS Iwakuni, contractors, and government employees. It really shows that we are all in this together.”
– Sgt Christian Morales, MCAS Iwakuni S6

Days of Service Breakdown

Monday, April 15: Oshima Clean Up
Tuesday, April 16: Yuu Beach Clean up
Wednesday, April 17: Kintai Bridge Area Clean up
Thursday, April 18: Picnic with Japanese Nursing Home Residents – This event includes a bento lunch in Kiko Park along with music and dancing with both the residents and servicemembers.
Friday, April 19: The week comes together with food, fun, more cleanups, and recognition of the top three volunteers from the previous year.

“I think more than anything, volunteering is more than just cleaning up. It’s combining our families together, getting to know each other through working side by side and hand in hand. That’s what makes volunteering worth it, the heart that we all put into it.”
– Sgt Emma Keppler, Vice President, Single Marine Program

Marine & Family Programs – The Squeal Deal

Iwakuni Expo
September at the Club Iwakuni Ballroom
Expect on and off-base organizations and vendors
from Yamaguchi and Shimane Prefectures with staff members present to provide information about the resources and services they offer to the community.
There will also be various performances and demonstrations from the community. In addition, MCCS Human Resources will have a job fair and conduct on the spot interviews. Open to all SOFA Status Personnel, JMSDF, MLC/IHA and their families.

Mini Marine Corps & Navy Ball
October at the Club Iwakuni Ballroom, open to ages 5-12
Experience a unique and authentic Marine Corps and
Navy Ball event. Receive a curbside escort by active duty personnel, take memorable photos, learn about the Marine and Navy ceremony traditions in addition to enjoying food and music with peers.


Our community has dealt with its fair share of tragedy in the last few months, but it’s our resilience that keeps us moving forward. It’s our ability to pull together as a family when times are tough that help us maintain our edge.
MCAS Iwakuni is the stepping off point for our men and women in uniform in this region and no matter how dark the night, our support capabilities are what lend to that strength and military might. That support is tied tightly together with awareness within the community. Behavioral Health has plenty to keep the community involved this year.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
Color Me Aware Run
Month of the Military Child
National Child Abuse Prevention Month
National Military Spouse Appreciation Day
Friday Before Mother’s Day
National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Red Ribbon Week

Show commitment to our servicemembers mission readiness. The Color Me Aware Run is represented by colors to raise March awareness for five important causes that can be mission readiness detractors:
Substance Abuse
Child Abuse Prevention
Domestic Violence Prevention
Suicide Prevention
Sexual Assault Prevention
Breast Cancer Awareness
Teen Dating Violence Awareness