With the heavy beat of drums, the delicate motions of dance, and much kampai — the Japanese toast, banzai — all around, the Venice Japanese Community Center welcomed in The Year of the Rooster during the center’s annual Shinnen Enkai and Keiro Kai.

Each year, the January event draws local community center members and leaders of the Japanese community in the Los Angeles area to the local Japanese community center at 12448 Braddock Drive in the Del Rey area.

Gary Uyeno recited the solemn skukugin — a celebratory poem that is a tradition of the new year event at the center.

The Venice Japanese Community Center uses the annual event to install new officers for the coming year. Again this year, former Assemblyman George Nakano was the installing officer.

John Ikegami will serve as center president and other officers include Jun Oyama, executive vice president; Sharon Aratani, treasurer; and Robert Kawano, chairman of the board.

The public will have an opportunity to see the Japanese dancing, drum beating and exhibits of Japanese bonsai plants, penmanship and swords when the center holds its annual public festival in the summer.

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