In 2017 we’re delighted to welcome back some old favourites, as well as introducing new performers our annual celebration of Japan in the UK.
|Japan Matsuri Song “IBUKI” with Suzuki Naomi
Get ready to dance to the Japan Matsuri Song “IBUKI” with UK-based Japanese singer Suzuki Naomi! This year’s dancers were selected from the general public. See if you can spot your friend on stage!
|Mikoshi Procession & Bon Festival Dance: Students from Teikyo School
In true Japanese festival tradition, students of the Teikyo Japanese School parade the mikoshi, a portable shrine topped with a phoenix, around the festival site. Listen out for the impassioned cries of ‘Washoi! Washoi!’ On the Main Stage, the students will demonstrate bon odori, the Bon Festival Dance, where they form a circle and dance in a lively way together with traditional Japanese folk songs.
|Eisa Dance: Children of the London Bunka Yochien
Firm favourites at Japan Matsuri, the children, aged 2 to 6 years old, (and parents) of the London Japanese Cultural Nursery School perform the Eisa dance of Okinawa; with miniature drums! It doesn’t get any cuter than this – a true Japan Matsuri highlight. www.londonbunka.com
|Japanese Women’s Choir The Green Chorus
Founded in 1986, London’s very own Japanese women’s choir is well established and takes great pride in performing a variety of genres including world classical music, and Japanese songs both traditional and modern.
|Mimasu Monnosuke – KYOKUGOMA JUGGLER
MIMASU Monnosuke is a Kyokugoma (literally, ‘spinning tops’) performer whose art was initially a form of entertainment for the aristocracy yet gradually became popular amongst Japan’s large urban populations during the Edo period (17th – 19th centuries). Kyokugoma includes spinning tops on swords, strings, fans, and kimono. Nowadays, the skills required for making the variety of colourful spinning tops Monnosuke-san uses are limited to only a small number of craftsmen.
|Okinaya Wasuke – DAIKAGURA JUGGLER
OKINAYA Wasuke is a Daikagura performer, particularly of balancing tricks. Daikagura has its roots in the ceremonial music and dance performed in Shinto shrines. During the Edo period (17th – 19th centuries), however, these shrine rituals developed into a set of performing arts including dance, juggling, music and comic theatre. Wasuke-san regularly appears at yose theatres, providing entertainment between Rakugo acts. www.daikagura.org/prof_wasuke.html
Katsura Sunshine, Japanese Traditional Rakugo Comic Storyteller, will participate in Japan Matsuri for the first time and sing for you a famous Japanese song! Also, don’t miss his art of Rakugo comedy at Leicester Square Theatre from 30 September to 15 October, 2017. http://katsurasunshine.com
|SOAS Min’yo Group
The SOAS Min’yo Group comprises Japanese folk song (min’yo) devotees who meet regularly at SOAS, University of London, to practise singing, instruments and some folk dancing. Launched in 2012 by David Hughes, a Japanese music specialist at SOAS, it welcomes members of all nationalities. See
www.facebook.com/SOASMinyo and soasminyo.wordpress.com
|JSD Dance Crew
JSD Crew is a kids’ street dance crew based in Acton Town. They practise every Sunday at Acton High school with Shala. Enjoy their energetic performance and feel their passion for dance!
|British Suzuki Institute Violin Ensemble
The Suzuki Method of teaching music is one of Japan’s most far-reaching cultural exports. The stage will be filled with violins, with students as young as 5 performing. www.britishsuzuki.org.uk
The Hibiki Ensemble was formed in 2003 by two musicians who taught Japanese music at SOAS, Kitamura Keiko and Michael Soumei Coxall. They perform music from both the traditional and classical repertoires, to contemporary pieces, using the expressive textures of the 13-stringed koto, the shamisen, voice and the shakuhachi to capture the rich landscape of Japanese music. The ensemble aims to bring this music to a wider audience, with solo and ensemble performances throughout Japan, Europe and beyond.
|Japanese Samurai Selection (J.S.S)
J.S.S. is a Japanese traditional martial arts show, combined with contemporary music and art forms from across Japanese culture. The performance contains dance, acrobatics, action and acting. The music is the theme song to the film ‘Kimi No Na Wa’, or, ‘Your Name’. The performance is an attempt to encapsulate the film using martial arts in a song just a few minutes long. The performers are Miyamoto Hiroshi (a member of SIRO-A), David Cheung (a Hollywood film stunt man) and Suzuki Naomi.
|London Okinawa Sanshinkai
The London Okinawa Sanshinkai is a collection of people who are enthusiastic about Okinawan folk and classical music and traditional dance. Amongst the members are Okinawans, mainland Japanese, and people from several other nationalities. We play and teach Okinawan folk and classical music and traditional dance using the sanshin (a 3-stringed lute), taiko (stick drums), samba (like a castanet) and sometimes other instruments like the koto (Japanese zither) and fue (flute).
|“Mitsuko Coudenhove” by Tsumura Reijiro
Noh theatre actor Tsumura Reijiro fuses the Noh aesthetic tradition with contemporary ballet and piano. The work “Mitsuko Coudenhove” is based on the story of the Japanese lady who became Countess of Coudenhove-Kalergi.
|Tanaka Hiroko Nihon Buyo Group
Nihon Buyo, or Japanese Dance, is a dance form refined and developed over four centuries. It contains influences from Kabuki theatre dance, Noh theatre, Japanese folk dance and a mixture of European and American cultural trends found in Japan today. The group is led by Tanaka Hiroko, a Wakayagi-ryu dance teacher who has been dancing nearly 70 years.
|Tsugaru Shamisen Ichikawa Hibiki with DJ TAKAKI 津軽三味線・一川響 ＋ DJ TAKAKI
A collaborative performance between the UK’s only professional Tsugaru Shamisen player Ichikawa Hibiki and one of Japan’s leading DJs, DJ TAKAKI. The first half of the performance will see Ichikawa Hibiki and his students perform as an ensemble, and traditional Japanese folk songs will be performed with London-based enka singer Akari Mochizuki. The second half sees traditional Japanese instruments fuse with modern music with DJ TAKAKI.
|Fusion Japanese Folk Art with Suzuki Yoshitaka
Fusion Japanese Folk Art is performed by Suzuki Yoshitaka, who was born in Akita, Japan. Now based in Amsterdam, he has performed around the world for over 15 years. This is his first appearance at the Japan Matsuri. http://yoshitakasuzuki.com
|Hirota Joji & London Taiko Drummers
The mighty thunder of huge taiko drums. Intricate and fascinating rhythms and soundscapes take us from traditional rhythms through to melodic drumming. www.jojihirota.com
|Okinawan Traditional Goju-ryu Karate-do 沖縄剛柔流空手道
Japanese karate originated in the southern islands of Okinawa and the aim of the association is the transmission of Okinawan Goju-ryu Karate-do as taught by the founder Miyagi Chojun Bushi (1888–1953). Under the guidance of Master Higaonna Morio 10th Dan, members feel privileged to train in Okinawa and around Europe annually. Sensei George Andrews 8th Dan IOGKF has been training for 45 years and teaches not only in this country but around the world. www.otgka.co.uk
|Wakaba Kendo Club 若葉剣道クラブ
Founded in 1993, Wakaba Kendo Club is the largest children’s kendo dojo in London, with about 40 registered students aged between five and eighteen years. In Japanese, Wakaba means ‘new shoots’ of a plant or tree and careful cultivation of the young students’ development requires dedicated, experienced and qualified instructors. www.wakabakendo.org
|London Aikikai ロンドン合気会
London Aikikai was founded in 1968 by T K Chiba 8th Dan and is London’s main Aikido dojo. It is officially recognized by the Akikido World Headquarters and has high-ranking instructors. Aikido is a modern martial art rooted in ancient martial and spiritual disciplines. It works by applying holds, locks and throws through the coordination of mind and body.www.londonaikikai.com
|London Kyudo Society 倫敦弓道ソサエティ
When the bow became obsolete as a weapon in Japan, the spiritual aspect of archery was developed as a discipline for peace and self-cultivation. Reisetsu – respect for the other, is the foundation for modern Kyudo. “The Way of the Bow” is practised around the globe. The UK was one of the founding members of the European Kyudo Federation and its largest dojo trains in West London every Sunday afternoon.www.kyudo.org.uk