PROGRAMME 2019

Japan Matsuri welcomes everyone with many exciting events throughout the day.
There will be two performance areas – the main stage and martial arts stage,
as well as a family activity tent including manga, calligraphy, and origami.
And of course, stalls providing information, Japanese goods and delicious Matsuri food!

SPECIAL

Teikyo School and Volunteers
Mikoshi Procession
No Japanese Matsuri is complete without a procession of a portable shrine known as a mikoshi. This year, and authentic mikoshi will be carried around the square by members from the Teikyo school and volunteers. Don’t miss them at 10:50 and 11:50!

MAIN STAGE

Iwami Kagura
Otsu Kagura Troupe
A not to be missed rare opportunity to experience the wonder of ancient Shinto theatrical entertainment in the heart of London!
Kagura is a form of theatrical entertainment dedicated to the deities of Japanese mythology. Iwami Kagura itself is a form of kagura native to the Iwami region of Shimane Prefecture in Japan. It has history stretching back around 300 years and is performed mostly during the annual celebrations of shrines in the autumn, in dedication to the deities and to pray for an abundant harvest throughout the year. Travelling from Japan especially for Japan Matsuri, the Otsu Kagura Troupe, brought by the Japan Foundation, will be performing Orochi, in what promises to be the highlight of the festival!

The Story of Orochi (The Giant Serpent)
Susano’o, the male deity of the sea and storm, descended from heaven to the headwaters of Hii River in Izumo province and saw an elderly couple and their daughter grieving. They told him seven of their daughters had already been devoured year after year by an eight-headed and eight-tailed giant serpent named Orochi, and that Orochi was coming for their one last daughter, Princess Inada. The deity had no choice but to try to intervene to save the old couple’s final daughter….
The serpent signifies a flood and the story conveys the strife humans experience with natural disasters. The 17-meter-long serpent bodies are made of bamboo and Sekishu washi, a UNESCO-listed Japanese paper. In this most popular play of Iwami Kagura, the realistic movements of undulating serpents is a great spectacle; as though the world of Japanese mythology unfolds before the audience’s very eyes.
ICHI
ICHI was born in Nagoya and redefines what is possible as a one man band. In a performance that has to be seen to be believed, using his own unique and wonderful homemade instruments and incorporating toys and everyday objects into his performance, he creates a sound that is ‘Hilarious & Bonkers & Brilliant’ in the words of Radio presenter Lauren Laverne. This euphoric and eclectic performance will delight people of all ages; a performance not to be missed!
Joji Hirota &The London Taiko Drummers
Joji Hirota & The London Taiko Drummers return to Japan Matsuri to fill the square with the mighty thunder of huge taiko drums. Joji’s intricate and fascinating rhythms and soundscape take us from traditional rhythms through to melodic drumming. No matsuri is complete without taiko drumming, and the echoes of the drums will be heard across the square and beyond during this unmissable performance!

Hasiken

Hasiken’s ‘Uta’ -songs- music of Okinawa, Amami, Japan
In 1993 Hasiken studied traditional folk songs in Okinawa and made his major debut in 1995, going on to release more than 20 albums in Japan. He has been serving as the tourism ambassador of Amami Oshima since 2006 and will touch your heart with the unique, lighthearted sound of songs from Okinawa!

Okinawa Sanshinkai / Kenjinkai and Sonda Seinenkai Eisa Group

Members of the famous Sonda Seinenkai Eisa group have travelled all the way from Okinawa to perform with the London Okinawa Sanshinkai at Japan Matsuri 2019.

 

The Sonda Seinenkai originally taught Eisa to members of the London Okinawa Sanshinkai over ten years ago. With the support of the Okinawan Prefectural government, this is the first time they have visited since then so this really is a unique opportunity.

 

During August in Okinawa groups perform Eisa. Eisa features drum dancing and hand dancing to a suite of songs performed live by Jikata, who play the Sanshin and sing in the Okinawan language. The Sonda Seinenkai are possibly the most illustrious Eisa group in Okinawa, having won the Okinawa Eisa contest a record number 7 times in 21 years.

Hibiki Ichikawa & Akari Mochizuki
Tsugaru Shamisen/Music from Japan featuring Calligrapher Kisen Kuzuya
The versatility of the Tsugaru Shamisen will astound listeners as Hibiki and Akari perform music from Japan including solo shamisen performance and pieces with singing accompaniments. This year the performance will feature a collaboration with special guest, calligrapher Kisen Kuzuya!
Hibiki Ichikawa is the only professional player of Tsugaru Shamisen in the whole of Europe. Akari Mochizuki is the only Enka (Japanese blues) singer in the UK.
Yosakoi London – Temuzu
Yosakoi London – Temuzu is a yosakoi dance group based in London. Yosakoi is a highly energetic Japanese dance style – a modern take on the traditional summer dance of Awa Odori. It started in Kōchi in 1954 and since then it has become very popular throughout Japan; spreading to all corners of the globe! No festival is complete without high energy dancing, and new members are always welcome: https://www.yosakoilondon.co.uk/
Hiroko Tanaka Nihon Buyo Group
Refined and elegant, Nihon buyō is a dance form that has been improved throughout four centuries. Influenced by four major dance forms, Kabuki, Noh, Folk Dance, and Western Dance, Nihon Buyo has taken on an entirely unique character. The grace and intention of the movements are a delight to watch.
O-HA-YA-SHI Couple“Reiwa” Group
Shishimaiodori – “Lion Dance”
Founded in 2003 as a 4 person family group in Boston, Massachusetts, the children have now flown the nest and the new “O-HA-YA-SHI Couple “Reiwa” will formally debut at this year’s Japan Matsuri! Openly admitting to “overcoming a midlife crisis by performing traditional culture”, this couples unique take on the traditional Lion Dance of Japan will surely entertain!
Naomi Suzuki
Celebrating the Ruby World Cup 2019 with Naomi Suzuki!
To celebrate Japan hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Naomi, one of the special ambassadors of the host city, Fukuoka, will delight us with her rendition of the Rugby World Cup theme song the “World in Union”. Also catch Naomi singing the Japan Matsuri song!
Daikagura
Michiyo Kagami
Michiyo Kagami shares with us a special daikagura performance. Daikagura is most similar to juggling, but it is an irrefutably Japanese traditional performance with more than 1000 years history. Originally a ritualistic performance held at shrines through which Japanese people would pray for people’s happiness, it is now less often seen at shrines but the philosophy of making people happy remains. This is a fun and thrilling form of Japanese entertainment, where not only juggling, but also unique umbrella performances and delicate balancing technics will be on display!
Let’s Dance Awa Odori

Awa Odori is coming to Japan Matsuri! A dance festival like no other, the simple dance moves can be picked up quickly, so why not join in the dance procession through the square? After all, as the song of the festival goes: “The fools dance and the fools watch, if both are fools you may as well dance!”
Radio Taiso

Radio Taiso, or Radio Exercises, have been part of Japanese life since the 1920s, and people of all ages take part in these simple exercised to improve their health. Conducted in unison, and easy to learn, why not join 5-time Paralympic gold medallist Noel Thatcher and give the exercises a go?
Nippon Club Women’s Choir The Green Chorus
The Green Chorus
Celebrating the power of singing through their daily activities, the Japanese Women’s Choir The Green Chorus have taken part in every Japan Matsuri since its inception. The group is always willing to welcome new members to join the group.
Eisa Dance by the London Bunka Yochien
Eisa Dance
Firm Matsuri favourites, the children of the London Bunka Yochien and their parents have been delighting the crowds with their version of a traditional Okinawan Eisa dance since the very first Japan Matsuri. It doesn’t get any cuter than this, so be sure not to miss it!
Kyoki Ranbu by the Brighton and Hove Japanese Club Dance Team
Members of Brighton and Hove Japanese club will perform the dance to Kyokiranbu by the Japanese duo GARNIDELIA. Enjoy the beat that, though modern, has plenty of Japanese essence in it to help to spice up the matsuri atmosphere!
Fashion Collection by Kimono De Go
A fashion collaboration where Japanese and Western culturemeet.Kimono and dresses combine in new expressions through dance and performance. The splendour of the kimono and the seamlessness with which it combines with Western dress awaits…
Japanese Songs by the Children from Chelsea Kodomo no Hiroba
Chelsea Kodomo no Hiroba is a Japanese language and culture class for children who live in London taking place on Saturdays. The students will sing Japanese songsaccompanied by sign language.
Traditional Japanese Folk Music by the SOAS Min’yo Group
The SOAS Min’yo Group is made up of Japanese folk music enthusiasts who meet regularly at SOAS, University of London, to practice all aspects of traditional Japanese folk music. Started in 2012 by Japanese music specialist David Hughes, the group welcomes members of all nationalities. Find the SOAS Min’yp Group on Facebook if you are interested in joining.
JSD Dance Crew
JJSD Dance Crew London were founded by Shala Sensei in 2013, who teaches dance weekly in Japanese in West London. With a love for dance and expression, the JSD dance crew’s passion for dancing is plain for all to see!
Shinozuka Zuiou, Kyō-mai dancer
Shinozuka Zuiou is a master of the geisha dance tradition of Kyoto known as Kyō-mai. She has performed in several countries, including workshops and concerts in the UK in 2018
Hiroko Tanaka Nihon Buyo Group
Refined and elegant, Nihon buyō is a dance form that has taken on a unique characterover the last four centuries. Influenced by four major dance forms, Kabuki, Noh, Folk Dance, and Western Dance,the grace and intention of the movements of Nihon Buyoare a delight to watch.
Plus many more exciting acts to be announced soon!