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!

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!
Plus many more exciting acts to be announced soon!