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As the Japanese taiko drumming troupe make their way back to London, they bring with them the Odaiko drums. These traditional drums, used in Shinto rituals, weigh over half a tonne each, and require exceptional skill and physicality to produce each floor-shaking note.
Dedicated to their art, the Yamato drummers train ferociously. On stage, they display a staggering strength, using their entire bodies to play and share with their audiences an intense passion that comes out in their pounding, high-energy and thrillingly thunderous performances.
“Primal, exhilarating; you want to do it too”
THE TIMES on Chousensha – The Challengers
The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation is delighted to introduce the unique works of the acclaimed Japanese artist Haruo Mitsuta to the UK public.
Mitsuta is the only contemporary artist who makes Jizai Okimono (“articulated animals”) – flexible animal figures made from metal pieces, which can replicate the movements of the original animals. Originally they were made by armourers in the late Edo and the Meiji period.
Jizai Okimono have gained some recognition within Japan in recent years, but still belong to a very minor area of traditional Japanese metallic handicrafts. The vast majority of these items were sold abroad, so this exceptional form of art never had the chance to develop its roots within Japan, where it originated. Its presence may have been long lost in the Japanese art scene, but these objects have been collected and cherished by many people outside Japan.
Mitsuta will be showcasing some of his most impressive and startlingly realistic pieces in this exhibition.
Grimeborn Opera Festival
8pm 23rd August
3pm 24th August
8pm 24th August
Origami and music. A multi-media opera installation. Verity Lane‘s two-part project draws on her 10 years’ experience of living in Japan, exploring classical Japanese traditions with a uniquely avant-garde twist.
A brand-new performance project with music, stories and concept by Verity Lane, Origami Soundscapes: Flower, Bird, Wind & Moon explores ancient symbolism and Japanese birdsong, featuring a large-scale origami performance by Coco Sato, percussion, shakuhachi and storytelling.
The Crane reimagines a Japanese folk story about a magical crane that takes human form, set around Hokkaido’s Otowa Bridge. This mystical opera installation explores traditional Japanese aesthetics through a blend of Noh theatre conventions, traditional and contemporary dance, avant-garde music and animation.
Sung in English and Japanese without surtitles.
Music and Libretto (English and Japanese) by Verity Lane
Supported by Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation
Verity Lane/music, words, creative directer
Coco Sato/Giant Origami
Born in Tottenham and spending nearly a decade in Japan, visual artist, composer and writer Verity Lane specialises in creating highly visual performance installations for traditional Japanese instruments. and beyond.
Her recent multi-media projects include A Thousand Bamboo in a Dancing Wind (performance installation for 300 shakuhachi, 2 dancers, projection and performance poetry, commissioned by The World Shakuhachi Festival, held at Goldsmiths, 2018), Yugenism: Animated Soundscapes of the Japanese Sublime (supported by Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation), and Japanese Sandscapes: The Tale of Mt Fuji where she worked with artists including Ko Ishikawa (sho/Reigakusha), Etsuko Takezawa (koto/shamisen) and Kaho Aso (traditional Japanese dance/kotsuzumi). Both projects saw Lane launch herself within London’s avant garde music scene, selling out venues across London.
Coco Sato is an award-winning Japanese artist based in the UK. Her work uses origami to change the way people see the world.
Mirei Yazawa is a performance artist based in London.
Beibei Wang is a genre defying percussionist based in London.
Tomoko Komura is a London based performer from Japan, trained at the London International School of Performing Arts with an MFA in Lecoq-based Actor-Created Theatre (2006). She has performed and toured in shows by award-winning theatre companies such as Theatre Ad Infinitum (Ballad of the Burning Star), Theatre Témoin (Jukai) and Out of Chaos (Out of Chaos).
Kiku Day is a shakuhachi player based in Denmark.
Hester Dart is a London based contralto and graduate from the University of Leeds. They study with Prof. Neil Baker and are currently finishing their second year at the Morley College Opera School. Hester is particularly interested in promoting the work of
LGBTQ+ composers and musicians. They would like to contribute towards a more inclusive and accessible environment within classical music and opera.
Rowan O’Brien is a renowned animator and 3D artist from the West Coast of Ireland. He mixes sketches, objects, computer animation, and video in his work. He has screened and exhibited work across Europe, South Korea and Japan, where he lived and studied Japanese fabric craft known as oshie.
London’s very own festival of Japanese culture – Japan Matsuri – returns on Sunday, 29 September 2019 in Trafalgar Square in the centre of the city. A regular fixture now in the London calendar, this free annual festival brings people together to enjoy Japanese food, music, dance, and activities for all the family.
The concept of the theme this year is “Future generations”.
Everything kicks off at 10.00am and runs through till 8.00pm. With two stages, there is plenty to see all day. The programme of stage performance for this year is still being finalised and will feature exciting new acts as well as the return of favourites from previous Matsuri.
Enjoy the atmosphere with Japanese festival food from the numerous stalls. Join in the fun in the family activities area with games and dressing in kimono. Try your hand at Japanese cartoons on the manga wall.
Japan Matsuri is organised jointly by the Japan Association, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Japan Society and Nippon Club, with support from the Embassy of Japan.
Tonights presentation celebrates the joint opening of an exhibition of photography by Yuka Fujii at the Pocko Gallery, together with the UK premiere of LIKE PLANETS, a film of images and text taken from the book of the same name. There will also be live music from Clive Bell and Rie Nakajima.
The film makes its world premiere at the Punkt Festival in Norway in September 2019 followed soon after by this London showing. There are plans to take it to Japan later in the year. LIKE PLANETS also features a specially commissioned soundtrack by Mark Wastell.
LIKE PLANETS FILM
Cafe OTO is pleased to welcome back the Japanese duo of Minami Saeki (voice) and Taku Sugimoto (guitar) following a performance of material from their debut collaborative recording – Songs – at OTO last year. For this show they are joined by London-based, German cellist, Ute Kanngiesser for a series of one-off duo performances.
“This project is named Yū (幽) / phantom.
Yū is Japanese special sensitivity, it’s means like “faintly”, “fleeting”, “airy”, “vaguely”. It’s be understood by Japanese people as also “ghost”, “apparition”, “phantom”.
This performance depicts two Japanese goddesses, one phantom, and one modern woman, by dance of Misuzu and the music of Shin’ichi Isohata and Naoyo Yakushi.
Many of the origins of religion in all world were goddess faith. God or monster has the back and front faces that are intrinsic as same as humans (although I think originally God should not be such an existence..). Every existences have good and evil, and also there has sadness in the bottom of the heart. However, sometime the sadness might be become to mercy or hope. Music wander between reality and mythology with abstract, minimal sound, and Japan sensitivities etc… for realizing the true happiness in heart.” – Shin’ichi Isohata
The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation is delighted to host Hiroe Saeki’s first UK solo show.
Hiroe Saeki’s work inhabits a liminal zone on the edges of the perceivable: monochromatic explorations of the subject of beauty in nature, delicate drawings with a weightless quality, sparse compositions evoking traditional aesthetics. Like a photograph, the totality of the artwork and the detail are valued equally.
The void is inherent in her work, allowing the microscopic and macroscopic viewpoint to coexist. Thus her chosen tool is the pencil: ephemeral because it can be erased, fluid because it is undefined, emancipating because there is no outline to follow.
In this exhibition, she presents a new body of work with graphite and water. The powdered graphite travels through capillaries of water: settling where and when the water evaporates, to be absorbed by the land of paper. The resulting surfaces recall water-carved planetary landscapes.
Saeki’s practice evokes associations with biological or mineral forms, such as geological sediments. Exquisite, miniscule lines take us to the nano level of the cellular structure of organisms. Combined with the serendipitous nature of her new graphite process, they take on a sense of the cosmic. This new work coalesces her vision of the world into a yearning to interconnect with the universe at all its scales.
Monday – Friday 9.30AM – 5PM
Hiroe Saeki (b. 1978, Osaka) currently lives and works in Berlin. Notable exhibitions include: Abstract and Empathy, Pola Museum, Tokyo 2019; Visions of Exchange: Daimler Contemporary, Berlin 2018; It’s Our Permanent Collection!, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo 2016; Now Japan, Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort 2013 and the 242nd Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London 2010. Awarded Grants include: POLA Art Foundation Program of Overseas Study 2014; Daimler Foundation, Artist-in-residence Berlin 2010 and The VOCA Encouragement Prize in 2006. Collections: MoMA, New York; The Daimler Art Collection; Deutsche Bank; Doron Sebbag; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Miniature Museum (Netherlands); Toyota Art Collection; The UBS Art Collection.
Image credits: Untitled 2019, Pencil and graphite and acrylic and acrylic ink and Japanese ink on paper, 39x54cm © Hiroe Saeki
Minyo Crusaders rework traditional Japanese folk songs (minyō) with Latin, African and Caribbean rhythms to create some of the most infectious music anywhere between Latin America and Japan. The punchy and inventive arrangements of this ten-piece big band seamlessly blend Afro-Cuban and Caribbean rhythms with old Japanese minyōto create a compellingly modern sound. Since label Mais Um released the band’s debut album Echoes of Japan in April the acclaim has been universal.
The band’s sound could be described as having a retro Japanese feel influenced by a a hefty dose of worldwide music. Otemoyan, a well-known folk song from southern Kumamoto Prefecture about a young maiden marrying a man with a pockmarked face, is reshaped into a reggae track with dub sensibilities. Akita Nikata Bushi from northern Akita Prefecture takes its cue from Ethiopian funk, while Fukuoka Prefecture’s Tanko Bushi swings to the sound of boogaloo. All the while, however, minyō’s distinctive stylised form of singing is maintained, providing a sense of authenticity despite the melange of rhythms.
For more information visit: www.comono.co.uk/live/minyo-crusaders/
Ami Yamasaki & Charlie Collins + guests
Ami Yamasaki & Charlie Collins, on a short tour marking Yamasaki’s UK debut, arrive at Iklectik for the final performance, where after a short duo set they will be joined by Beatrix Ward-Fernandez and Derek Saw.
Ami Yamasaki – voice
Charlie Collins – waterphone & percussion
Beatrix Ward-Fernandez – theremin
Derek Saw – trumpets & flugelhorn
AMI YAMASAKI is a vocalist and cross-media artist from Tokyo. She creates installations, performance pieces, and films. With primal vocals and movement, Yamasaki explores the relationship between us and our universe. Her art explores a fundamental question: “How does the world construct itself” For her, the asking of this question is a love letter to life itself, more important than any answers that it yields.
Ami sings as she works, and the patterns she creates are a direct response to acoustic feedback she receives. She sings, and listens, and “little by little, the space begins to make its own music.”
As a vocalist she has collaborated with Ryuchi Sakamoto, psychedelic rock icon Keiji Haino, Yasunao Tone, Ikue Mori, Carl Stone, and Ned Rothenberg among many others, and provided original music for choreographer Makoto Matsushima. Her elaborate installations have been featured in art spaces across Japan, while her short films have evoked a passionate response, and received critical acclaim.
CHARLIE COLLINS is a creative percussionist, free polyrhythmic drummer, and sound artist, based in the UK. His work continues to explore the boundaries between pure sound and rhythm, frequently incorporating metal percussion and free improvisation. Early recordings for cult labels Industrial, Fetish, and Doublevision were soon followed by collaborations with many of the pioneers of free improvisation, while his interest in East Asian percussion and rhythm technique is displayed in current work with komungo player Eun-Jung Kim, pianist Yoko Miura, visual artist Bongsu Park, composer Ryoko Akama, vocalist Ami Yamasaki, and Butoh dancers Mushimaru Fujieda and Tsukasa Kamidate. He is one of a handful of musicians to have played both Derek Bailey’s Company Week and Top Of The Pops.