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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.
BUTOH RESIDENCY offers three days of live performances, films and a workshop that see Japanese and European musicians, dancers and artists working together to advance the global recognition of Butoh – both as a uniquely Japanese art form and as a vibrant international platform for communicating in or beyond all languages. Collaborating artists include pianist and vocalist Aya Ogawa and dancer Mushimaru Fujieda from Japan; Butoh-Techno from Poland, French electronic musician Pascal Savy and, on film, performances by the late Sapporo based dancer Yoko Muronoi.
THE LEGEND OF THE STARDUST BROTHERS (1985) with Q&A from director Macoto Tezka – England Premiere
Rocky Horror meets Phantom of the Paradise with a long-lost 80s Japanese rock-musical featuring zombies, animation and much more, directed by Macoto Tezka, the son of the “Godfather of Manga” OSAMU TEZUKA!
Presented in a brand new digital remaster and never before seen director’s cut!
This May Zodiac Film Club invites you to come in out of the sun and watch one of the original J-horrors with us. Takashi Miike’s Audition (1999) tells the story of Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi), a widower who holds a fake audition for a made-up film role to pick a potential new wife out of the hopeful starlets. He’s delighted to meet the beautiful, talented, oh-so submissive and slightly damaged Asami (Eihi Shiina). We love it for its subtle (and less subtle) comments on gender dynamics, Asami’s perfectly picked ensembles and the fact that the rug is totally pulled out from under us in the final act.
Beginning with a shared love of horror, pulp, thrills and mystery, Sarah Kathryn Cleaver and Jordan Storm Louise set up the Zodiac Film Club. You can expect carefully chosen screenings every month, a film for each sign. We select good looking films, complex female characters and our favourites in forgotten classics, cult and contemporary cinema to share with you, and invite you to talk about it with us afterwards.
HARUMI SHUHAMA the “POM” star of ONE CUT OF THE DEAD, will be in attendance for a one-off screening plus after-talk at the Prince Charles Cinema on Friday, July 12th
The film opens in a run-down, abandonad warehouse where a film crew are making a zombie film… Yet, this is no ordinary warehouse. It’s been said that it’s the site of where military experiments took place… Out of nowhere, real zombies arrive and terrorize the crew!
This may sound like a the plot of a clichéd zombie film, but One Cut of the Dead is something completely different! Starting off with a non-stop one-take 37 minute shot, the film then completely switches direction and turns the zombie genre completely upside down into a charming, audience-friendly comedy!
Very pleased to welcome musician, singer, songwriter and filmmaker, Tujiko Noriko to OTO for a special matinee performance followed by an evening screening of her and Joji Koyama’s new film ‘Kuro’ at Close-Up, following the release of Noriko’s soundtrack for the film’s release on PAN Records.
“..a singular and impressively accomplished work of art.” – Christopher Bourne in Screen Anarchy
“hypnotic and meditative, Kuro is a daring work of cinematic literature.” – David Shrev
It is 1860, in the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Othello is an Ainu, one of the indigenous people of northern Japan. He falls in love with a Japanese woman and is betrayed by a friend (Iago) of mixed Ainu and Japanese heritage.
Lies, manipulation and discrimination are the steadfast roots of jealousy in this epic performance of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy.
Ainu Othello is adapted by Kazumi Shimodate, Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Company Japan.
Co-directed by Kazumi Shimodate and Ainu theatre director Debo Akibe, this spectacular production has been staged in Sendai, Tokyo, and Sapporo, opening powerful discussions about discrimination faced by the Ainu, and the prospects for new relationships in the modern era. Each performance will be preceded by a presentation from the Dance Group Piricap.
Ainu Othello is a rare opportunity to see how Shakespeare remains a contemporary chronicler of human prejudices in another part of the globe.
Performed in Japanese
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.