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An afternoon of Japanese live music, family activities and Japanese food to celebrate the regeneration of the Japanese garden in Hammersmith Park! Expect taiko drumming, ramen, and family friendly activities such as origami and calligraphy, alongside much more! Co-organised by the Japan Society and the Embassy of Japan.
The day will end with two very special performances by contemporary Japanese artists Ichi and Hatis Noit. We hope you can join us for what is bound to be a fantastic summer celebration of all things Japanese!
Why we’re celebrating
Hammersmith Park is all that remains of the 1910 Japan-British Exhibition in White City, but few know it is a Japanese garden. Now an avenue of stone lanterns and a wooden entrance gate are being installed to celebrate the park’s Japanese origins.
To mark the event, Japan Society, together with the Embassy of Japan and the Friends of Hammersmith Park, are hosting an afternoon activities and music. Children and adults alike can make their own Japanese lantern to take home, learn to write their name in Japanese, try on a kimono, fold some origami, and even meet Hello Kitty herself!! That’s right – Hello Kitty will be making a personal appearance at the celebrations! And if all the excitement makes you hungry, you’ll be able to sample delicious Japanese street food at the Japan centre food stalls.
A wide range of Japanese traditional and contemporary music will fill the garden all afternoon, from the guitar-like shamisen, to taiko drums, concluding with performances by two exciting Japanese musicians. ICHI, takes the concept of the one man band to entirely new heights with his homemade instruments and eclectic, fun sound, while Hokkaido-born Hatis Noit’s mesmerising vocals draw on musical traditions from Japanese court music to opera, and Buddhist chanting to pop.
Since storming the Fringe in the noughties Gamarjobat (pronounced Ga-ma-jo-bat) have become one of the few acts that can truly claim to be a global sensation, having performed in 36 countries, from Broadway to China, and racked up over 50 million views on YouTube. This year Ketch! (red mohican) and HIRO-PON (yellow mohican) are BACK and will be performing their West End Premier with a show packed full of their very best world-conquering fast-paced comedy. In the UK Gamarjobat have starred on ITV’s Tonight at the London Palladium, been twice winners of BBC’s BAFTA award-winning The Slammer and fronted Ketch! and HIRO-PON Get It On on BBC3.
The Art of Gaman is a stunning new play. It was a finalist in the American Playwriting Foundation’s prestigious Relentless Award.
Tomomi, a young Japanese woman stands at the hull of a ship staring out across the water to her new American life in the years prior to the Hiroshima bombing. There are stars in her eyes and a crackling radio pulled to her chest as she drifts towards a country, and a future, that resists her arrival.
The Art of Gaman is an aching exploration of displacement and loss of cultural identity when you find yourself in a country that considers you an enemy. When forgetting your past is shameful, but remembering brings even greater pain, Tomomi must harness the strength to find beauty in the struggle and carve out a new life for herself and be true to who she really is.
The Art of Gaman was one of 6 plays shortlisted for the American Playwriting Foundation’s prestigious Relentless Award.
World Rugby Museum adult ticket £12.50. Concessions available.
Schools interested in receiving and planting a cherry tree should apply by using the application form below by 28 February 2019. Trees will be supplied by the Cherry Tree Project, but planting and maintenance will be the responsibility of the applicant educational institution / school.
Background to the Project
On the 1st September 2017, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced in Tokyo that the years 2019-2020 would mark the Japan-UK Season of Culture. This season, with activity in both Japan and the UK, will celebrate the friendship of the two countries, and will provide an opportunity for people in both countries to explore each other’s cultures and technologies between the Rugby World Cup 2019 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Japanese Portland Garden is a traditional Japanese garden in Portland, Oregon. The Garden, which was designed in 1963, covers 12 acres and has eight separate garden styles. The Garden was created to provide the residents of Portland with a beautiful, serene garden, while also creating a connection between America and Japan after World War II.
In this talk, Steve Bloom will explore the past, present, and future of the Portland Japanese Garden. He will look at how it is leading a global dialog about the Japanese Garden as a platform for spreading the ideals of peace and mutual understanding between peoples by sharing some of Japan’s greatest gifts with the world: its culture, art, and unique connection to nature.
This event is free but booking is essential.
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
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.