In the 12th year of Japan Matsuri, the biggest free event in the United Kingdom, the event will go online for the first time. Under the name Japan Matsuri Presents, the online event is planned to take place on Saturday 26 and 27 September on Facebook Live (and in some cases via Zoom). Japan Matsuri celebrates all aspects of Japanese culture from food workshops to musical acts, dance, martial arts and more.
Recently, the organisers published the programme on the website specially made for this online edition. With the event around the corner, it is time to make that well-known list of events you can’t miss in the weekend of 26 and 27 September. We picked out 5 events of this online and free edition of Japan Matsuri, named Japan Matsuri Presents.
1. Dance performance of Tomioka High School Dance Club
This is presented as the headline event on the online event of Japan Matsuri, the dance performance of Tomioka High School Dance Club. The event will take place on Saturday 26 September from 12.00 PM (BST) and includes also interviews and behind the scenes footage. The group has a new dance to present and it will be a world premiere during Japan Matsuri Presents. The group was invited to come to Trafalgar Square for the physical event this year, but since that is not possible, they are happy to join the online event. According to the website of Japan Matsuri Presents, if you miss the premiere, you might catch it later on in the weekend as it will be repeated throughout the weekend.
2. Naomi’s Wonderland
UK based singer and producer Naomi Suzuki teams up with the lovable and naughty yuru-kyara (mascot) Chii-tan to host a special programme of music on Sunday afternoon (from 13.00 PM BST). They’ll be joined by Kamen Joshi, who blend the stereotypical Japanese ‘idol’ group with heavy metal and masks, the Flying Elephants, a Japanese band paying tribute to the legendary Beatles, the Ryoma Quartet, fusing traditional Japanese instruments with strings, and of course, Naomi herself will perform, collaborating with the Fukuoka International Philharmonic Orchestra.
3. Performance of Minyo Crusaders
The 10-piece big band that is known for reworking traditional Japanese folk songs (min’yo) with Latin, African and Caribbean rhythms will do a performance on Saturday 26 September at 12.30 PM (BST). Last year, Minyo Crusaders toured Europe for the first time. If you want to know more about the group, read the interview AVO Magazine had with guitarist and co-founder Minyo Crusaders, Katsumi Tanaka.
4. Noh, Ballet and Piano in Hakurakusei by Reijiro Tsumura
Noh is one of Japan’s major classical theatre traditions, dating back to the 14th century. Noh actor Reijiro Tsumura has performed before at Japan Matsuri, but will now do a performance at the online edition of the event with new choreography, titled Hakurakusei, telling the story of how the brewery has recovered, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Reijiro Tsumura gets joined by ballet dancers and piano. The performance can be viewed live on Sunday morning 27 September (time will be confirmed later on).
5. Performance of Ichiko Aoba
Ichiko Aoba is a singer-songwriter from Kyoto. She started to play the classical guitar from the age of 17 and released her first album, two years later, sharing her fantasy world through sound. In total, she released 6 solo albums. Earlier this year, marking her 10th anniversary, she established her independent label hermine. The performance of Ichiko Aoba is recorded especially for Japan Matsuri Presents and can be viewed on Saturday 26 September at 14.00 PM (BST).
Of course, there is so much more to check out. Please pay a visit to the website of Japan Matsuri Presents.