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Monday, May 30, 2011

Fundraiser event for Japan in Boston

Hi, Happy Memorial Day! I would like to inform you all of a fundraiser event for Japan "Artists for Japan" to be held in Boston on Saturday June 4th. Please see the flyer and join the event to help Japan. My friend in Boston will join the event and perform Japanese Taiko.    

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ji-Uta Mai Japanese Dance Performance in NY

I went to see Ji-Uta Mai dance performance by the dance school based in Princton NJ, directed by Junko Tano, an instructor of the school. Ji-Uta means "song of earth," which has been developed in Osaka and Kyoto, in the Western part of Japan, over 3 hundred years ago. The Ji-Uta Mai assimilates movements from Noh dances and Kabuki dances, and fosters spiritual concentration and body pliancy. Ji-Uta Mai performances convey the spirit of the piece and appeal to the human heart for interpretation. The six dancers beautifully and carefully conveyed the songs of Ji-Uta Mai at yesterday's performance. I was so impressed and inspired by Ms. Junko Tano's dance piece called "Mother and Gem." She is indeed a Master of Ji-Uta Mai.  




最初の演目、Tea of Ceremoney Song の舞は、前半の部分では、扇で茶道の儀式を表現、後半の部分では、茶碗を拭く赤い小さなハンカチのような儀式道具が情感を表現する振りに使われていた。同じ江戸期に発展した茶道と地唄舞の歴史的な背景がうかがえる演目でもある。

ラストの演目、田野純子教師によるMother and Gem の熟練された舞に、私は最初から最後まで圧倒されっぱなしであった。グレーと白のシックな着物姿で舞台の中央に立たれていた田野さん、三味線の音が鳴り始めると舞台の照明が照らされ田野さんの姿にスポットライトが当たる、その瞬間の田野さんの立ち姿は、日本の歌舞妓舞台や日舞公演などで主役が登場する場面でよく聞こえてくる「いよー!田野」というような大きな掛け声が聞こえてきそうなほどお見事なお姿でした。

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Let's Sing and Dance Performance in CA

Today, I am going to introduce information on two performances regarding traditional Japanese dance and music which will be held this weekend. Please check them out.

Uta yabira and Wuduyabira Performance
Sunday May 22nd, 2011 2:00 pm
$20.00 admission
James R. Armstrong Theater
(Torrance Cultural Arts Center)
3330 Civic Center Drive, Torrance CA

On Sunday, May 22, at 2:00 pm at the James Armstrong Theater in Torrance, the Okinawa Association of America, Inc. (OAA) will put on their biennial program showcasing the unique performing arts of Okinawa.
The show’s title, “Utayabira Wuduyabira” is in the Okinawan language meaning, “Let’s sing, let’s dance.” Seventeen groups affiliated with the OAA Performing Arts Committee will put on a show filled with traditional and folk dance and music, including a koto performance, as well as the taiko drumming.
Okinawa is known throughout Japan and abroad as having a distinct flavor in the performing arts, due to once being an independent sovereignty known as the Ryukyu kingdom. Much of the influence of China and other Southeast Asian countries with whom they traded can be seen in the textiles, costumes, colors and music.With the occasional exception of modern pop songs of Okinawa, the sanshin, a three-stringed instrument is central to all of the classical and folk songs. More than 50 classical and folk musicians will be performing on the sanshin during the program. Okinawan dance schools that will be showcased include: Majikina Honryu – LA Association, Miyagi-ryu Nosho-kai Miyagi Nosho Ryubu dojo, Miyagi-ryu Nosho-kai Numata Michiko Ryubu dojo, Miyagi-ryu Toyomu-kai and Tamagusuku-ryu Kansenkai.
A Ryukyu koto performance will be given by Teruya Katsuko Sokyoku Kenkyukai, featuring classical and folk songs. Classical music school of Nomura-ryu Ongaku Hozonkai and minyo groups of Shima Minyo, Uesu Yoko Minyo, Aikohkai, Ishihara Haruo Minyo, Akabana Group Nishikawa Atsuko Minyo, Hanashiro Emiko Minyo, Kochi Yuki Minyo will also be part of the program.
Mitsufumi-ryu Taiko Hozonkai Gushi Atsushi Renjo will perform jointly throughout the show. Rounding out the program is the youthful and dynamic audience favorite, Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko – LA branch.
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased through the various performing arts groups as well as through the OAA office at (310) 532-1929 or via email at  The James Armstrong Theater is located at 3330 Civic Center Drive in Torrance.

The stage picture in 2010.
Okinawa Utayabira

The stage picture on May 22nd, 2011

JI-Uta Mai performance 地唄舞公演
Saturday 21, 2011 8:00 pm
Free admission
Merce Cunningham Studio
55 Bethune Street, New York, NY 10014
Performance by Master Junko Tano Japanese dance school and her school members.
JI-Uta mai is a form of Japanese traditional dance which assimilates movements from Noh dance and Kabuki dance.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Long Island Sakura Matsuri Festival

Today's festival was the last cherry blossom festival held in the New York area. It was sucessfully done. I presented a Paranku (small handheld drum) dance workshop for the taiko members of the Ryushu Kan dojo in Long Island for 30 minutes before the performance on stage. Ryushu Taiko members performed, and I accompanied them on the Sanshin, playing a popular folk song called Paradise Uruma Jima. I performed a popular dance called Kanayo, and sang Tsundara bushi while playing the Sanshin. There were two stage performances in the festival, and I joined the last stage and Mr. Kaoru Watanabe later took the same stage, and his powerful drum ensomble with Flute was exciting to see.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

White Plains Cherry Blossom Festival

It was perfect weather for the Sakura Matsuri today. I have been participated in the White Plains Cherry Blossom Festival for the last 7 years and this was the best crowd ever. 
After I performed several Okinawan songs on the stage, I noticed this festival attracts many Japanese and American media; many cameramen gathered at this event.
After the stage performance, I presented a Sanshin workshop at the park, which was joined by a Japanese lady who instantly performed several folk songs and played Asadoya Yunta so that I could demonstrate dance for who children gathered at my booth.