Culture

This Week in Japan Dec. 11-17, 2017

Every week we post our picks for upcoming events in Japan.

By 5 min read

From subversive manga to half-moon raving to a cosplay road race, there’s something for everyone across the archipelago. If you’re doing something cool, leave us a comment or send us an email to have your event listed here.

Monday: Subversive history (Tokyo)

Fukushima Devil Fish: Katsumata Susumu's Antinuclear Manga

Critiques of nuclear energy in Japanese manga did not begin with the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns in 2011. A regular of legendary alternative manga monthly "Garo," Susumu Katsumata in the late '70s began drawing frequent humor strips about the dangers of nuclear power and stories about the “nuclear gypsies” who maintained Japan’s nuclear plants. This talk by visiting associate professor at University of Tokyo Ryan Holmberg will survey Katsumata’s work on nuclear power, which is the largest, most diverse and most trenchant such oeuvre in Japanese visual art.

When & Where
Dec 11
6:30-8 p.m.
Sophia University, Tokyo - Map
Free
More Info

Tuesday: Seasonal classics (Fukuoka)

Iwao Furusawa & Philharmonic Virtuosi Berlin Christmas Concert

It’s the time of year for Christmas concerts and what could be better than one hosted by world-famous violinist Iwao Furusawa and the Philharmonic Virtuosi Berlin? A graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music, Furusawa honed his art at the Morzarteum University of Salzburg before going on to join with a host of internationally acclaimed artists across the planet. This is the chance for folks in Fukuoka to hear world-class renditions of favorite seasonal concertos and modern pieces like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

When & Where
Dec 12
7 p.m.
Fukuoka Symphony Hall - Map
¥2,700-¥7,000
More Info

Wednesday: Deutsch doings (Sapporo)

Photo:

German Christmas Market in Sapporo

The German Christmas Market in Sapporo first opened when Sapporo and Munich celebrated their 30th anniversary of sister city relations in 2002. Stop by and enjoy the romantic atmosphere with German-style booths and fantastical light decorations. On sale, for example, are commemorative mugs that change design each year. There are also outdoor concerts, indoor workshops and, if you’re lucky, even a gift from Santa Claus. Also heightening the Christmas mood is the Sapporo White Illumination underway at Odori Park.

When & Where
Dec 13-24
11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sapporo Odori Park - Map
Free
More Info

Thursday: Sacred commemoration (Tokyo)

47 Ronin Festival

The revered 47 samurai who committed seppuku after avenging their lord’s unfair treatment are commemorated at Sengaku-ji Temple on the same day and grounds where they took their lives. Sengaku-ji is a small temple near Shinagawa station in Tokyo and is also where they are buried. The story remains one of the most popular in Japan, and many people visit the temple to pay respects by burning incense sticks, making the small graveyard crowded and smoky, an effect completed by festival foods such as "okonomiyaki" (savory pancake) and "takoyaki" (octopus dumplings) that can be enjoyed at food stands.

When & Where
Dec 14
11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sengakuji, Tokyo - Map
Free
More Info

Friday: Head to the dance floor (Tokyo)

Half Moon Rave

The ever-indefatigable tribes will gather for another all-nighter of psychedelic trance music. Half Moon Rave is the second in the Moon series that brought out 3,000 partiers for a full moon rave last summer. Fronting the bill are psychedelic trance exemplars, Infected Mushroom, an Israeli musical duo formed in Haifa in 1996 by producers Erez Eisen and Amit Duvdevani. They produce and perform psytrance, electronica and psychedelic music, and are one of the best-selling groups in Israeli music history in terms of both domestic and international sales.

When & Where
Dec 15
9 p.m.
Ageha, Tokyo - Map
¥5,000
More Info

Saturday: Rock out (Tokyo)

The Ramona Flowers

Following up on their Japan debut at this summer’s Fuji Rock are Bristol five-piece The Ramona Flowers. Taking their name from a film based on a graphic novel, the group fuses rock with electronic elements in a decidedly pop vein. Singer Steve Bird channels U2’s Bono and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, boasting a high, clear voice that rises above the band’s straightforward beats. Harajuku Astro Hall is a smallish venue that should be heaving, hands in the air this Saturday.

When & Where
Dec 16
6 p.m.
Harajuku Astro Hall, Tokyo - Map
¥4,000
More Info

Sunday: Run for fun (Fukuoka)

Fukuoka Bordeaux Cremant Relay Marathon

Maizuru Park hosts a relay marathon where all runners wear fancy dress. Organized to celebrate the 35th anniversary of sister city ties between Fukuoka and Bordeaux, the 35km race (35 laps of a 1km track) was inspired by the Bordeaux Metropole Marathon, which hosts a relay event that takes participants through the city’s vineyards. Live performances from bands and DJs will provide entertainment. Each team gets three bottles of wine for participating. The team with the best costume receives a magnum of Clement, while an after-party will invite participants to imbibe Bordeaux wine and BBQ.

When & Where
Dec 17
9:45 a.m.-1 p.m.
Korokan Hiroba, Maizuru Park, Fukuoka - Map
¥35,000 per team (5 to 35 participants per team)
More Info

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