Culture

This Week In Japan, Feb. 12-Feb. 18, 2018

Every week we post our picks for upcoming events in Japan. If you would like your event listed here, contact the editor of GaijinPot.

By 5 min read

From kabuki to hot desserts to artistic visions, there’s something for everyone across the archipelago. If you’re planning or organizing something cool, send us an email to have your event listed here.

Monday: Traditional theater (Fukuoka)

February Hanagata Kabuki

Leading young lights of traditional kabuki theater mount the stage this month at the Hakataza Theater in Hakata, Kyushu. Actors including Kankuro Nakamura and Shichinosuke Nakamura perform plays including, for the matinee, Iso Ijinkan, which explores the lives of Kagoshima residents toward the end of the Edo Era. The evening selections offer items like Yoshitsune Senbon Sakura, which takes up the famous war between the Genji and Heike clans. Discounts are provided for foreigners.

When & Where
Feb 12-25
11 a.m. (Matinee) and 4 p.m. (Evening)
Hakataza Theater, Hakata - Map
¥5,000-¥15,000
More Info

Tuesday: Visual arts (Tokyo)

The Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions 2018

The Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions is an international festival of art that combines exhibitions, screenings, live performances, and talk sessions. As is symbolized by the open frame of the brackets in its logo, the festival seeks a multiplicity of responses to visual media while revitalizing the field from an interdisciplinary perspective. Currently in its tenth year, it has evolved into a platform where artists, guests, and programmers (over 840 to date) gather to share opinions with participants regarding how best to nurture visual expression and media.

When & Where
Feb 13-25
Various
Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Maison franco-japonaise, The Garden Room, etc. - Map
Some programs have entrance fees while others are free
More Info

Wednesday: Valentine delight (Tokyo)

Hot Sweets

Warm up your Valentine sweetheart and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time at Jiyugaoka Sweets Forest’s Hot Sweets event. Japan’s first theme park of desserts serves up freshly made cakes, crêpes, soufflés, parfaits, and all sorts of warm delights. Another specialty on offer that you generally won’t find in the West is a hot anin tofu, a soft, jellied dessert made of apricot kernel milk agar, and sugar that is typical of East Asian cuisine.

When & Where
Feb 14-March 14
10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Jiyugaoka Sweets Forest, Tokyo - Map
Various
More Info

Thursday: Dragons and dancing (Yokohama)

Chinese New Year

Japan’s biggest Chinatown comes alive during the traditional Chinese lunar new year. The fun gets underway Feb. 15 with traditional lion dance performances and live music in Yokohama’s Yamashitacho Park. These are reprised Feb. 17, 18 and 25, while a colorful traditional costume parade enlivens the district Feb. 24. The new year winds up with a lantern festival around Masobyo Temple March 2.

When & Where
Feb 15-March 2
Various
Yokohama Chinatown - Map
Free
More Info

Friday: Experimental sounds (Kyoto)

N/A and Berlin Atonal present New Codes

Legendary experimental music and art festival Berlin Atonal presents satellite parties in Kyoto and Tokyo. The event launched in 1982 but went on hiatus for decades while founder Dimitri Hegemann focused on running the Techno club Tresor in Berlin. In 2013, he resurrected Berlin Atonal, and last year branched out with “New Assembly” – AKA N/A – as a platform for experimental music in Japan to promote, produce, and support Japanese and international artists. Headlining is house pioneer Moritz von Oswald along with Demdike Stare (UK) and Japanese artists.

When & Where
Feb 16
11 p.m.
Metro, Kyoto - Map
¥4,000
More Info

Saturday: Delicate beats (Tokyo)

John Tejada

Techno mainstay John Tejada returns to Tokyo to top up a night of heady beats and squelchy effects. Blending approaches of Detroit and European techno, Tejada tours Japan to front his new album Dead Start Program from trustworthy German label Kompakt. Born to classical musicians, Tejada built on the piano and drums to release his very first electronic single in 94′, going on to appear at massive festivals like Movement and Sonar. Tejada will present a live set of his lucid, atmospheric music.

When & Where
Feb 17
11 p.m.
Vent, Tokyo - Map
¥3,500
More Info

Sunday: Shamisen and more (Osaka)

Wagakki Band

Led by vocalist Yuko Suzuhana, Wagakki Band have muscled their way to some of the world’s biggest stages with a take-no-prisoners musical approach that combines traditional Japanese instruments shamisen and koto (string instruments), wadaiko (Japanese drum), and shakuhachi (flute) with hard-rock guitars, bass and drums. Some may think the eight-member group’s approach excessive but many clearly find their virtuoso athleticism appealing, as attested to by their sold-out concerts at home and abroad.

When & Where
Feb 18
5 p.m.
Osaka Jo Hall, Osaka - Map
¥7,800
More Info

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