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Culture

This Week in Japan, Nov. 6-12

Every Monday we serve top picks for this week’s events in Japan. To list your event, contact the editor of GaijinPot.

By 5 min read

From minimalist music to mountaintop art to an animal circus, 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: Asian art currents

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Sun Shower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980 to Now

This panoramic overview of Southeast Asian contemporary art shifts from Tokyo to Fukuoka’s Asian Art Museum. With a total population of around 600 million, multi-ethnic Southeast Asia has a truly diverse culture. Contemporary art from the emerging economic powerhouse is currently earning widespread international attention. The “sunshower” – rain falling from clear skies – is an intriguing yet frequently seen phenomenon in Southeast Asia, and serves as a metaphor for the vicissitudes of the region. This exhibition, the largest ever in scale, explores the many practices of contemporary art there since the 1980s from nine different perspectives.

When & Where
Nov 6-Dec 25
10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Fukuoka Asian Art Museum - Map
¥600
More Info

Tuesday: Get minimal

Jeff Mills x Terry Riley

Legendary minimalist classical composer Terry Riley is the subject of a three-day festival that pits him against two of modern music’s most adventurous fellow travelers. Along with Phillip Glass and Steve Reich, Riley had a pivotal role in bringing minimalism to a wide audience. Nov. 7 sees him joining forces with legendary Detroit minimal techno pioneer Jeff Mills, while Nov. 8 has him performing alongside Argentine avant-pop songstress Juana Molina (see Friday).

When & Where
Nov 7
7:30 p.m.
Shibuya WWW X - Map
¥7,300
More Info

Wednesday: Geisha get out

Gion Higashi Geisha Dance

The 54th Gion Odori dance performance by the "geiko" (geisha) and "maiko" (apprentice geisha) of Gion Higashi, is a bit like "The Nutcracker.” While the geiko and maiko are out for lessons, clay dolls such as “Plumpface” come alive and move about the house. The Fushimi clay dolls are one of the oldest toy varieties and have been made in Kyoto for several hundreds of years. They provide simple and heartwarming images for the dance routines by geiko in Kyoto’s smallest geisha district.

When & Where
Nov 8-10
1:30 & 4 p.m.
Gion Kaikan - Map
¥4,000
More Info

Thursday: Art summit

Mt. Rokko Meets Art 2017

"Rokko Meets Art 2017" is an exhibition of modern art held on the summit of Mt. Rokko above the port city of Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture. In this, the eighth exhibition, exhibits by artists including noted sound-art group Maywa Denki and those from overseas active in various genres leverage the alluring scenery of Mt. Rokko. At the top of the mountain, visitors can appreciate the exhibits in a relaxed picnic mood and after sunset take in the peak’s "$10M night view.”

When & Where
Nov 9-23
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Mt. Rokko, Kobe - Map
Free
More Info

Friday: Beguiling chanteuse

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Bilingual songstress

A child TV star turned avant-garde chanteuse, Argentina’s Juana Molina caps a tour of favored territory to launch her new album "Halo." Molina’s music career only took off when her albums began to sell in Japan, and she always receives a warm welcome here. The guitarist, singer-songwriter and electronics wizard’s entrancing new "Halo" is based on the legend of luz mala, an evil, halo-like light that, according to myth, can be seen above graves.

When & Where
Nov 10
6:30 & 9:30 p.m.
Billboard Live, Osaka - Map
¥6,500 and ¥7,500
More Info

Saturday: Sax attack

Yasuaki Shimizu & Saxophonettes

Virtuosic saxophonist Yasuaki Shimizu is known for a dazzling array of solo work and collaborations with artists as diverse as Ryuichi Sakamoto, DJ Towa Tei, Van Dyke Parks, Manu Dibango and Elvin Jones. His 1980s albums "Utakata no Hibi" and "Kakashi" — recently reissued to wide acclaim — sparked Shimizu's journey into the pentatonic scale, culminating with the Saxophonettes’ groundbreaking album "Pentatonica." This concert will feature new compositions, rearranged '80s classics and genre-defying explorations from Shimizu's continuously evolving repertoire.

When & Where
Nov 11
5 p.m.
Spiral Hall, Tokyo - Map
¥6,000
More Info

Sunday: Kumamoto style

Kinoshita Circus

Animal circuses are facing criticism, but for folks for whom a circus just isn’t a circus without lions and tigers, the Kinoshita Circus does things the old fashioned way. A traveling revue with a history of over 100 years — making it Japan’s oldest — is in Kumamoto through the end of the month. It features white lions, giraffes, motorbike stunts, elephants, tightropes, clowns and more. All in an air conditioned tent.

When & Where
Nov 12-29
Varies daily
Aeon Mall, Kumamoto - Map
¥2,000-¥3,000
More Info

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