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JAPAN! Culture + Hyperculture

Free Events

Image for Shin Tanaka: <i>Paper Toy Live!</i>

Shin Tanaka: Paper Toy Live!

Paper toy creator Shin Tanaka initially became known for his creation of folded paper models and templates for detailed life-size sneakers. Tanaka’s paper sneakers have been displayed in the NIKE design library, and he has collaborated with more than 80 brands. In addition, he developed his popular T-BOY model as a new surface for his graffiti pieces. Tanaka will present the art of paper toy making in Paper Toy Live!

  • Tue., Feb. 5, 2008, 6:00 PM
  • Free Millennium Stage Performance
  • Artist Page
Image for Aki Takahashi

Aki Takahashi

Since her first public recital in 1970, pianist Aki Takahashi has been active in the field of new music and is known for her interpretations of many composers, including John Cage, Morton Feldman, and even the Beatles. The New York Times says Takahashi “plays with wonderful delicacy and concentration.” 

  • Wed., Feb. 6, 2008, 6:00 PM
  • Free Millennium Stage Performance
  • Artist Page
Image for Shigeo Kawashima, Bamboo Sculptor: <i>WA</i>

Shigeo Kawashima, Bamboo Sculptor: WA

Shigeo Kawashima's sculptures take bamboo as an artistic medium to a new level. His work WA ("Ring") was commissioned for the festival and constructed on site.

  • Feb. 7 - 17, 2008
  • Building Exterior Grounds
  • Read More | Free Event
Image for Yayoi Kusama, Avant-Garde Artist: <i>Dots Obsession - Day</I> and <i>Dots Obsession - Night</I>

Yayoi Kusama, Avant-Garde Artist: Dots Obsession - Day and Dots Obsession - Night

An icon of the visual arts world, Kusama invites visitors to experience her world-premiere mixed media installation. One room, Night, is black with yellow polka dots, while the other, Day, is yellow with black polka dots.

Image for Mika Ninagawa, Photographer: <i>Everlasting Flowers</i>

Mika Ninagawa, Photographer: Everlasting Flowers

One of Japan's most popular photographers and filmmakers, Ninagawa specializes in portraits and still life photography. On display will be a sampling of her brightly colored floral work.

  • Feb. 7 - 17, 2008
  • Grand Foyer
  • Read More | Free Event
Image for Hiroyuki Suzuki, Photographer: <i>A Moment</i>

Hiroyuki Suzuki, Photographer: A Moment

This black and white photo series records the progression of a major highway in downtown Tokyo being constructed, depicting a sense of fear and instability.

  • Feb. 7 - 17, 2008
  • Parking Garage Level A
  • Read More | Free Event
Image for Junko Koshino, Fashion Designer: Theater Costumes

Junko Koshino, Fashion Designer: Theater Costumes

The Tony-nominated fashion designer left Japan for Paris in the early '80s and started showing garments that drew on the basic Kimono shape. Interested in contrasts, she claims opposites come together to form a whole.

  • Feb. 7 - 17, 2008
  • Theater Lobby
  • Read More | Free Event
Image for Reiko Sudo and Nuno Corporation:

Reiko Sudo and Nuno Corporation: "Koi Currents" Textile Installation

Reiko Sudo is the co-founder of Nuno Corporation, renowned for their innovative textiles. Their exhibition illuminates textile design in the form of a giant fish, inspired by the Japanese holiday Kodomo No Hi ("Children's Day").

  • Feb. 7 - 17, 2008
  • Terrace Gallery
  • Read More | Free Event
Image for Nobuyuki Tanaka, Urushi Artist: Lacquer Sculptures

Nobuyuki Tanaka, Urushi Artist: Lacquer Sculptures

One of Japan's leading urushi artists exploring the sculptural possibilities of this ancient art form that starts with the toxic sap from a lacquer tree, indigenous to East Asia.

  • Feb. 7 - 17, 2008
  • Hall of States
  • Read More | Free Event
Image for Mikimoto: Antique Sash Clips

Mikimoto: Antique Sash Clips

Mikimoto has been dedicated to presenting the finest quality cultured pearls for more than a century. For the 150th anniversary of its founder's birth, Mikimoto lends its rare collection of sash clips worn on the front of kimonos.

  • Feb. 7 - 17, 2008
  • North Gallery
  • Read More | Free Event
Image for Motoko Maio, Folding Screen Artist: <i>Moment by Moment - Heartbeat by Heartbeat</i>

Motoko Maio, Folding Screen Artist: Moment by Moment - Heartbeat by Heartbeat

The artist has been reinventing the art of byobu (folding screens) for more than two decades, using traditional materials and techniques to express contemporary themes. Her screens for the festival will be made out of ancient kimonos.

  • Feb. 7 - 17, 2008
  • Hall of Nations
  • Read More | Free Event
Image for Tadao Ando, Architect: <i>Four Cubes to Contemplate Our Environment</i>

Tadao Ando, Architect: Four Cubes to Contemplate Our Environment

The world-renowned architect Tadao Ando presents this world-premiere glass installation, which explores sustainability and the environment. It was constructed on-site specifically for the festival.

Image for Manga Café and Reading Lounge

Manga Café and Reading Lounge

Enjoy a bite to eat while reading VIZ Media mangas, watching anime trailers, and viewing vintage robot toys. Manga author Robin Nishi will capture festival happenings in a daily drawing and conduct a free workshop.

  • Feb. 7 - 17, 2008
  • South Gallery
  • Read More | Free Event
Image for Robotopia Rising

Robotopia Rising

Don't miss this robot extravaganza that highlights the science and culture of Japanese robotics. The most sophisticated robots in the world will be present, and daily shows will provide a fascinating showcase for all of their amazing talents.

  • Feb. 7 - 17, 2008
  • Nations Gallery
  • Read More | Free Event
Image for Junko Koshino Fashion Show

Junko Koshino Fashion Show

Don’t miss a fashion show created by the acclaimed designer, Tony-nominated for her costumes for Amon Miyamoto’s Pacific Overtures. In the early ’80s, she left Japan for Paris where she formed her own company, showing garments inspired by the basic Kimono shape. 

  • Thu., Feb. 7, 2008, 6:00 PM
  • Free Millennium Stage Performance
  • Artist Page
Image for OKI Dub Ainu Band and Marewrew

OKI Dub Ainu Band and Marewrew

OKI, the most prominent tonkori performer in the world, brings his Dub Ainu Band and female singers of Marewrew for a concert that fuses reggae, African music, and electronica with Ainu folk melodies. The tonkori, a long, flat instrument, produces its own distinct sound. OKI’s contemporary approach has won him praise in Japan and around the world. 

  • Fri., Feb. 8, 2008, 6:00 PM
  • Free Millennium Stage Performance
  • Artist Page
Image for Robot Lectures during Robotopia Rising

Robot Lectures during Robotopia Rising

Distinguished writers and researchers in the field of robotics will conduct lectures about the evolution of robots, from Karakuri dolls to life-like humanoids.

  • Feb. 9 - 10, 2008
  • Millennium Stage
  • Read More | Free Event
Image for Hakata Kinjishi Taiko and Hakata Koma

Hakata Kinjishi Taiko and Hakata Koma

Led by siblings Jyuraku and Syouraku Chikushi, Hakata Kinjishi Dance and Drums presents a style derived from music for the Lion Dance, performed to bring good luck. Along with their traditional taiko drums, they collaborate with congas, djembe, and other musical genres. The performance also features their mother Shuraku Chikushi, the only female traditional topspinning (Hakata Koma) artist in Japan. 

  • Sat., Feb. 9, 2008, 6:00 PM
  • Free Millennium Stage Performance
  • Artist Page
Image for YMCK

YMCK

Acclaimed pop trio YMCK is renowned for its 8bit sound and pixel animation in live performance that reminds people of old video game consoles. 

  • Sun., Feb. 10, 2008, 6:00 PM
  • Free Millennium Stage Performance
  • Artist Page
Image for Ebina Performing Arts

Ebina Performing Arts

Kenichi Ebina, a multiple-style dance performer, started out dancing freestyle hip- hop and expanded his style to poppin’, lockin’, mime, house, jazz, contemporary, and ethnic dance. Kenichi is the first and only two-time grand champion in the Showtime at the Apollo history.

  • Mon., Feb. 11, 2008, 6:05 PM
  • Free Millennium Stage Performance
  • Artist Page
Image for Koji Kakinuma

Koji Kakinuma

Calligraphy artist Koji Kakinuma began studying traditional Japanese monochrome brushwork at the age of five. In 1989, Kakinuma arrived on the national stage when he became the youngest person to win the coveted Dokuritsu Shojindan Foundation prize. His rise through the Japanese art world has since been meteoric. For the festival, Kakinuma presents one of his trademark innovations, Trancework, in which he paints countless repetitions of a simple, powerful phrase, producing a giant calligraphic work. Japanese fue player Kaoru Watanabe and contemporary percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani accompany the performance.

  • Tue., Feb. 12, 2008, 6:00 PM
  • Free Millennium Stage Performance
  • Artist Page
Image for Maywa Denki

Maywa Denki

The unique performance art troupe's robotic instruments will be on display and demonstrations will be held twice daily.

  • Feb. 13 - 15, 2008
  • Millennium Stage
  • Read More | Free Event
Image for Takagi Masakatsu

Takagi Masakatsu

Takagi Masakatsu is a visual artist and musician whose work knows no aesthetic borders, from video installations and music videos to composing music for commercials and film. For the festival, Takagi will present a multimedia performance with live music and digitally altered video projections.

  • Wed., Feb. 13, 2008, 6:00 PM
  • Free Millennium Stage Performance
  • Artist Page
Image for Yasuki Fukushima

Yasuki Fukushima

Exclamatory poet Yasuki Fukushima, best known for zekkyo (shouted) tanka, performs some of his works. Similar to haiku, but older, tanka poems are 31 syllables long and evoke a moment or mark an occasion with concision and musicality. The performance will include piano accompaniment by Masato Nagahata.

  • Thu., Feb. 14, 2008, 6:00 PM
  • Free Millennium Stage Performance
  • Artist Page
Image for Strange Kinoko Dance Company

Strange Kinoko Dance Company

One of the most popular dance companies in Japan, this acclaimed all-female dance company presents the world premiere of Flowers, a new site-specific piece created for the festival. The troupe approaches dance from different angles and perspectives and pursues originality with site-specific creations.

  • Fri., Feb. 15, 2008, 6:00 PM
  • Free Millennium Stage Performance
  • Artist Page
Image for Strange Kinoko Dance Company

Strange Kinoko Dance Company

The acclaimed all-female dance company presents the world premiere of Flowers, a new site-specific piece created for the festival.

  • Sat., Feb. 16, 2008
  • KC Café
  • Read More | Free Event
Image for Maywa Denki Performance

Maywa Denki Performance

Founded in 1993 by two brothers, Maywa Denki is a performance art troupe with a unique style. Each piece of their work is called “a product,” and a live performance is considered “a product demonstration.” With their robotic instruments, they perform a number of their masterpieces.

  • Sat., Feb. 16, 2008, 6:00 PM
  • Free Millennium Stage Performance
  • Artist Page
Image for A Harajuku Evening

A Harajuku Evening

Celebrate the finale of the festival with an evening devoted to Harajuku, the Tokyo neighborhood internationally renowned for its youth style and fashion. Immerse yourself in the latest trends in global street culture and music: hip-hop, punk, robot DJs, Ura-Hara, Goth-Lolitas, and more. Be sure to dress up in your favorite Harajuku-inspired fashion!

  • Sun., Feb. 17, 2008, 6:00 PM
  • Free Millennium Stage Performance
  • Artist Page
 

Rebel, Artist, Superstar: The Films of Tadanobu Asano

The Smithsonian’s Freer-Sackler Gallery presents five films starring Tadanobu Asano. His riveting, rebellious screen presence has made him a star in Japan and abroad, earned him comparisons to such actors as Johnny Depp, and prompted Time Magazine to dub him Japan’s “collective Mr. Hyde.” Asano will appear in person with the first three films in the series. Vital - Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.; Last Life in the Universe – Feb. 2 at 2 p.m.; Sad Vacation – Feb. 3 at 2 p.m.; Tori – Feb. 8 at 7 p.m.; Bright Future – Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. All films will be screened at the Meyer Auditorium in the Freer-Sackler Gallery, 1100 Independence Ave., SW (Metro: Smithsonian). Free tickets required. Maximum 2 tickets per person distributed at the auditorium one hour before start time. For more information, visit the Freer-Sackler Gallery Web site.