The Arts of Japan Celebration

The Kennedy Center commemorates the beauty of the cherry blossoms with a festival of performances celebrating the Center’s long-time relationship with Japan. Experience both traditional and contemporary Japanese music, dance, and theater with a shakuhachi flute performance, taiko drumming, imaginative puppet theater, and more.


Most performances in the Terrace Theater, a gift from Japan to the United States

Akikazu Nakamura Akikazu Nakamura
A master on the shakuhachi, a Japanese end-blown bamboo flute, he performs cross-genre collaborations with his trio Kokoo.

Mar. 26 at 2 p.m,
Terrace Theater, Tickets $20
  Akikazu Nakamura Explore the Arts™ Akikazu Nakamura Master Class
Nakamura leads a discussion and demonstration focusing on circular breathing technique.
Mar. 27 at 7 p.m.,
Opera House Stage Door, Tickets $10
Toshiko Akiyoshi Toshiko Akiyoshi
This acclaimed jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader—known for her “unmistakable lyrical gifts” (The New Yorker)—marks her 60th year in jazz in a concert with her trio
Mar. 31 at 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
Terrace Theater, Tickets $30
  Hello Maru-Chan: A World of Paper Hello Maru-Chan: A World of Paper
Japan’s Kazenoko Theatre Company uses actors and puppets to tell the delightful story of a girl born into a paper world. Ages 4 and up.  
Apr. 7 at 7:30 p.m., Apr. 8 at 1:30 & 3:30 p.m., Apr. 9 at 1:30 p.m.
Terrace Theater, Tickets $15


  Cherry blossom ornament

Kaori FujiiKaori Fujii
Performing with her flute trio, Fujii’s music spans from baroque to contemporary.

March 25
  Soichi Muraji Soichi Muraji
This classical guitarist began playing at age three. The winner of numerous guitar competitions, Muraji currently studies at Manhattan School of Music.
March 30
Kennedy Center Sachiyo Ito and Company
Combining both eastern and western performance traditions, the company performs kabuki, noh, Okinawan court,and Jiuta-mai dance, as well as contemporary styles.
March 31
  Kennedy Center Shunzo Ohno with the Howard University Jazz Ensemble
Trumpeter Shunzo Ohno - who has played with the “who’s who” of the jazz world, including Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Roy Haynes, Gil Evans, and Wayne Shorter - performs with the Howard University Jazz Ensemble.
Apr. 1
Narimichi Kawabata Narimichi Kawabata with Daniel-Ben Pienaar
Kawabata is one of the most acclaimed violin soloists in Japan and around the world. His music is imaginative, elegant, and supported by rock-solid technique. He performs with pianist Daniel-Ben Pienaar.
April 5
  Tamagawa University Taiko Dance Ensemble Tamagawa University Taiko Dance Ensemble
From Japan’s top performing arts university, this troupe performs visually stunning Japanese dances, from the traditional to the contemporary.
April 6
Tamagawa University Taiko Drumming and Dance Ensemble Tamagawa University  Taiko Drumming and Dance Ensemble
The troupe adds drumming medleys to its performance in an outdoor concert on the South Plaza Stage.
Apr. 7

Millennium Stage is brought to you by:

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Arts of Japan performances are made possible through the support of the Japan Endowment of the International Performing Arts Fund of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. International Programming at the Kennedy Center is supported through the generosity of the Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts. Funding for the Explore the Arts™ program is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.