Experience Japan at the Greater City Japan Festival

For just one day, the Greater Kansas City Japan Festival again brings the culture of Japan to metropolitan Kansas City, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., on the campus of Johnson County Community College (JCCC). Hosted by the Heart of America Japan-America Society (HAJAS) and JCCC, this is a unique, crowd-pleasing celebration of Japanese culture, encompassing theatre, martial arts, music, food and much more.

This year, for the first time, the Festival explores Kabuki theatre — a world renowned classic form of Japanese performance art created in the early 17th century in Japan, featuring music, dance and elaborate costumes. Music, created by both singers and instruments, helps set the narrative tone and pacing of a scene. Dance numbers are inserted into performances at almost any opportunity. Actors are trained for long periods of time to move and gesture using dance-like motions.

Japanese kabuki theater master Kikuhiro Otowa is coming from Tokyo as producer, director and a performer in the Festival kabuki presentations. Ms. Ritsuyo Wazaogi, an accomplished student of Otowa from Tokyo, will dance in the presentation.
Ms. Asuka Iijima, from Tokyo, will perform another style of classical dance, known as Nihon Buyoo.

Many audience favorites return this year. Japanese taiko drum performances will present the powerful sounds of local favorite Three Trails Taiko, and the popular Denver Taiko performers. “Taiko” refers to a dynamic Japanese style of drumming that originated centuries ago. Always popular, martial arts performances will be highlighted.

Aya Uchida, internationally recognized “J-Pop” singer from Kyoto, Japan, will perform with Jo Yamanaka, a Kansas City musician and songwriter, who accompanies Aya on the guitar. Accomplished musicians Yoko Hiraoka, David Kansuke Wheeler and John Lytton return to create compelling musical sounds with the Japanese instruments koto, shamisen and shakuhachi.

Japanese candy artistry dates back 250 years, and Miyuki Sugimori, Japanese Candy Artist, creates tiny sculptures on-site. Miyuki performed at Epcot Center’s Japanese Pavilion for almost two decades.

Classic presentation of Japanese tea ceremony is a perennial Festival highlight. A range of workshops, language and calligraphy classes, and a variety of exhibits will be presented, including winning works from the Festival Haiku poetry competition. Contemporary Anime and Manga are celebrated.

Enjoy a unique shopping experience at the Japan Bazaar, and authentic Japanese food.

Greater Kansas City Japan Festival is a cultural event like no other! Don’t miss it.

For more information, or to purchase tickets online, visit www.kcjapanfestival.org.

KC Studio

KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.

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