Greater Kansas City Japan Festival Returns!

Aya Uchida, “J-Pop” singer from Kyoto

Experience In-Person the Culture of Japan

After a two-year absence due to the pandemic, the Greater Kansas City Japan Festival is back to present a live exploration of the fascinating culture of Japan. On Saturday, Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., on the campus of Johnson County Community College (JCCC), the Festival presents a one-day visit to Japan! Hosted by the Heart of America Japan-America Society, the event will showcase performers acclaimed for their artistry in both Japan and the United States. Festival favorites are returning to delight audiences.

Aya Uchida, internationally recognized “J-Pop” singer from Kyoto, Japan, is a crowd favorite. Aya will perform with Jo Yamanaka, a Kansas City musician and songwriter, who accompanies Aya on the guitar. He and Aya began producing original songs in 2009. Their first single, “Mahalo-Arigato,” was composed for the Greater Kansas City Japan Festival and well received in the U.S. and Japan.

Accomplished musicians Yoko Hiraoka, David Kansuke Wheeler and John Lytton return to create enchanting musical sounds with the Japanese instruments koto, shamisen and shakuhachi. Yoko Hiraoka, a native of Kyoto, Japan, studied classical koto and shamisen music from an early age. She is an active interpreter of contemporary repertoire for her instruments. David Wheeler has been performing, teaching and writing about the shakuhachi and Japanese music in Japan and around the world since 1982 and has appeared on Japanese television and radio. John Lytton returned to Kansas after living in Tokyo for 36 years. He acquired extensive experience in Kabuki music and related genres of drama and stage music. His musical experience ranges from the three-stringed shamisen to drums of the hayashi ensemble.

Denver Taiko

Denver Taiko, one of the earliest Taiko groups in North America, returns with their exciting and powerful taiko drum performances, interweaving modern and ancient rhythms. Professional candy artist Miyuki Sugimori, who practices the 250-year-old art of candy sculpture by shaping candy material into flower and animal forms, is a fan favorite of all ages. She performed at the Epcot Center for many years.

Japanese tea ceremony, a range of exhibits, workshops, language and calligraphy classes will be presented. Contemporary Anime and Manga will be celebrated. Shop at the Japan Bazaar, enjoy authentic Japanese food and visit a Japanese Cultural Village focused on family fun.

The mission of the Heart of America Japan-America Society is “to further understanding between the people of Japan and the Greater Kansas City area by promoting social, cultural and educational exchanges.” Visit www.kcjapanfestival.org for ticket information. Tickets can also be purchased on-site.

–Jama Akers

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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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