Yasumasa Morimura: Ego Obscura
Notes on Ticketing:
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Next event12/19/2018 12:00 PM
Contemporary Dance Festival: Japan + East Asia
[Dance] January 4, 7:30 PM
January 5, 7:30 PM
This year's festival (formerly known as the Contemporary Dance Showcase) continues with three revelatory and robust works from three countries. From Japan, Mitsutake Kasai performs butoh master Akira Kasai’s legendary piece Pollen Revolution. Hailed as “energetic and altogether wonderfully human” two decades ago, Sr. Kasai choreographs a revival of this eclectic dance for his son. From Taiwan, choreographed by emerging star Kuan-Hsiang Liu, Kids is a tribute to death and the choreographer's mother. Performed to voice recordings of Liu with his mother during her fight against cancer, this modern-day grief ritual is full of idiosyncratic motion and moments of serenity. From Korea, Silver Knife by Goblin Party delves into conflicting portrayals of female identity through the eloquently crafted movements of four women.
Next event1/4/2019 7:30 PM
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
[Film] January 11, 7 PM
This unconventional, visually stunning biopic directed by Paul Schrader (presented in a new 4K restoration) deconstructs the life and work of Japanese writer and outspoken ultranationalist Yukio Mishima—who famously killed himself in a public act of seppuku (ritual suicide) after he failed to incite a military coup—through a dazzling assemblage of biographical dramatization and extravagantly stylized interpretations of his fiction.
Next event1/11/2019 7:00 PM
Creative Play January 13
[Creative Play] January 13, 1 PM
Explore how Japanese children play with snow! Create your own experimental snow sculptures with snow that won’t melt and colored lights inspired by the Sapporo Snow Festival.
Next event1/13/2019 1:00 PM
Family Workshops January 13
[Family Workshop] January 13, 2:30 PM
Watch a Japanese big calligraphy performance then make your own sumi-e ink paintings with artist Taisan Tanaka.
Next event1/13/2019 2:30 PM
Suicide Culture & its influences on Artists
[Performing Arts Talk] January 23, 7:30 PM
How has the subject of suicide been expressed through the arts, and what are some of the current statistical trends in Japan? Join us for this introspective look at suicide culture and how artists today are approaching the topic in their work with an expert scholar. Taiwanese-Japanese-American playwright Kristine Haruna Lee also joins to talk about the inspiration for her latest work Suicide Forest. Set partially against the backdrop of post-bubble 1990s Japan, the play explores how longstanding images and the symbolism behind suicide have permeated her own transcultural and social identities.
Next event1/23/2019 7:30 PM
Precious Papers: Transforming Origami into Jewelry
[Workshop] January 24, 6:30 PM
Take origami to the next level by transforming your paper creations into beautiful jewelry. At this workshop, paper jewelry designer Jewel Kawataki of PaperCraneHeart will demonstrate folding techniques to create a variety of origami shapes and teach how to turn your designs into one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces.
Next event1/24/2019 6:30 PM
Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance
[Film] January 25, 7 PM
In this classic first film in the Lone Wolf series, the fearsome former executioner Itto Ogami takes on an assassination job in a remote hot springs area filled with murderous outlaws. Penned by the original manga writer Kazuo Koike and directed by chanbara director extraordinaire Kenji Misumi, Sword of Vengeance introduces the iconic father-son duo and their battle against the duplicitous Yagyu clan, setting the tone for the entire series with blood-spewing decapitations and unforgettable action sequences.
Next event1/25/2019 7:00 PM
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx
[Film] January 25, 8:45 PM
Itto Ogami and Daigoro continue to get hounded by the Yagyu clan as they travel the countryside, set upon by a deadly female ninja and the spiked weapon-wielding Hidari Brothers. In a touching father-son moment, the battered Ogami survives thanks to Daigoro’s love and ingenuity. A fan favorite entry in the series featuring flying limbs and geysers of blood, this second film makes up a large majority of Shogun Assassin, the 1980 recut and dubbed U.S. release of the franchise.
Next event1/25/2019 8:45 PM
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades
[Film] January 26, 3 PM
In the thrilling third film, set in the sweltering summer heat, Itto Ogami displays extraordinary virtue and self-discipline when he endures torture to protect a young woman sold to a brothel by local yakuza (who eventually hire him). Later, in a thrilling battle against an army of soldiers, Ogami reveals the true power of his baby cart and its arsenal of hidden weapons. Finally, he ruminates on the true “Way of the Warrior” after a duel with a formidable former samurai (Go Kato).
Next event1/26/2019 3:00 PM
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril
[Film] January 26, 4:45 PM
For the fourth installment in the series, the last released in 1972, director Kenji Misumi (who directed the first three films) relinquishes the director’s chair to veteran genre director Buichi Saito. As the Yagyu clan continues to pursue him, Ogami accepts a job to assassinate the tattoo-clad killer Oyuki (Michi Azuma), who has been cutting off her victims’ topknots. Meanwhile, Daigoro gets lost and has a melancholic musical interlude in the rain.
Next event1/26/2019 4:45 PM
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons
[Film] January 26, 6:45 PM
Kenji Misumi returns to direct the fourth Lone Wolf film, but long-time producer Shintaro Katsu (Zatoichi) leaves the responsibility to his brother and series star Tomisaburo Wakayama. In this next chapter, five disguised messengers test Ogami’s skills in a series of surprise attacks, gradually revealing the information he needs for his next assignment: to kill a revered Buddhist priest. Replete with Buddhist philosophy, this penultimate film taps into the spiritual aspect of Ogami’s journey for revenge.
Next event1/26/2019 6:45 PM
Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell
[Film] January 26, 8:30 PM
In the final film of the Lone Wolf and Cub series, star and producer Tomisaburo Wakayama is given almost complete creative control and runs with it to extreme ends, bringing in director Yoshiyuki Kuroda. The final battle—10 minutes long and involving undead assassins and an army of skiing ninjas—is one of the greatest action sequences in the franchise in terms of its epic scale and cost (taking a month and half to shoot). In the conclusion to their quest, Ogami and Daigoro share a moment of quiet profundity.
Next event1/26/2019 8:30 PM
[Family Event] Jan 27, 1—4pm (festival hours)
Taiko Drumming Sessions: 1:30 & 2:30pm
Celebrate the New Year Japanese-style with our Oshogatsu event filled with the traditional activities of rice pounding, calligraphy, lion dancing and more! After trying your hand at the different crafts and activities, grab a seat and watch a taiko drumming performance, then join the brief post-performance audience practice session. With activities for the whole family, you are sure to ring in the New Year with great joy!
Next event1/27/2019 1:30 PM
Inside Out/Outside In: Second Nature in Japanese Architecture
[Lecture] January 31, 6:30 PM
In our climate-shifting world, the traditional Japanese notion of mediating between interior and exterior has re-emerged as an essential concern for contemporary architects. Rome Prize-winning architects Rachely Rotem and Phu Hoang, of architectural firm MODU, explore this dynamic in their own weather-centric projects. Funded by the NEA and US-Japan Creative Artists Program, Rotem and Hoang visited Japan to research the role of weather in the conception of architectural space. At this talk, they will reveal their discoveries, from their own first-hand experience of climate change to their interviews with five generations of Japanese architects including Kengo Kuma, Fumihiko Maki and Ryue Nishizawa.
Next event1/31/2019 6:30 PM
Play Reading Series: 100 Years Stray
[Play Reading] February 4, 7:30 PM
Children go missing, meteors rain from the sky and a blue demon lurks just out of sight in Japanese playwright SaringROCK's 100 Years Stray, nominated for the prestigious Kishida Kunio Drama Award. New York-based director and theater-maker from Chicago Taylor Reynolds tackles this apocalyptic coming-of-age story in a staged reading that explores a fictional universe where extreme isolation is the norm and women no longer exist. Playwright SaringROCK joins in a post-performance Q&A with the audience and director.
Next event2/4/2019 7:30 PM
Connoisseurship: The Art of Earth and Fire
[Gallery Event] February 8, 6 PM
For centuries, Japanese potters have transformed humble materials—clay, ash and fire—into magnificent works of art, a tradition that continues to this day with the work of some of Japan’s most innovative artists. Join clay arts expert and gallery Joan Mirviss for this hands-on seminar navigating the intricacies of Japan’s functional and sculptural ceramic arts. Master topics as diverse as the history and development of ceramics, cutting-edge contemporary design and production, and the refined arts of handling, presentation, care and storage.
Next event2/8/2019 6:00 PM
The Ballad of Narayama (1983)
[Film] February 8, 7 PM
Shohei Imamura’s Palme d’Or-winning masterpiece is set in a remote mountain village in 19th century Japan wherein tradition dictates that those who reach the age of 70 must be carried to the top of Mount Narayama and left to die. Despite her hard-scrabble surroundings, Orin (Sumiko Sakamoto) is still sprightly at 69, working the fields and managing her family’s affairs. Even so, when winter returns to the valley, she demands that her eldest son (Ken Ogata) carry out her fate. A film full of mud, lust, sweat and death, Narayama is a grand culmination of Imamura’s career-long interest in “the lower part of the human body and lower part of the social structure.”
Next event2/8/2019 7:00 PM
Creative Play February 10
[Creative Play] February 10, 1 PM
Join in one of the favorite traditions of Japanese kids--welcome spring by scaring away ogres by throwing soybeans at them! Dress your parents up like ogres, then practice some ogre moves and dances before the bean-throwing begins.
Next event2/10/2019 1:00 PM
Family Workshops February 10
[Family Workshop] February 10, 2:30 PM
Create (and take home) your own bonsai tree!
Next event2/10/2019 2:30 PM
Aroma Space Design: The World of Japanese Scents
[Lecture] February 12, 6:30 PM
The elevation of scent to an art form has a long history in Japan, going back to the classical Japanese art of kodo, the incense ceremony. Scent is more than a passing phenomenon, it has a strong connection to feeling, and different smells may turn our mood bright or sour. At this talk, Megumi Futatsu, aroma space designer at At Aroma, explores the traditional scents of Japan and their uses, how aromatherapy and interior design can work together, and how to select the right scent for you.
Next event2/12/2019 6:30 PM
More Than Words: Haiku's Expressive Potential
[Lecture] February 21, 6:30 PM
Haiku: in just 17 syllables, this classic form of Japanese verse captures the essence of a moment. Mastered by poets like Matsuo Basho and Yosa Buson, this ancient literary form has captured the hearts of people around the world, inspiring modern poets like Ezra Pound and Jack Kerouac. At this talk, Hiroaki Sato, author of On Haiku and former president of the Haiku Society of America, unveils the surprising role haiku has played in social upheavals, religion, humor and more, and examines its boundless potential for literary expression in English.
Next event2/21/2019 6:30 PM
Tomoyasu Murata: Stop Motion Master
[Film] February 23, 3 PM
One of Japan’s most prolific independent animation artists, Tomoyasu Murata (b. 1974, Tokyo) has created breathtaking, boundary-breaking stop motion animated films over the last two decades. Initially inspired by the expressive power of traditional Japanese bunraku puppet theater, Murata’s films—at once tender, whimsical and mysterious—deal with themes of memory, absence and mujo (the Buddhist concept of impermanence) through the cinematic manipulation of his meticulously handcrafted puppets and fantastical miniature sets. The eight short films in this program range from the artist’s award-winning student work to recent projects that respond to the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Next event2/23/2019 3:00 PM
Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo Puppet Theater
[Theater] February 28, 7:30 PM - PROGRAM A
March 1, 7:30 PM - PROGRAM B
March 2, 7:30 PM - PROGRAM A
Koryu Nishikawa, the fifth grand master of Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo Puppet Theater, returns to NYC with four female-focused stories from classic literature: Kuzunoha, about a mother’s undying love for her child; Date Musume Koi Higanoko, which depicts a woman’s heroic sacrifice for her lover; Tsuri On’na, a comical piece about “fishing” for a wife; and Yugao, a new work from Nishikawa based on a story from The Tale of Genji, in which the jealous spirit of one of Genji’s lovers possesses a young woman he’s courting. Kuruma ningyo, literally meaning "puppets on wheels," refers to the company's unique technique in which the puppeteer sits atop a three-wheeled dolly, adding an element of dynamism and power to each character. Don’t miss this rare chance to see a full-scale production with chanters and shamisen players.
Next event2/28/2019 7:30 PM
[2-DAY] Master Class on Kuruma Ningyo Puppetry
[2-DAY Performing Arts Workshop] March 2, 1 PM
March 3, 11:30 AM
How has the subject of suicide been expressed through the arts, and what are some of the current statistical trends in Japan? Join us for this introspective look at suicide culture and how artists today are approaching the topic in their work with an expert scholar. Taiwanese-Japanese-American playwright Kristine Haruna Lee also joins to talk about the inspiration for her latest work Suicide Forest. Set partially against the backdrop of post-bubble 1990s Japan, the play explores how suicide narratives have permeated her own transcultural and social identities.
Next event3/2/2019 1:00 PM
Creative Play March 3
[Creative Play] March 3, 1 PM
Enjoy an authentic display of intricately decorated hina dolls, experience Hinamatsuri traditions, sing songs and make your own dolls to take home! Families wish for the health and happiness of young girls on Hinamatsuri, and decorate their houses with special hina doll displays.
Next event3/3/2019 1:00 PM
Family Workshops March 3
[Family Workshop] March 3, 2:30 PM
Learn the basic movements of Japanese classical dance and how to use dance fans for expressive movements. Perform a short dance piece that expresses the beauty of flowers!
Next event3/3/2019 2:30 PM
[Dance] March 22, 7:30 PM
March 23, 7:30 PM
How can Cambodia's past be preserved through the human body? Akiko Kitamura, internationally acclaimed Japanese dancer and founder/former choreographer of Leni-Basso dance company, tackles this challenge together with Cambodian visual artist/photographer Kim Hak. Ambitious yet poetic, Cross Transit is a multimedia dance piece in which Hak's video, photos, voice and personal experiences intertwine with Kitamura's bold, progressive choreography.
Next event3/22/2019 7:30 PM
You Took a Part of Me
[Dance] April 12, 7:30 PM
April 13, 7:30 PM
You Took a Part of Me is a wired dance production with choreography by "punk ballerina" Karole Armitage for her five-member dance company. Loosely based on the noh play Nonomiya, it explores erotic entanglement, unresolved attachments and the search for harmony, all of which are hallmarks of noh drama. Set to live music by Reiko Yamada and Yuki Isami, the show embraces new technologies created by MIT Media Lab designers. The lead role, by Armitage's longtime collaborator Megumi Eda, highlights sinuous, seductive movement executed with ferocious intensity in a dream-like state.
Next event4/12/2019 7:30 PM
Creative Play April 14
[Creative Play] April 14, 1 PM
Enjoy a playtime picnic and under a fantastical indoor cherry blossom tree. Make your own magic growing sakura tree to take home! In Japan, the tradition of hanami, the viewing of cherry blossoms, and picnicking beneath them, is one of the best ways to welcome spring.
Next event4/14/2019 1:00 PM
Family Workshops April 14
[Family Workshop] April 14, 2:30 PM
A Wagashi confectioner will lead families in making their own artistic Japanese sweets inspired by spring. Delicate, artisanal confections, wagashi are traditionally served as an accompaniment to the tea ceremony.
Next event4/14/2019 2:30 PM
Creative Play May 12
[Creative Play] May 12, 1 PM
Experience the Japanese legend of carp fish who used their bravery to swim to the top of a waterfall to eventually become dragons. Play with carp and dragon puppets and an imaginary waterfall, and make your own carp to take home! Koinobori (carp streamers) are commonly flown above the roofs of kids’ houses for Children’s Day in May.
Next event5/12/2019 1:00 PM
Family Workshops May 12
[Family Workshop] May 12, 2:30 PM
Learn about The Way of Tea as you participate in an authentic Japanese tea ceremony.
Next event5/12/2019 2:30 PM
Ashita no Ma-Joe: Rocky Macbeth
[Theater] May 15, 7:30 PM
May 16, 7:30 PM
May 17, 7:30 PM
May 18, 2:30 PM
May 18, 8:30 PM
Yu Murai, founder of the Theater Company Kaimaku Pennant Race, cleverly retells Macbeth through the 1960s mega-hit manga Ashita no Joe, providing insight into how the tale of one young man's rise from delinquent to professional boxer parallels that of the Scottish king. Littered with reimaginings of famous scenes from both works, this production is sure to titillate Shakespeare and manga lovers alike. Murai uses the mythos surrounding the boxer Joe to create a nonsensical theatrical production that cheekily smashes together two worlds fraught with angst and ambition.
Next event5/15/2019 7:30 PM
Creative Play June 9
[Creative Play] June 9, 1 PM
Listen to a story about Sports Day and play some unique Japanese sports day games like tamaire, and the silly pan-kui kyoso to win prizes! Communities and schools across Japan celebrate Sports Day with a sports festival which is similar to a mini Olympics.
Next event6/9/2019 1:00 PM
Family Workshops June 9
[Family Workshop] June 9, 2:30 PM
Learn how to fold your own origami creations and watch a giant origami folding demo!
Next event6/9/2019 2:30 PM