Upcoming Events/Blog

Event List and Blog

2017年8月23日 : September 23rd Culture Fair

Try a variety of hands-on Japanese activities in a beautiful Meiji-era garden and teahouse!

When: Saturday, September 23rd, 13:00 - 16:00
Where: Nakamura Park Memorial Hall, a short subway ride from Nagoya Station (see here for details)
What: try several hands-on Japanese cultural activities, in whatever order and for as long as you like; there is no set schedule. This month we are offering kimono (men's, women's, and children's sizes available; photography in bamboo garden also possible), 13-string koto harp, taiko drumming, tea ceremony, calligraphy, and paper crafts, introduced to you by a group of friendly teachers with experience sharing Japanese culture overseas.


Email japanfolkfestival@jffjff.com or call 052-413-8200 for tickets, or use the contact form at the top of the page. We look forward to seeing you there!

We will also be offering different activities on our upcoming programs (October 15th and November 19th; future dates TBA) so follow this blog or our Facebook page for updates.


Advance (reserved by September 8th):
Adults ¥4000, children 6-12 ¥2500 (children under 6 free)

Adults ¥5000, children ¥3000

Admission includes all materials necessary for the day's activities, and completed crafts, art, calligraphy, and sweets can be taken home as souvenirs.

2017年8月23日 : Event info: Owara-style dance
Enjoy an evening of Owara-style dancing, from Toyama prefecture, at the beautiful Higashi Betsuin temple in Nagoya! Owara is a style of Bon dancing that is performed flowing through the streets, while thousands of paper lanterns decorate the doorways of local shops and houses. The members of Nagoya's local folk dancing research collective, Kasuri no Kai, traveled to Toyama to learn the steps of this thoughtful, plaintive dance accompanied by shamisen, kokyu, and folk song.

Date and time: Saturday, October 14th, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Place: Inside Higashi Betsuin temple
Tickets: 700 yen advance, 800 yen day-of (contact us to arrange for tickets in English)

2017年8月21日 : Cultural background: taiko drumming

One of the first forms of Japanese music many people encounter is the dramatic and powerful taiko drum ensemble. A perennial favorite at festivals and fairs, both throughout Japan and overseas, the driving rhythm has come to represent the spirit and strength of Japanese culture. Thus, it’s surprising for many to learn that taiko ensembles are in fact a modern innovation, though they make use of one of the oldest instruments known in the country. This phenomenon was made possible by Japan’s peculiar national situation in the 20th century and by the dedicated efforts of one percussionist.

Since ancient times drums had been used in a number of settings in Japan, particularly ritualistic ones, but in the warring states they acquired a new prominence as instruments of communication during battle. The warlord Takeda Shingen, in particular, assembled a corps of 21 taiko performers who conveyed messages to faraway allies and pounded out appropriately dramatic background music during battles. (That NHK historical drama’s climactic battle scene may have been more realistic than you thought!) Following the death of Takada Shingen, a distinctive taiko music continued to be played in the Yamanashi and Nagano areas as part of his legacy, but it slowly died out, until in the 1950s the jazz drummer Oguchi Daihachi was asked by a relative to translate an old page of sheet music that was a relic of this Osuwa-taiko style. He decided to not only recreate the traditional songs, but to add original layers, and assembled a team of drummers on instruments of various sizes in the spirit of Takeda Shingen’s drum corps.

This style of music quickly spread, gaining notoriety in particular from Oguchi’s group’s appearance at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. The simple yet dramatic nature of this style struck a chord with a Japanese public searching for a way to connect with Japan’s historical legacy in a Europeanized, postwar country. A massive number of taiko groups in this style quickly sprang up, first around Japan, then in the United States, Australia, and Europe. One of the first groups to perform in the U.S., Ondekoza, achieved notoriety for running the Boston marathon in their taiko performance attire, a testament to the Spartan training they cultivated during their training on Sado Island in Niigata. A breakaway group, Kodo, maintains enormous success, touring, teaching, and hosting Sado Island’s annual Earth Celebration festival.

The taiko drum ensemble has become such a popular staple throughout Japan that it’s hard to imagine such groups weren’t around less than a century ago. Thanks to a nationwide revival of interest in traditional Japanese performing arts and the dedicated efforts of Oguchi Daihachi, Ondekoza, Kodo, and performers worldwide, this modern take on Japan’s most ancient instrument is a huge draw for players and audiences, and continues to spread and develop in fascinating new ways.

2017年8月16日 : Nagoya event: "The Art of the Guitar"
On September 10th, Spanish-based guitar performer and professor Takagi Masayuki will be in Nagoya as part of his "The Art of the Guitar" tour. As part of a 3:00 PM afternoon concert, he will perform a number of contemporary works by composers from around the world, including Antonio Lauro's Five Venezuelan Waltzes, Alexandre Tansman's Cantina, and Frederico Moreno Torroba's captivating Sonatina.

For tickets, contact Muse Salon in Ozone (see flier for details).

2017年8月7日 : Sunari Festival
Last Saturday, we had the pleasure of taking a group of travelers to experience the Sunari Festival in Kanie, and we saw why it's earned its spot as a UNESCO important cultural heritage event. In addition to watching the decoration of the stately lantern boat, we were lucky enough to meet the mayors of Kanie and Nagoya. In spite of the massive crowds pouring into this small town, the people of Kanie were extremely welcoming, and we all enjoyed a wonderful evening together.

In autumn we'll be arranging more tours to visit other local festivals - stay tuned!