Category Archives: EVENTS

Shiodome Italy Street Neapolitan pizza Summit Japan 2018

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It is an event sponsored by Shiodome town · specified for-profit corporation Commune Shiodome.
Pizza craftsmen gather from the world & domestic, and full-fledged kiln-baked pizza using fire in the wood kiln will behave. Pizza will be the main event rather than an event of wine, but in the usual year booths such as Italian wine beer will be opened so please join us.

※Video is a thing of the past.

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English Language Kagura Performances in Hiroshima

There are a number of styles of dance and performance around Japan that go by the name of “kagura,” but in western Japan the word almost invariably refers to the lively, narrative performances centered on Shimane prefecture’s famous Izumo Shrine. Long popular throughout the Chugoku region (Hiroshima, Shimane, Yamaguchi, Okayama and Tottori prefectures), in recent decades the style has spread nationwide.

Unlike so many other Japanese folk practices and art forms, Izumo-ryu kagura isn’t a cultural fossil, but a thriving concern that involves regular people of all ages in troupes throughout the region. And as a spectacle, it’s hard to beat. Commonly performed after dark at shrine festivals in both the cities and the deepest countryside, the dances recount folktales and elements of Shinto myth. Children crowd the edges of the stage, ready to scream and fall back in terrified pleasure as demons, bandits or dragons burst onto the scene. Never fear, though. In kagura all these villains are ultimately vanquished and driven away. But only after a great deal of frenzied music, flashing blades, flying sparks and a few taunting challenges by the hero.

Visually, kagura is utterly arresting. And the music, a swirling onslaught of drum, gong and flute, is anything but dull. Where many non-Japanese viewers have difficulty is with the stories themselves. Just what is going on? We’re not familiar with these folktales, and the lines are spoken not only in Japanese, but often from behind masks and by winded performers.

But you’re in luck. For the past several years, Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum has been hosting a regular series of kagura performances for non-Japanese tourists and residents. With the help of no fewer than sixteen local kagura troupes, the performances are performed in Japanese, but are preceded by an English-language introduction to the coming action, and …continue reading