Jan 28

Justin’s Japan: Nippon in New York — Kawaii Central, Japan Week, Mr. Big, the Last ‘Naruto’


The Last: Naruto the Movie premieres at Village East Cinema Feb. 21. (VIZ Media)

The Last: Naruto the Movie premieres at Village East Cinema Feb. 21. (VIZ Media)

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his Japanese culture page here for related stories.

Stay warm this winter with some hot local events, from an exhibition for the whole family that’s perfect for introducing kids to Tokyo life, a big-screen anime farewell to a certain ninja you won’t want to miss, and an annual showcase that brings the sights (and tastes) of Japan to vivid life.

This month’s highlights include:

Now through May 17

Hello from Japan!

Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd Street

$11 children/adults, $7 seniors

Experience Tokyo’s vibrant culture in a new interactive exhibit! Children will have fun learning about life in present day Japan in this playful, highly immersive environment that transports families to two distinct areas of Tokyo that exist side by side: one serene and exquisite, the other, too cute for words. Kawaii Central is a streetscape inspired by Tokyo’s bustling Harajuku district, bursting with color, trendy shops and cuter than cute styles. Kids sing karaoke, smile for the photo booth camera, serve up a seasonal Japanese meal, and design adorable mascots for their families. Plus, learn more about contemporary Japan through special programs for the public, free with admission.

Jan. 29-31, 7:30 p.m.

Miwa Yanagi Zero Hour: Tokyo Rose’s Last Tape

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$35, $28 Japan Society members

Stranded in Japan during World War II, a young Japanese-American woman was forced to serve as a radio broadcaster for a propaganda program controlled by the Japanese Imperial Army, and was subsequently tried for treason. Seventy years later, this historic incident is brought to life through a visually stunning whodunit, conceived, written and directed by internationally renowned visual artist Miwa Yanagi. Brimming with iconic imagery from her rich body of photographic work, Zero Hour tells the multi-layered story of a woman caught between two nations during the war. This presentation marks Yanagi’s North American debut as a theater artist. Performed in English and Japanese with English subtitles.

Feb. 7-8

Music from Japan: East Asian Vibrancy and Highlights of MFJ Commissions III

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue


Over two days, Music from Japan’s 40th anniversary will be commemorated with exciting cross-cultural collaborations between musicians from Japan and its neighboring countries, China and Korea. Three internationally acclaimed traditional instrumentalists from Japan, Korea, and China will perform contemporary and classical repertoire on their respective instruments. A series of solo works will be followed by a group improvisation and the world premiere of Unkai (Sea of Clouds), written by MFJ-commissioned composer Ned Rothenberg especially for the occasion. The following afternoon, to celebrate MFJ’s long history of commissioning Japanese and American composers to create new work, two new MFJ commissions will be presented alongside a retrospective of compositions from prior years.

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