Mar 1

Justin’s Japan: Nippon in New York: ‘The Boy and the Beast,’ Kabuki, 3/11, WagakkiBand, Hiromi

Mamoru Hosoda's The Boy and the Beast premieres March 4. (FUNimation)

Mamoru Hosoda’s The Boy and the Beast premieres March 4. (FUNimation)

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

Tucked between Oscar and cherry blossom season, March offers an unmissable array of concerts, performances and exhibitions, along with a special gathering to mark the five-year anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

This month’s highlights include:

Tuesday, March 1, 8:00 p.m.

An Evening of Japanese Traditional Theatre

Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage), 881 Seventh Avenue

$50-$500, student discount tickets available at the box office

Starring kabuki actor Ebizo Ichikawa, this performance highlights traditional Japanese music by showcasing three different traditional Japanese theatrical art forms: kabuki, noh, and kyogen. It is rare, even in Japan, to see these performed in the same evening and on the same stage. Artistic Director of the Grand Japan Theater Denjiro Tanaka is the son of Tadao Kamei, a noh musician, and Sataro Tanaka, the daughter of kabuki musicians. His shared lineage made this collaboration possible.

Opens Friday, March 4

The Boy and the Beast

AMC Empire 25; Angelika Film Center; Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea


The latest feature film from award-winning Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars, Wolf Children)! When Kyuta, a young orphan living on the streets of Shibuya, stumbles into a fantastic world of beasts, he’s taken in by Kumatetsu, a gruff, rough-around-the-edges warrior beast who’s been searching for the perfect apprentice. Despite their constant bickering, Kyuta and Kumatetsu begin training together and slowly form a bond as surrogate father and son. But when a deep darkness threatens to throw the human and beast worlds into chaos, the strong bond between this unlikely pair will be put to the ultimate test—a final showdown that will only be won if the two can finally work together using all of their combined strength and courage. This limited theatrical engagement is presented in English dub and the original Japanese audio with English subtitles—check your local theater for availability and showtimes.

March 4-9

Of Ghosts, Samurai and War: A Series of Classic Japanese Film

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue

$12, $10 students/seniors, $8 members

In its history spanning more than 100 years, Japanese cinema has produced some of the most admired films that continue to enrich the world cinema discourse. Masterpieces by such greats as Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon), Kenji Mizoguchi (Ugetsu), and Kaneto Shindo (Onibaba) have proved their enduring influence on filmmaking and film appreciation.

The six films included in the series are set during Japan’s Middle Ages (12th to 17th century) and produced during the Japanese golden age of cinema in the 1950s and 1960s—a time when Japan’s memory of war was still vivid. Using a variety of narrative and visual techniques, these filmmakers present a humanist approach to understanding life during war: from the struggle for power, to the quest for justice, or even the mere fight for survival. These rarely screened 35mm film prints also represent the best of Japanese cinema for their visual designs, color schemes, music, narrative strategies and performance styles, offering a pristine and essential viewing experience.

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