May 28

WIT Life #342: Turning a corner on Corona

Written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03), WIT Life is a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

Hope everyone is doing well in quarantine and looking forward to early summer. It seems like we’re getting closer to having some restrictions lifted here in NY. Over in Japan, the number of cases remains low and PM Abe just lifted the state of emergency for Tokyo and the other four prefectures that were still under it. However, it seems like his time in office might be cut short due to several significant blunders.

It’s been a heartbreaking week in non-Corona related domestic news, and I’ve been using podcasts and webinars to keep my mind off the awfulness. I’m especially fond of Asia Society programming, and tonight at 6:30 you can check out “Tattered Fans and Talismans.” It’s streaming on the organization’s Facebook page, but if you aren’t able to catch it live they offer access to events post-recording.

And in other exciting news, mark your calendars for the inaugural Casa Con! This all digital convention focusing on gaming, content creation and cosplay will be held on Discord from June 12-14. If the fact that I’ll be participating in a panel discussion on Saturday the 13th at 5 p.m. is not enough motivation for you to attend, registration is free! You can connect with the event over social media at #casacon and @thecasacon.


Apr 29

WIT Life #341: Hanami at home

Written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03), WIT Life is a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

Hope everyone is holding up ok as we enter our second month of sheltering at home. Some days are better than others, but one thing I’m really missing is soaking up spring. This would typically be the season when I’d be attending all of the 桜祭り (sakura matsuri or cherry blossom festivals) in various parts of Queens, but of course that can’t happen this year.

Thankfully the Sato Sakura Gallery has a virtual fix for people who are craving the cherry blossoms. Check out this related article, which discusses 花見 (hanami or flower viewing) culture, as well as the museum’s amazing collection of sakura screens and paintings. For those who want a literal taste of sakura, try the cherry blossom shake at Shake Shack or pick up some sakura mochi at your local Japanese supermarket.

Hope this tides you over until next year, when we can hopefully enjoy the blossoms by sitting under them with food, drink and friends!


Mar 4

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Dai Fujikura, ‘Tokyo Godfathers,’ Japan Nite

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobeshi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

Stay warm this winter with some hot local events, from live showcases that will transport you to another time and place, some new anime screenings, and a rock showcase you won’t want to miss.

This month’s highlights include:

Courtesy of Millertheatre.com

Thursday, March 5, 8:00 p.m.

Dai Fujikura: Composer Portrait

Miller Theatre, 2960 Broadway

$7-$30

The works of Osaka-born Dai Fujikura are performed with regularity by conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel and by some of the most acclaimed orchestras and ensembles in the world. As one of the leading voices of his generation, his signature “high octane instrumental writing” (The Guardian) will be exhibited in this Portrait featuring International Contemporary Ensemble, longtime champions of Fujikura. A selection of recent chamber works provide a glimpse into his unique soundworld, including Minina—inspired by the birth of his daughter—and abandoned time, written for electric guitar and ensemble.

©-bozzo
©-bozzo

March 6-7, 7:30 p.m.

Fruits borne out of rust

Japan Society, 333 Easy 47th Street

$32, $25 members

Isolation, contagion and instability: Fruits borne out of rust, conceived of and directed by internationally known Japanese visual artist Tabaimo, uses drawings, video installations and live music to probe these unsettling themes that lurk beneath daily existence. Her intricate animations transform the stage into a wood floor apartment, a large birdcage that traps the dancer with a dove, and a line of tatami mats that swallows the dancer whole. Tabaimo’s collaborator, award-winning choreographer Maki Morishita, mischievously blends the subtle movements of the dancer’s fingers and toes with the dynamic drive of her limbs and torso, enhancing Tabaimo’s peculiar and introspective world. The March 6 performance is followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception. The March 7 performance is followed by an Artist Q&A.

GKIDS

March 9 & 11, 7:00 p.m.

Tokyo Godfathers

Regal E-Walk 42nd Street 13, 247 West 43nd Street

AMC Empire 25, 234 West 42nd Street

AMC Kips Bay 15, 570 Second Avenue

$14-$20

Tokyo Godfathers, the acclaimed holiday classic from master director Satoshi Kon (Paprika, Perfect Blue), returns to theaters in a brand-new restoration. In modern-day Tokyo, three homeless people’s lives are changed forever when they discover a baby girl at a garbage dump on Christmas Eve. As the New Year fast approaches, these three forgotten members of society band together to solve the mystery of the abandoned child and the fate of her parents. Along the way, encounters with seemingly unrelated events and people force them to confront their own haunted pasts, as they learn to face their future, together. Co-written by Keiko Nobumoto (Cowboy Bebop) and featuring a whimsical score by Keiichi Suzuki, Tokyo Godfathers is a masterpiece by turns heartfelt, hilarious and highly original, a tale of hope and redemption in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. The March 9 screening is presented in Japanese with English subtitles, with the March 11 screening presented in English.

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Feb 27

Written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03), WIT Life is a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

Recently I had the chance to check out the newest exhibition at the Sato Sakura Gallery, Curious Beasts. As the name indicates, this collection of paintings is of animal portraits ranging from cats and tigers to dogs and birds. The works are from the artists Fumika Koda and Yuji Musashihara, and being a cat lover I was partial to Koda’s paintings as they mostly feature felines. In particular, I liked her painting Beautiful Spring Day (春うらら, haru urara), which shows a cat caught under falling cherry blossoms (花吹雪, hanafubuki).

Beautiful Spring Day (春うらら)
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Feb 18

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — ‘Ride Your Wave,’ ‘Nourishing Japan,’ ‘Children of the Sea’

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobeshi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

Stay warm this winter with some hot local events, from live showcases that will transport you to another time and place, some new anime screenings, and a theatrical performance you won’t want to miss. This month’s highlights include:

GKIDS

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 7:00 p.m.

Ride Your Wave

Various locations and prices

From visionary director Masaaki Yuasa (The Night is Short, Walk on Girl, Devilman Crybaby) comes a deeply emotional new film that applies his trademark visual ingenuity to a tale of romance, grief and self-discovery. Hinako is a surf-loving college student who has just moved to a small seaside town. When a sudden fire breaks out at her apartment building, she is rescued by Minato, a handsome firefighter, and the two soon fall in love. Just as they become inseparable, Minato loses his life in an accident at sea. Hinako is so distraught that she can no longer even look at the ocean, but one day she sings a song that reminds her of their time together, and Minato appears in the water. From then on, she can summon him in any watery surface as soon as she sings their song, but can the two really remain together forever? And what is the real reason for Minato’s sudden reappearance?

Courtesy of Nourishingjapan.com

Thursday, Feb. 20, 7:00 p.m.

Nourishing Japan: Food Education & School Lunch in Japan

MOFAD (Museum of Food and Drink), 62 Bayard Street (Brooklyn)

$25

Embark on a delicious journey from farmer’s field to school classroom that celebrates how one country has re-imagined school lunch and food education. At the heart of Japan’s 2005 Food Education Law are the incredible people whose daily work nourishes the next generation’s relationship to food, the earth, and one another. Join documentary filmmaker (and JET alumna) Alexis Agliano Sanborn (Shimane-ken, 2009-11) for the public premiere of this film. After the screening, Alexis will be joined in conversation with Yoriko Okamoto and Susan McCormac of JapanCultureNYC. Opening remarks will be given by Jennifer L. Pomeranz, Assistant Professor of Public Health Policy and Management at NYU. Reception with sake courtesy of SOTO and bites courtesy of Bessou and Kokoro Care Packages to follow.

GKIDS

Friday, Feb. 21, 6:30 p.m.

Children of the Sea

SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street

New York International Children’s Film Festival

Various locations

$17.50

East Coast premiere for the New York International Children’s Film Festival! Adapted from the acclaimed manga comes this visually dazzling, mind-bending aquatic mystery. Ruka’s dad is so absorbed in his studies at the aquarium that he hardly notices when she befriends Umi and Sora. Like Ruka, the mysterious duo has the unique ability to hear the call of the sea and its endangered creatures. Together, can they save them?

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Jan 15

JQ Magazine: Film Review — ‘Weathering with You’

“With beautiful visuals and compelling characters, Weathering with You is a charming world you want to believe.” (GKIDS)

By A.A. Sanborn (Shimane-ken, 2009-11) for JQ magazine.

Sun Amid the Clouds

*Warning: This review contains spoilers

“Don’t interfere with the weather too much,” warns a fortune teller early on: “Messing with nature always has a cost.” As the title suggests, weather is the focus for writer/director Makoto Shinkai’s newest feature film Weathering with YouIt’s a tough act to follow after 2016’s Your Name, Shinkai’s previous work and the most commercially successful anime film of the last decade. Nevertheless, despite similarities in plot (adolescent romance, natural phenomena, and a sci-fi twist) the film offers a refreshing story which transports and delights.

We follow the friendship of Hodaka, a runaway from a remote island, and Hina, a girl with mysterious powers that temporarily conjure sunny skies. Hodaka is intent to find freedom in the big city, while Hina is just trying to get by. The number of scenes alone where characters resort to eating cheap instant ramen is an indicator that life is not going quite as planned. Still, adventure can be found just around the corner.

Soon after meeting, Hina and Hodaka start a business using Hina’s sun-producing powers. Their services are marketed to Tokyoites for weddings and outdoor events otherwise ruined by a rainy day. The sunny vignettes are one of the most charming aspects of the film, connecting it to a broader sense of space and community. Tokyo is no longer an anonymous megalopolis, but a city formed of friendships and relations.

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Dec 19

Justin’s Japan: ‘Weathering with You’ at Anime NYC

Click image to view article

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

On Nov. 17, more than 3,000 fans gathered in the Special Events Hall of the Javits Center for the East Coast premiere of “Weathering with You,” the latest animated film from celebrated writer/director Makoto Shinkai.

The screening served as the Closing Film event of the annual Anime NYC convention, which in its third year drew a record 46,000 fans over three days. This hotly anticipated new film from Shinkai and producer Genki Kawamura is the follow-up to their critically acclaimed global smash “Your Name” (2016), the highest-grossing Japanese film of the decade.

Produced in English and set for national release in January by New York’s own GKIDS (who backed last year’s Academy Award-nominated anime film “Mirai”), “Weathering with You” follows high schooler Hodaka, who runs away from his remote island home to Tokyo and quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits. After befriending the bright and strong-willed Hina, Hodaka witnesses her strange and wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky. Together the two develop a successful “sunshine” startup, but what happens when manipulating the weather leads to even greater problems?

A crowd-pleasing story with elements of comedy and romance that wed the supernatural elements of “Your Name” with the more adult concerns of Shinkai’s earlier work “The Garden of Words” (2013), “Weathering with You” serves up unforgettable animation in its exquisite lensing of an unusually gloomy and rainy Tokyo. Japanese rock band Radwimps, also returning from “Your Name,” provide solid music and songs.

“Weathering with You” premieres in the New York metropolitan area with dubbed and subtitled fan preview screenings Jan. 15-16. The film opens nationwide Jan. 17. For more information, visit https://gkids.com/films/weathering-with-you.


Oct 3

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Pico Iyer, Hiromi, Lincoln Center Bunraku

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobeshi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

The Japan-centric events of the month ahead promise to be as rich and full as autumn itself—brisk and colorful, with a dash of unpredictability.

This month’s highlights include:

Courtesy of Zac Zinger

Thursday, Oct. 3, 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Zac Zinger Fulfillment Release Concert

Jazz at Kitano, 66 Park Avenue

$18 cover, call (212) 885-7119 for reservations

A four-time recipient of the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award, Zac Zinger is a composer and musician (whose credits includes Final Fantasy XV: Assassin’s Festival and Street Fighter V) ready to unleash his debut album. Fulfillment is a compilation of Zinger’s best compositions for small jazz ensemble over the last decade, performed on shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) and saxophone with his progressive jazz quartet featuring Sharik Hasan on piano, Adam Neely on bass, and Luke Markham on drums.

Courtesy of MuSE

Sunday, Oct. 6, 2:00 p.m.

Wind of Tsugaru in New York: Bunta Satoh, Tsugarubue

Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall), 881 Seventh Avenue

$25-$45 (click here for 20% discount for orchestra seats)

Flautist Bunta Satoh introduces the history and culture of Tsugarubue, a Japanese bamboo flute from the Tsugaru region of Aomori Prefecture. In addition to performing this one-of-a-kind music, he composes for the instrument and organizes workshops to inspire a new generation to uphold its tradition. He released his third album, The Wind of Tsugaru, in January 2017. Joining him for this performance are Hiro Hayashida and Sota Asano (taiko drums), Chihiro Shibayama (percussion), Stephanie Matthews (violin), Reenat Pinchas (cello), and Hsin-Ni Liu (piano).

Shochiku

Oct. 11-17, various times

Tora-san, Our Lovable Tramp (It’s Tough Being a Man)

Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street

$15, $9 members

New 50th anniversary 4K restoration! The longest-running film series starring the same actor (48 features over 27 years), with all but two directed by Yoji Yamada and every one starring Kiyoshi Atsumi as the itinerant, rough around the edges peddler Torajiro Kuruma (nicknamed Tora-san, literally “Mr. Tiger”), a comic figure as iconic in Japan as Chaplin while capable of cutting through pretentious piffle and providing serene counsel to the troubled and the lovelorn—if not always to himself. In his debut appearance, Tora-san hilariously botches the arranged marriage of his kid sister Sakura (Chieko Baisho), but later reverse-psychologizes two timid lovers into a real romance.

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Sep 11

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Babymetal, ‘Promare,’ Joe Hisaishi

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobeshi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

As the summer winds fade into fall colors, the weeks ahead are shaping up with these exciting events, ready to be enjoyed after Labor Day.

This month’s highlights include:

Courtesy of Babymetal

Sunday, Sept. 15, 8:00 p.m.

Babymetal + Avatar 

Terminal 5, 610 West 56th Street

$59.50

First NYC appearance in three and a half years! Su-metal and Moametal are a genre-smashing duo of teenage girls who perform a fusion of metal and idol music dubbed kawaii (cute) metal. After playing to a capacity crowds at Hammerstein Ballroom in 2014 and PlayStation Theater in 2016, the group returns to support its long-awaited third album Metal Galaxy, coming in October. After opening for bands like Metallica, Guns N’ Roses and the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2017, Babymetal is one of the biggest (and widely known abroad) Japanese musical acts today. Featuring support from Swedish metal group Avatar, promoting their recent release The King Live in Paris.

Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.

Monday, Sept. 16, 8:00 p.m.

Man with a Mission

Gramercy Theatre, 127 East 23rd Street

$27.50

Returning to North America for the first time in five years, Man with a Mission are one of the most important and loved rock bands in Asia today, having collaborated with artists ranging from Patrick Stump to milet. Their newest single “Dark Crow” has been selected as the theme song for the second season of NHK’s TV anime series Vinland Saga, and the tour supports the release of their most recent album, Chasing the Horizon. The album is the wolf collective’s fifth in their native Japan but their first brand new album to be released worldwide and has received widespread critical acclaim.

GKIDS

Sept. 17 & 19, 7:00 p.m.

Promare

Regal E-Walk 42nd Street 13, 247 West 43nd Street

AMC Empire 25, 234 West 42nd Street

AMC 34th Street 14, 312 West 34th Street

$12.50

The first feature-length film from the acclaimed Studio TRIGGER, creators of the hit series KILL la KILL and Little Witch Academia, and director Hiroyuki Imaishi (GURREN LAGANN, KILL la KILL), Promare uses a bold cel-shaded visual style to tell a blistering action-adventure story, and is the spiritual successor to many of director Imaishi’s former works. Thirty years has passed since the appearance of Burnish, a race of flame-wielding mutant beings, who destroyed half of the world with fire. When a new group of aggressive mutants calling themselves “Mad Burnish” appears, the epic battle between Galo Thymos, a new member of the anti-Burnish rescue team “Burning Rescue,” and Lio Fotia, the leader of “Mad Burnish” begins. The Sept. 17 screening is presented in English. The Sept. 19 screening is presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

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Aug 3

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Liberty City Anime Con, Miyavi, ‘Millennium Actress’

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobeshi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

In the dog days of summer, it’s best to escape the heat in a place that’s cozy and cool. For those into Japan-related cultural events, this month offers a diverse selection of film premieres and live music—all in the comfort of indoor air conditioning.

This month’s highlights include:

Courtesy of Renireni.com

Aug. 9-11

Liberty City Anime Con

Crowne Plaza Times Square, 1605 Broadway

$40-$60

The best three-day anime convention in New York City returns for its third year and features over 100 events and panels, three days of cosplay, game tournaments and anime screenings, concerts, balls and dances. This year’s special guests include Tyler Walker, Heather Walker, CDawgVA, Brittany Lauda, Matt Shipman and Gigi Edgley, with special performances by Frenchy and the Punk and and Reni Mimura!

Courtesy of Sonyhall.com

Saturday, Aug. 10, 8:00 p.m.

Keiko Matsui with Randy Brecker

Sony Hall, 235 West 46th Street

$35, $75 VIP

Keiko Matsui’s music speaks to the hearts and souls of fans around the world, transcending borders and building bridges among people who share a common appreciation of honest artistry and cultural exchange. Echo, her 28th recording as a leader, melds exquisite compositions with lush harmonies and global rhythms to create timeless musical anthems. Joining her is jazz trumpeter and composer Randy Brecker, who has helped shape the sound of jazz, R&B and rock for more than four decades. His trumpet and flugelhorn performances have graced hundreds of albums by a wide range of artists from James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and Parliament/Funkadelic to Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, Jaco Pastorius and Frank Zappa.

Micah Joel Photography

Aug. 10-11

PLAY NYC

Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street

$25 single day, $50 full weekend, $100 dev & pro weekend pass

Launched in 2017, PLAY NYC is New York City’s premier game convention for creators and players. The weekend will feature a full pavilion of playable games for all consoles, PC, virtual reality and mobile devices from studios large and small and developers old and new. Games will include indie projects with some larger triple A titles. Get access to some of the biggest games coming later this year and discover many you’ve never even heard of. PLAY NYC celebrates every facet of gaming in a way that only the Big Apple can by uniting players, developers and industry pros at a games event like no other.

Eleven Arts

Aug. 13, 19, 7:00 p.m.

Millennium Actress

Regal E-Walk 42nd Street 13, 247 West 43nd Street

AMC Empire 25, 234 West 42nd Street

AMC Kips Bay 15, 570 Second Avenue

$12.50

Experience the gorgeous new restoration of what many believe to be Satoshi Kon’s (Perfect Blue, Paprika) greatest work. When the legendary Ginei Studios shuts down, filmmaker Genya Tachibana and his assistant are tasked with interviewing its reclusive star, Chiyoko Fujiwara, who had retired from the spotlight 30 years prior. As she recounts her career, Genya and his crew are literally pulled into her memories where they witness her chance encounter with a mysterious man on the run from the police. Despite never knowing his name or his face, Chiyoko relentlessly pursues that man in a seamless blend of reality and memory that only Satoshi Kon could deliver. Boasting countless awards, including the Grand Prize in the Japan Agency of Cultural Affairs Media Arts Festival (which it shared with Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away), Millennium Actress is a must-see for anime fans of all ages. Includes a post-film conversation with producers Taro Maki and Masao Maruyama as they reflect on making the film and Satoshi Kon’s legacy. The Aug. 13 screening is presented in Japanese with English subtitles. The Aug. 19 screening is presented in English.

Courtesy of Sonyhall.com

Monday, Aug. 19, 8:00 p.m.

Miyavi

Sony Hall, 235 West 46th Street

$35, $69.50 VIP

Known to his fans as the “Samurai Guitarist,” Miyavi is gaining recognition around the world for his unconventional style of playing the guitar—not with a pick, but with his fingers and his “slap style,” which is like no other. Miyavi has six successful world tours under his belt, totaling more than 250 shows in 30 countries across North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. In recent years, Miyavi gathered attention from other artists and creators in the field. He has also produced music for television commercials, and is receiving a lot of attention from fashion brands. With his acting debut in Unbroken, Miyavi was inspired by the message of peace which he himself has strived for; he has been able to use all his performing abilities this time as an actor who considers his body and soul to be his instrument.

GKIDS

Aug. 25-26, 28, various times

My Neighbor Totoro

Regal E-Walk 42nd Street 13, 247 West 43nd Street

AMC Empire 25, 234 West 42nd Street

AMC Kips Bay 15, 570 Second Avenue

$12.50

From the legendary Studio Ghibli, creators of Spirited Away and Ponyo, and Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki, comes a classic tale of magic and adventure for the whole family. When Satsuki and her sister Mei move with their father to a new home in the countryside, they find country life is not as simple as it seems. They soon discover that the house and nearby woods are full of strange and delightful creatures, including a gigantic but gentle forest spirit called Totoro, who can only be seen by children. Totoro and his friends introduce the girls to a series of adventures, including a ride aboard the extraordinary Cat Bus, in this all-ages animated masterpiece. The Aug. 25 and 28 screenings are presented in English. The Aug. 26 screening is presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

Want to stay in the loop on future eventsFollow Justin on Facebook and Twitter.


Jul 18

Justin’s Japan: JAPAN CUTS at Japan Society

Click image to view article

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

The largest festival of contemporary Japanese cinema in North America, this year’s JAPAN CUTS at Japan Society serves up 42 films from July 19-28, featuring more than 20 guest filmmakers and talent in person for daily post-screening Q&As.

“This 13th edition of JAPAN CUTS provides testament to the continued vitality of contemporary Japanese cinema with a wide array of films by emerging filmmakers who dare to take formal and thematic risks,” says Kazu Watanabe, Japan Society Deputy Director of Film.

“They are paired with a roster of veteran directors who similarly began their career in the spirit of creative innovation and who continue to expand their vision in new directions,” he continues. “Together, they tackle stories about existential ennui, class conflict and social discrimination through a range of filmmaking practices that continually subvert expectations and expand our notion of what Japanese cinema is.”

The Opening Film on July 19 is the U.S. premiere of Can’t Stop the Dancing, an office comedy-road trip-musical directed by Waterboys helmer Shinobu Yaguchi, featuring a breakout performance by star Ayaka Miyoshi. The festival’s Centerpiece Presentation on July 24 is the East Coast premiere of Killing, a subversive samurai drama and meditation on the nature of violence by internationally renowned cult director Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo: The Iron Man), who will be presented with the 2019 CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film prior to the screening. Tsukamoto will also introduce a special 35mm presentation of his 1998 black-and-white classic Bullet Ballet on July 25.

The Closing Film on July 28 is the North American premiere of director Yuko Hakota’s remarkable debut feature Blue Hour, a comedic drama about rural homecoming and reinvention starring festival guests Kaho and Eun-kyung Shim.

For more information and tickets, visit www.japansociety.org/JAPANCUTS.


Jun 3

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — New York Japan CineFest, The Joy of Sake, J-MUSIC Ensemble

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobeshi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

After an unusually chilly spring, it’s finally starting to feel like summer. Enjoy some seasonal events this month that celebrate the best of both fine art and pop art.

This month’s highlights include:

Courtesy of Asiasociety.org

June 5-6, 6:30 p.m.

New York Japan CineFest 2019

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue

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

Highlighting some of the most exciting new voices in cinema, New York Japan CineFest is an annual event that features works by emerging Japanese and Japanese American filmmakers. This two-day program of short live action and animated films includes Formal Warrior Suit Ranger, about a team of men and women who properly dress for both their occupations and their fight with evil; Minidoka, about a yonsei Seattle-based activist who sees parallels between his own family’s history and the Trump administration’s immigration policies; and Mountain Monks, about the Yamabushi in northern Japan, who practice a once-forbidden ancient religion. The first night’s program is followed by a reception.

Ichi-ka

Monday, June 10, 6:30 p.m.

Sweetness in Serenity

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue

$40, $30 seniors/students, $20 members

Join Master Junichi Mitsubori for this special demonstration of the making of artisanal Japanese desserts.! Akin to the precision and refinement of the Japanese tea ceremony, the Way of Wagashi transforms traditional sweet-making into a form of consumable art. Master Mitsubori crafts the nerikiri (bean paste with mochi) with his hands, scissors and needles into intricately delicious creations. Master Mitsubori’s talent has been showcased at prestigious venues around the world, including the Sydney Opera House and the Salon du Chocolat in Paris. The demonstration will be followed by Q&A and a reception to sample Master Mitsubori’s confectionery masterpieces. Special introductory remarks will be made by Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi, Consul General of Japan in New York.

Courtesy of Joyofsake.com

Friday, June 21, 6:30 p.m.

The Joy of Sake

Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street

$110

Take 513 premium sakes + 19 top restaurants = one amazing evening! Experience the largest and liveliest sake-tasting event in the U.S., with award-winning sakes from the U.S. National Sake Appraisal served in peak condition, plus sake-inspired appetizers to nibble while you sip. This year’s superb restaurant line-up features names like Morimoto, Sakagura. And Momofuku Ssäm Bar. Good food, good friends, good sake—it all comes together at The Joy of Sake. JQ readers receive a $15 discount by entering the promotional code JOYJET after clicking the “tickets” button on the event page here.

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May 3

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — The GazettE, ‘Detective Pikachu,’ Japan Night Live

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobeshi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

As spring continues and the weather continues to warm, New Yorkers can enjoy activities all over the city both indoors and out.

This month’s highlights include:

Courtesy of Playstationtheater.com

Monday, May 6, 8:00 p.m.

The GazettE

PlayStation Theater, 1515 Broadway

$50

Making their return to NYC after a three-year absence are the GazettE, a Kanagawa-based rock quintet that follows in the footsteps of other Gotham-conquering visual kei acts like X Japan and LArc~en~Ciel. Formed in 2002, the band has performed in Europe multiple times since 2007, and will headline across America this spring in support of its latest album, 2018’s Ninth. Still completely self-produced, the GazettE continue moving forward, uncompromised in their artistic and unique worldview at home and abroad.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Premieres Friday, May 10

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Various theaters

In this first-ever live-action Pokémon film, ace detective Harry Goodman (Justice Smith) goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds): a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery in a modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world.

Courtesy of Japannight.org

Sunday, May 12, 6:00 p.m.

Japan Night: HYDE & WagakkiBand

PlayStation Theater, 1515 Broadway

$35

Presented in collaboration with Japan Day @ Central Park, Japan 2019 Presents Japan Night will celebrate contemporary popular Japanese music with four of the most successful artists in Japan today through two consecutive shows. HYDE, who is also known as a lead singer of L’Arc-en-Ciel (the first Japanese act to headline Madison Square Garden in 2012) and a member of VAMPS, is a pioneer of Japanese rock who has recorded more than 60 songs breaking the Oricon (Japanese Billboard Chart) top 10.

WagakkiBand is a viral video sensation that combines traditional Japanese instruments with modern rock. They fuse shigin (poetry recitation, one of Japan’s classic performing arts), wagakki (traditional Japanese musical instruments), and rock. The music video of “Senbon Zakura,” included in their 2014 debut album, has been viewed more than 100 million times on YouTube. After five years, they now sell out arena shows, and their special live organized by Tencent streamed more than 100 million times in the first 24 hours.

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Apr 4

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Studio Ghibli Fest, ‘Okko’s Inn,’ Sakura Matsuri

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

Spring has sprung in the Big Apple, and that means one thing: a new season of sounds, colors, and spectacular performing arts to match the blossoming sakura trees throughout the city.

This month’s highlights include:

Eleven Arts

April 5-11

Penguin Highway

Village East Cinema, 181-189 Second Avenue

$8-$15

The acclaimed directorial debut from Hiroyasu Ishida! Budding genius Aoyama is only in the fourth grade, but already lives his life like a scientist. When penguins start appearing in his sleepy suburb hundreds of miles from the sea, Aoyama vows to solve the mystery. When he finds the source of the penguins is a woman from his dentist’s office, they team up for an unforgettable summer adventure. Presented in Japanese; select screenings are also English dubbed from April 6-11.

GKIDS

April 7-8, 10

Howl’s Moving Castle: 15th Anniversary

Regal E-Walk 42nd Street 13, 247 West 43nd Street

AMC Empire 25, 234 West 42nd Street

AMC Kips Bay 15, 570 Second Avenue

$12.50

Kicking off this year’s Studio Ghibli Fest is an Academy Award-nominated fantasy adventure for the whole family from acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away). Sophie, a quiet girl working in a hat shop, finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome but mysterious wizard named Howl. The vain and vengeful Witch of the Waste, jealous of their friendship, puts a curse on Sophie and turns her into a 90-year-old woman. On a quest to break the spell, Sophie climbs aboard Howl’s magnificent moving castle and into a new life of wonder and adventure. The April 7 and 10 screenings are dubbed in English, and the April 8 screening is presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

© Julieta Cervantes; Karole Armitage © Marco Mignani

April 12-13, 7:30 p.m.

Karole Armitage’s You Took a Part of Me

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$30, $25 members

You Took a Part of Me is a wired dance production with choreography by “punk ballerina” Karole Armitage for her five-member dance company Armitage Gone! Dance. Loosely based on the 15th-century 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. The April 12 performance is followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception, and the April 13, performance is followed by an artist Q&A.

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Mar 22

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Genji at the Met, Perfume Returns, Sailor Moon on Broadway

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

Stay warm this winter with some hot local events, from live showcases that will transport you to another time and place, some new anime screenings, and a 2.5D musical performance you won’t want to miss.

This month’s highlights include:

Courtesy of Metmuseum.org

Now through June 16

The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated

Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue

$12-$25

This is the first major loan exhibition in North America to focus on the artistic tradition inspired by Japan’s most celebrated work of literature, The Tale of Genji. Written by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady-in-waiting in the early eleventh-century imperial court, and often referred to as the world’s first psychological novel, the tale recounts the amorous escapades of the “Shining Prince” Genji and introduces some of the most iconic female characters in the history of Japanese literature. Covering the period from the eleventh century to the present, the exhibition features more than 120 works, including paintings, calligraphy, silk robes, lacquer wedding set items, a palanquin for the shogun’s bride, and popular art such as ukiyo-e prints and modern manga. Highlights include two National Treasures and several works recognized as Important Cultural Properties. For the first time ever outside Japan, rare works are on view from Ishiyamadera Temple—where, according to legend, Shikibu started writing the tale.

© Sopheak Vong

March 22-23, 7:30 p.m.

Akiko Kitamura’s Cross Transit

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$30, $25 members

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. A MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception follows the March 22 performance, with an artist Q&A following the March 23 performance.

 

Courtesy of Sailormoon-official.com

March 29-30

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Super Live

PlayStation Theater, 1515 Broadway

$30-$75

See Sailor Moon and her friends fight the forces of darkness—live on stage! Directed and choreographed by Takahiro (Madonna’s Sticky and Sweet Tour) with book by Akiko Kodama (Takarazuka Revue Company), and music by Hyadain (pop groups Momoiro Clover Z and AKB48), The Super Live is the first time that Sailor Moon (one of the most popular anime and manga heroines of all time, generating $5 billion in sales) comes to the New York stage in celebration of its 25th anniversary. These special performances (three in total) marks the first time a 2.5D Musical will be on an American stage. 2.5D Musicals, which began around 2000, are based on popular contemporary Japanese culture: manga comics, anime and video games. Presented in Japanese with English supertitles.

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