Mar 26

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — ‘SPY x FAMILY’ Movie, The Joy of Sake, World Championship Sumo

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: 

Russ Rowland

Now through June 2 

The Life and Slimes of Marc Summers

New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street

$39-$149 reserved seats, $299 VIP with meet-and-greet, front seats and gift bag 

On your mark! Get set! Go! to this one-of-a-kind intimate theatrical adventure that will leave you inspired, hopeful and feeling like a kid again. Marc Summers, the host of internationally renowned shows like Nickelodeon’s Double Dare and Food Network’s Unwrapped, tells all about his extraordinary life in this part game show-part memoir-all heart theatrical adventure which the New York Times calls “as satisfying as riding down a spiraling slide into a giant ice-cream sundae.”Written by Alex Brightman and directed by Chad Rabinovitz, the creative team includes original music by Drew Gasparini and co-sound design by David Sheehan and Hidenori Nakajo.

Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.

Tuesday, April 2, 8:00 p.m.

Queen Bee

Sony Hall, 235 West 46th Street

$35 standing room only, $55 VIP reserved seating

Queen Bee is a band from Japan formed in 2009. With their unique and intense performances and newsworthy activities in various fields, they have created abuzz not only in the music industry but also in various other fields. Their songs rank high on music charts, and their live shows are sold out in in many places, boasting an overwhelming presence in terms of both popularity and ability. Their songs have also been used for popular anime such as “Mephisto,” the ending theme for the anime OSHI NO KO and “01,” the opening theme for the anime UNDEAD UNLUCK and “VIOLENCE,” the ending theme for the anime Chainsaw Man and “Kaen (Fire),” the opening theme for the anime Dororo and “HALF,” the ending theme for the anime Tokyo Ghoul:re. A statement provided by the band exclaims: “Queen Bee’s first performance in New York! I can’t wait to cause a frenzy across languages and borders. You may have heard of us from anime, or maybe from our attitude or world view. I promise you it will be an extraordinary night in New York, that will make you want to celebrate our meeting.”

Courtesy of Sonyhall.com

Monday, April 8, 8:00 p.m.

Keiko Matsui

Sony Hall, 235 West 46th Street 

$35 GA seating, $75 VIP reserved seating

“This album is about the hope that we all carry inside of us,” shares internationally acclaimed pianist, composer and humanitarian, Keiko Matsui, who has worked with everyone from Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Bob James, and Hugh Masekela. “I have this dream where we can each cherish our own happiness and learn to accept and care for one another.” There is a reason why the stunning, soft-spoken, and petite powerhouse with such a commanding presence at the piano has amassed a devout following through the years. “When I tour around the world and witness how my music cuts through our differences and connects everyone, it makes me feel euphoric!” exclaims Keiko, who harnesses this joy on her 30th recording Euphoria. She enlists an all-star contingency of special guests including vocalist, and daughter of Donny Hathaway, Lalah Hathaway, trumpeter Randy Brecker, guitarist Mike Stern, saxophonist Kirk Whalum, vibist Joel Ross, harmonica player Grégoire Maret and pianist/arranger John Beasley. Keiko concludes, “During the past few years, I have witnessed the loss of life and seen people’s sadness and it has been really painful, but it has helped to remind me of the precious gift of time and the importance of gratitude for what I have now,” confides Keiko.” “Euphoria is my gift to my fans around the world.”

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Mar 6

Posted by Tom Baker

The Japan Writers Conference is now looking for writers to give presentations at its 2024 event, to be held on the weekend of Nov. 2-3 in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture.

The official announcement appears below, and you can find more details at the JWC website.

All published writers, translators, editors, agents and publishers are welcome to submit proposals. Both new presenters and those who have presented at past conferences are welcome to submit. JETs who have given JWC presentations in the past include Suzanne Kamata, Charles Kowalski, Michael Frazier, Patrick Murphrey, Suzan Laura Sullivan, myself and many more.

When planning your JWC proposal, keep your audience in mind. Your listeners will be writers and others (translators, editors, publishers, and agents) concerned with creating publishable writing.

As in previous conferences, this year there will be three presentation rooms for poetry, fiction/nonfiction, and other topics (publishing, marketing, editing, translating, technical, sharing your writing communities, residences, workshops, or anything that applies to all genres).


Mar 1

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — ‘The End of Evangelion,’ Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus,’ ‘Rascal’ Double Feature

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, a clutch of new anime screenings, and a live performance you won’t want to miss.

Courtesy of Janus Films

March 15-21

Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus

Film at Lincoln Center – Walter Reade Theater and Howard Gilman Theater, 165 W 65th Street

$14-$19

When Ryuichi Sakamoto died in March 2023 at age 71, the world lost one of its greatest musicians: a classical orchestral composer, a techno-pop artist, and a piano soloist who elevated every genre he worked in and inspired and influenced music-lovers across the globe. As a final gift to his legions of fans, filmmaker Neo Sora (Sakamoto’s son) has constructed a gorgeous elegy starring Sakamoto himself in one of his final performances. Recorded in late 2022 at NHK Studio in Tokyo, this filmed concert is an intimate, melancholy, and achingly beautiful one-man show, featuring just Sakamoto and a Yamaha grand, as the composer glides through a playlist of his most haunting, delicate melodies (including “Lack of Love, “The Wuthering Heights,” “Aqua,” “Opus,” and many more). Shot in pristine black-and-white by Bill Kirstein and edited by Takuya Kawakami, this stirring film brings us so close to a living, breathing artist that it feels like pure grace. Join Neo Sora for a director’s Q&A at the 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. screenings March 16.

© 1997 khara/Project EVA

March 17, 20

The End of Evangelion

Various theaters

Various prices

U.S. theatrical debut! Originally released in 1997, this final movie version was created as an alternative ending to the Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series, remaking the final two episodes from the series. SEELE plans an attack on NERV after failing to create a man-made Third Impact. After reaffirming both her own and her mother’s existence in a state of despair, Asuka returns and begins the counterattack. However, new enemies descend from the heavens. Meanwhile, Shinji witnesses the horrifying wreckage of Asuka’s EVA-02 while piloting EVA-01. Mass production models surround EVA-01 and perform a solemn ceremony. What does it mean to complete a human heart?

© Naoko Takeuchi/PNP, Toei Animation

Friday, March 22, 2:00-9:00 p.m.

Manga March Madness Faire!

53rd Street Library, 18 West 53rd Street

Free

This special event in partnership with Brooklyn’s AniTOMO Con celebrates both Japanese culture and Women’s History Month! See art demonstrations, panels, giveaways (including the opportunity to win badges for Anime NYC this summer), gaming, a scavenger hunt, and much, much more! At 6:00 p.m., the theater area will present Sailor Moon R: The Movie on its big screen, where pizza and drinks will be provided for the teens in attendance. The debut film from the hit shojo series, Sailor Moon and the Sailor Guardians unite to save Earth from an alien force that has a startling connection with Mamoru!

Read More
Feb 1

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Mr. Big Farewell, ‘Paprika’ in 4K, ‘Stardew Valley’ in Concert

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 film screenings, and a rock performance you won’t want to miss.

This month’s highlights include:

Shout! Factory in association with Resurgence Media Group

Feb. 2-3

Point Break

Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street

$17, $10 members

From Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, Point Break stars Keanu Reeves as Johnny Utah, an FBI agent who goes undercover among the beach bums in order to investigate a hunch about surfers who are possibly moonlighting as bank robbers, in the film that cemented Reeves as a new, very California cool kind of action star. With Patrick Swayze as the group’s guru and kingpin, Point Break is the kind of smart, fun, sexy, exciting action film desperately lacking in today’s Hollywood. This all-new 4K restoration is courtesy of Shout! Factory in association with Resurgence Media Group.

Stephen van Baalen

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m.

Mr. Big: The Big Finish 2024

Sony Hall, 235 West 46th Street

$45 standing room only, $85 VIP reserved seating

One of the most successful American exports to rock Japan, Mr. Big is putting on their signature top hats and old shoes one last time for a worldwide tour, aptly titled “The Big Finish.” Since the band’s original drummer and co-founder, Pat Torpey, lost his battle with Parkinson’s disease in 2018, joining Mr. Big on drums for this special final world tour will be longtime friend of the band Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard, Big Big Train). Of note for this final run is the band’s decision to perform the entirety of their breakthrough platinum-selling 1991 album Lean Into It from start to finish as a featured highlight of the live setlist, along with other tunes from Mr. Big’s entire career. Lean Into It is the perfect litmus testament to the band’s inherent dexterity at blending a variety of styles together, whether it’s the heady rocking brew of “Green-Tinted Sixties Mind,” the power-drilled and power-chorded identity checklist “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy,” or the truly heartfelt sentiments found within “To Be With You,” Mr. Big’s chart-topping, worldwide #1 smash hit single.

© MadHouse Inc.

Feb. 7, 8, 11

Paprika — Satoshi Kon Fest

Various theaters

Various prices

Anime Expo Cinema Nights presents the final film ever made by visionary director Satoshi Kon (Perfect Blue, Tokyo Godfathers) with his mind-bending thriller Paprika, which has been restored in 4K for the first time ever! When a machine that allows therapists to enter their patients’ dreams is stolen, all hell breaks loose. Only a young female therapist, Paprika, can stop it. Dreams become reality and vice versa in this psychological fantasy you won’t want to miss! Featuring the voice talents of Megumi Hayashibara, Kōichi Yamadera, and Tôru Furuya.

Read More
Jan 12

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — ‘GURREN LAGANN THE MOVIE’ x2, ‘Cowboy Bebop’ movie returns, New York Game Awards

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.

Start the new year right by heading down to your local concert venue, cinema, or arts center for some fantastic new year’s fare. Whether you enjoy movies, travel, or orchestral performances classic video games, treat yourself and catch a break from the cold.

This month’s highlights include:

Gainax/Aniplex of America

Jan. 16-17

GURREN LAGANN THE MOVIE -Childhood’s End-

Various theaters

Various prices

In the distant future, Simon, a shy boy, and Kamina, a man who dreams of another life up on the surface live a quiet and restless life deep underground in Giha Village. One day, their destinies are forever changed when a gigantic “Gunmen” along with a beautiful girl named Yoko come falling through their village ceiling! Kamina, Simon, and Yoko break through to the surface riding the mysterious “Lagann” but the surface is nothing like Kamina imagined. Now, Kamina and Simon along with their comrades must challenge the evil Spiral King with the Gurren Lagann to bring hope to this desperate world. Available in subtitled, dubbed, 4DX and MX4D screenings (check local listings).

Sunrise Studio

Jan. 21-23

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

Various theaters

Various prices

Anime Expo Cinema Nights presents Cowboy Bebop: The Movie. Caught up in a world of dreams, lost in the cruelty of reality. What should have been an easy bounty turns into biological war after a terrorist gets hold of a deadly virus. Drawn in by the pretty price on the mastermind’s head, Spike and the Bebop crew are ready to collect a much-needed reward. Unfortunately, the gang’s about to find themselves in more trouble than money when the terrorist threatens to unleash the virus on Halloween–effectively killing everyone on Mars. With little time and leads that seem more dreamy than helpful, they’ll have to use their own bag of tricks to stop a dangerous plot.

Courtesy of Nygamecritics.com

Tuesday, Jan. 23, 8:00 p.m.

The 13th Annual New York Game Awards

SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street

$64-$105

The New York Game Awards is an annual award show produced by the nonprofit New York Videogame Critics Circle to recognize outstanding achievement in video games. The first awards were held in 2012 to honor the previous year’s contributions to the video game industry. New York Videogame Critics Circle’s goals are to promote education within the worlds of video game writing and journalism in the New York City area. The New York Game Awards returns to the SVA Theatre January 23, 2024 to celebrate one of the best years in gaming! NYVGCC will honor Neil Druckmann (co-president of Naughty Dog and creator of The Last of Us) with the Andrew Yoon Legend Award. VIP tickets also include exclusive after party event access.

Gainax/Aniplex of America

Jan. 23-24

GURREN LAGANN THE MOVIE -The Lights in the Sky are Stars-

Various theaters

Various prices

Seven Years have passed since the battle of Teepelin. Humans have successfully rebuilt civilization under Simon’s leadership and enjoyed an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity. However, humanity’s increasing population triggers the emergence of a powerful enemy. This fearsome Anti-Spiral proves too overwhelming for humanity to fight back. In these desperate times, the members of Team Dai-Gurren reunite to fight once again. In this high-stakes battle, can Simon and his team pierce the heavens with the Gurren Lagann to save mankind one last time? Available in subtitled, dubbed, 4DX and MX4D screenings (check local listings).

Courtesy of Japan Society

Jan. 24-26, 7:30 p.m.

Nihon Buyo in the 21st Century: From Kabuki Dance to Boléro

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$55, $44 members/persons with disabilities

Witness a breathtaking union of Japan’s most talented nihon buyo dancers, featuring the esteemed Hanayagi Motoi and rising young star Azuma Tokuyo (also known as Nakamura Kazutaro in kabuki theater). Nihon buyo, literally meaning “Japanese dance,” encompasses an animated style that draws from traditional kabuki dance techniques. The program begins with Toba-e, a kabuki dance accompanied by live music, which depicts a comical manga story from the Edo period. The second half of the program is a piece set to Maurice Ravel’s famous score, Boléro. Expertly choreographed by Hanayagi Genkuro, this unexpected combination of East and West brilliantly retells a classical Japanese folk tale, with Kazutaro showcasing his exceptional talent in the onnagata (female) role of the heartbroken princess, Kiyohime. The Jan. 24 performance will be followed by private gathering for artists and members. The Jan. 25 performance will be followed by an artist Q&A. A pre-performance lecture, led by California State University, San Bernardino Dr. Kirk Kanesaka, begins at 6:30 pm. Performed in Japanese with English supertitles.

For more JQ articles, click here.


Nov 29

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — ‘Godzilla Minus One,’ ‘The Boy and the Heron,’ 8-Bit Big Band

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.

With Thanksgiving (and the hopes of sensible eating) now just a memory, we turn to colder weather, falling snow, and the new year to come. Fortunately for Japanese culture fans, December is just as busy as the holiday season itself. Whether you’re hosting guests from out of town or looking to squeeze in an event or two in between parties, we’ve got you covered. 

This month’s highlights include:

2023 Toho Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.

Opens Wednesday, Nov. 29 

Godzilla Minus One

Various locations 

Various prices

The undisputed King of the Monsters returns in the first Japanese Godzilla film since 2016! Written and directed by award-winning director Takashi Yamazaki and produced by Toho Studios, the film features an all-star cast lead by Ryunosuke Kamiki, Minami Hamabe, Yuki Yamada, Munetaka Aoki, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Sakura Ando and Kuranosuke Sasaki. Set in a devastated post-war Japan, it follows the country recovering from the scars of the past as the new threat of Godzilla appears. What happens when Godzilla comes to Japan completely disarmed and defenseless? Presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

GKIDS

Opens Thursday, Dec. 7 

The Boy and the Heron

Various locations

Various prices

The first feature in a decade from Hayao Miyazaki is a ravishing, endlessly inventive fantasy that is destined to be ranked with the legendary animator’s finest, boldest works. While the Second World War rages, the teenage Mahito, haunted by his mother’s tragic death, is relocated from Tokyo to the serene rural home of his new stepmother Natsuko, a woman who bears a striking resemblance to the boy’s mother. As he tries to adjust, this strange new world grows even stranger following the appearance of a persistent gray heron, who perplexes and bedevils Mahito, dubbing him the “long-awaited one.” Indeed, an extraordinary and grand fate is in store for our young hero, who must journey to a subterranean alternate reality in the hopes of saving Natsuko—and perhaps himself. Uniting the countryside surreality of My Neighbor Totoro with the Alice in Wonderland–like dream logic of Spirited Away and the personal historical backdrop of The Wind Rises, yet fabricating something ingeniously original, The Boy and the Heron is a deeply felt work of eccentric beauty brimming with inspired images that lodge in the mind, from the adorable to the grotesque. Moving from earthbound serenity to a universe of boundless imagination, Miyazaki’s long-anticipated film seeks, once and for all, a world without malice. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles and English-language versions. Check local listings.

GKIDS

Dec. 11-13 

Tokyo Godfathers

Various Locations

$18-$20

Anime Expo Cinema Nights invites you to celebrate Tokyo Godfathers, the acclaimed holiday classic from master director Satoshi Kon (Paprika, Perfect Blue), as it returns to theaters to celebrate its 20th anniversary with a 4K restoration under the supervision of the original art director and producers. On Christmas Eve, three homeless companions stumble upon a baby girl in a garbage heap. They name her Kiyoko, and vow to care for her as they track down her family. Haunted by memories of their own broken pasts and pursued by a cast of shadowy characters from Tokyo’s nightlife, Hana, Gin and Miyuki overcome their differences and learn to trust one another as a new, makeshift family. With the New Year fast approaching, the mystery behind baby Kiyoko deepens, and these unlikely heroes discover the surprising—and sometimes miraculous—connections that have brought them all 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. 

Courtesy of Sonyhall.com

Friday, Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m.

The 8-Bit Big Band

Sony Hall, 235 West 46th Street 

$60-$125

The 8-Bit Big Band is a Grammy Award-winning contemporary symphonic jazz orchestra created to celebrate and reimagine video game music’s most beloved hits rearranged in exciting and creative new ways to push the envelope of how we experience the music from these legendary soundtracks as a standalone body of musical work! Formed in 2017 with the release of their debut album Press Start, they draw their music from some of the most beloved video game titles of all time, dedicating themselves to bringing large ensemble arranging into the presence of the internet and gaming era while giving the music from these games the same professional treatment in arranging, performance, and production that has gone hand in hand with the large symphonic studio jazz orchestras of the past.  

For more JQ articles, click here.


Oct 27

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — ‘Noh-opera,’ Cowboy Bebop Concert, Anime NYC

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.

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:

Toho Co., Ltd.

Thursday, Nov. 1

Godzilla 2000 

Various locations

$16-$20

Get ready to crumble! The king of all monsters is back and bigger than ever! The action heats up when a UFO reveals itself as a massive alien monster with awesome destructive powers. The alien monster heads straight for the behemoth Godzilla, who’s just crushed the entire city for the battle of the millennium. But Godzilla’s furious heat beam may not be enough to destroy the death-dealing alien, and the future of humankind is in jeopardy. Now, it’s a bang-up, three-way, no-holds-barred brawl as Godzilla, the alien monster and the courageous citizens of Japan fight an unprecedented battle for survival in this earth-shattering sci-fi action adventure that will blow you away.

Courtesy of Asiasociety.org

Nov. 3-4 

New York Japan CineFest

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue

$8 Members, $15 Non-Members (per day)

Join Asia Society to celebrate Japanese independent filmmaking at New York Japan CineFest 2023. Now in its twelfth year, this film festival is back in person for the first time since 2019 with a screening of eighteen provocative short films over two days. The films comprise a diverse and exciting array of genres and styles from around the world— including fiction, documentary, and anime—that portray historical and contemporary Japanese culture and society.

On Friday, November 3, at 6:30 p.m., the two-day festival opens with a ninety-minute screening of short films, followed by a reception.

On Saturday, November 4, more short films follow at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., with a beautiful calligraphy performance by acclaimed artist Chifumi Niimi at 3 p.m. Asia Society is proud to co-host the world premiere of Chifumi’s first short documentary film, Shu Ha Ri on New York Japan CineFest Day Two.

Toei Animation

Nov, 8-9, various times

Digimon Adventure 02

Various locations

$16-20

It’s 2012, and ten years have passed since the adventure in the Digital World. Daisuke Motomiya is now twenty, and he and the rest of the DigiDestined seem to be changing bit by bit in terms of appearance and lifestyle. Then one day, a giant Digitama suddenly appears in the sky over Tokyo Tower. Daisuke and the others encounter a mysterious young man named Lui Ohwada, who informs them that he’s the first ever DigiDestined in the world…

The feature will include an introduction from the director, Tomohisa Taguchi. PLUS, as an incredibly special bonus, the first 50 guests to arrive at each night’s screening will receive a complimentary Digimon Card Game Tamer Party Pack -THE BEGINNING-  ver. 2.0, which includes 3 out of 14 possible cards from the new Digimon Card Game deck commemorating the film. Lucky recipients will be among the first fans in the U.S. to own these new “Digimon Adventure 02 The Beginning” themed cards before they are released to the general public in December. The Nov. 8 screening is dubbed in English, with the Nov. 9 screening subtitled in Japanese.

Read More
Sep 22

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — ‘The Boy and the Heron,’ ‘Blue Giant,’ Yoshiki Classical ‘REQUIEM’

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. 

As the summer sun fades into fall colors, the weeks ahead are shaping up with these exciting events, ready to be enjoyed all through Halloween.

This month’s highlights include:

Courtesy of Epic Records Japan/Foxlakeband.com

Sunday, Sept. 24, 6:00 p.m.

Fox Lake/Hanabie

Gramercy Theatre, 127 East 23rd Street

$53.66

Hanabie is a sensational hybrid-girl-band with their original genre, “Harajuku-core,” which is a mix of metalcore and hardcore with Akihabara culture. Formed in 2015, members Yukina, Matsui, Hettsu and Chika are now on a massive 21-date American tour, including the Louder Than Life and Aftershock festivals! Joining them on these and upcoming dates are Denver’s Fox Lake, a hip-hop-injected metal band that most recently released their Fear & Loathing EP in June. For videos and more info on future gigs, visit www.foxlakeband.com.

© Studio Ghibli, GKIDS

 Oct. 1-2, 12, 14

The Boy and the Heron

Alice Tully Hall, 1941 Broadway

$25 students, $30 non-members 

U.S. premiere as part of the 61st New York Film Festival! The first feature in a decade from Hayao Miyazaki is a ravishing, endlessly inventive fantasy that is destined to be ranked with the legendary animator’s finest, boldest works. While the Second World War rages, the teenage Mahito, haunted by his mother’s tragic death, is relocated from Tokyo to the serene rural home of his new stepmother Natsuko, a woman who bears a striking resemblance to the boy’s mother. As he tries to adjust, this strange new world grows even stranger following the appearance of a persistent gray heron, who perplexes and bedevils Mahito, dubbing him the “long-awaited one.” Indeed, an extraordinary and grand fate is in store for our young hero, who must journey to a subterranean alternate reality in the hopes of saving Natsuko—and perhaps himself. Uniting the countryside surreality of My Neighbor Totoro with the Alice in Wonderland–like dream logic of Spirited Away and the personal historical backdrop of The Wind Rises (NYFF51), yet fabricating something ingeniously original, The Boy and the Heron is a deeply felt work of eccentric beauty brimming with inspired images that lodge in the mind, from the adorable to the grotesque. Moving from earthbound serenity to a universe of boundless imagination, Miyazaki’s long-anticipated film seeks, once and for all, a world without malice. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

© 2023 NEOPA, Fictive

Oct. 5, 7, 11 

Evil Does Not Exist

Alice Tully Hall, 1941 Broadway

Howard Gilman Theater, 144 West 65th Street 

$25 students, $30 non-members

U.S. premiere! Deep in the forest of the small rural village Harasawa, single parent Takumi lives with his young daughter, Hana, and takes care of odd jobs for locals, chopping wood and hauling pristine well water. The overpowering serenity of this untouched land of mountains and lakes, where deer peacefully roam free, is about to be disrupted by the imminent arrival of the Tokyo company Playmode, which is ready to start construction on a glamping site for city tourists—a plan, which Takumi and his neighbors discover, that will have dire consequences for the ecological health and cleanliness of their community. The potent and foreboding new film from Oscar-winning director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car and Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, both NYFF59) is a haunting, entirely unexpected cinematic experience that reconstitutes the boundaries of the ecopolitical thriller. Intensified by a rapturous, ominous score by Eiko Ishibashi, this mesmeric journey diverges from country-vs-city themes to straddle the line between the earthy and the metaphysical. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles. Q&A with Ryûsuke Hamaguchi on Oct. 5 & 7.

Read More
Aug 28

Posted by Tom Baker

JET alum and prolific author Suzanne Kamata will discuss the art of blurbing — how to get good blurbs for one’s own books and how to write them for others’ — at this year’s Japan Writers Conference. The conference, which is free, will take place in Nagoya on Oct. 14-15.

Here’s the official description of her talk:

Suzanne Kamata
“This is the Best Book I’ve Ever Read”: Some Thoughts on Endorsements
Short Lecture with Q&A
Keywords: nonfiction, fiction, endorsements, blurbs, promotion, career

Endorsements — typically words of praise from an established author — are often deemed an essential marketing tool. However, well-known authors are often besieged with requests for such blurbs, and beginning authors may find approaching them to be intimidating. In this session, I will discuss the importance — or lack thereof — of blurbs, how to get them, how to use them, and how to write them, using examples from my own experiences and those of others.

Suzanne Kamata is the author of editor of many books including, most recently, the poetry collection Waiting (Kelsay Books, 2022), the IPPY-award-winning novel The Baseball Widow (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2021), the middle grade novel, Pop Flies, Robo-pets and Other Disasters (One Elm Books, 2020), and the Hi-Lo novel romantic comedy Bake Sale (Gemma Open Door, 2022). She is an associate professor at Naruto University of Education.


Aug 2

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — ‘Tokyo Pop,’ ‘Big Shark,’ Rina Sawayama

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02). Justin has 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 both cutting-edge and classic anime, this month offers a diverse trio of theatrical premieres—all in the comfort of indoor air conditioning. 

This month’s highlights include: 

Courtesy of Kino Lorber Team

Aug. 4-24

Tokyo Pop

Peter Jay Sharp Building, BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Ave (Brooklyn)

$8 members, $16 general admission 

From Fran Rubel Kuzui (director of the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Kino Lorber is pleased to present a newly restored 4K transfer of this 35th anniversary gem of indie cinema—a bubbly and charming rock & roll love story filmed in 1980s bubble era Japan! Disillusioned with her life in New York, bleach-blonde rocker Wendy (Carrie Hamilton) hops on a plane to Tokyo with dreams of making it as a singer. While hostessing at a karaoke bar, she meets Hiro (Diamond Yukai), whose fledgling band is hungry for their big break. When Hiro enlists Wendy to be the band’s lead singer, the two form a romantic and musical connection that leads to unexpected if unsustainable fame. A director Q&A follows the 7:00 p.m. screenings on August 4 & 5. The August 5 Q&A is moderated by David Wilentz, programmer for the New York Asian Film Festival.

GKIDS

Aug. 5-9 

Princess Mononoke

Various locations

$15-$20

From the legendary Studio Ghibli, creators of Spirited Away, and Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki comes an epic masterpiece that has dazzled audiences worldwide with its breathtaking imagination, exhilarating battles, and deep humanity. Inflicted with a deadly curse, the young warrior Ashitaka heads west in search of a cure. There, he stumbles into a bitter conflict between Lady Eboshi, the proud people of Iron Town, and the enigmatic Princess Mononoke, a young girl raised by wolves, who will stop at nothing to prevent the humans from destroying her home and the forest spirits and animal gods who live there. The English-language version features the voice talents of Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Billy Bob Thornton (August 6, 7 and 9 screenings).

Courtesy of Wiseau-Films

Aug. 10-13

Big Shark – with Tommy Wiseau in Person

Village East by Angelika, 181-189 2nd Avenue

$20

The latest film from the creator of The Room! Three firefighters—Georgie, Patrick and Tim—must save New Orleans from a gigantic shark. Can the Big Easy survive something even bigger? These exclusive screenings allow you to catch Tommy Wiseau in person: Thursday 8/10 at the 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. shows; Friday 8/11 at the 8:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. shows; Saturday 8/12 at the 5:00 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. shows; and Sunday 8/13 at the 5:00 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. shows! Village East also presents five screenings of The Room with Wiseau from Aug. 11-13; all tickets for the films include meet & greet + Q&A prior to the screenings along with exclusive merchandise sales.

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Jul 18

JQ Magazine: JAPAN CUTS Scorches the Screen with ‘THE FIRST SLAM DUNK,’ ‘Under the Turquoise Sky’

Courtesy of Japansociety.org

Summer means new movies, and if you’re in New York it means more than just Hollywood fare, it also means the largest Japanese film festival in North America.

For the 16th edition of Japan Society’s annual JAPAN CUTS (running July 26 through August 6), moviegoers will thrill to 29 films, and the first fully in-person JAPAN CUTS since 2019.

“JAPAN CUTS is back in-person!” says Peter Tatara, Director of Film at Japan Society, who organized this year’s festival with Japan Society Film Programmer Alexander Fee. “JAPAN CUTS is one of Japan Society’s most popular events and beloved in New York’s cinema scene. After a pause during the pandemic, we couldn’t be more proud for JAPAN CUTS to return with two weeks of exciting, thought-provoking and tear-jerking films. We’re honored to share a captivating slice of Japan’s cinematic world with New York!”

This year’s festival spans 12 days and features 24 feature-length films and five short films across Feature Slate, Next Generation, and Short Film Spotlight sections, as well as a special tribute to Ryuichi Sakamoto.

© I.T.PLANNING,INC.© 2022 THE FIRST SLAM DUNK Film Partners.

Kicking off this year’s festival, JAPAN CUTS is excited to present the East Coast Premiere of THE FIRST SLAM DUNK as its opening film. THE FIRST SLAM DUNK is the number one movie at the Japanese box office this year, and it is the first new feature-length film from the SLAM DUNK franchise in over 33 years, as well as manga creator Takehiko Inoue’s directorial debut. JAPAN CUTS will present this very special screening in partnership with GKIDS and Toei Animation ahead of the film’s upcoming nationwide theatrical release. 

© Turquoise Sky Film Partners, IFI Production, KTRFILMS

Leading this year’s guests, JAPAN CUTS will present acclaimed actor Yuya Yagira with this year’s CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film for his lead role in our centerpiece film, Under the Turquoise Sky from director KENTARO. Yagira was the youngest-ever winner of the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival for his lead in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Nobody Knows and has since starred in over 50 films and television series ranging from commercial blockbusters to art house gems. He will receive the CUT ABOVE Award from JAPAN CUTS in honor of his diverse career and especially for his work in Under the Turquoise Sky. A remarkable international co-production from director KENTARO, Under the Turquoise Sky sees Yagira embark on a personal journey across the vastness of the Mongolian countryside. Both Yagira and KENTARO will make special appearances at the film’s premiere screening and encore presentation.

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Jun 30

JQ Magazine: Nippon Coast to Coast — Anime Expo, JAnime, ‘Demon Slayer’ Live

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. 

Before and after the outdoor fireworks, enjoy some summer events in the cool indoors, whether it’s taking in anime’s biggest event on the West Coast, or catching a Studio Ghibli classic.

This month’s highlights include:

Toei Animation/GKIDS
Courtesy of Anime-Expo.org

July 1-4 

Anime Expo

Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles

$50-$145 

The largest anime convention in North America, Anime Expo serves up exclusive anime screenings and renowned guests courtesy of international animation and manga publishers. Play the latest in Japanese gaming technology; chow down on Japanese delicacies and fusion cuisine; rock out to live musical guests and cosplay masquerades; and more! Centerpiece events this year include a conversation with YOSHIKI (July 2), a composer, classically-trained pianist, rock drummer, and the leader of the rock groups X JAPAN and THE LAST ROCKSTARS, and the North American premiere of THE FIRST SLAM DUNK (July 3), the first new feature-length film from the globally cherished franchise in over 28 years, as well as original manga creator Takehiko Inoue’s Japan Academy Prize-winning directorial debut.

Courtesy of JACCC
JACCC Campus

Sunday, July 2, 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. 

JAnime

JACCC Campus, 244 San Pedro Street, Los Angeles 

Free, $40 for Food Wars Cafe and $12 for Tea Ceremony events

The Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) invites you to JAnime, a celebration of Japanese and Japanese American culture through the lens of anime. This event immerses all in the history of Japanese and Japanese American anime culture through art, food, history and performances set against the backdrop of the Japanese season of tanabata. Among a variety of anime- and Japanese culture-related lectures and demonstrations, guests can enjoy the Food Wars-inspired higher-end menu highlighted by Japanese Wagyu delicacies, and traditional tea ceremony in which audiences will be able to experience and taste the way of tea in an authentic tea room, as well as live taiko and anime music performances with food matsuri and official Kirin beer garden! The party reaches fever pitch with a set from DJ Tsugu Itagaki, who will be spinning an all vinyl set of City Pop, J-Pop, and everything in between.

GKIDS

July 9, 11 

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Various locations 

$15-$20 

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, written and directed by Academy Award-winner Hayao Miyazaki, is an epic masterpiece of sweeping scope and grandeur that remains one of the most breathtaking and exhilarating animated films of all time. A thousand years after the Seven Days of Fire destroyed civilization, warring human factions survive in a world devastated by atmospheric poisons and swarming with gigantic insects. The peaceful Valley of the Wind is nestled on the edge of the Toxic Forest and led by the courageous Princess Nausicaä, whose love of all living things leads her into terrible danger, as she fights to restore balance between humans and nature. The English-dubbed (July 9 screenings) features the voices of Alison Lohman, Uma Thurman, Patrick Stewart, Edward James Olmos and Shia LaBeouf.

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Jun 4

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Ryuichi Sakamoto’s ‘KAGAMI,’ The Joy of Sake, Japan Drum + Dance

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.

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

This month’s highlights include: TEXT

Robert Flynt

June 1-11

Shockwave Delay

Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa, 66 East 4th Street

$10-40

This “confidential protocol” is a composition created and designed by Yoshiko Chuma. This performance is based on twenty chapters that cross over within the frame of two and half hours. Musicians, dancers and designers interact, but not directly—a parallel to incidents of sound, text and action, a metaphor for endless continuous circles of life, fluctuating between utopia and war. While observing, the audience perceives the results of war—tipping utopia. A utopia is an imagined community of society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens. One could also say that utopia is a perfect “place” that has been designed so there are no problems.

Courtesy of Tin Drum

June 7-July 2

KAGAMI by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Tin Drum

Griffin Theater at The Shed, 545 West 30th Street

$29-$69

World premiere! In this new mixed reality collaboration with the late, legendary Academy Award-winning composer and artist Ryuichi Sakamoto and Tin Drum, spectators will witness a new kind of mixed reality concert via headsets that immerse the audience in an environment combining the maestro’s Yamaha grand concert piano performance with the physical world alongside virtual art created to accompany each song. Presented in surround sound, the experience allows the intimate 80-person audience, seated in the round, to connect like never before. “This is one of the first fully staged concerts in mixed reality, and it’s no surprise that the uniquely inventive Ryuichi Sakamoto was working on this new interdisciplinary show in recent years,” says The Shed’s Artistic Director Alex Poots. “It’s a great honor to present KAGAMI, one of Sakamoto’s final works, with our innovative partners [director] Todd Eckert and the Tin Drum team, and to share Sakamoto’s enduring legacy in this groundbreaking new artistic format.”

GKIDS

June 11, 12 and 14 

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Various locations 

$15-$20

Celebrate this beloved coming-of-age story from the legendary Studio Ghibli, creators of Spirited Away, and Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki, about a resourceful young witch who uses her broom to create a delivery service, only to lose her gift of flight in a moment of self-doubt. It is a tradition for all young witches to leave their families on the night of a full moon and fly off into the wide world to learn their craft. When that night comes for Kiki, she embarks on her new journey with her sarcastic black cat, Jiji, landing the next morning in a seaside village, where her unique skills make her an instant sensation. Don’t miss this delightfully imaginative and timeless story of a young girl finding her way in the world. The June 11 screenings feature the English dubbed voices of Kirsten Dunst, Janeane Garofalo, Phil Hartman, and Debbie Reynolds.

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May 14

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Yayoi Kusama, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, MAN WITH A MISSION

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.

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:

Kimi Takesue

Thursday, May 4, 7:00 p.m.

Onlookers

Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Avenue 

$16, $8 members

Kimi Takesue’s Onlookers asks looming existential questions such as: Why do we travel? What do we seek? Onlookers offers a visually striking, immersive meditation on travel and tourism in Laos [which is also the most heavily bombed per capita in history after the U.S. dropped over 2 million tons of bombs from 1964-1973], reflecting on how we all live as observers. Unfolding in painterly tableaux, Onlookers explores the paradox of travel: Why do people fly thousands of miles from home to lounge in a Laotian guest house sipping smoothies while watching reruns of the TV show Friends? Why do we climb to the top of a colossal mountain just to snap selfies, rather than enjoy the extraordinary view? We are present, but absent. Looking, but not seeing.

Yayoi Kusama © YAYOI KUSAMA. Courtesy the artist, David Zwirner, Ota Fine Arts, and Victoria Miro

Opens May 11

Yayoi Kusama: I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers

David Zwirner, 519, 525 & 533 West 19th Street

Free

One of the most celebrated contemporary artists of our time, Yayoi Kusama unveils her latest works in one of her largest gallery exhibitions to date here in New York. The exhibition features new paintings, new sculptures elaborating on her signature motifs of pumpkins and flowers, and a new Infinity Mirrored Room. Born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, Kusama’s work has been featured widely in both solo and group presentations. She presented her first solo show in her native Japan in 1952. In the mid-1960s, she established herself in New York as an important avant-garde artist by staging groundbreaking and influential happenings, events, and exhibitions. Her work gained renewed widespread recognition in the late 1980s following a number of international solo exhibitions, including shows at the Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, both of which took place in 1989.

ASOBISYSTEM

Monday, May 15, 8:00 p.m.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Webster Hall, 125 East 11th Street

$35

Pop singer and icon of Harajuku fashion Kyary Pamyu Pamyu returns to New York for the debut date of her first U.S. tour in five years, supported by French-born and Tokyo-based DJ Moe Shop! last month, the two collaborated on their new song CANDY CANDY (Moe Shop Remix). As fans of KPP know, she’s been a J-pop icon since she first amassed a following as a teenage fashion blogger. She later rose to global fame as a viral Jpop music video star, model, and actress, even starring in numerous Japanese TV commercials. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has sold over 970,000 physical albums and singles in Japan according to Oricon as well as over 2.25 million downloads of her singles, drawing favorable comparisons to Katy Perry and Lady Gaga in her home country. Don’t miss one of the most colorful pop performers ever to take the stage!

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Apr 24

WIT Life #369: Sakura-filled spring and Plan 75

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

Happy spring! It’s hard to believe that May is right around the corner. Earlier this year I spent two weeks in Japan (my first trip in six years, after a few stops and starts during Covid), and timed it extremely well to catch the 桜 (sakura, or cherry blossoms) at their peak in two of the four cities I visited. One was Kyoto, which is always a special place for me to return to as it is where I studied abroad during my first time in Japan. The other was Kumamoto, where I lived for three years during my time as a JET. It was a fantastic homecoming filled with long-overdue reunions, delicious food, 温泉 (onsen, or hot springs) and お花見 (ohanami, or cherry blossom viewing). I don’t know when my next trip will be, but here’s hoping it’s sooner than another six years!

When I returned to the U.S. everything was in full bloom, so I felt lucky to be able to enjoy a double spring. I love this season with its wonderfully warm afternoons, as well as chilly mornings and nights where hot tea hits the spot. I brought back sakura tea and a wide assortment of other cherry blossom goods, so hopefully those will tide me over when I start missing Japan…

An amazing array of sakura goods from the source! (thanks to Muji, Kaldi and various conbini)

Yesterday I had the chance to see the Cannes award-winning film Plan 75, which is showing at IFC Center through Friday. The title refers to a Japanese government program that encourages the elderly to terminate their own lives (and will subsidize this), as a way of relieving this demographic’s social and economic burdens. The film follows the three main characters of a 78-year old woman considering Plan 75, a young civil servant working on behalf of the plan, and a Filipino health care worker who ends up working for the plan. Each goes through their own personal journey over the course of the film’s almost two-hour duration, changing the way they view the plan and their roles in relation to it. The weight of this dystopian film makes it anything but an easy watch, but its heaviness is commensurate to the heft of the premise.

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