• The Japan Cultural Expo Showcases the Future of Kabuki

    Arts & Craft_Story

    The Japan Cultural Expo Showcases the Future of Kabuki


The Japan Cultural Expo is a nationwide, long-running festival celebrating and showcasing the country's rich and passionate arts scene. From the traditional to the contemporary, manga to kabuki, the stage to the screen, all forms of Japanese culture are accessible and on display.

As part of the festivities, the Japan Cultural Expo held an event titled "Moon, Snow, and Flowers: Performing Arts Celebrating the Natural Beauty of Japan," a celebration of Japanese music, kabuki, and digital art. Held at the proudly foreigner-friendly National Theatre of Japan, the event was broken down into 12 individual acts, four of each dedicated to the topics' moon, snow, and flowers.'

The event launched with an attention-commanding opening by Kikunosuke Onoe. Born from a long line of actors, he's one of the kabuki scene's biggest names and is also a proud ambassador of the Japan Culture Expo. From Onoe's enthralling performance of "Hagoromo" (a staple in Noh performances) to the hypnotic chanting of the Tendai Shomyo Shichisekai monk group, it was a strong beginning of what would prove to be an artfully curated variety of performing arts.

As part of the grand finale of the event, Onoe came back to the stage to perform another Noh theatre adaptation, a performance of 'Shakkyo,' a piece dedicated to the mythical beast shishi, a lion-like figure who appears on a bridge that leads to nirvana.

One of the most fascinating parts of the performance was the balanced combination of digital art backdrops – representing the show's themes – with the traditional style with which the performance was handled. A harmonious balance of respect for the past and excitement for the future, this show was a sample of what the future of kabuki will look like.

For those who can't make it to Japan right now, the Japan Cultural Expo will be hosting three streaming performances of their upcoming event, "Presentation of Prayer," on March 12-14. Information and tickets are available here.

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