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Washington, D.C.'s Japan! Festival


Yukio Ninagawa's Shintoku-Maru ▪ Amon Miyamoto's Up in the Air: The
Story of Boonah, the Tree-Climbing Frog ▪
The Mansaku-no-Kai Kyogen Company ▪ Marionette Theatre Youkiza ▪ Mari

New National Theatre Ballet, Tokyo ▪ Sankai Juku ▪ Jo Kanamori's Noism
08 ▪  Akira Kasai ▪ Strange Kinoko Dance Company

Oki Dub Ainu Band & Marewrew ▪ Hakata Kinjishi Taiko & Hakata Koma ▪
Midori & Friends ▪ A Tribute to Toru Takemitsu ▪ Aki Takahashi ▪ Maywa Denki ▪ Laptop Orchestra

Yayoi Kusama ▪ Tadao Ando
TEXTILES-DESIGN-TECHNOLOGY / Reiko Sudo ▪ Junko Koshino ▪ Mikimoto Pearls ▪ Mika Ninagawa
ROBOTOPIA RISING / Robot Evolution ▪ Karakuri Dolls ▪ The Influence of Anime and Manga on Robots ▪
Robots and the Arts ▪ Super Humanoids

FILM, MANGA & ANIME / Film Screening with the Freer/Sackler Gallery ▪ Manga ▪
Genius Party World Premiere ▪ A Marathon of Anime Premieres

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Michael M. Kaiser, President of the John F. Kennedy Center
for the Performing Arts, today announced that the Center will present the
international festival JAPAN! culture + hyperculture showcasing the richness
and diversity of the arts of Japan—the traditional and classical to the
contemporary and cutting-edge—from February 5-17, 2008. The two-week
festival brings together 467 artists from 17 different performing companies in
47 performances of music, dance and theater, including 15 premieres, on six
stages, as well as four robots and a dozen FREE events including five exhibits
featuring visual arts, design, fashion, film and literature.
“This unprecedented assembly of Japanese artists honors, celebrates and
extends the long-standing bond between the Kennedy Center and Japan. It serves
as an example of the powerful nature of the arts to strengthen relations between
nations,” said Kaiser.
Since its inception in 1971, the generosity of the Japanese government and its
people has greatly impacted the Center. As a gift to mark the opening of the
national cultural center and living memorial to President Kennedy, Japan gave
the 3,000-pound red and gold silk curtain for the Opera House stage. In 1975,
Prime Minister Miki presented President Ford with the funds to build the
Terrace Theater, fulfilling the Center's need for a small, intimate
performance space as a Bicentennial gift from the people of Japan to the United
States. In 1989, the Japan Endowment was created as a result of strengthening
economic relations between the countries, enabling the Center to present
Japanese performing artists and companies. In 1994, during the Emperor and
Empress of Japan's first state visit to the United States, they attended a
performance at the Center in their honor featuring young Japanese and American
musicians. With this festival, the Kennedy Center welcomes visitors from
across America and around the world to experience the best in Japanese arts and


Yukio Ninagawa's Shintoku-Maru
February 7-9, 2008
Opera House
Shintoku-Maru, based on a noh play with text by the avant-garde writer Shuji
Terayama, makes its American premiere under the direction of Yukio Ninagawa,
who is considered “one of the great image-makers of modern theatre” (The
Guardian). Blending drama, music and spectacle that results in “lavishly
operatic” (The Guardian) performances, the narrative follows the life of the
protagonist, Shintoku-Maru. He is haunted by the memory of his late mother and
is strangely drawn to his father's new wife, who was bought at a marketplace.
This stunning coming-of-age story explores the complex relationship between
Shintoku-Maru and his stepmother. In Shintoku-Maru, “it is as if some
gorgeously exotic gloss on Oedipus and Phedre had come bubbling out of
dreamland” (Times of London).

Amon Miyamoto's Up in the Air: The Story of Boonah, the Tree-Climbing Frog
February 8-10, 2008
Family Theater
Up in the Air: The Story of Boonah, the Tree-Climbing Frog, based on the beloved
story Boonah, the Tree Climbing Frog by Japanese author Mizukami Tsutomu, makes
its world premiere as a Kennedy Center commission for the festival of Japan.
Boonah is an exceptional and adventurous frog who is able to scale the tallest
tree in the pond. One day, he climbs to the top and becomes trapped. As
Boonah burrows deep into the nook and awaits a chance to escape, he is witness
to the mortal musings of the various creatures who are captured and dropped
there. Each creature attempts to put life and death into perspective through
denial, negotiation and acceptance in ways that illuminate human behavior. Up
in the Air is conceived and directed by Amon Miyamoto, the first-ever Japanese
director on Broadway and director of the Tony Award-winning Broadway production
of Pacific Overtures, with music by Henry Kreiger, composer of the Oscar-winning
film Dreamgirls.

Marionette Theatre Youkiza
February 9, 2008
Millennium Stage
Marionette Theatre Youkiza was founded during the Edo period in Japanese history
and has spanned some three-and-a-half centuries. In 1956, the Tokyo Metropolitan
Government designated Youkiza as an important cultural asset. As a result, it
received national government recognition in 1995 and has been presented with
numerous awards from various parts of Japanese public society. While continuing
to perform Buddhist parables, today's Youkiza remains active, performing new
works, picture works and shows throughout the world. Youkiza has proudly
performed around the globe.

The Mansaku-no-Kai Kyogen Company
February 11-14, 2008
Terrace Theater
Kyogen is one of the four classical Japanese theatrical forms, along with
kabuki, noh and bunraku puppet theater. A comic tradition, kyogen was developed
as a counterpoint to the more serious and sacred noh.
• Traditional Kyogen Pieces
February 11, 2008
Artistic Director Mansai Nomura and his company will present three of this art
form's seminal works including Boshibari (Tied to a Stick), Kawakami
(Headwater) and Kusabira (Mushrooms).
• The Kyogen of Errors
February 13-14, 2008
Based on Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, Nomura takes this classic tale of
two pairs of twins separated at birth and stages it in the rich comic traditions
of Japanese kyogen. As the Bard's usual misunderstandings and mistaken
identities come thick and fast, this company of kyogen masters dons and whips
off masks at breakneck speed to push the storyline of mistaken identity to
absurd limits. This brilliant, high-energy production illustrates
Shakespeare's universal appeal through the lens of Japanese stage tradition
by creating a synthesis of pure theatrical magic. “Funny and expert are not
the only terms that spring to mind when watching …The Kyogen of Errors.
Beguiling, impressive, fascinating and thoroughly entertaining apply equally
well” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Mari Natsuki
February 13, 2008
Family Theater
Tokyo-born Mari Natsuki, a Japanese singer, dancer and actor, was twice
nominated for a Japanese Academy Award, has starred as the mother in the TV
remake of Bewitched in Tokyo and provided the voice of Yubaba the Witch in
Hayao Miyazaki's cartoon, Spirited Away. Natsuki will perform the
Washington, D.C. premiere of her self-produced theater piece The Impressionist,
which combines music, theater and dance to extraordinary effect. Currently in
its eighth version, Natsuki approaches the work, which she has been touring for
the past 10 years to critical acclaim, from a different perspective in each
recreation in order to have a deeper understanding of words, body and space.
“Mari Natsuki is a much-feted singer, actor and dancer in her native Japan
and here she has brought her considerable talents in all three fields to
extraordinary effect” (The Scotsman).


Jo Kanamori's Noism 08
February 6-7, 2008
Terrace Theater
Jo Kanamori, the object of more attention than any other dancer/choreographer in
Japan, and his company of dancers Noism 08 will present the world premiere of
NINA materialize sacrifice, directed and choreographed by Kanamori and set to
the original score by composer Ton That An. After studying classical ballet in
Japan, Kanamori went to Europe and discovered the genre of contemporary dance
where his talent blossomed. While in Europe he worked with Nederlands Dans
Theater, l'Opera National de Lyon Ballet and the Gothenburg Ballet. Shortly
after returning to Japan he won the Asahi Performing Artist Award and has
established himself in the Japanese contemporary dance scene as a unique,
polished and sophisticated talent. After being appointed artistic director for
dance by the city of Niigata, his proposal to form a full-fledged public
contemporary dance company was accepted in 2004 and its realization has brought
heightened expectations from Japan's performing arts world.

Sankai Juku
February 12-13, 2008
Opera House
Sankai Juku, Japan's most famous touring dance company, will remount Kinkan
Shonen, a piece originally created in 1978 and one that launched the
company's prolific career in the United States, giving American audiences
their first chance to see it in almost 25 years. Sankai Juku is part of the
second generation of butoh troupes, a Japanese contemporary performing art form
that evolved during the 1960s and is an expression of human awareness. Founded
by artistic director Ushio Amagatsu in 1975, Sankai Juku has performed in more
than 40 countries and 700 cities and won countless awards including the 2002
Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production. Sankai Juku creates
dreamlike butoh performances by weaving meticulous, hypnotic movement with
breathtaking large-scale staging. Sankai Juku is “one of the most original
and startling dance theater groups to be seen” (New York Times) and presents
“hypnotic highly-controlled visions of unparalleled beauty” (Daily

Kenichi Ebina
February 14, 2008
Millennium Stage
Kenichi Ebina, a solo self-taught dance performer, started out dancing freestyle
hip-hop and expanded his style to poppin', lockin', mime, house, jazz,
contemporary and ethnic dance. Kenichi's unique dance show with sound, light
and visual effects entertains a wide audience. In 2001, Kenichi founded the
all-Japanese dance group BiTriP (Bi-Triangle Performance), which won first
place at the championship of “Amateur Night” at the world-renowned Apollo
Theater. In 2007 Kenichi appeared on “Showtime at the Apollo” as a solo
performer and is the reigning grand champion of the 2006-2007 season after
winning seven times. Kenichi is the first and only two-time grand champion in
the Apollo theater history. Kenichi also has performed, directed and
choreographed for many projects and dance and theater companies in the United
States, Europe and Japan.

Strange Kinoko Dance Company
February 15, 2008
Millennium Stage North
In its world premiere, the all-female troupe Strange Kinoko (meaning
“mushroom”) Dance Company will present Flowers. The company aims at
approaching dance from different angles and perspectives and pursuing
originality through showing their works. Performance venues vary in size and
style, ranging from proper theaters to the courtyard of an art museum, art
galleries, cafes, offices, warehouses and even the entrance hall of a building.
The company presents one to two new works every year in tours throughout Japan,
as well as engagements abroad including France, the U.S., Sweden, India and
Thailand. Strange Kinoko Dance Company also choreographs and performs in other
projects including theater performances, music concerts, films and workshops.

New National Theatre Ballet, Tokyo
February 15-17, 2008
Opera House
The New National Theatre Ballet of Tokyo will make its American premiere as the
company embarks on its first international tour for the Kennedy Center's
Japan festival. Established in 1997, the New National Theatre Ballet, Tokyo
has become a leading artistic force in Japan. Under the artistic direction of
Asami Maki, the company's vast repertoire includes the classical ballet
works, 20th-century works and original creations by Maki.

• Mixed Repertory Program
February 15, 2008
The company's mixed repertory program includes George Balanchine's Serenade
with music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Asami Maki's And Waltz with music by Maurice
Ravel and Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato's Duende with music by Claude
• Raymonda
February 16-17, 2008
The company will perform this full-length ballet with choreography by Asami Maki
after Marius Petipa with music by Alexander Glazunov, sets and costumes by Luisa
Spinatelli and lighting by Yuji Sawada.

Akira Kasai
February 16-17, 2008
Terrace Theater
Akira Kasai, one of butoh's most highly acclaimed performers, will perform the
Washington, D.C. premiere of his piece Pollen Revolution, a daring solo
performance that takes the audience on an almost surreal journey through time,
cultures and states of being. Pollen Revolution is “a
dazzling…tour-de-force display by a man who has achieved utter mastery of the
art of solo physical expression and yet remains committed to mainstream
comprehensibility” (Chicago Tribune). Described as “part Marcel Marceau,
part Mick Jagger,” he begins the performance costumed as a woman in a kabuki
drama (Dance Magazine). The costume flies away, madness sets in and Kasai is
transformed into a street dancer, a solitary actor and a contemporary traveler.
In this performance, change is the only constant as butoh meets and becomes
hip-hop. Kasai incorporates elements from both his native Japan and the West
in his artistic development. Kasai studied modern dance and classical ballet,
but completely changed course when he met the founders of butoh in 1963.


Aki Takahashi
February 6, 2008
Millennium Stage North
Aki Takahashi began the study of piano at the age of five with her mother and
later entered Tokyo University of the Arts. Since her first public recital in
1970, she has been active in the field of new music and composers including
John Cage, Morton Feldman, Isang Yun, Joji Yuasa, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Carl Stone,
Maki Ishii and Takehisa Kosugi have created works for her. Takahashi has toured
extensively throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia appearing in numerous recitals
and international festivals including the Berlin Festival Week, the Paris
Autumn Festival, the Holland Festival, New Music America, Berlin's Meta Musik
and the First New York Festival of the Arts. She is also active as a member of
Sound Space ARK, a contemporary music ensemble, and as director of the “New
Ears” concert series. She received the first Kyoto Music Award in 1986.
Takahashi “plays with wonderful delicacy and concentration. To commit these
small musical acts one after the other over long periods of time requires a
virtuosity beyond scales and arpeggios” (New York Times).

Hakata Kinjishi Taiko and Hakata Koma
February 7, 2008
Millennium Stage North
Led by siblings Jyuraku and Syouraku Chikushi, Hakata Kinjishi (meaning
“golden lion”) Taiko performs a style of drumming derived from music used
for the Lion Dance and traditional Hakata top-spinning act. The drumming
became independent from the two acts and the Golden Lion Taiko Group was
established to present this style of taiko drumming.
Playing with tops is an old form of child's play in many countries. In Japan,
the birth of this koma art came about in a unique style with the use of a top in
the performance of a series of tricks. The origin of this top art is said to
have come from the Hakata Koma and has a long history of more than 400 years
and was first developed in Japan as a magnificent form of entertainment.

Oki Dub Ainu Band and Marewrew
February 8, 2008
Millennium Stage North
In this free concert by Oki, the most prominent tonkori performer in the world,
his band and female singers of Marewrew, Kennedy Center audiences will hear
music that fuses Reggae, African and Electronica with Ainu folk melodies.
During the concert a video screen will display beautiful images from the Ainu
tradition. The tonkori is a long, flat instrument that produces its own
distinct sound and is the only stringed instrument in the Karafuto Ainu musical
tradition. Oki's contemporary approach has won him praise in Japan and around
the world.

A Tribute to Toru Takemitsu
February 9, 2008
Terrace Theater
The Kennedy Center will present a tribute concert to Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996),
one of Japan's most famous and celebrated composers, curated by his daughter
Maki Takemitsu with special guest instrumentalists Katsumi Watanabe and Daisuke
Suzuki on guitar, Yasuhiro “coba” Kobayashi on accordion and Tomohiro Yahiro
on percussion. Takemitsu explored the compositional principles of western
classical music and his native Japanese tradition both in isolation and in
combination. Born in Tokyo, Takemitsu first became interested in western
classical music around the time of World War II. He heard western music on
American military radio while recuperating from a long illness and listened to
jazz from his father's ample collection. Takemitsu was largely self-taught
in music and was highly influenced by French music, particularly that of Claude
Debussy and Olivier Messiaen. In 1951 he founded the Jikken Kobo, a group that
introduced many contemporary western composers to Japanese audiences. Takemitsu
first came to wide attention when his Requiem for string orchestra (1957) was
accidentally heard and praised by Igor Stravinsky in 1959. Stravinsky went on
to champion Takemitsu's work and he was eventually commissioned to create new
work for the New York Philharmonic and composed music for motion pictures,
including scores for directors Hiroshi Teshigahara, Akira Kurosawa and Shohei

February 10, 2008
Millennium Stage
YMCK, an 8bit pop trio, is known for its 8bit sound that reminds people of old
game consoles and attracts the enthusiastic support from a wide range of
generations. The first album, Family Music, was released in 2004 and quickly
became a hit. The trio's unique style of live performances using 8bit pixel
animation is also highly acclaimed. YMCK has performed at international music
festivals in Sweden, New York, Thailand and Taiwan and its activities include
remix works, video game sound tracks, DJ performances and development of 8bit
sound plug-in software.

Laptop Orchestra
February 11, 2008
Theater Lab
Interactive computer music meets Japanese traditional music… Created in 2002
by Philippe Chatelain, the Laptop Orchestra is a Tokyo-based collaborative
sound experience with the intent to free the performers from any logical and
musical planned, composed or programmed intention. The Laptop Orchestra will
experiment with the sound of sho, a traditional Japanese instrument (mouth
organ). At this concert Ko Ishikawa (sho musician) will send sound through the
laptops and in real time the laptoppers work to respond to sound material made
unstoppable by the manipulation of others. From the sound material of the sho,
the Laptop Orchestra will generate an infinite field of sound possibilities and
explore it in real time. For each concert, new performers join the laptop
orchestra, either via audio or video network. They have performed in Japan and
throughout Europe.

Masakatsu Takagi
February 13, 2008
Millennium Stage
Takagi Masakatsu is a visual artist and musician whose work knows no aesthetic
borders. He has presented video installations and performed live at art spaces
around the world. He also produces music videos, as well as music for
commercials and film. He has toured with musician and remix artist David
Sylvian. In 2006, he released “Bloomy Girls,” a visual book with his video
arts collection. Res magazine named him one of the 2006 RES 10, an annual
selection of emerging artists who will influence the worlds of film, video,
design, advertising, music and media art in the upcoming year and beyond.

Midori and Friends
February 14, 2008
Family Theater
A frequent soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, Midori's engagement
surrounding the Japan festival will be an opportunity for audiences to
experience her music in an intimate setting and hear “a blaze of energy,
laced with compact curlicue figures and zesty rhythms” (The Washington Post).
She will be joined by the Miro Quartet, among others (artists TBA) in a program
featuring the music of Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and Toru Takemitsu. Midori
Goto is one of the world's leading violinists and performs more than 100
concerts worldwide each season. Born in Osaka in 1971, she was named Midori
from the old Chinese character meaning “precious jade.” From a very early
age, she was attracted to the sound of the violin played by her mother, Setsu
Goto. When Midori was four, her grandparents gave her a tiny violin of her own.
Three years later, Midori gave her first public performance for an audience in
Osaka playing a Paganini Caprice.

Maywa Denki
February 15-17, 2008
Millennium Stage
Founded in 1993 by two brothers, Maywa Denki is a performance art troupe with a
unique style that is named after the company where their father used to work.
Each piece of Maywa Denki's work is called “a product” and a live
performance or exhibition is held as “a product demonstration.” The
products created have included “NAKI Series” (fish-motif nonsense
machines), “Tsukuba Series” (original musical instruments) and
“Edelweiss” (flower-motif objet d'art). Although Maywa Denki is known and
appreciated as artists, its promotion strategies are full of
variety—exhibition, live stage performance as well as producing music,
videos, writing, toys, stationery and electric devices. Its toys are currently
being sold at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Maywa Denki has recently
extended its activities overseas, holding exhibitions in Europe and the United
States. The troupe received the second place prize in the ranking of Top 100
Media Arts in Japan, awarded by the Japanese agency for cultural affairs.
• Exhibition
February 15-17, 2008
Maywa Denki's robotic instruments will be on display and
lectures/demonstrations will be held throughout the day.
• Live Stage Performance
February 16, 2008


Tadao Ando
February 5-17, 2008
Created especially for JAPAN! culture + hyperculture, acclaimed Japanese
architect Tadao Ando will present his world premiere Temporary Meditation Space
in the Kennedy Center's Atrium. After a brief career as a professional boxer
in the '60s, Tadao Ando decided to embark on his own self-education journey
as an architect by visiting the great buildings of the West. This journey led
him to contemplate the Japanese traditional roots of architecture in connection
to the rising modern architectural movements. As a result of his journey, he
came back to Japan and promptly established his own office in 1969. Lauded as
“that rare architect who combines artistic and intellectual sensitivity in a
single individual capable of producing buildings, large and small, that both
serve and inspire.” Born in 1941 in Osaka, Ando humbly credits this to his
cultural root in the west of Japan, the area around Nara, Kyoto and Osaka, home
to some of the finest examples of traditional Japanese architecture. Inspired by
French architect Le Corbusier, Ando hoped his work would help improve Japanese
living conditions. His Rowhouse in Sumiyoshi is arguably a powerful message to
raise social awareness of urban living with nature. By 1976, Ando had captured
the interest of the architectural community earning him the Prize for
Architecture from the Architectural Institute of Japan. Since that time, Ando
has continued to receive recognition for his ever-growing body of work. His
awards include virtually every award Japan can bestow for architecture and the
arts, as well as major international prizes, including the Pritzker Prize and
the Gold Medal of Architecture from the French Academy of Architecture. While
Ando lives and works in Osaka, he has increasingly been working on numerous
projects all over the world. “My hope is that people won't so much look at
my buildings as be in them and experience something timeless and eternal inside
themselves,” he said.

Yayoi Kusama
Avant-garde sculptor
February 5-17, 2008
Roof Level
Avant-garde sculptor, painter and novelist Yayoi Kusama will present her world
premiere installation created especially for JAPAN! culture + hyperculture.
Born in Nagano in 1929, Kusama started to paint using polka dots and nets as
motifs at around age ten. Her artistic career spans a remarkable eight decades
and her work has been seen in museums, galleries and subway stations around the
world. In October 2006, Kusama received the National Lifetime Achievement
Award, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Losette and the Imperial
Medal for Painting. In speaking about Kusama's work, composer/musician
Sakamoto Ryuichi said, “Huge crowds of people jostle to see her work. She has
the same sort of popularity as a singing idol. No matter where she goes, that
enthusiastic crowd will follow her. It's marvelous!”
Motoko Maio
Folding Screen Artist
February 5-17, 2008
Hall of States
Tokyo-born Motoko Maio has been reinventing the art of byobu folding screens
since 1986. Using traditional Japanese materials and techniques—even
reversible paper hinges—she creates lyrical variations on this ancient
Japanese theme, resulting in contemporary works of “an art form with a
thousand faces.” Indeed, her screens can look dramatically different
depending on the light and the way the always-reversible panels are arranged.
Her work has been featured in numerous private shows and magazine articles, and
she is the author of Enjoying Mounting-Creating Hanging Scrolls and Byobu.

Nobuyki Tanaka
Urushi Artist
February 5-17, 2008
Hall of States
Nobuyki Tanaka is one of Japan's leading contemporary urushi artists,
exploring the sculptural possibilities of this ancient art form. Collaborating
with architects, he has produced large-scale lacquer creations that grace
numerous buildings, including the high-design Conrad Hotel in Tokyo. His works
are also in collections throughout the world and have been featured in exhibits
in Japan and abroad. A native of Tokyo, he is currently Associate Professor at
the Kanazawa College of Art in Japan.

Koji Kakinuma
February 12, 2008
Millennium Stage
Born in 1970 in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Koji Kakinuma began studying
traditional Japanese monochrome brushwork at the age of five. Kakinuma's own
father, Suiryu, a renowned artist in his own right, was his first teacher and
also introduced him to one of the greatest artistic influences of his life:
Yukei Teshima, who took the young artist under his wing, calling him the most
promising student he had ever seen. In 1989, Kakinuma entered prestigious Tokyo
University and soon afterward arrived on the national stage when he became the
youngest person to win the coveted Dokuritsu Shojindan Foundation prize.
Kakinuma's rise through the Japanese art world has been meteoric, winning one
prestigious competition after another, having his life and paintings featured in
several televised documentaries, and being invited to demonstrate and show his
work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, as well as serve as a
visiting researcher at Princeton University. He has constantly sought to break
free from the strictures of his classical training and to express himself in
innovative, experimental ways. Kakinuma will present one of his trademark
innovations—Trancework, where he paints countless repetitions of a simple,
powerful phrase as he falls deeper and deeper into a trance.

February 5-17, 2008
Roof Level

Junko Koshino
Fashion Designer
February 7, 2008
Millennium Stage—Fashion Show
Born into a family of designers in Osaka, Junko Koshino left Japan for Paris in
the early '80s and formed her own company. She started showing garments that
drew on the basic Kimono shape and soon began presenting her collections there.
Junko is interested in contrasts, curves and straight lines, light and dark,
round and square, men and women. She claims opposites come together to form a
whole. She has designed costumes for many opera and theater productions
including Madame Butterfly and Amon Miyamoto's Broadway production of Pacific
Overtures for which she received a Tony Award nomination. She and her husband
have produced major events for the Japan National Tourism Organization's
“Welcome to Japan” campaign. Most recently, Koshino agreed to design the
costumes for Mansai Nomura's upcoming production based on Richard III in
Japan. “I design things for life!” she said.

Mikimoto Pearls
Loving Pearls and Making Them a Lifelong Dream…
“I would like to adorn the necks of all the women of the world with pearls,”
Kokichi Mikimoto said shortly after he succeeded in culturing a perfectly round
pearl. He seemed to be rambling on about an unachievable dream. However, the
elegant beauty of Kokichi's pearls was eventually recognized and his wish
fulfilled as the name Mikimoto became known around the globe. With his keen,
instinctive sense of beauty, Kokichi was the most enthusiastic of jewelers, a
man who devoted his life to the pearls that he loved and set his hopes upon.
2008 marks the 150th anniversary of Mikimoto's birthday.

Mika Ninagawa
For Japan! culture + hyperculture, the Kennedy Center presents a special exhibit
of Mika Ninagawa, one of Japan's most popular photographers. Ninagawa's
photographic style is one that is instantly identified by her versatility that
she draws from various fields. She is supported by Tokyo's Koyama Tomio Art
Gallery where her works are constantly exhibited and much loved by art
collectors. In 2003, Mika added another dimension to her creativity when she
ventured into directing the short film Cheap Trip in collaboration with Mod's
Hair. Born in 1972, she specializes in portrait photography, as well as the
still life photography of flora, gold fish and landscape. Her influence
resonates with many followers who copy her styles and mimic her stance. Her
enthusiasm lures the attention of publishing houses and she has published one
or two best selling photographic books a year for the past seven years. Her
memorable photography book Pink Rose Suite was awarded the most highly regarded
Kimura Ihei photography award in 2001. Two years later she released Acid Bloom
featuring purely flora and Liquid Dreams featuring gold fish. A compilation of
her portraits and photographs came together to form the self-titled Mika
spawning nationwide exhibitions all over Japan attracting record numbers of
visitors. Her latest work Princess involves a Japanese actress Chiaki Kuriyama,
who poses as characters from well-known fairy tales.

Reiko Sudo
Textile Designer, Nuno Corporation
Reiko Sudo's Nuno Corporation creates innovative textiles that combine
traditional aesthetics with the latest computer and synthetics technologies.
Nuno combines the best of past and present; drawing on traditional aesthetics
and attention to creative processes to inspire today's fashions, while
enlisting modern technologies to make Japan's “lost art” more accessible
to textile lovers worldwide. Reiko Sudo has held exhibitions at the Victoria
and Albert Museum in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Musée des
Arts Decoratifs in Montreal and Staatliches Museum in Munich.

February 6-17, 2008

Robotopia Rising
Exhibition, Robot Shows and Lectures
Japan's robots are at once amazing works of art and fantastic feats of
engineering. The Kennedy Center will host a robot extravaganza highlighting the
science and culture of Japanese robotics from fascinating medieval automatons to
cutting-edge lifelike androids. This groundbreaking celebration will be a
tribute to Japanese craftsmanship and technology as well as a preview of the
future. Japan has been at the forefront of global robot development and
technology since the 1970s. The Japanese imported the industrial robot from the
United States in the 1960s, implemented it on a massive scale and reaped the
manufacturing rewards. In the last decade, however, factory automation
technology has begun to move from the assembly line into the home with the rise
of personal robots. These are machines that are designed to help people. The
most remarkable have been advanced humanoid robots that can walk on two legs,
such as Honda Motor Co.'s Asimo. Robot pets and therapeutic aides have been
successfully developed and marketed in Japan. Robots are seen as viable means
to mitigate demographic problems that will arise from Japan's aging
population and shrinking workforce. On the cutting edge of this trend are
ultra-lifelike androids developed in Japan as receptionists and scientific
research platforms.

Robot Shows
February 16-17, 2008
Three 45-minute demonstrations on each day with an introduction from the robots
and their creators.

Robot Lectures
February 15, 2008
Family Theater
Distinguished writers and researchers in the field of robotics will conduct
lectures about the evolution of Robots from the Karakuri dolls to life-like
humanoids. Speakers will include:
• Timothy N. Hornyak, author Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of
Japanese Robots
• Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, a leading researcher in human robots (androids)
and Professor in the Department of adaptive machine systems at Osaka University
who specializes in humanoids and androids with an expertise for making them move
and interact.
• Fred Schodt, the author of the forthcoming Astro Boy Essays. Schodt was a
translator and interpreter for manga god, Osamu Tezuka.
• Members of the Nippon Karakuri Society will also participate in these


Film Screenings
February 2-3 and 8-10, 2008
Collaboration with the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
As part of JAPAN! culture + hyperculture, the Kennedy Center and the
Freer/Sackler Gallery will collaborate to present Japanese film during each
festival weekend. In addition to screenings, there will be film lectures by
field experts to provide context for audiences.

February 6-17, 2008
A sequential narrative Japanese comic, manga is now an internationally
recognized and thoroughly developed unique form of literary and visual art in
Japan. The exhibition will examine historical and cultural origins of manga,
its evolution from characteristics of visual expression and story-telling
techniques. It will analyze the reasons why manga has captured the mind of the
Japanese and now world audiences through original and reproduced drawings anime
clips, and interviews with authors including comparisons with 12th century
traditional scroll paintings.

Genius Party World Premiere
February 15-16, 2008
Family Theater
JAPAN! culture + hyperculture will premiere the Genius Party, a series of
original works created by the artists who represent Japan's top talent in the
anime field, which will then tour to major film festivals throughout the world.
Anime is the face of 21st-century Japan and this event showcases the power and
imagination of the art form to audiences' amazement. Eiko Tanaka, President
of Studio 4°C and producer of the Genius Party, said, “Human beings need to
express themselves. We compiled works filled with strong desire for
expression.” Genius Party features the following films and directors:
Film Title Director / Genius Party Atsuko Fukushima / Shanghai Dragon Shoji Kawamori  / Deathtic 4 Shinji Kimura / Doorbell Yoji Fukuyama / Limit Cycle Hideki Futamara / Dream Machine Masaaki Yuasa / Baby Blue Shinichiro Watanabe / Dimension Bomb Koji Morimoto / Moondrive Kazuto Nakazawa
Nayorani Masahiro Maeda / “Wanwa” The Puppy Shinya Ohira
Tojin Ki t Tatsuyuki Tanaka / Le Manchot Melomane Nicolas de Crecy
Untitled Hiro Yamagata / Executive Producer: Eiko Tanaka / Producer: Yukie Saeki / Music Supervisor: Shinichiro Watanabe / Production: Studio 4°C

A Marathon of Anime Premieres
February 17 / Family Theater
The Kennedy Center will present four anime premieres as part of this screening

JAPAN! culture + hyperculture PREMIERES (15)

Tadao Ando's Temporary Meditation Space / Genius Party
Jo Kanamori's NINA materialize sacrifice
Yayoi Kusama Installation
Amon Miyamoto's Boonah: The Musical
Strange Kinoko Dance Company's Flowers

New National Theatre Ballet, Tokyo
Yukio Ninagawa's Shintoku Maru

Akira Kasai's Pollen Revolution
Laptop Orchestra
Maywa Denki
Mari Natsuki's The Impressionist
Mansai Nomura's Kyogen of Errors
Oki Dub Ainu Band & Marewrew
A Tribute to Toru Takemitsu EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES (6)
Boonah: The Musical
Maywa Denki
Junko Koshino
Laptop Orchestra
Marionette Theatre Youkiza
The Mansaku-no-Kai Kyogen Company

Tickets may be purchased at the Kennedy Center Box Office or by calling Instant
Charge at (202) 467-4600. Those patrons living outside the Washington
metropolitan calling area may dial toll-free at (800) 444-1324.

JAPAN! culture + hyperculture is presented with the generous support of the
Presenting Underwriter HRH Foundation and the Presenting Sponsor Morgan
Stanley. ANA is the Official Airline of JAPAN! culture + hyperculture.
Additional support is provided by Toyota Motor North America.

For more information on JAPAN! culture + hyperculture, please visit


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