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Japan Events in the UK - Spring 2017

March 20, 2017

Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave - 25 May-13 August

Woodblock painter and printmaker Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) is widely regarded as one of Japan’s most famous and influential artists. One of the most recognisable Japanese artworks of all time, the Great Wave is undoubtedly his most iconic work. But aside from the world-famous wave, Hokusai also produced countless other works of astonishing quality right up until his death at the age of 90. This exhibition will explore many of these, leading viewers on a journey through the last 30 years of Hokusai’s life, a period when he produced some of his most memorable masterpieces.

Showcasing the breadth and depth of Hokusai’s talent, the subject matter ranges from intimate domestic scenes and sublime depictions of the natural world to imaginative portraits of supernatural creatures such as ghosts and deities, making this a once in a lifetime opportunity to see all these works in one place. Entry costs £12 for adults. See the British Museum website for more information and to book.
When? The British Museum is open 10:00am-5:30pm daily (the exhibition will be closed 3rd-6th July for rotation due to conservation reasons)
Where? The British Museum, London, WC1B 3DG

Frank Brangwyn and the Art of Japan - 4 February-14 May


This 150th anniversary exhibition of the artist Frank Brangwyn RA (1867-1956) explores Brangwyn’s love of Japanese art as well as his collaborations with Japanese artists and patrons.
It exhibits highlights from Brangwyn’s rarely displayed collection of donated Japanese printings and paintings, including prints by Utagawa Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai and a carefully restored decorative screen.
It also examines his collaborative relationships with Japanese artists and patrons, including his collaborative printmaking with Japanese artist Yoshijiro Urushibara (1888-1953). The pair embarked on a  joint project after a fortuitous meeting in London, together creating works that combined the exuberant bravado of Brangwyn’s designs with the subtle yet distinctive techniques of traditional Japanese printmaking. On display are some of their most ambitious and successful works, as well as sketches, notes and key block prints illustrating their combined process.
Complementing the main exhibition is a display of work by painter and printmaker Rebecca Salter RA in the first floor galleries. Salter studied the art of Japanese woodblock printing during six years living in Kyoto, and now creates prints in collaboration with one of the city’s few surviving woodblock workshops. Visit the William Morris Gallery website for more information.
When? Wednesday to Sunday, 10am - 5pm
Where? Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow, London, E17 4PP

Chihiro Yamanaka Electric Trio "The Spheres" - 14 & 15 April

Japanese- born, New York City-based pianist Chihiro Yamanaka returns to Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club for two nights this April. One of Japan’s most popular jazz artists, she has been compared to the likes of Oscar Peterson and Mulgrew Miller and has recorded twenty albums principally for the Verve/Universal label, many featuring US jazz heavyweights.
A firm club favourite, she will appear with her powerfully dynamic, all-female band, The Spheres. Expect virtuosic, light-speed chops, and an irresistible swing to her playing, with playful re-workings of everything from Thelonious monk to Beethoven! Highly recommended for anyone interested in straight-ahead jazz. Tickets cost £20-45 from the jazz club’s website.
When? 18:00 (First House), 22:30 (Second House)
Where? Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, 47 Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 4HT

Sake Classes - 29 April, 1 July, 30 September


Know your junmai from your daiginjo? If not, never fear - these sake masterclasses will soon bring you up to speed! Each half-day class will cover an introduction to the history of Japan’s national drink, with a particular focus on how and when to drink it. The £60 per head classes will be held in the ground floor bar of authentic modern Japanese restaurant Sake no Hana in Mayfair.
Participants will be able to try seven types of sake and one umeshu (Japanese plum wine), followed by lunch. Everyone will receive a special gift bag on departure including a bottle of sake and a kiki-choko ‘snake eye’ sake tasting cup. The classes will be led by Christine Parkinson, Group Head of Wine for Hakkasan Group, and Anthony Rose, of the Independent and The Wine Gang and Co-Chair of the Tokyo International Sake Challenge. For more information, contact 020 7925 8988, email reservations@sakenohana.com or see Sake no Hana's website.
When? 10:15am on 29th April, 1st July, 30th September
Where? Sake no Hana, 23 St James’s Street, London, SW1A 1HA

Pulse & Roll Taiko Concert - 3 June

Devon-based taiko troupe Kagemusha Taiko has toured in the UK, Europe and Japan as well as headlining concerts in Europe and the USA. Built on an understanding of taiko’s Japanese roots, the troupe’s activities are dedicated to helping a new, European style of taiko develop and spread.
The show will feature recent compositions, as well as retaining a handful of older favourites. It will also include a performance of the song “Brother Drum”. Rooted in the history and tradition of Anglo-Japanese relations, the song is about reaching out and making friends across boundaries, whether political, cultural or geographical.
Exhilarating, inspiring and uplifting, taiko drumming is a feast for the eyes as well as the ears, as choreographed moves combine with the audible rhythms to create an entrancing spectacle. The troupe will also perform in Dorset, Bristol and Exeter. Order tickets via their website.
Watch a 40-second promotional video of the troupe in action here.
When? 19:45-22:00 (two sets of 45 minutes each, with an interval of 20 minutes)
Where? Sadlers Wells, Lilian Baylis Studio, 183, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TJ

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