Sake and Street Performers at British Museum on 14th July


A pop-up sake bar and Japanese street performers will take over the British Museum for a night of special entertainment in celebration of woodblock artist Hokusai.

The road to Fuji: celebrating Hokusai will be a special evening of performances and activities held in the British Museum’s Great Court and Galleries on Friday, 14th July. It will honour the life, art and enduring legacy of Katsushika Hokusai, one of Japan’s greatest artists. The British Museum’s exhibition Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave, supported by Mitsubishi Corporation, is currently running from 15th May until 13th August.  

The event is being presented in collaboration with Japan House London. As part of the celebrations, Japan House London will be hosting a pop-up sake bar in the Great Court. Sake expert Natsuki Kikuya, of Museum of Sake, will introduce three different sakes, from three different regions of Japan - Hyogo, Miyagi, and Nara prefectures. If you have always wanted to learn more about sake, then this is the perfect opportunity to get a free introduction to Japan’s national drink.

The evening will be packed with entertainment, with a special appearance by ‘chindonya’, musical street entertainers, who would have been a familiar sight in the streets of Hokusai’s late Edo-period Japan. Employed to promote shop sales and theatre performances, ‘chindonya’ dress in colourful kimono and parade the streets playing music, while one member of the group wittily shouts out to the crowd and hands out flyers.

On this occasion Tsukishima Chindonya, a chindonya group from Tokyo, will perform on their very first visit to the UK. Arrive by 6pm to watch a fascinating 30-minute demonstration as they apply their elaborate stage make-up, before their lively performance in the Great Court, sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

Tsukishima Chindonya
Photo: Minoru Takeuchi

There will also be traditional musical performances by well-known Tsugaru shamisen player Hibiki Ichikawa and folk singer Akari Mochizuki, as well as a performance of Ryan Probert’s classical guitar composition Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, inspired by Hokusai’s prints, by English acoustic guitar duo Vickers-Bovey. 

The evening will also include themed craft workshops, a community-led performance by seniors from Camden, and film screenings of the NHK production The Lost Hokusai (2017) and Ting Dong (2012) produced by Power House.

Tsukishima Chindonya will also be doing roving performances on the streets of London over the weekend of Saturday, 15th and Sunday, 16th July. If you spot them, don’t forget to share a photo with the hashtag #JapanHouseLDN.

Get a sneak peek of what's in store for their performance by watching this video.


18:00-21:00 on Friday, 14th July 2017
Great Court and Galleries, British Museum, Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG
How much?
Entry is free, just drop in!

About Japan House

Opening on London’s Kensington High Street, Japan House London aims to be a total experience, exploring Japan’s appetite for both tradition and the new as expressed in its approach to innovation and creativity. Spread across three floors in a stunning Grade II listed Art Deco building that was formerly Derry & Toms department store, it will offer an immersive encounter with Japan through food, exhibitions, retail, workshops, performance, film, events and seminars. The road to Fuji: celebrating Hokusai is one of many Japan House London events set to take place in the run-up to its grand opening. 
In the lead-up to its launch, Japan House London will be popping up all over, offering a taste of what is to follow once it opens. To stay clued up about pre-opening events, follow Japan House London on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @japanhouseldn.
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Tsukishima Chindonya

Photo: Minoru Takeuchi