WARIKI - Performance Tour in Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro

WARIKI- Performance Tour in Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro

The Japan Foundation organizes a performance tour in three Eastern-European countries by WARIKI, a hogaku (Japanese traditional music) performance ensemble. WARIKI members are virtuosos of Japanese traditional music instruments such as Wadaiko (Japanese drums), Japanese flutes, Tsugaru-shamisen and Koto (strings). They learned a variety of local music and dance from all over Japan and arranged these elements into their performances. Their repertoire includes recreated versions of folklore performances, Shishimai (lion dance), and Kagura (folk music and dance dedicated to the Shinto deities), as well as their original works. In this tour, WARIKI visits cities on the Balkan Peninsula where a rich tapestry of multiple nations, languages, religions and cultures have enriched the lives of people living in these cities. WARIKI's colorful performances will surely enchant the audience there, and workshops and lectures at local schools will encourage students to understand Japanese traditional culture. This project will be the opportunity to promote cultural exchange and mutual understandings between people of Japan and these three countries. It will be the first performing arts project ever in Montenegro hosted by the Japan Foundation.

In Co-organisation with
Embassy of Japan in Slovenia, Embassy of Japan in Serbia

Tour Schedule: February 26 - March 10, 2010

Fri, Feb. 26 [Ljubljana, SLOVENIA]
19:00 Performance
Venue: Cankarjev Dom Kosovel Hall
Sat, Feb. 27 [Škofja Loka, SLOVENIA]
12:00 - 13:30 Workshop for music students of Škofja Loka Music academy and local people.
19:00 Performance
Venue: Loški oder
Mon, Mar.1 [Belgrade, SERBIA]
15:00 Lecture&Demonstration
Venue: Dr Vojislav Vuckovic Music academy
20:00: Lecture&Demonstration
Venue: apanese language course of High School for Foreign Language Studies in Belgrade
Tue, Mar.2 [Belgrade, SERBIA]
20:00 Performance
Venue: Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra
Wed, Mar.3 [Belgrade, SERBIA]
11:00 Mini concert
Venue: Zemun institute for Disabilities (Dom za odrasla invalida lica u Zemunu)
Fri, Mar.5 [NIŠ, SERBIA]
20:00 Performance
Sun, Mar.7 [Užice, SERBIA]
17:00 Performance
Tue, Mar.9 [Podgorica, MONTENEGRO]
12:00 Lecture&Demonstration
Venue: (UDG) University of Donja Gorica
Wed, Mar.10 [Podgorica, MONTENEGRO]
20:00: Performance
Venue: Montenegrin National Theatre


Wariki creates their original performances by collecting cultural sources of various local music and dances all over Japan. They are inspired by the traditional form of art and recreates street folklore performances, shishimai (lion dance), kagura (folk music and dance dedicated to Shinto gods), Buddhist prayers and festive music and dance. Wariki's stage is formed in the sense of beauty and the sensitivity to everyday life of the performers. In 2002 Wariki started with its original members Akira Katogi (dance) and Shunsuke Kimura (music) in. In 2005 tsugaru-shamisen player Etsuro Ono joined as the third member. This time guest musician Kuniko Obina will be playing koto in this tour.

Group profile

Besides continuous Performances at various venues including regional theaters and elementary and junior-high schools in Japan throughout a year, WARIKI has also been working internationally as following as example:
2005 Performed as one of 18 groups of Japanese traditional performing arts to be specially featured at World EXPO in Aichi, Japan.
2006 Performed at the British Museum and the Pitti Palace in Florence, Italy.
2008 Performed at the Asia Society in New York and at JACCC in Los Angels in USA as part of Performing abroad program of Japan Foundation.


Akira Katogi

(taiko; dance; street Performance)

Website Official Website

Akira Katogiwas born in Akita Prefecture in 1967.
Since early childhood, he was trained in the traditional Japanese dance theatre ensemble Warabi-za, whose internationally acclaimed Performances are dedicated to preserving and performing traditional folk arts of Japan. Katogi later joined Dengaku-za, another Japanese folk and dance company based in Nagano Prefecture, and received lessons from the group's masters. In 1999, he established himself as an independent traditional Japanese folk entertainer. In 2002, he was invited to Paris to perform at the Christian Dior Haute Couture Fashion Show. Derived from the long and varied tradition of Japanese folk arts, Katogi started a unique ensemble, Wariki (literally, "the power of harmony"), in collaboration with Shunsuke Kimura in 2001. Having the state of mind "Performing on stage is a topos that the society's festivity is expressed", Katogi is creating fruitful Performances for peace and happiness for all.

Shunsuke Kimura

(Yokobue; Tsugaru shamisen)

Website Official Website

Shunsuke Kimura was born in 1969 in Saitama Prefecture, and is now regarded as one of the most acclaimed composers and performers of Japanese traditional instruments in Japan. Kimura won the Grand Prix Award in the 2nd ADD Tsugaru Shamisen Contest in 2002 and he is also versatile in various other instruments, including the shinobue and nohkan (both Japanese flute). Kimura has performed in many countries in Asia, Oceania, Europe and North America, and actively continues his collaboration with local artists. Kimura is also a composer in his own right, and his works have been broadcast on NHK, Japan's national public broadcasting service. In April 2006, Kimura was commissioned to create music and lyrics for "Amaterasu," a highly successful theatre project in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Kodo, the world famous taiko group, that included a guest appearance of master Kabuki actor, Tamasaburo Bando.

Etsuro Ono

(Tsugaru shamisen; taiko)

Website Official Website

Etsuro Onowas born in Akita Prefecture in 1972. Ono joined Warabi-za in 1999 and studied Tsugaru shamisen under the late master Chisato Yamada in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture. Ono has won several awards in the National Tsugaru Shamisen Competition and performed with numerous groups, including Warabi-za and Hibiki. After working as a highly sought-after independent Tsugaru shamisen player since 2003, Ono joined Wariki in 2005 and has Toured with the group for both national and international Performances. Besides Wariki activities, his first CD was released in 2006 under his another artist's name of "Hanzo", the music group in fusion with Shakuhachi and Drums.

Kuniko Obina

(Koto; 17 strings Koto; Kokyu)

Website Official Website

Etsuro Ono started first lessons of Koto from her mother and continued further learning by the master Kiyoko Miyagi (authorized living national treasure) and Kokyu lessons by the master of Jiuta, Takeru Nakai. After graduating on MA degree from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Obina won the NHK Hogaku (Japanese traditional music) Audition, with subsequent Performances on TV and radio shows of Japan's national broadcasting service (NHK). Exploring the possibilities and potentiality of Japanese traditional music, since 1990, has started her concert career and participated several overseas Performances Tour such as Miyagi Koto Ensemble's US Tour and Japan Foundation's Middle&South America Tour, Thailand and Nepal Tour and etc, besides continuous Performance works varied from the appearance on TV concert programs to recording in Japan. Her first CD titled "Edo-Komachi" released in 1994 has gained the top sales record in Japanese traditional music field at the major record shop in Tokyo that time. Following two CDs "Ha" and "Over The Top" released by German Record label, Acoustic Music Records, have received good critics from several European music magazines.

Touring crews:

Narumi Maruyama (Lighting), Yasunori Kajino (Sound)

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