Iwami Kagura UK Tour
Bridging a 300-year-old legacy to the future generations

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In celebration of the “Japan-UK Season of Culture”, running from 2019 to 2020, the Japan Foundation is honoured to present a performance of Iwami Kagura at the London Japan Matsuri, a festival of Japanese culture. This will be one of the key events of the season and there will also be related events taking place at the British Library and the National Museum Cardiff.

Iwami Kagura is a form of kagura (shrine ritual entertainment) native to the Iwami region of western Shimane Prefecture in Japan. It has about 300 years of history behind it and is performed mostly during the annual celebrations of shrines in the autumn, in dedication and gratitude to the deities and to pray for an abundant harvest throughout the year. The repertoire includes ritual dances and narrative plays based on myths. It is well-known for its magnificent dance, fast tempo and flamboyant costumes. It is also a tradition which has continued to evolve over time.

During this U.K. tour, we will introduce “OROCHI” (‘The Giant Serpent’) - one of the most popular pieces in Iwami Kagura - and we will hold lectures by experts in the traditional Japanese performing arts.

We hope to contribute to a mutual understanding between the people of Britain and Japan, as well as create an enduring legacy.

  • Photo of Orochi Performance
    (c)AI‐KIKAKU
  • Photo of OROCHI
    (c)AI‐KIKAKU

logo of Japan- UK Season of CultureThis Kagura project is part of Japan- UK Season of Culture.

Iwami Kagura Performance at London Japan Matsuri

When: Sunday, September 29, 2019 (1) 11:20 a.m. (2) 3:00 p.m. (3) 6:20 p.m.
Where: Main Stage (Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN, U.K.)
Performer: Otsu Kagura Troupe
Program: “Orochi” (The Giant Serpent)
Admission: Free
Presenter: The Japan Foundation
Co-Presenter: Japan Matsuri Executive Committee, Embassy of Japan
Cooperation: Iwami Tourism Promotion Committee
Inquiry: http://www.japanmatsuri.com/

Related Projects

Iwami Kagura Performance & Lecture at The British Library

Performance
When: Saturday, September 28, 2019 3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Where: Main Hall (96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB, U.K.)
Performer: Otsu Kagura Troupe
Program: “Orochi” (The Giant Serpent)
Admission: Free
https://www.bl.uk/events/iwami-kagura-performance-by-otsu-kagura-troupe
Lecture
When: Saturday, September 28, 2019 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Where: Eliot Room, Knowledge Centre [Cap. 70]
Speaker: Speaker: Dr. Terence A. Lancashire of Osaka Ohtani University
Moderator: Dr. David W. Hughes of SOAS University of London
About: An Introduction to Japanese Performing Arts & Kagura
From ancient times various traditional entertainment forms have been created and evolved in Japan’s long history. These range from the court ensemble of gagaku to the theatre of Noh, Kabuki and puppetry, as well as various instrumental ensembles including the three stringed shamisen and 13 stringed koto. In contrast to these urban forms, there are a wide variety of folk performing arts which includes the shrine ritual entertainment of kagura. Through this special talk, which will provide an overview of Japanese folk performing arts, you will discover the historical background and characteristics of this time-honoured traditional art, as well as learn how the custom has stood the test of time leading up to present day.
Admission: Free (registration required)
Booking: www.bl.uk/events/kagura-introduction-to-japanese-kagura
Inquiry: +44 (0)1937 546546
Email: boxoffice@bl.uk
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www.bl.uk/events/kagura-introduction-to-japanese-kagura
Presenter: The Japan Foundation
Co-Presenter: The British Library

Iwami Kagura Performance & Lecture at National Museum Cardiff

Performance
When: Friday, September 27, 2019 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Where: Entrance Hall (Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP, U.K.)
Performer: Otsu Kagura Troupe
Program: “Orochi” (The Giant Serpent)
Admission: Free
https://museum.wales/cardiff/whatson/10823/Iwami-Kagura-Show/
Lecture
When: Friday, September 27, 2019 12:00 p.m.-12:50 p.m.
Where: Ystafell Augustus a Gwen John Room [Cap. 50]
Speaker: Keynote Speaker: Dr. Terence A. Lancashire of Osaka Ohtani University
About: An Introduction to Japanese Performing Arts & Kagura
From ancient times various traditional entertainment forms have been created and evolved in Japan’s long history. These range from the court ensemble of gagaku to the theatre of Noh, Kabuki and puppetry, as well as various instrumental ensembles including the three stringed shamisen and 13 stringed koto. In contrast to these urban forms, there are a wide variety of folk performing arts which includes the shrine ritual entertainment of kagura. Through this special talk, which will provide an overview of Japanese folk performing arts, you will discover the historical background and characteristics of this time-honoured traditional art, as well as learn how the custom has stood the test of time leading up to present day.
Admission: Free (registration required)
Booking: https://museum.wales/cardiff/whatson/10824/Talk-The-Kagura/
Inquiry: https://museum.wales/cardiff/
+03(0) 0111 2333
Email: cardiff@museumwales.ac.uk
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Presenter: The Japan Foundation
Co-Presenter: National Museum Cardiff

About the Performer and Lecturers

ŌTSU KAGURA TROUPE (Gōtsu, Shimane)

The troupe was founded in 1999 as a new generation carrying on the tradition of Iwami Kagura. The troupe works to preserve and develop the tradition by creating new plays as well as devoting itself to preserving the classic repertoire. It aims to convey the appeal of the indigenous tradition that is kagura. The troupe performs 41 plays and presents around 50 performances annually, performing also at many events in other cities as well as overseas. In April 2019, the first theatre specializing in Iwami Kagura performances, “Mai no Za”, was opened and the Ōtsu Kagura troupe has been involved since its inception. Presently, the troupe and theatre aim to gain new fans as well as to be a centre for spreading kagura to tourists and new-comers to the area.

DR. TERENCE A. LANCASHIRE

Dr. Terence Lancashire teaches in the Department of Human and Social Sciences at Osaka Ohtani University. As well as Iwami Kagura, he also specializes in the Japanese folk performing arts. At present, he is lecturing at Osaka Ohtani University and Kobe University. He has published “Gods’ Music – The Japanese Folk Theatre of Iwami kagura” (Florian Noetzel) and “An Introduction to Japanese Folk Performing Arts” (SOAS Studies in Music Series). He obtained his MA at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) and his PhD from Osaka University.

DR. DAVID W. HUGHES
Researcher at the Department of Music in SOAS Japan Research Centre (JRC)

Dr. Hughes has been a lecturer and research associate at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) since 1987. He has received the U.K.’s Japan Society Award (2011), Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun (2017), and the Koizumi Fumio Ethnomusicology Prize (2018). He has also written about the music of many other countries.

[Contact Us]

The Japan Foundation
Persons in Charge: Toyota (Ms.)
Tel: +81-(0)3-5369-6063
E-mail: pa@jpf.go.jp
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