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Japanese Spring Celebration

Join us for a Spring Celebration honoring the beautiful Japanese culture and music on the newly finished Green. Enjoy a Japaneses singer, Tsugaru Shamisen Player, Ikebana (Flower) Arrangement Demonstration, Harp & Koto Players, and Taiko Drummers. Bring a chair or a blanket, sit on the grass, or find a nice seat on our newly finished Green and enjoy the show. Also, enjoy a special event menu from Kabuki Japanese Restaurant before or after the event. Details below.

SPRING TIME IN JAPAN

Spring in Japan is from March to May. The cherry blossoms, known in Japan as sakura, are usually only in full bloom for around one week. For many Japanese, the blooming of the cherry blossom trees symbolizes human life, transience and nobleness. The Japanese love to celebrate and cherish the cherry blossoms trees during the limited flowering period and many people hold ‘flower watching’ parties known as hanami. You cannot travel to Japan in spring without appreciating the beauty of the sakura and experiencing a hanami party for yourself!

SCHEDULE

Taiko Performance: 1 - 1:25 PM
Harp & Koto Performance: 1:30 - 1:55 PM
Ikebana (Flower) Demonstration: 2 - 2:25 PM
Tsugaru Shamisen Performace: 2:30 - 2:55 PM
Japanese Singer: 3 - 3:30 PM

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KABUKI SPECIAL MENU

Garden Roll  | 13
Tempura Crunch Roll with salmon and tuna sashimi, garnished with greens and edible flowers

Rosé Currants | 6
Rosé champagne martini and rossi, crème de framboise, lavender bitters

Admission: FREE
Location: The newly finished Green (formally the Amphitheater) in front of Century Theater.
Parking: The best place to park is the structure located next to Costco. You can access the parking structure off Center Ave when exiting the 405 North or heading South on Beach Blvd. Walk towards Century Theater and the event will be in front on the new grassy area.

ABOUT THE PERFORMERS

KOSHIN TAIKO  Koshin Taiko traces its lineage back to the first professional taiko group in Japan. Oedo Sukeroku Taiko made history with its blend of classical Japanese music, martial arts, and dance, and its influence can be seen in taiko groups around the world.  Sensei Etsuo Hongo brought the Oedo Sukeroku style to his own energetic compositions when he founded Koshin Taiko in 1992. In his unique form, powerful and beautiful taiko sounds are created through carefully choreographed movement. This synthesis of powerful sound and graceful movement, along with their visually distinctive Okedou, or rope‐tightened, drums, makes Koshin Taiko one of the most dynamic taiko groups in Los Angeles.  Now under the leadership of Virginia Minami, Koshin continues to build upon this long tradition. By incorporating aspects of other styles of drumming while still exploring the rich traditions of Japanese taiko, Koshin continues to live up to the name Hongo Sensei gave it over twenty years ago: Bright Spirit.

KOSHIN TAIKO
Koshin Taiko traces its lineage back to the first professional taiko group in Japan. Oedo Sukeroku Taiko made history with its blend of classical Japanese music, martial arts, and dance, and its influence can be seen in taiko groups around the world.

Sensei Etsuo Hongo brought the Oedo Sukeroku style to his own energetic compositions when he founded Koshin Taiko in 1992. In his unique form, powerful and beautiful taiko sounds are created through carefully choreographed movement. This synthesis of powerful sound and graceful movement, along with their visually distinctive Okedou, or rope‐tightened, drums, makes Koshin Taiko one of the most dynamic taiko groups in Los Angeles.

Now under the leadership of Virginia Minami, Koshin continues to build upon this long tradition. By incorporating aspects of other styles of drumming while still exploring the rich traditions of Japanese taiko, Koshin continues to live up to the name Hongo Sensei gave it over twenty years ago: Bright Spirit.

MICHIYO (SUYO) NAKAMURA  20 year experience in Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) of Sogetsu School.

MICHIYO (SUYO) NAKAMURA
20 year experience in Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) of Sogetsu School.

MIKE PENNY  Mike Penny has received numerous awards for his innovative compositions and performances using the Tsugaru Shamisen. He received the Japan Foundation’s Uchida Fellowship, which allowed him to study this instrument with Tokyo’s highly respected Tsugaru shamisen sensei Fukushi Toyoaki. Mr. Penny has given hundreds of public performances and continues to perform regularly as a solo artist and in various groups including the Taiko Center of Los Angeles. He has become well known through his many viral video performances on YouTube, and has gained a following for his unprecedented style of shamisen playing which combines traditional and extended techniques in a variety of musical contexts including jazz, Balkan folk, Western classical, and popular music in a fusion of both east and west, past and future. In addition to performing and teaching shamisen, he works for the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles.

MIKE PENNY
Mike Penny has received numerous awards for his innovative compositions and performances using the Tsugaru Shamisen. He received the Japan Foundation’s Uchida Fellowship, which allowed him to study this instrument with Tokyo’s highly respected Tsugaru shamisen sensei Fukushi Toyoaki. Mr. Penny has given hundreds of public performances and continues to perform regularly as a solo artist and in various groups including the Taiko Center of Los Angeles. He has become well known through his many viral video performances on YouTube, and has gained a following for his unprecedented style of shamisen playing which combines traditional and extended techniques in a variety of musical contexts including jazz, Balkan folk, Western classical, and popular music in a fusion of both east and west, past and future. In addition to performing and teaching shamisen, he works for the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles.

YUKARI BLACK  From the age of 3, Yukari has been on stage as an actress, singer, dancer and songwriter. She has a B.A. from Tamagawa University in Tokyo. Her musical theatre credits in the U.S. include Lady Thiang in The King and I, Solange La Fitte in Stephen Sondheim's Follies, and Sakiko in Nadeshiko. Her film credits include the best film winner, Letters from Iwo Jima, and Flags of our Fathers, where she had the opportunity to work directly with Clint Eastwood. Yukari has released her original music CD, ”TYT”, a powerful collection of compositions with a strong Japanese cultural influence. She has performed Japanese classical songs, Jazz and many of her compositions live at various music functions in the U.S. and Japan. In 2014, Yukari became the executive producer and director of Kuro Productions.

YUKARI BLACK
From the age of 3, Yukari has been on stage as an actress, singer, dancer and songwriter. She has a B.A. from Tamagawa University in Tokyo. Her musical theatre credits in the U.S. include Lady Thiang in The King and I, Solange La Fitte in Stephen Sondheim's Follies, and Sakiko in Nadeshiko. Her film credits include the best film winner, Letters from Iwo Jima, and Flags of our Fathers, where she had the opportunity to work directly with Clint Eastwood. Yukari has released her original music CD, ”TYT”, a powerful collection of compositions with a strong Japanese cultural influence. She has performed Japanese classical songs, Jazz and many of her compositions live at various music functions in the U.S. and Japan. In 2014, Yukari became the executive producer and director of Kuro Productions.

MIRIAM SUZUKI  Surrounded by a musical family, Miriam started her musical journey with a piano at the age of five. Two years later, she discovered what would be the passion of her life: the harp. However at the time of her family relocation from Kyoto, she could not continue the harp lessons. She continued playing the piano and went to study in Helsinki, Finland. In 1983, she moved to Southern California, where she explored the world of composition and decided to begin the harp again in order to develop her own distinctive sound. Her fusion of genres is clearly influenced by her cultural background and life experiences. Los Angeles has been a constant inspiration for her, adding a unique multicultural touch to her repertoire.  The blending of cultures, ideas, and media spurred her to try a mixture of her own, partnering with Saeko Kujiraoka, a Koto player, to form the Harp & Koto Duo. The traditional Japanese instrument adds a unique resonance when paired with the harp, creating a poetic tribute to the cultural diversity that makes her who she is today. Continuing on her musical journey, Miriam recently performed with Grammy award-winning Koto player, Yukiko Matsuyama, and together they charmed the audience.

MIRIAM SUZUKI
Surrounded by a musical family, Miriam started her musical journey with a piano at the age of five. Two years later, she discovered what would be the passion of her life: the harp. However at the time of her family relocation from Kyoto, she could not continue the harp lessons. She continued playing the piano and went to study in Helsinki, Finland. In 1983, she moved to Southern California, where she explored the world of composition and decided to begin the harp again in order to develop her own distinctive sound. Her fusion of genres is clearly influenced by her cultural background and life experiences. Los Angeles has been a constant inspiration for her, adding a unique multicultural touch to her repertoire.

The blending of cultures, ideas, and media spurred her to try a mixture of her own, partnering with Saeko Kujiraoka, a Koto player, to form the Harp & Koto Duo. The traditional Japanese instrument adds a unique resonance when paired with the harp, creating a poetic tribute to the cultural diversity that makes her who she is today. Continuing on her musical journey, Miriam recently performed with Grammy award-winning Koto player, Yukiko Matsuyama, and together they charmed the audience.

SAEKO KUJIRAOKA  Saeko Kujiraoka began studying the Ikuta technique of Koto playing in Tokyo, Japan. She received an advanced degree in Koto, Sangen, and classical singing from the Michio Miyagi School of Koto in Japan. In the US, she joined the Koto String Society as a member of the staff, and founded the "Koto Eda Group". She teaches private Koto lessons in the Los Angeles area and performs at the colleges, museums and various receptions. She is proactively involved in various collaborations. She has formed Harp & Koto Duo "Harp & Koto Stories” with Miriam Suzuki (www.harpandkoto.com), played with Grammy Award Winner Koto player Yukiko Matsuyama (www.yukikomatsuyama.com), "Yerak ensemble" (cross cultures jazz group ), "Japan America Chamber Ensemble" ( http://jacemusic.org/ ), jazz & Bossa Nova groups. She has been involved in movie sound track recordings. (Kang Fu Panda, etc.). Saeko reveals new perspectives on the sound of Koto through her arrangement of pop and jazz standard like songs of Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Chick Corea. She will continue her performance activities so that many may enjoy her traditional Japanese instrument, Koto.

SAEKO KUJIRAOKA
Saeko Kujiraoka began studying the Ikuta technique of Koto playing in Tokyo, Japan. She received an advanced degree in Koto, Sangen, and classical singing from the Michio Miyagi School of Koto in Japan. In the US, she joined the Koto String Society as a member of the staff, and founded the "Koto Eda Group". She teaches private Koto lessons in the Los Angeles area and performs at the colleges, museums and various receptions. She is proactively involved in various collaborations. She has formed Harp & Koto Duo "Harp & Koto Stories” with Miriam Suzuki (www.harpandkoto.com), played with Grammy Award Winner Koto player Yukiko Matsuyama (www.yukikomatsuyama.com), "Yerak ensemble" (cross cultures jazz group ), "Japan America Chamber Ensemble" (http://jacemusic.org/), jazz & Bossa Nova groups. She has been involved in movie sound track recordings. (Kang Fu Panda, etc.). Saeko reveals new perspectives on the sound of Koto through her arrangement of pop and jazz standard like songs of Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Chick Corea. She will continue her performance activities so that many may enjoy her traditional Japanese instrument, Koto.

Earlier Event: March 18
REI - Deluxe Camping Workshop
Later Event: March 25
March Kids Club: Puppet Show Fun