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Madam Butterfly

2700 F St.: Washington National Opera: Madame Butterfly
Madame Butterfly is a story of East meets West. Many of its characters get into serious and irreversible trouble when they fail (or refuse) to understand the differences between Japanese and American cultures.
Opera, Tragedy, Japan

Japanese Noh theater

Collection: Japan
Larger-than-life calligraphy, giant bamboo weaving, and robots both real and toy... experience the vibrant diversity of the arts across Japan.
Japan, Asia, Backstage, Cartoons, Comics, & Animation, Fashion, Innovators & Pioneers, Musical Instruments, Inventions, Language, Music, Popular Culture, Visual Arts, World Cultures

Bookshelf

Collection: Stories & Folktales
A mouse named Frederick; a fish named Swimmy; and elephant named Babar, and a lion who would be king. Watch the stories of these characters, told through puppetry. Then learn the stories of Cinderella, as well as American legends Paul Bunyan, John Henry and Pecos Bill.
Africa, Animals, Folklore, China, India, Japan, Native America, Nature, World Cultures

Drum hands

Collection: World Music Resources
Explore the rich tapestry created by musicians around the world -- from the music of the Arab World and Ancient Greece, to the diverse cultural sounds of China, to the songs that helped spur the Mexican Revolution.
Africa, Asia, China, Europe, Folklore, Greece, India, Japan, Music, Native America, World Cultures, Latin America

Red Poppy

Collection: Asia
Fish painting, lion dances, larger-than-life calligraphy and a tornado of fire... experience the vibrant diversity of the arts across Asia.
Asia, China, India, Japan, Dance, Folklore, Music, Theater, Visual Arts, World Cultures

Multicultural Crayons

Collection: World Cultures Resources
From the weather patterns of the Kapiti plain to the history of the Mexican corrido, travel across the globe to explore world cultures and the art they produce
Africa, Asia, China, Europe, Folklore, Geography, Greece, History, India, Japan, Language, Native America, World Cultures

Noh Character Dancing

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Noh Theater
In learning about the history, theatrical elements, music, dance, and costuming, of Noh Plays students are also comparing and contrasting these to the other theater elements
Folklore, History, Theater, Japan

Watching the Sunset

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Haiku: Learning and Sharing
In this two-day lesson, students will look beyond the basics of haiku poetry (three lines, 5-7-5 syllable format) and focus on the content of the haiku.
World Cultures, Poetry, Japan

The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Japanese Woodblock Prints
This lesson explores the history and evolution of the Japanese woodblock print
Visual Arts, World Cultures, Japan

Fish Painting

Grade 5 Lesson: Gyotaku Japanese Fish Printing
By acquiring knowledge of historical and cultural qualities unique to this particular art form, students can gain an understanding of how Gyotaku reflects a part of Japanese history
Animals, Asia, Visual Arts, Japan

Asian Haiku

Grades 3-4 Lesson: You Too Can Haiku
This lesson will introduce students to the Japanese poetic form called haiku
Asia, Poetry, Japan

Wakamaru

Video: Japanese Robots!
At the forefront of hyperculture, Japan's robots are at once amazing works of art and fantastic feats of engineering. Japan has been at the vanguard of global robot development and technology since the 1970s and continues to invent new ways these machines can aid, entertain, and inspire mankind.
Asia, Visual Arts, Popular Culture, Japan, Innovators & Pioneers, Inventions, Science, Puppets

Oki Dub

Video: Oki Dub
Oki is the world's most prominent performer of the tonkori, a long, flat instrument that produces its own distinct sound and is the only stringed instrument in the Karafuto Ainu musical tradition. Oki’s contemporary approach has won him praise in Japan and around the world.
Asia, Music, Musical Instruments, World Cultures, Japan

Kawashima

Video: Shigeo Kawashima: Wa
The Japanese have a long and deep relationship with bamboo, and their culture has produced the most beautiful art in this medium. Shigeo Kawashima's sculptures take bamboo as an artistic medium to a new level. His work WA ("Ring") was commissioned for the festival and constructed on site.
Asia, Nature, Visual Arts, Japan, World Cultures

Tadao Ando

Video: Tadao Ando: Four Cubes to Contemplate Our Environment
The world-renowned architect Tadao Ando presents this world-premiere glass installation, which explores sustainability and the environment. It was constructed on-site specifically for the Kennedy Center Festival of Japan in 2008.
Asia, Nature, Science, Visual Arts, Architecture, Japan

Shin Tanaka

Video: Shin Tanaka: Paper Toys
Shin Tanaka is a Japanese artist, graffiti writer, paper toy creator, designer who has worked with some of the biggest names in street fashion and designer toys.
Asia, Visual Arts, Japan, Popular Culture

Mayawa Denke

Video: Maywa Denki
Founded in 1993 by two brothers, Maywa Denki is a performance art troupe with a unique style. Each piece of their work is called a "product" and a live performance or exhibition is held as a "product demonstration." Although they're known and appreciated as artists, their promotion strategies are full of variety - besides exhibitions and live stage performances, they produce music, videos, writing, toys, stationery, and electronic devices.
Asia, Visual Arts, Inventions, Japan, Popular Culture, Science

Koji

Video: Koji Kakinuma: Trancework
Calligraphy artist Koji Kakinuma presents one of his trademark innovations, Trancework, in which he paints countless repetitions of a simple, powerful phrase, producing a giant calligraphic work.
Asia, Visual Arts, World Cultures, Japan, Innovators & Pioneers, Popular Culture

Koji

Video: Koji Kakinuma: Otsukimi
JAPAN! culture + hyperculture was marked by a festive Otsukimi (Japanese moon-viewing) evening featuring a special Millennium Stage performance of Trancework and Eternal Now by shodo performing artist Koji Kakinuma, accompanied by the taiko group AUN.
Asia, Visual Arts, World Cultures, Japan, Innovators & Pioneers, Popular Culture, Music

Matt Alt

Video Series: Matt Alt: Jumbo Machinders
Matt Alt walks you through his extensive collection and explains the art and history of Japanese jumbo machinder toys.
Japan, Popular Culture, Visual Arts, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Puppets

Toyota Partner Robot

Video Series: Japan: Arts & Culture
This is your passport to the arts and culture of Japan as experienced through the Kennedy Center's Japan! culture + hyperculture festival (February 2008). This series will help you learn about some of the major art forms in Japan—art, theater, dance, music, manga, anime, robots, and visual art installations.
Architecture, Asia, Music, Visual Arts, World Cultures, Japan, Inventions, Innovators & Pioneers, Science

iPass

Flash Interactive: IPASS: Japan! Culture + Hyperculture
This interactive features a comprehensive study of the arts and culture of Japan, ranging from ancient to modern times. It includes an investigation of Japanese art, theater, dance, music, manga, anime, robots, and installations.
Japan, Asia, Music, Popular Culture, Visual Arts, World Cultures

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Anybody There?
Walk like a ninja. Remember, you must be quick and silent as if you’re invisible! How long can you go undetected?
Japan, Physical Activity, Theater

cd player

Arts Days: October 01, 1982: A Shiny New Music Maker
At $900, the first home CD player had a pretty steep price tag. Still, the sound quality of music on Compact Disc (CD for short) was far superior to that of the cassettes and LPs that had dominated consumers’ stereo systems for years.

CDs hold more minutes of music than any record ever did, and store music in digital format, which helps create that crystal-clear sound quality. They are also relatively hard to scratch or damage, unlike tapes and records. It wasn’t long before the CD player became a must-have stereo component for any serious music buff. Oh, by the way, the first album to be released on CD was Billy Joel's 52nd Street.
Inventions, Innovators & Pioneers, Music, Japan, Popular Culture

Nintendo

Arts Days: September 23, 1889: Game Winners
The company launched over a century ago in Kyoto, Japan, is known today as a pioneer in video games and other home entertainment. Nintendo initially, however, made its mark selling other kinds of products before it found its niche in the gaming industry. At its inception, Nintendo made and marketed playing cards called hanafuda; it soon went on to offer cab services, sell instant rice and other foods, and dabble in other products.

But there’s no doubt the company found its sweet spot when it started selling it's first home video game console, the Famicom (called the Nintendo Entertainment System in the US). Since then, Nintendo has released more than 20 consoles, turning Nintendo into the home-entertainment giant it is today.
Inventions, Innovators & Pioneers, Popular Culture, Japan

Godzilla

Arts Days: July 07, 1901: Godzilla Suits Up
Just who was the guy who created the fierce Godzilla, who crushed skyscrapers with his enormous lizard fists? Credit goes to the special-effects master Eiji Tsuburaya, who built model airplanes as a kid and never forgot the thrill of seeing the American-made film King Kong in Tokyo. It was at that point Tsuburaya vowed he, too, would make monster movies.

He created costuming breakthroughs, such as “suitmation,” in which actors wear monster suits to pantomime throwing cars or squashing buildings (with sound effects added later). That’s how all of the early Godzilla movies were made, starting in 1954.

This type of movie was known in Japan as kaiju, or “strange beast” film, otherwise known as a monster movie. Tsuburaya’s ingenuity helped propel the genre to new levels of worldwide success.
Innovators & Pioneers, Movies & Movie Stars, Stunts & Special Effects, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Japan

Sony Walkman

Arts Days: July 01, 1979: Whistle While You Walk
For decades, home stereo systems were big and unwieldy, with separate turntables, tape players, speakers, and other components. So when the Japanese corporation Sony developed a portable stereo system it called the Walkman, consumers were skeptical.

Sony embarked on a huge marketing campaign to raise awareness of its little stereo that came with a set of padded earphones and could accommodate a cassette tape. The company hired college kids to walk around busy shopping areas in Tokyo, wearing their Walkmans and offering strangers a chance to listen.

Turns out the sound quality was excellent, and the freedom to carry your tunes with you exhilarating. In changing the way we carry and listen to music, the Walkman set the stage for today’s MP3 players, which manage to make the Walkman look enormous.
Inventions, Rock & Roll, Popular Culture, Japan, Music

Akira Kurosawa

Arts Days: March 23, 1910: Master of Japanese Cinema
Arguably the best-known Japanese film director in history, Akira Kurosawa also edited, produced, and wrote screenplays for movies. His first movie, Sanshiro Sugata, premiered in 1943. He went on to make another 29 movies, his most famous being Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Ran, and Throne of Blood. Each of his films features some of his cinematic hallmarks: the use of multiple cameras with which to shoot a scene from different angles, and the personification of weather.

He often used rain, snow, or fog to heighten drama and increase tension during scenes. Kurosawa also was demanding as a director. He wouldn’t tolerate challenges to his creative decisions, and he insisted his actors wear their costumes for weeks before shooting began. He thought this would help them understand their characters better.
Asia, Japan, Movies & Movie Stars

Karaoke

Arts Days: May 10, 1940: Karaoke King
A self-taught drummer who played with bands in Kobe, Japan, Daisuke Inouye had a light-bulb moment one day when asked to provide music for a corporate party. While he could not accept the gig, he made a recording of music for party-goers to sing along with. It was so well-received that Inouye got the notion to attach an amplifier to a car stereo and fit it with a coin box. That way, people could feed money to sing along with the pop tune of their choice.

This was the first karaoke machine; nowadays, setups are more elaborate. For one thing, there is a color-coded video display of the lyrics to prompt the performer through the song, thousands of pop tracks minus the lead vocal to choose from, and microphones plugged into a public-address system so the entire club can hear the amateur singer do his/her stuff.
Popular Culture, Music, Japan

Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors

Arts Days: April 12, 1945: Anime Nation
Anime, a special kind of movie animation unique to Japan and often inspired by Japanese comics called manga, has a huge following these days among kids and grownups alike all over the world. But on this day, when Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors was screened for the first time, director Mitsuyo Seo had just followed the orders he was given by the Japanese government: make a film promoting the heroic exploits of the Japanese navy.

Seo’s 74-minute movie, which features a character named Momotaro— an important figure in Japanese folklore whose name translates to “Peach Boy”—was full of talking animals wearing military uniforms and spouting propaganda. But his creation planted the seeds for decades of anime to come, created now by hand or more often with computer software.
Movies & Movie Stars, Popular Culture, Cartoons, Comics, & Animation, Japan

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