Japan Society offers "JS-ENCORE" Video Performance Series
Making Available via Video
Some of the Most Memorable Performances
from the Japan Society Performing Arts Program Archive
Series to Feature Noteworthy Traditional & Contemporary Works Spanning Dance, Music and Theater
New York, NY, April 23, 2020 – Japan Society announces JS-ENCORE, a series offering works recorded in live performance in past seasons of the Society’s Performing Arts Program, making these noteworthy performances available to the public for the first time via video. Selected by Yoko Shioya, Artistic Director at Japan Society and recent Bessie Award Recipient, JS-ENCORE features traditional and contemporary works spanning the disciplines of dance, music, and theater. Videos are publicly available for viewing at no cost at www.japansociety.org, with individual program videos rolling out bi-weekly, and remaining available for viewing for two weeks after its original posting date.
The JS-Encore series launches with the traditional concert Hauta Shamisen: Love Songs from the Edo Period by shamisen master Hidetaro Honjoh (performed and recorded at Japan Society on September 14, 2018); and also The Shamisen Sessions, Vol.4 SAKISHIMA meeting: duo from Okinawa, featuring Yukito Ara on sanshin (Okinawan shamisen) and vocals and Isamu Shimoji on guitar and vocals, showcasing tunes that blend the unique folk sounds of Okinawa, Japan's southernmost islands, with popular Western riffs and beats (performed and recorded at Japan Society on December 12, 2014). These videos were posted Friday, April 17 and are presently available online. For future programs/schedule and updates, please visit www.japansociety.org.
Apart from the JS-ENCORE series, but also available via video at www.japansociety.org is Japanese-playwright Oriza Hirata’s Robot Theater (comprised of a double-bill of the two short plays Sayonara and I, Worker) and Ronin Office Ladies performed by Seinendan Theater Company. The two plays in Robot Theater (performed and recorded at Japan Society on February 9, 2013) feature both human and android performers. In Sayonara, an android is brought to console a girl suffering from a fatal illness, but when its mechanics go awry, the meaning of life and death to humans and robots comes into question. In I, Worker, a husband's struggle to cope with the loss of his child is juxtaposed with the malaise of one of his robots, which has lost all motivation to work. The one-act comedy Ronin Office Ladies (performed and recorded at Japan Society on March 24, 2006) features a lunchroom filled with female office workers nonchalantly gossiping about serious topics like loyalty, revenge, rebellion and suicide. These videos of past theater projects presented by Japan Society are offered in lieu of the previously announced productions from Seinendan Theater Company, Control Officers + 100 Meters, which were slated to take place at Japan Society in May 2020, but now postponed. Additionally, a previous version of Seindendan Theater Company’s Control Officers (performed and recorded at Komaba Agora Theater, Tokyo, 2019) will be available for video viewing, posting on May 29. These video offerings will be available for viewing for one month after their original posting date. For a current schedule of video programs offered, visit www.japansociety.org or follow Japan Society on Facebook and on Twitter @japansociety.
Yoko Shioya became Artistic Director of Japan Society in 2006, and since that time, has been responsible for programming the Society’s Performing Arts year-round season and overseeing the Film department. Since assuming the position of Director of Performing Arts in 2003, she has enlarged the scale and number of commissions for the creation of new works related to Japanese culture by non-Japanese artists, and increased the number of tours of Society-produced works throughout North America. Shioya also launched new initiatives, including co-producing commissioned work by international artists with presenting organizations in Japan, presenting works from East Asian countries, and establishing artists’ residency projects in New York City. Known in Japan as a writer/researcher on the public and private arts support systems in the U.S. and Japan, Shioya has been invited to speak at numerous symposia, lectures, and TV programs presented by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Japanese government, Keidanren, the Academy of Cultural Economics and the Japan Council of Performers' Organizations, among others. She has been a regular contributor to arts columns on performing arts and exhibitions for the Asahi newspaper, and has served as a committee member and selection panelist for numerous programs, including The Bessie Awards, Rolex Mentor and Protege International Program, and the Toyota Choreography Awards. Shioya holds BAs in musicology and dance history from Tokyo National University of the Arts.
“In these troubled times, we are still optimistic because we know the light and energy that artists can bring to the world. We are happy that Japan Society has such gems of artistry in our archives, and that we can share it with you online. All of the programs I selected for JS-ENCORE are performances by Japanese artists who are willing to help people in New York, the U.S., and beyond to keep their strong spirits and smiles,” shares Yoko Shioya, Artistic Director of Japan Society.
Japan Society's Performing Arts Program
Japan Society’s 2019-2020 Performing Arts Season launched with two sold-out shows: the traditional concert Reigakusha: Gagaku & Bugaku by the distinguished ensemble Reigakusha (September 21) and Kwaidan—Call of Salvation Heard from the Depth of Fear (October 24). Next, the Society presented the modern noh play Taiten, accompanied by Kagyu, one of the most popular pieces from the traditional kyogen repertoire (November 14 – 16). As part of the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival (January 10 – 14), the Society presented The Unknown Dancer in the Neighborhood by Suguru Yamamoto. Most recently, the Society presented Fruits borne out of rust (March 6 – 7), a multimedia collaborative work between visual artist Tabaimo and choreographer Maki Morishita. The previously announced installment of the annual Playing Reading Series: Contemporary Japanese Plays in English Translation, Cooking Up by Shoko Matsumura; and contemporary dance residency by Min Tanaka (slated June 2020) will take place in an upcoming season, with new dates to be announced.
Since the inception of the Performing Arts Program in 1953, Japan Society has introduced nearly 700 of Japan’s finest performing arts to an extensive American audience. Programs range from the traditional arts of noh, kyogen, bunraku and kabuki to cutting-edge theater, dance and music. The Program also commissions new works to non-Japanese artists, produces national tours, organizes residency programs for American and Japanese artists, and develops and distributes educational programs. "At once diverse and daring, the program stands toe to toe with some of the most comprehensive cultural exchange endeavors today.” --Back Stage.
Founded in 1907, Japan Society in New York City presents sophisticated, topical and accessible experiences of Japanese art and culture, and facilitates the exchange of ideas, knowledge and innovation between the U.S. and Japan. More than 200 events annually encompass world-class exhibitions, dynamic classical and cutting-edge contemporary performing arts, film premieres and retrospectives, workshops and demonstrations, tastings, family activities, language classes, and a range of high-profile talks and expert panels that present open, critical dialogue on issues of vital importance to the U.S., Japan and East Asia.
For list of schedule & upcoming video lineup in the JS-ENCORE series, please follow https://www.japansociety.org/page/programs/performing_arts_program/virtual-performing-arts.