This free public program is partially supported by New York State Council on the Arts, NYC Cultural Affairs.
The photos below are from our last event in October 2022
Theme of JPA Kimono Project
The shape of Japanese kimono costumes has not changed over 1200 years. Kimono’s total product lifecycle management tradition was a well established system including its shape from the ancient times. Kimono is an outfit with so much meticulous deliberation in every detail, so as not to waste any fabric. It is designed to last for a long time, and it can be recycled.
JPA’s Kimono: A Tradition of Sustainable Fashion program will introduce the wisdom within Japanese kimono culture including some of the rare traditional craftsmanship techniques. Additionally, the relationship between kimono and Japanese traditional dance will be shown and explained with actual live performance sessions.
Our project of Kimono as a sustainable fashion will be a long-term project of JPA.
Description of June 17th Event of Kimono Project & Japanese Dance Performance
At 12:30 PM, the door will open. Those who made reservations will have pririty entrance into the theater. As long as the visitor numbers at any timing are within the venue’s capacity limit, the visitors without reservations can also enter the theater, but if exceeding the limit, new visitors will have to wait until there’s vacancy in the capacity.
This program is designed to have unique mixture of cultural exchange contents with the main pillar of introducing kimono costume as an environmentally sustainable clothing, together with dancing performances wearing kimono/yukata, as well as hands-on workshop experiences in traditional crafts and techniques.
At the venue, there are displays of rare Kyokanoko kimono, which are considered as one of the best refined tie-dyeing techniques, and kimono laundering tools that were used in the past.
The list below explains the approximate timing of each program on the actual event day, but depending on the number of participants, etc., the schedule may either turn out to be a little earlier or delayed from the listed timing. If you strongly desire to attend a certain program, please consider coming in early.
The venue has some seats available if you prefer to just observe the event (rather than actively participating in the programs).
The spectator and stage spaces at the auditorium are generally in the same flat floor level with the exception of stair case level seats. Using this space composition, we prepared many experience-based event programs.
Having the kimono project (presentation of kimono details and showing how to wear yukata) as the main program, we will have two of Japan’s Big Three Bon Odori dances (Awa Odori and Guji Odori); Kumihimo (traditional string braiding) and Furoshiki (traditional cloth wrapping) workshops; kids’ Awa Odori dance and Japanese candy/snack time; and Nihon Buyo (traditional Japanese dance) show.
People can freely go in and out of the theater, but the theater capacity cannot be exceeded. If the visitor number were to exceed the capacity, visitors have to wait at the entrance.
Program Schedule between 1pm – 5:30pm
The programs below will have detailed explanations by emcee’s verbal narration together with projected images, videos and hand-on workshops, so the visitors can learn how to wear Yukata (summer kimono), Bon Odori dancing, and Japanese traditional handcrafts. These are the opportunities for entertaining educational experiences to learn Japanese kimono culture (The schedule below is subject to change).
1:00 – Opening and Introduction
1:15 – Let’s Dance Awa Odori (warmup)!!
We will teach you how to dance and chant! Awa Odori is one of the most popular Bon Odori dances in Japan!
1:20 – Presentation of “Kimono: A Tradition of Sustainable Fashion”
The details of this program is coming soon.
2:00 – Learn How to Wear a Yukata! (Bring your own yukata or you can also use our yukata: up to 20 sets for women and 7 sets for men)
After the presentation of “Kimono: A Tradition of Sustainable Fashion,” actually wearing yukata/kimono should feel meaningfully different with some greater appreciation.
This Yukata demonstration and workshop on how to wear yukata will give you an excellent opportunity to experience a unique Japanese summer costume. You can follow the instructors’ demonstration on stage. Additional instructors are also around in case you have trouble following the demonstration. For those who just prefer to watch the event, they can also learn the know-hows of wearing a Yukata.
3:00 – Dance Awa Odori and Gujo Odori in Yukata! One of the Japanese summer highlights is dancing Bon Odori wearing yukata. Also kids are welcome to dance!
JPA has been teaching so-called Big Three Bon Odori dances for years. At this event, we will first explain the historical background of Bon Odori, and give you the choreography instructions of Gujo Odori (a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage) and Awa Odori. Try dancing Bon Odori circling around a bonfire (fake electric fire) just like in Japan.
If you miss a program on “how to wear yukata”, and you still want to know how to wear a yukata, let us know!
We will have a photo opportunity in Times Square in yukata. Please join us!
4:00 – Video Introduction: Kyo-kanoko, Kumihimo and Froshiki Workshop
Kyo-Kanoko is considered as one of the best refined tie-dyeing techniques.
Kumihimo (braided strings) is one of the traditional Japanese handcrafts with 1300 years of history. Braided strings are used in our daily lives. Depending upon different braiding techniques, they can have various shapes, rigidity, durability, and the beauty in their patterns. Kumihimo techniques use about five different types of equipment. For this event, JPA prepared a “Marudai” which is beginner level equipment. If you are animation fans, you might have seen a film called “Your Name” by director, Makoto Shinkai. In the film, Kumihimo was introduced.
Furoshiki (Cloth Wrapping) Workshop
Furoshiki had long been an important little tool for Japanese daily life. It is actually a very eco-friendly item as well. Japanese people invented various techniques to use a flat square cloth for wrapping and carrying various items on different occasions. We will introduce two wrapping techniques; wine bottle wrapping & handy bag. Please enjoy!
5:00 – Nihon Buyo Performance – Fujimusume (Wisteria Maiden)
One of the most renowned Nihon Buyo Dances, Fujimusume (Wisteria Maiden) will be performed by Midori Anami. The piece was written in the 18th Century by a composer who saw a vision of a female figure holding a branch of wisteria flower. The dance conveys the feminine as this eternal fairy-like being. The choreography developed as an expression of Japanese male fantasy of the feminine in the form of a Flower Fairy. The performance will be around 12 min.
5:15 – Final Awa Odori Dance
5:30 – Event ends
PERFORMERS & STAFF
KIARA PHILLIPS (MC for Entire Event)
Born and raised in New York City, Kiara has used her fluent Japanese skills to freelance as a restaurant consultant; dabble in interpreting; travel as a dialect coach; and repeatedly appear on popular Japanese shows as a TV personality. This year she’s developing her own talk show, guesting on podcasts discussing her bilingual adventures and flirting with the idea of starting a jazz band as a vocalist. After over 10 years of focusing solely on the language and food culture of Japan, Kiara is excited for this chance to explore more about kimono culture with Japan Performing Arts.
AASIYA VAN (MC for Kimono Program Presentation)
Aasiya Van studied Japanese language and culture at The City College of New York alongside her music and theater studies. During university, she found great interest in Japanese tradition and arts, and incorporated them in her playwriting and directing practices. Aasiya became affiliated with Japan Performing Arts, Inc during her role as emcee for their October 2022 Kimono Project: A Tradition of Sustainable Fashion and their May 2023 Nihon Buyo Performance at the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI). Set to move to Japan in 2023, Aasiya hopes to continue learning and contributing to the field of Japanese tradition and arts—in Japan and abroad.
MARIAM VAN (MC for Kimono Program Presentation)
Mariam Van is a Macaulay Honors student at Hunter College who majored in Environmental
Studies and minored in Japanese language. In her junior year, she was elected vice-president of
the Japanese Club, and in her senior year, the president. As president, she has hosted over 11
events, from calligraphy workshops to Japanese-style holiday parties, and increased membership
participation from 20 to more than 100. In June 2022, she obtained a summer internship at the
Department of Environmental Protection, and was promoted to a full-time intern.
Mariam is passionate about finding the intersection between environmental science and Japanese
culture, as seen in her leadership of the Environmental Awareness Team for the annual Dance,
Music, & Kimono festival, hosted by the Japan Performing Arts organization (JPA).
Additionally, she was a speaker at the three-day event called Kimono: A Tradition of Sustainable
Fashion, hosted by the JPA in October 2022. Mariam also wrote and delivered a speech in
Japanese for Yuko Kishida, the First Lady of Japan, and participated in a traditional paper drama
performance. Upon graduation, she aspires to join the Department of Environmental Protection
in bureaus related to her field, particularly in areas such as Coastal Resiliency or Sustainability.
She aims to continue working in Japanese affairs in her free time.
Awa Odori Performers
Gujo Odori Performers
Nihon Buyo Performer
Instructors for Yukata Demonstration & Workshops
Hair Designer – Mika Saijo, Satoshi Ikeda, Maeda Mayumi, Toshitsugu Kubota
Kimono Dresser – Maeda Mayumi, Mika Saijo
Projection – Kotaro Irishio
Stage Manager – Mariko Takizawa