Event Report List
- Culture City of East Asia Exchange Project Symposium: Niigata, a Creative City of Gastronomy２月14日
The keynote speech looked to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and discussed circumstances surrounding food and hospitality, as well as how to achieve a more healthy diet and lifestyle in addition to promoting inter city interchange. Yukio Hattori, known for his global expertise in the realm of food, gave the talk from his unique vantage point.
The panel discussion coordinated by Masayuki Sasaki, one of the leading proponents of ‘creative cities’, involved a presentation of the particularities of the cuisine of each participating city. Mr. Sasaki intuitively explained each dish, while further peppering his speech with his own expert commentary. From this, a productive exchange of ideas took place, deepening participants understanding of cuisine.
The dinner party featured the cuisine of Japan, China, Korea (JCK), and Colombia, as well as alcohol spirits from the JCK countries. It was a luxurious spread of food and drink. Food and drink retailers from each nation mentioned above had a booth, where samples were provided and explained, encouraging a deeper understanding of each country's cuisine as well as fostering international dialogue and understanding.
A show of traditional music and performing arts from the JCK countries during the dinner party lent a festive mood to the occasion.
- Seventh Sen no Kaze Music Festival2月21日
One of the opening events for the Culture City of East Asia 2015 was the Seventh Sen no Kaze Music Festival.
The first section was devoted to performances from five groups selected from a nationwide call. They presented their renditions through group orchestration, song, and interpretive dance.
The second section featured Man Arai and guests from Japan, China, and Korea giving a special live event celebrating Niigata's selection as the 2015 Culture City of East Asia.
As the finale of the festival, the audience was invited to sing ‘Sen no Kaze ni Natte’ with the performers, creating an emotionally charged atmosphere that rippled through the hall.
- New Spring Sino-Japan Culture Festival: Featuring the Harbin Symphony Orchestra2月26日・2月28日
Harbin is noted as a city of skilled musicians, and the Harbin Symphony Orchestra was the first orchestra founded in China. Niigata invited the group for a performance. Compositions from Europe, China, and Japan were performed, in some cases incorporating traditional Chinese instruments like the Erhu and Pipa. Given the uniqueness of the fact that not only is it an Asian orchestra but it comes from our sister-city, Harbin, they seem to have been extremely well received.
- The Opening Event for Culture City of East Asia 20152月27日
Niigata, the 2015 Culture City of East Asia, partnered with performance groups from Qingdao and Cheong-ju to host a special collaborative event. The handsome skills and beautiful sound of the groups ushered in an exciting opening for the program. Niigata's own included Japanese instrumental unit Oto-damashi and the Niigata Sohodori dancers. The impressive performance and sound enthralled the crowd.
Hilcrhyme, guest performers delivered stirring lyrics about their love for Niigata and the goal of Asian harmony, acting as a spokesperson for Niigata for the world. Negicco, as Goodwill ambassadors for Niigata as Culture City of East Asia 2015 also took to the stage and performed ‘Sunshine Nihonkai’, which includes lyrics describing the scenic beauty of Niigata.
Long lines of expectant fans formed before the event, showing the people's high expectation for the show. A survey after the event showed that 90% of those whom attended enjoyed the event, with comments like; "It was a thrilling, fantastic performance." "Seeing three different performing groups at once deepened my understanding of our various cultures differences and strengths." and, "I felt very close to our neighbors in China and Korea and realized that they truly are our nearest neighbors."
These are tremendous responses. The event was successful in promoting the goals of this project and enable the audience to experience and feel close to Japanese, Chinese and Korean cultures.
- Culture City of East Asia Opening Ceremony and Symposium2月27日
Before the opening ceremony there was a pre concert that featured the musical stylings of the koto and shakuhachi performed by Kunpu no Oto. Then, to commence the ceremony, representatives from three cities and the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs greeted the crowd and posed for a commemorative photograph.
A keynote speech by Yoshiyuki Ooshita described the meaning and purpose of the Culture City of East Asia designation and what effects can be expected from it. Kozue Nakayama, Director of the Yokohama Culture and Tourism Bureau, announced the progress the city has made, and a panel discussion with the three city representatives was held. They exchanged valuable opinions on each city's strengths and ongoing projects.
A performing arts show featured guests from the three cities; it included a solemn performance by Niigata Gakuso, a gagaku music group made up of chief Buddhist priests from Niigata.
The opening ceremony concluded with a slideshow featuring messages written by local school students, exchange students in Niigata, and visitors to the event.
- Art Mix Japan 20154月25日～4月26日
It was the third year of this event and audience exceeded that of the previous year. The weather was fair, so this free outdoor performance was very successful.
The Culture City of East Asia Premium Stage was a tie-in event, part of the Culture City of East Asia program and featured performers from Korea, China, and Japan. At the finale, we saw the performers of three countries came together to perform "Sakura," a classic Japanese nursery rhyme. The event featured performing arts going back to Japan's roots, such as kabuki, kyogen, and dai-dengaku, as well as a collaboration piece of Noh performers and singers.
For the performance on the 25th, Hideki Togi took the stage for a performance that included his commentary. The final performance on the 26th featured an acoustic shamisen performance by Yoshida brothers, which the audience loved.
Other free performances at theaters and concert halls also proved popular.
- La Folle Journée de Niigata 2015プレ公演：4月26日 本公演：5月8日～10日
"Sub-theme: Passion -- Composers in Love"
La Folle Journée de Niigata is a music fest that features music everyone, from children to classical music fans, can enjoy!
This year, elements from China (the erhu, a traditional instrument) and Korea (pansori, a form of musical storytelling) were incorporated, creating an even more international program than before.
- Korean dancer-in-residence program5月2日～5月3日、8月22日～8月23日、12月11日～12月13日
Young choreographer competition, which is the most exciting and draws many future-promised dancers, was established in the Culture City of East Asia and Niigata Noism Award in November, 2014. Lim Woobin won the award then, and was invited to Niigata last year. He lived there from March to December 2015, and joined Noism 2. He joined four public performances as well as regular lessons and rehersals.
His invitation gave us a valuable opportunity to think about our idea for stage performances by observing a series of positive interactions for 10 months between young dancers who grew up and were trained in different cultural environments of Japan and South Korea.
- The Niigata International Film Festival6月20日～6月21日、6月27日～7月5日
A total of 17 movies, mainly Chinese and South Korean, showed at three locations for the Niigata International Film Festival (or East Asian Film festival) as a part of the Culture City of East Asia program this year.
On the first day of the festival, films were shown free of charge and South Korean actor Kim Myeong Kon was invited for a talk show. He also participated in a signing event after the show.
On the second day, Lim Kah Wai's films were shown and he was invited onto a talk show. He discussed his opinions about film making and shared anecdotes from the shooting of the films.
During the festival, a tour bus ran near filming locations for a Japanese-South Korean movie entitled "No Boys, No Cry". Participants from all over the country joined in the tour.
- Niigata Jazz Street7月18日～7月19日
"Niigata Jazz Street" was a music event where guest musicians from all over East Asia, as well as many local musicians, played various styles of Jazz and other closely-related genres at local bars, restaurants, and other music venues. One-day pass holders could enter all venues freely. On the day of the event, Niigata was dubbed "a city of music" for the whole day. Jazz musicians from China and South Korea also joined the event this year and contributed towards this cultural exchange of music.
- “Aesthetics of Calligraphy in East Asia”: Events featuring a thematic exhibition, international symposium, and more.8月1日～9月9日
A series of the events whose theme was "aesthetics of calligraphy" was held. The special exhibition featured Chinese art works created from the Zhou to Qing dynasty which belong to Fujii Saiseikai Yurinkan Museum of Art. Among them, stones and metal works with engraved characters and calligraphy works by famous artists in its history especially attracted visitors because it is otherwise difficult to see these works. We succeeded in inviting famous scholars as lecturers to our international symposium. The symposium itself ended in great success as people actively participated in the discussion, and as a result it proved Niigata's reputation as "the area of flourishing calligraphy" to be true. In additon, as a related event, we ran a calligraphy exhibition exchange program among cities chosen as Culture Cities of East Asia, which displayed carved Chinese characters by Tosen Usuda and his fellow calligraphers. There were also many families who participated in a calligraphy workshop led by college students, because it was an event in which they could actively participate. Their experience was enjoyable and unforgettable. A calligraphy performance by students from the calligraphy club of Tokyo Gakkan High School also entertained people through their dynamic motions in drawing calligraphy works.
- “Culture City of East Asia 2015″: The Culture Week in Niigata8月2日～8月9日
In the atrium of NEXT21, there was an exhibition of famous cultural artifacts from two cities, Qingdao and Cheongiu, to introduce their cultures. For example, a water and ink-wash paintings from Qingdao and a reproduced "Jikji", the world's oldest metal printed text, and “Gyoo Bang Gong Ye (sewing and needle works)” from Cheongiu. Also, two cities set up exhibition booths in the event space of Niigata Festival to facilitate cultural exchange between them and local people. Artists from Qingdao showed walnut carvings and paper cutting, and practitioners from Cheongju served South Korean traditional tea and calligraphy artists performed KARI, Cheongiu style calligraphy. Moreover, entertainment groups from two cities performed acrobatics and K-Pop dance on the stage of the event space. Visiting groups of Qingdao and Cheongiu developped friendship with Niigata local people while experiencing culture of Niigata city through Dai Minyo Nagashi (folk dance by a large group of people) and fireworks viewing during Niigata festival.
- “I am the future” Japan-China- Korea exchange program Chorus Concert8月14日
As a part of the cultural exchange program of Culture City of East Asia 2015, children from Niigata, Japan, Tsingtao, China, and Cheongiu, South Korea joined a chorus group exchange program and sang a song, "I am the Future" with lyrics in Japanese, Mandarin and Korean. In the first part of the event, childrens choruses from each of the three cities performed in turn. Then, local children displayed some traditional performing arts to welcome the children from China and South Korea. Also, Ryu Koshino, a former leader of Moon troupe of Takarazuka Revue, gave a live performance. In the second part, the creators of the song (Ryohei Miyata, the president of Tokyo University of the Arts; Isao Matsushita, the vice-president of Tokyo University of the Arts; and Baku Yumemakura, a writer) talked about theme of the song. Then, three children's choruses sang the song while being accompanied by a full orchestra. For the performance's finale, the performers of the day joined the audience in singing "I am the Future" together.
- NIDF2015 – Niigata International Dance Festival8月21、23、28日、9月4日
During the Niigata Dance Festival, Japanese, Chinese, and South Korean dance companies presented their unique performance on three separate days. Daegu City Modern Dance Company of South Korea entertained the audience with their knowledge of contemporary dance, showing powerful movemnts to rhythmical tunes. On the other hand, City Contemporary Dance Company of Hong Kong, China intrigued viwers and got all of them excited by synchronizing their moves with the projected images. Noism 0 of Niigata, Japan appeared on the stage on the last day of the festival. Their overwhelming solo performace and impeccable group performance impressed an almost capacity audience and made a strong impact on the viewers, who did not stop applauding and even gave the performers a standing ovation. Also, a discussion program allowed the three art directors of the dance companies to discuss dance performance activities in their own countries and their ideals. It became a furuitful opportunity for them and others since they were able to consdier and discuss the future of theaterical activities and dance companies in Asia based on their cultural differences and commonalities.
- Mongolian Calligraphy Exhibition for Friendship9月12日～9月30日
For the first time in Niigata, more than 40 Mongolian Calligraphy works were exhibited. At the opening ceremony on the first day of the exhibition, with high expectations for a good relationship between two countries, Mongolia's ambassador to Japan said, "I pray that this event will be a starting point for the friendship between Niigata and Mongolia to develop further." Mongolian residents in Japan performed folk music, and Niigata locals enojoyed it while imagining the vast grassland of the country. At a tasting area, the locals enjoyed dairy products and milk tea prepared by local Mongolian residents. Participants enjoyed their simple tastes and learned how to make the products and what the ingredients were. There was a lot of positive feedback from the visitors, the following comment: "this type of event is valuable, and you should run as many events in the future as possible."
Forty-two entries from a total of fourteen countries and areas were in the International Projection Mapping Competition whose theme was "Cross / Kosa." Sixteen entries from a total of seven countries and areas which passed preliminarry judging were presented. The grand prize went to "Hyakki Yagyo (Night Parade of One-hundred Demons)" by Neba Studio from Macau of PRC. The Audience Prize, which was decided by visitors' votes, went to "Cross of Culture - Ukiyo-E-Do -" by One, a mapper from Japan. In addition to the competitors, three guest creators from overseas presented their spectacular works, which intrigued a lot of visitors and other creators. On the stage, the guest creators talked about their love for their works and circumstances of projection mapping in various countries. Also, KOHARU SUGAWARA, a dancer and choreographer got nine-thousand viewers excited with her dance with sharp movements, which was syncronized with the images of projection mapping.
- Japan-China-Korea cultural exchange of dance and food9月19日～9月21日
The Jinan City Folk Dance Group and the Ulsan Traditional Culture and Art Group joined the "Niigata So Odori" on September 19 and 20. The Jinan group performed twice and the Ulsan group performed three times during the two days. Their performances added rich international flavor and spice to the event with their cultural uniqueness. On September 20, they presented a live cultural performance for the event "Chinese and South Korean Traditional Culture Stage "at the Konan Ward Cultural Center. About 350 people came to the event and it was widely considered successful: according to the survey after the performance, most of audience judged the event as "very good" or "good." From September 19 to 21, during the "Niigata So Odori," Chinese and South Korean food vendors opened at the event space on the second floor of Bandai City. They offered locals an opportunity to try Chinese and South Korean cultural foods.
- 2015 Municipal Cultural Conversations between France, Japan, China and Korea10月22日～10月23日
In Niigata, a conference which worked on cultural creation was held for 10 cities from Japan, France, China, and South Korea. The main theme of the conference was "The Position of Culture in Sustainable City Building," and there were three sub-themes: "Culture and Food," "Culture and Industries," and "Culture and Welfare." Participants, which included representatives from the cities, involved individuals, and various artists, got together and actively discussed topics related to the themes. It became an opportunity for the participants to report on city building projects utilizing their own cultural uniqueness, and to suggest exchange programs and exchange opinions from various viewpoints. At the end of the conference, the participants adopted the Niigata Declaration of "Dialogue on City and Culture 2015 between Japan, France, China and South Korea." The cities that participated in the conference were Niigata, Yokohama, Kanazawa, Toshima Ward of Tokyo, Tsuruoka, Nantes, Paris, Xian, Cheongiu and Gwangju.
- An Exhibit of Ceramics from China and Korea -the Collections of the Aichi Prefectural Ceramic Museum-10月24日～12月6日
Aichi Prefectural Ceramic Museum owns collections of Chinese and South Korean ceramics and other masterpieces from all over the world.
This exhibition introduced 115 strictly-selected works from Chinese ceramics of 3,000 B.C. to South Korean ones of the 20th century. By doing so, we presented the appeal of cultures of the East Asian region.
At the same time, Northern Culture Museum also displayed its Chinese ceramics collection as a cooperation in buisiness with our exhibition. Visitors of one museum were eligible for a discounted admission fee for the other museum.
- Culture City of East Asia 2015 Niigata – Closing Ceremony and Symposium11月23日
During the symposium, by reporting their one year-long projects and the outcomes, the representatives of three cities shared their acquired experiences and insights with each other. They exchanged their opinions over building a communication network system and exchange programs among the cities from next year onwards.
They agreed on continuing exchange programs and promotion of mutual friendship, wrote a joint declaration of an outcome document, and then signed it.
- Culture City of East Asia 2015 Niigata – Closing Event11月23日
We presented the event for the grand finale of "Niigata, Culture City of East Asia 2015". We presented mainly cultural events and exchanges between Niigata, Qingdao and Cheongju over the last year. Many entertainment groups proudly representing Niigata appeared on the stage performing distinctive acts. They never lost the audience's attention using the magic of "Genuine Niigata Culture." Sachiko Kobayashi, the Cultural Goodwill Ambassador and Negicco introduced their superb performances. Chinese and South Korean entertaiment groups livened it up with their sophisticated traditional techniques and texture of sounds. Thanks to all perofromers, we could wrap up the year-long project.
According to the research by questionnaire, more than 90 percent of the audience commented, "they are very satisfied with the event" or "staisfied with it." We had a lot of positive feedback: for example, "every single performance was soulfull as well as superb"; "It was interesting to find the difference among Japanese, Chinese and South Korean cultures and the uniqueness of each"; and "I enjoyed rediscovering the richness and depth of Niigata culture." Based on a number of positive feedback, we can say that the event became a successful opportunity to let Niigata people learn about three cultures, as well as to become fond of and proud of their own local culture.