Japan Club Culture Show Dazzles
This past Saturday the Japan Club of Boston College put on their annual culture show. This year marks the centennial anniversary of Japan’s gift of the cherry tree to the U.S., which was the theme of the show. The title of the production,Harumatsuri, is the Japanese word for the annual spring festival in Japan, and JCBC definitely brought the feel of this Japanese tradition to life here on campus.
Before the show even started there were tables set up where audience members could play traditional Japanese games, take photos with life-size anime cut outs, or write a message to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011. The culture show coincidentally fell just days after the second anniversary of this tragic natural disaster, which was the largest magnitude earthquake to hit in Japan’s history.
Instead of being in chairs, the audience was seated on the floor in true Japanese fashion.
The actual show kicked off with a colorful parasol dance performance, a traditional display of Japan’s culture. The first half of the show incorporated many traditional elements of Japan’s rich history. The sword performance, which incorporated many different types of Japanese martial arts that are centered around the sword, was a powerful demonstration of a long standing component of Japanese culture. The “Soran Bushi”dance was performed to a song of the same title, which is one of the most famous traditional songs in Japan. It has been said that the fishermen of northern Japan first sang the song, and the choreography reflected the fisherman traditions in depicting ocean waves, and the labor of fishing in rough seas.
The audience was very much a part of the show as well. The judo demonstration excited the audience, and even frightened a few. But don’t worry—these guys are pros. In fact, the demonstrator, Spencer Augustine, A&S ’14, is a first-degree black belt and ranked fifth in juniors martial arts in the U.S. He even brought up three volunteers who learned how to throw someone to the ground. A dance group outside of BC, 10tecomai, presented a style of dance called “yosakoi,” a style defined by its a mix of Japanese and other cultures, both past and present. Their graceful display of both powerful and fluid movement got the audience pumped. The group got the crowd to chant and dance along to their final number, which added an interactive and personal touch to the culture show as a whole.
The second half following the intermission was equally as exciting as the first, this time focusing more on the fusion of Japanese and American culture. It began with a set by the Japanese Music Act, featuring three modern Japanese rock songs. The group asked the audience to stand up to give their performance a music festival feel, an added hype factor to their enthusiastic performance. JCBC invited the local breakdancing group Bon Kyu Bons to perform. Breakdancing has become huge in Japan (who knew?) and this group’s Japanese fusion performance was extremely lively and showed how talented these guys are. They could definitely gain some profit breaking on the streets of New York.
The show capped off with a modern dance performance, which featured four routines. First the girls performed, then the fellas, and the two groups combined for two numbers: “You Belong With Me” and “Brave It Out.” Following the show was a reception with a smorgasbord of Japanese bites, the best way to top off the comprehensive event. This year’s show was extremely relevant given the centennial of the cherry tree gift to the U.S., as well as the tragic earthquake, and was overall an excellent medley of both traditional Japanese and modern Japanese-American culture.
The above article was published in The Heights. Read the original article here.