Culture & Education



  A guide to Japanese performers at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Here is a roundup of events by Japanese performers at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, held in Edinburgh from August 7th to 31st. The list has been compiled from this year's Fringe Programme; however it may not be fully comprehensive.


With such a wide variety of different genres, we hope you can find something that interests you.




Japan Marvelous Drummers

Having performed in over 20 countries across the globe, Japan Marvelous Drummers’ eight performers use the traditional instruments of Japan including drums of all sizes, the Koto harp, bamboo... flutes and clarinet to create a truly unique show. Combining the power of these instruments with dance, humour and beauty, this intense rhythmic show has the power to change the way you think about Japan forever.


Real Japanese Drum Beat!

Have you ever felt a beat so vigorous and inspiring that your entire being is changed for good? Have you ever heard the passionate fusion of the ancient and the now? Do you know what the soul of Japan feels like? Through IKKI's music you can experience them all. The Japanese drum group IKKI is Edinburgh's favourite.


Messages from Japan / Super-cussion

Hibiki stages a drum show consisting of Japanese traditional music, a requiem for the 11 March 2011 disaster in eastern Japan and a unique percussive panorama of beat and swing created by an... ensemble of drummers. This is our debut in Edinburgh. We are happy to be given this opportunity to create something unexpected and drum our rhythm for the music lovers of Edinburgh. Come on in and enjoy our performance!


Aoidh: Japanese Girls Folk Trio

Imagine Karen Matheson singing Japanese-Ainu traditional songs at Royal Opera House in a Scottish soundscape, backed by Pink Floyd and Martha Argerich. Imagine Scottish-Gaelic folk songs performed by Sarah Brightman, King Crimson and Chick Corea. Imagine Madame Butterfly meets Coldplay and Fazil Say in the Outer Hebrides. Scottish-Gaelic and Japanese-Ainu folk songs from world acclaimed soloists Alana (guitar), Chihiro (piano) and Erica (soprano). Atmospheric, ethereal, appealing traditional folk songs, with a touch of improvisation. Think Karen Matheson singing Japanese songs in a Scottish soundscape!


Seed: Advancement

Exhilarating Japanese taiko drumming and stunning swordplay dramatically combined by an award-winning group. After captivating audiences in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Qatar and Australia, their Edinburgh debut will leave you breathless. Ancient Japanese drumming techniques are showcased in this stunning performance of traditional taiko and swordplay. Winners of the Japanese Taiko Competition in 2014, Tenrindaiko is formed from the finest young taiko artists from Japan


Love Over Scotland – Haiku and Music

An hour of pure delight. Haiku, the three-line, 17-syllable verse form invented in Japan, might not seem the most obvious to set to music. But with the wit of poets Alan Spence, Alexander McCall... Smith and George Bruce, and music by John Maxwell Geddes, Martin Suckling, Tom Cunningham, Colin Suckling, and Louise Burnet, the combination works wonderfully. Professor Alan Spence introduces the programme which is performed by John-Anthony Graham (tenor), Stephen Adam (piano), and the Haiku Wind Quintet, a professional ensemble brought together for this special and unique event.


Masterpieces for Piano Four Hands

Two Japanese-born pianists based in Tokyo and Berlin perform a wide variety of brilliant duets covering Grieg's much-loved Peer Gynt, the classic duets of Dvorak and Debussy as well as Ravel's wild waltz La Valse.


Akiko Okamoto Piano Recital

This talented, Japanese-born pianist returns to Edinburgh to perform two delightful programmes of piano works from Bach to Bartok, Mozart to Prokofiev, and including Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, Brahms and Liszt.






New writing and world premiere piece from Japan. A 50 minute interview, which reveals 38 years of one man's life. One man who seeks a job desperately. He finds a mysterious advert, but what is... the job? Can he make sense of all his misunderstandings and complexes? Our show leaves the answers to you. We believe the next episode of the story will begin after you walk out from theatre.


Sunshine! Japanese Rakugo Comedy in English!

Come for an hour of laughter and leave with a piece of Japan in your heart! Currently on his world tour! ‘This blonde raconteur with the mile-wide... smile has been wowing audiences world-wide with his high-octane, one-of-a-kind performances!


Katsura Sunshine – Let me tell you a story about Japan!

'A raconteur extraordinaire! One of a kind! Sunshine is star!’ (Japan Times). 'Sunshine magically plucks laughter with rhythm and timing fit for an athlete!' ( Lovely! Intense! A one-man sitcom! How can we resist?



Master Shoko and Margarita

A Japanese woman, Shoko, meets Jura, a Russian man in Berlin airport. They develop a friendship and start sharing their dreams about love and freedom. Jura tells the story of Master and Margarita. He also has a dark secret… The play features several short stories mixing reality with fantasy, spirituality with secularism, music with dance, that are all connected to the main theme. Shoko’s unique solo performance displays her versatile acting skills as she plays all the characters. Directed by Shoko Ito. Choreography by Kei Takei (choreographer, Nagano Olympics).


SPIRIT – Shashari-deteh – JPNpetitfestival

Sharekouve Gennari is a kaishakunin, an attendant in the Japanese form of ritual suicide known as harakiri or seppuku. In ancient times the kaishakunin's role was to cut off the head of the high ranking person committing seppuku and end their suffering honourably. In our story, Sharekouve Gennari suddenly finds himself no longer able to perform this duty. Cast adrift, he somehow finds himself in medieval Europe during the time of the rise to prominence of Joan of Arc. What would happen when a man who excels at one thing loses that ability? We investigate.


Butoh Medea

Using the Japanese dance form butoh and an adapted text, Yokko brings the spirit of Medea alive. This fusion of eastern dance and western drama invites the audience inside Medea’s dark and desperate struggle. Trapped in the underworld, she is forever cursed to relive her tragic journey through love, hate, and ultimate loss.






Funny, daring and unique, Siro-A explodes the barriers between theatre, dance, technology and music to create a visual sensation on a whole new frequency. Japan’s answer to the Blue Man Group.... Fun for all the family!


Clown Macbeth

Brand new, non-verbal version of Shakespeare's classic Macbeth from award-winning performer and director Makoto Inoue. The show is a physical fusion of Western and Eastern influences and genres taking inspiration from the traditional dances of Okinawa – Japan’s most cultural and spiritual island, and the birthplace of karate.


Sushi Tap Show 2

Sell-out comedy tap dance show is back at the Edinburgh Fringe! Awfully addictive eccentric performances combine tap, circus, and music hall shtick for an unforgettable toe-tapping experience you've never seen before. The 2014 winner of C's Got Talent and nominee of the Asian Arts Award. Invitational performance at the Mervyn Stutter Pick of the Fringe and the National Museum of Scotland.


Okinawa Sansan

Follow Sanla and his wife on a journey of love, life and Okinawa tradition. A dazzling mix of folk music, classical Ryukyu Court dance, and traditional bingata patterned costumes will transport you to the tropical Okinawa Islands. Accompanied by live sanshin and violin with contemporary arrangements, this is a rare glimpse into the daily life of the ancient Ryukyu Kingdom. Ship of the Ryukyu return to Edinburgh with their signature show after charming audiences the world over.




Funny Bones Trash

Funny Bones Trash will have both children and adults laughing non-stop. Trash has never been so fun. Funny Bones gets awesomely creative, turning everyday items into mini stunts and gags that will keep the entire audience captivated. Adults become big kids here. And the real children will be cackling with laughter from all the excitement. Silent comedy, giant puppetry, extensive facial expressions and a huge catalogue of props makes for one very fast paced and high energy show.





Japanese Samurai Don Quixote Challenging Against English Giant Windmills!

A comedian came to Edinburgh from Japan, the country worst at speaking English! After miscommunication, cultural friction, struggle with an immigration officer, a disastrous first performance at a lap dancing club, aggressive flyering with poor English, and incomprehensible quarrels with drunken audiences, what did he find in Edinburgh? How did he get featured in a Times article? Did he see the light in the new world of English comedy? This is a solo documentary comedy show about the struggle anyone can have in their new challenge. Based on a true story.




In Basho's Footsteps

A poet (Valcarce) and an artist (Gleizer) hiked 2,000km across Japan's wilderness in the footsteps of Matsuo Basho, the ancient haiku poet. Basho believed that the ideal ground for art was lightness... of spirit and oneness with nature, and devoted his life to this ideal. Through contact with local artists, Zen monks, and with nature itself, the two artists came closer to the state of mind and awareness that Basho deemed necessary to make art. This exhibition shows the art inspired by the adventure: painting, poetry, installations, video and performance that echo the spirit of their journey.