Here is a roundup of events by Japanese performers and Japan-related performances at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, held in Edinburgh throughout August. The list has been compiled from this year’s Fringe programme; however it may not be fully comprehensive.
Find some exciting events and book your tickets now!
This is the improvised play where you can infer with the actors, attracting more than 50,000 spectators in Japan. Werewolf – it's such an abominable existence. At night with the full moon, it pretends to be someone who it had eaten by the mysterious charm of the moonlight, and preys on families or friends every night. Every performance, actors' roles might be different. Sometimes they are a werewolf, sometimes they are a villager. Arranged in Japanese style, they infer through improvised discussion, trust and betrayal to penetrate others. The ending is also developed by the actors through improvisation.
2017 hit returns! A magical rollercoaster noir mystery tour through Japanese children's folklore. Acclaimed for her work in Japan, USA, Canada at the Fringe, Saori Aoki started the Kaso Jogi (Virtual Ruler) company to spread her unique physical theatre take on musicals around the world. Be greeted by the striking original songs of Makoto Honda, and a mysterious gatekeeper welcoming 'all ye corpses' with the suspect smile of one who might be an angel, a boatman on the Styx, or an emissary from hell. Breathtaking physical dance-theatre set to original live music.
Reflecting myself in the mirror. The person in front of me is nobody. Nobody. Maybe somebody to you. In this corner of the world, I’m waiting for sanction. One man seeks a place to belong. From two tiny holes, what can you see? No Sanction is the story about the sense of belonging and existence. Where are you from? New writing from Japan.
Based on the painting Akita no Gyoji by Tsuguharu Foujita (1937), Yoshitaka fuses the Japanese folk elements of Namahage, Hanekawa Kenbayashi and Akita Nikatabushi to create a new expression of Japan. Performed with Japanese traditional clothing and equipment such as Montsuki-Hakama, Hanui, Namahage mask, Katana and Sensu, Japanese traditional culture and folk arts are united with fast and furious footwork and improvised expression of UK jazz dance. Let yourself be transported through dance, music, culture and the taste of Japan. Small pieces of Sake and Iburi Gakko (traditional smoked pickles) will be served during the interval.
The Japanese Dance with Hoppy Kamiyama
A legendary musician, Hoppy Kamiyama and an awesome traditional dancer, Kashichiro; the artists representing Japan from the Hachijojima Island appear at Greenside in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. They invite you to their creative, passionate and sophisticated world of emotions: delight, anger, sorrow and pleasure. World premiere. Must see!
Sushi Tap Show
The sell-out comedy tap-dance hit is back at the Fringe! Awfully addictive eccentric performances combine tap, circus and comedy for an unforgettable toe-tapping experience you have never seen before. The 2014 winner of C's Got Talent and nominee of the Asian Arts Award. Invitational performance at the Mervyn Stutter's Pick of the Fringe and the National Museum of Scotland. 'What a find' **** (Scotsman). 'Accomplished performers with an exceptional comedic ability' **** (BroadwayBaby.com). 'This is a very enjoyable show, light-hearted and warm' **** (*) (BritishTheatreGuide.info).
Flamenco Jazz Japan
Premiered in Japan in 2015, brand new to the Fringe this year, Ricardo and Yuichiro present their unique blend of flamenco and jazz! This is a five-star production, aimed to surprise and delight! Join us on a high-energy trip to jazz heaven, an exploration of joyful improvisation and skill! A touch of dance makes the whole experience a singular thrill!
Japan Marvelous Drummers
Having performed in over 20 countries across the globe, Japan Marvelous Drummers 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. 'This musical extravaganza displays phenomenal strength, coordination and stamina. A true spectacle of Japanese music' ***** (ThreeWeeks).
Wasabeats Crew present the European premiere of Break Free featuring champion break dancers, each with world titles, who are ready to carve up the floor to reach dizzying new heights. Direct from Tokyo, this crew are world-class urban dancers, fusing the very best in skill and technique, state of the art technology and a thumping soundscape, alongside breath-taking never before seen tricks! Break Free is the ultimate breakdance fairy-tale suitable for all the family.
Akiko Okamoto plays Mozart and Chopin Piano Concertos
This talented, international Japanese-born pianist returns to the Fringe to perform Mozart’s piano concerto No 12 and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 1. She will be accompanied by a local string quartet and will also perform an exciting programme of solo piano music.
The Shakuhachi Experience
In this world premiere at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, licensed master shakuhachi performer Markus Guhe takes Japan's oldest and quintessential bamboo flute on a journey from its mythical beginnings through its long and fascinating history into the 21st century. The programme features the traditional shakuhachi solo repertoire created during the Edo era by mendicant Zen monks (mysterious masterless samurai working as government spies and the only ones permitted to play the instrument), happy folk tunes, taiko (Japanese big drums; Markus is also a senior performer with Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers) and live electronics.
Comedy & Stand-up
Ollie Horn Made Some Funny Friends in Japan
Lovable Brit Ollie Horn ('always a crowd pleaser' (Edd Daggers, ROR Comedy)) tells fast-paced tales of life as an unlikely Japanese TV star and life on the road as he tours around Asia's weirdest comedy clubs. Special guest comic from the Asian circuit each day. 'So much energy. This guy's gonna have a heart attack on stage one day' (Brendon Burns).
Yuriko Kotani: Moreish
Born and raised in Japan, Yuriko Kotani now lives in the UK. Please come and join her new work-in-progress show! Using her unique perspective, she is going to tell stories of her experiences and thoughts. As seen on Russell Howard's Stand Up Central and Pls Like (BBC Three). BBC New Comedy Award 2015 winner and Time Out's One to Watch.
The shut-up comedy! One of the few acts that can truly claim to be a global sensation are back with a show packed full of their very best world-conquering, fast-paced comedy. Since storming the Fringe in the noughties, Gamarjobat have performed in over 36 countries, from Broadway to China, and have racked up over 50 million views on YouTube. Stars of ITV's Tonight at the London Palladium, Jason Manford's Comedy Rocks and two-time winners of BBC's BAFTA award-winning The Slammer. 'Cartoon characters come to life' (New York Times). 'A cross between Laurel & Hardy and madness' (Times).