When the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Sakura Matsuri takes place this weekend for the 33rd year, thousands of visitors will have the opportunity to see the full spectrum of Japanese culture. From traditional dance by Sachiyo Ito – whose company, Dancejapan, has performed in every BBG Sakura Matsuri to date – and tea ceremony by tea masters Soumi and Soukyo Shimizu to the J-pop culture phenomena of manga and cosplay, this weekend promises to have something for everyone.
Of the many spectacular performances scheduled for the main stage at Cherry Esplanade is a kimono show produced by Japan Performing Arts, Inc. featuring kimono expert Emi Kikuchi of Kimono Experience. I am honored to represent JapanCulture•NYC as one of the show’s emcees, alongside Chopsticks NY writer Lisa Birzen.
Japan Performing Arts, Inc. (JPA) is a non-profit organization that introduces Japanese culture and traditions to New Yorkers through lectures, performances, and workshops. Dancer and choreographer Yuko Hamada established JPA because she believes that understanding a different culture helps put your own culture into perspective.
The kimono embodies the full spirit of Japanese culture: Emphasis on the four seasons, harmony with nature, respect for the passing down of traditions, an appreciation for expert craftsmanship, and a love for the arts. For one hour on Saturday at BBG’s Sakura Matsuri, Hamada will give fans of kimono a taste of Japanese culture through this unique style of clothing. We will introduce the audience to different kinds of kimonos representing the four seasons and explain the design techniques.
Here’s a sneak peek of some of the styles from our dress rehearsal:
The gorgeous designs, powerful colors, an unparalleled dedication to tradition and artistry make JPA’s kimono show a must-see event.
But it’s not your typical fashion show; there will be an entertaining dance performance as well as an appearance by a group of Japanese language students from CUNY, the New School, and Queens College who have learned how to put on yukata (cotton summer kimono) in less than three minutes.
If you love Japanese culture and want to learn more, go to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Sakura Matsuri this weekend, and please see our kimono show at the main stage under the big tent on the Cherry Esplanade on Saturday, April 26 at 2:45 p.m.
To purchase tickets to the Sakura Matsuri, please visit BBG’s website.