Ja­pan fes­ti­val,

Pasatiempo - - On­stage This Week -

to the Moun­tain in 2010 (with Mat­sumaya). Mat­suyama seems to have be­come more deeply in­volved in the world-mu­sic arena, ful­fill­ing a busy per­for­mance sched­ule that is heavy on East-West col­lab­o­ra­tion. Naka­mura was a founder of the Shumei Taiko Ensem­ble, which he cur­rently di­rects. A form of drum­ming that re­quires supreme phys­i­cal con­di­tion­ing and un­flag­ging con­cen­tra­tion, taiko can prove vis­cer­ally thrilling to the lis­tener. And yet, Naka­mura has stated, it is at heart a spir­i­tual ex­er­cise: “Taiko di­rectly re­flects the player’s mind in both sound and at­ti­tude. No mat­ter what form art takes, there can­not be any em­i­nent works of art with­out an el­e­vated sense of spir­i­tu­al­ity on the part of the artist. It is ob­vi­ous that there is no way to im­prove one’s taiko skills ex­cept through an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of hum­ble ef­forts and hard train­ing.”

Apart from the head­lin­ers, the fes­ti­val fea­tures a full sched­ule of other per­for­mances and ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing mu­sic from the Smokin’ Bachi Taiko ensem­ble, based in Santa Fe; songs and dances per­formed by stu­dents from the Santa Fe JIN Lan­guage School (a pro­gram sup­ported en­tirely by the host or­ga­ni­za­tion); demon­stra­tions of Ja­panese archery ( kyudo) and karate; and hand­son work­shops in cal­lig­ra­phy and origami. A tra­di­tional fa­vorite among the pre­sen­ta­tions is the Ja­panese tea cer­e­mony, which will be ex­plained by mem­bers of Chado New Mex­ico (a lo­cal tea group) and which vis­i­tors may sam­ple per­son­ally for much of the af­ter­noon.

In the past, ad­mis­sion to the Santa Fe JIN Cul­tural Fes­ti­val has been free. This year, the group de­cided to in­sti­tute a very nom­i­nal en­try fee of $2 to help de­fray its costs. But the earth­quake and tsunami changed ev­ery­thing. “We’ve been cry­ing ev­ery day since what hap­pened,” Kobayashi said, “but we saw in this an op­por­tu­nity to of­fer some­thing to as­sist un­der the cir­cum­stances.” The or­ga­ni­za­tion will there­fore do­nate all of the ad­mis­sion fees to Ja­pan Aid of Santa Fe, which will fun­nel the money to Ja­panese re­lief pro­grams. She hopes that at­ten­dees will con­sider do­nat­ing fur­ther to the re­lief fund, which they will have am­ple op­por­tu­nity to do at the fes­ti­val. What’s more, Yabe will be avail­able to in­scribe what­ever at­ten­dees would like on a spe­cial pa­per she is bring­ing from Ja­pan, with all of the money raised through that ac­tiv­ity do­nated to the fund.

The event re­mains a fes­ti­val, to be sure, with en­ter­tain­ment and en­rich­ment at its heart. But there’s no over­look­ing the un­usual dy­nam­ics that will hover over the pro­ceed­ings this year. “We never did ag­gres­sive fundrais­ing be­fore,” Kobayashi ex­plained, “but how could we not seize the op­por­tu­nity to as­sist Ja­pan when the needs are so great?”

Silk paint­ing, circa 1910-1920; cour­tesy Palace of the Gov­er­nors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA), Neg­a­tive No. 087818

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