JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — ‘Your Name’ Premiere, Hougaku Quartet, ‘Girl X’

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

Stay warm this winter with some hot local events, from an exhibition that will transport you to another time and place, some new an classic anime screenings, and a mash-up multimedia performance you won’t want to miss.

This month’s highlights include:

Courtesy of Cmom.org

Courtesy of Cmom.org

Now through May 14

Hello from Japan!

Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd Street

$12 children and adults, $8 seniors 

Back for the new year, this exhibit highlights how old and new traditions coexist in Japan, giving visitors a family-friendly window into Japanese culture. Children will have fun learning about life in present day Japan in this playful, immersive environment. Hello from Japan! is a new interactive exhibit in the Museum’s Lower Level Gallery. It will transport families to two distinct areas of Tokyo that exist side by side: the serene and exquisite Shinto Shrine Park, and the too-cute-for-words Kawaii Central.

Courtesy of Citycinemas.com

Courtesy of Citycinemas.com

Feb 7-8

The Ghost in the Shell

City Cinemas Village East Cinema, 181-189 Second Avenue

$15 

Before the release of next month’s live-action adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson and Takeshi Kitano, catch one of the greatest anime films of all time (based on the manga by Masamune Shirow and directed by Mamoru Oshii) on the big screen! In the near future, an elite group of police cyborgs called Section 9 works to stop hackers from commiting cyber crimes across the globe. However, there skills are put to the test when they come up against a hacker known as the Puppet Master. The pair of Feb. 7 screenings will be in Japanese with English subtitles; Feb. 8’s screening is English dubbed.

Courtesy of Asiasociety.org

Courtesy of Asiasociety.org

Thursday, Feb. 16, 8:00 p.m.

The Hougaku Quartet

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue

Free, tickets available here.

Re-envisioning Japanese traditional instruments for contemporary music, the Hougaku Quartet explores everything from traditional Japanese music to cutting edge new compositions, all performed on traditional instruments. The quartet is made up of a group of young virtuoso musicians who graduated from Tokyo University, who have mastered the art of creating music for today and for the future, through traditional Japanese instruments. The Hougaku Quartet carries out its mission through commission, revival performance of masterpieces composed after the 1960s, and performance in the traditional “Sankyoku” ensemble style. A group of young musicians who are committed to both sustaining and expanding tradition, Hougaku Quartet is a fresh approach to Japanese music. With a special guest performance by Ralph Samuelson.

Hideto Maezawa

Hideto Maezawa

Feb. 16-18, 7:30 p.m.

Girl X

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$30, $25 Japan Society members. 

On the heels of overwhelming enthusiasm from New Yorkers for the English-language staged reading of Girl X at Japan Society in spring 2016, Japan Society proudly now presents the North American premiere of the original Japanese production written and directed by Suguru Yamamoto. Weaving a tapestry of complex emotions, the story unfolds through the dialogue and highly physical performance of two actors on stage and carefully crafted projections on screen mirroring a text messaging-obsessed contemporary society. Performed by Yamamoto’s company Theater Collective HANCHU-YUEI, this unsettling comedy offers a glimpse into an anxiety-ridden post 3/11 Japan. In Japanese with English titles. The Feb. 16 performance is followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception.

Courtesy of New York International Children’s Film Festival

Courtesy of New York International Children’s Film Festival

Saturday, Feb. 25, 12:30 p.m.

Rudolf the Black Cat

Cinépolis Chelsea, 260 West 23rd Street

$13

A North American premiere part of the New York International Children’s Film Festival! Rudolf enjoys a life of comfort and care in Gifu, Japan. Yet true to the adage, curiosity gets the best of the kitten, and he decides to explore beyond the four walls of his home. When he’s inadvertently whisked into the back of a cargo truck and lands in Tokyo, he befriends Gottalot, a seasoned street cat who possesses a crucial and unusual skill that will help him find his way home: the ability to read the human language. Rudolf’s journey is rich with Japanese culture, and his story celebrates the wonder of discovery—that magical moment when you realize you have the key to unlock the world. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

Courtesy of New York International Children’s Film Festival

Courtesy of New York International Children’s Film Festival

Saturday, Feb. 25, 5:30 p.m.

Your Name

SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street

Sold out; waitlist tickets are available at the theater 30 minutes prior to showtime.

The New York International Children’s Film Festival proudly presents the East Coast premiere of Japan’s number one movie of 2016! The day the stars fell, two lives changed forever. Total strangers Mitsuha and Taki live their teenage lives in separate cities until suddenly, for reasons unknown, they switch bodies. Beyond all of the physical awkwardness of their strange, new bodies, they must learn to navigate each other’s social realms and habits as they continue to swap back and forth unexpectedly. Incredibly, they adapt and form an intense bond by leaving each other messages. But can they manipulate fate and the destructive forces of the heavens to meet in person? Written, directed, and animated by anime master Makoto Shinkai (NYICFF 2008’s 5 Centimeters Per Second) in his stunningly detailed signature style, the film’s world is one where teenagers are full of sensitivity in the best sense: open to every experience and exchange, and eager to truly know one another. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

Want to stay in the loop on future events? Follow Justin on Facebook and Twitter.