JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Hatsune Miku, JAPAN CUTS, Sailor Moon

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.

Before and after the outdoor fireworks, enjoy some summer events in the cool indoors, whether it’s catching one of the dozens of films premiering at Japan Society’s annual festival, or enjoying anything from interpretative theater to the latest pop sensation.

This month’s highlights include:

© 2018 Movie Inuyashiki Production Committee : Hiroya Oku : Kodansha

Now through July 15

New York Asian Film Festival 2018

SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street

Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street

$15, $12 seniors and students, $10 Subway Cinema members

From vicious, life-destroying phone scams to balletic battles between equally corrupt cops and yakuza, NYAFF offers films that reflect on contemporary society while offering extreme genre pleasures. There are self-referential takes on cinematic zombies, existential date nights, and teens finding their own corners of the world despite familial and societal expectations. showcasing the most exciting comedies, dramas, thrillers, romances, horrors and arthouse films from East Asia. Features the North American premieres of Japanese films Blood of Wolves (July 2), River’s Edge (July 3), Liverleaf (July 8), Midnight Bus (July 11), One Cut of the Dead (July 13), and Inuyashiki (July 15).

GKIDS

July 3, 5, 7

Fireworks

E-Walk 42nd Street 13, 247 West 42nd Street

Empire 25, 234 West 42nd Street

$12.50

Producer Genki Kawamura follows up his mega-hit Your Name with another anime tale of star-crossed teenage lovers with a sci-fi fantasy twist. Shy Norimichi and fast-talking Yusuke are goo-goo-eyed over the same elusive classmate, Nazuna. But Nazuna, unhappy over her mother’s decision to remarry and leave their countryside town, plans to run away and has secretly chosen Norimichi to accompany her. When things don’t go as planned, Norimichi discovers that a glowing multi-color ball found in the sea has the power to reset the clock and give them a second chance to be together. But each reset adds new complications and takes them farther and farther away from the real world—until they risk losing sight of reality altogether.

Courtesy of Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda

Premieres Friday, July 6

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda

Francesca Beale Theater, 144 West 65th Street

$15, $12 seniors and students

From his start pioneering synth pop music with Yellow Magic Orchestra, in the late ’70s to winning an Oscar for his score for The Last Emperor in 1988, Ryuichi Sakamoto quickly established himself as one of the most original and intuitive composers of his generation. But, never content to rest on his laurels, Sakamoto’s life journey eventually led him to find musical inspiration in the unlikeliest of places: the Fukushima nuclear disaster and a personal battle with cancer, both of which gave way to a late-life shift in his artistic process. With Coda, director Stephen Nomura Schible (a co-producer on Lost in Translation) crafts a portrait of the artist as an ageless man, one who can turn the worst news into the most refined and purposeful moment of productivity in an already storied career. Shot over five years, this graceful music documentary is an elegantly observed examination of the creative process, following as Sakamoto builds from nothing the album he must assume will be his swan song. Sakamoto and Schible will appear in person for the 7:00 p.m. (Q&A) and 9:30 p.m. (intro) screenings on July 6 and the 4:45 p.m. (Q&A) and 7:30 p.m. (intro) screenings on July 7. Q&As moderated by Sasha Frere-Jones.

Mijabi

July 7, 9

Coppé: 23rpm Tour

Nublu Classic, 62 Avenue C (July 7, 10:00 p.m.)

Silvana, 300 West 116th Street (July 9, 9:00 p.m.)

The legendary “godmother of Japanese electronica,” Coppé is a pioneering vocalist, producer and collaborator with plaid, atomTM and other luminaries. Coppé returns to New York to debut her new disc of electro-inflected jazz standards, Milk, out now. Her special guests at these shows include Marc Urselli, Grammy-winning engineer/producer for artists including U2, Sting and Keith Richards; MJ12, the union of fretless bassist Percy Jones (Brand X) and drummer Stephen Moses (Alice Donut); and J-MUSIC Ensemble, sax phenom Patrick Bartley’s stellar ensemble of Manhattan School of Music graduates who re-envision the J-pop and Japanese video game music that inspires them in a jazz context.

Courtesy of AXS.com

Saturday, July 14, 8:00 p.m.

Miku Expo 2018

Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street

$85

Hatsune Miku, whose name means “first sound of the future,” is a Vocaloid (machine-made vocals) digital female avatar who also performs cutting edge concerts. Massively popular in Japan, Miku’s appearances with major artists like Lady Gaga and Pharrell Williams have continued to boost her international appeal. Her third U.S. tour consists of live concerts that feature a range of hits from across her career as well as utilizing the latest holographic projection and voice synthesizing technology to create the ultimate Hatsune Miku experience, as well as an exhibition of Miku fan art by artists from Japan and local areas plus workshops and other events. July 13 hosts Miku Expo Digital Stars 2018 New York at Trans-Pecos in Queens, a club event where fans can come together with musicians and DJs from inside and outside the Miku community. Exclusive merchandise will be available at each location.

© Tite Kubo: Shueisha © 2018 BLEACH Film Partners

July 19-29

JAPAN CUTS 2018

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$15, $12 senior and students, $10 Japan Society Members

Now in its 12th year, JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film continues to grow as the largest festival of contemporary Japanese cinema in North America. Bringing a wide range of the best and hardest-to-see films coming out of Japan today—from blockbusters, cutting-edge independent films and anime, to documentaries and short films—JAPAN CUTS is the best place to experience Japan’s dynamic contemporary film culture in New York City. Every year, this thrilling 10-day festival offers exclusive premieres, special guest appearances, fun-filled parties, live music and much more!

Courtesy Ninagawa Production Company

July 21, 22, 24-25

Ninagawa Macbeth

David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza

$55-$115

The 1980 premiere of Yukio Ninagawa’s “legendarily beautiful” Japanese-language production of Macbeth (Independent, U.K.) was a watershed moment in global theater. Transposing Shakespeare’s tragedy from medieval Scotland to feudal Japan, Ninagawa created a breathtaking world filled with samurai, kabuki witches, a highly expressive cherry tree, and a moving musical score of Buddhist chant and western classical music. This revival, the last production overseen by Ninagawa before his death in 2016, transforms the Bard’s brutal tale of greed, ambition, and revenge into a poetic meditation on the ephemeral nature of existence. Pre-performance lecture on Saturday, July 21 at 6:15 p.m. by Alexa Alice Joubin in the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse.

GKIDS

July 22-23, 25

Princess Mononoke

E-Walk 42nd Street 13, 247 West 42nd Street

Empire 25, 234 West 42nd Street

$12.50

From the legendary Studio Ghibli and Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki comes an epic masterpiece that has dazzled audiences worldwide with its breathtaking imagination, exhilarating battles and deep humanity. Inflicted with a deadly curse, the young warrior Ashitaka heads west in search of a cure. There, he stumbles into bitter conflict between Lady Eboshi, the proud people of Iron Town, and the enigmatic Princess Mononoke, a young girl raised by wolves, who will stop at nothing to prevent the humans from destroying her home and the forest spirits and animal gods who live there. Featuring the voices of Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Billy Bob Thornton. The July 22 and July 25 screenings are presented in English, with the July 23 screening presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

Courtesy of Lvpac.org

Thursday, July 26, 8:00 p.m.

Jake Shimabukuro

The Paramount, 370 New York Avenue (Huntington)

$20-$50

From a modest beginning performing at a local Honolulu café, Jake Shimabukuro is now recognized as one of the world’s most exciting and innovative ukulele players and composers. Energy, imagination, and innovation have been Jake’s keys to success. Renowned for lightning-fast fingers and revolutionary playing techniques, Jake views the ukulele as an “untapped source of music with unlimited potential.” His virtuosity defies label or category. Playing jazz, blues, funk, classical, bluegrass, folk, flamenco, and rock, Jake’s mission is to show everyone that the ukulele is capable of so much more than the traditional Hawaiian music—or corny showbiz routines—many associate it with.

FUNimation

July 28, July 30

Sailor Moon R and S- The Movies

E-Walk 42nd Street 13, 247 West 42nd Street

Empire 25, 234 West 42nd Street

Regal Union Square 14, 850 Broadway

$15

Sailor Moon, the beloved guardian of love and justice, returns to the big screen for a special theatrical event! Following an encore presentation of the first movie (SAILOR MOON R- THE MOVIE), the Sailor Guardians unite once more to battle their chilliest adversary yet (SAILOR MOON S- THE MOVIE). All features are presented uncut and true to the original Japanese version, with English dubbed (July 28) and subtitled (July 30) showings available.

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