Japan House London Hokusai night at British Museum 2OK2

The road to Fuji:
celebrating Hokusai

Date: Friday 14 July 2017
Time: 18:00 to 22:00
Venue: Great Court and Galleries, The British Museum, Great Russell Street,
London WC1B 3DG
Tickets: Free event. No tickets required.

On Friday, 14 July, the British Museum’s exhibition Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave, supported by Mitsubishi Corporation, was celebrated with The road to Fuji: celebrating Hokusai, a special event presented in collaboration with Japan House London. It was an evening of performances and activities honouring the life, art and enduring legacy of Katsushika Hokusai, one of Japan’s greatest artists.

The British Museum’s Hokusai exhibition has proven extremely popular since opening on 25 May 2017. The special late night opening event on 14 July was attended by over 2,000 people.

"The British Museum was delighted to collaborate with Japan House London on this brilliantly successful event.

Japan House London made the evening an immersive and dynamic Japanese experience at the Museum by providing a specially-designed sake tasting bar, an exclusive film screening about a lost Hokusai masterpiece, and through arranging for a group of chindonya musicians to visit especially from Japan to enliven the Great Court with music and performance.

This was highly enjoyable and successful collaboration, and the Museum hopes very much that we will have the opportunity to work with Japan House London again in the future," said Freddie MATTHEWS, Head of Adult Programmes, British Museum.

Tsukishima Chindonya from Tokyo performed in the Great Court, in the Galleries surrounded by world treasures including the Parthenon Sculptures, and also outside in the Museum forecourt. Chindonya musical street entertainers were chosen for the event as they would have been familiar in Hokusai’s late Edo-period Japan. Employed to advertise shop sales and theatre performances, chindonya dress in colourful kimono and parade the streets playing music. One member wittily shouts out to the crowd and hands out flyers. On this occasion they were publicizing that Japan House is coming to London.

Japan House London also hosted a pop-up sake bar in the British Museum’s Great Court. Sake experts introduced three different sakes, from three different regions of Japan – Miyagi, Hyogo and Nara. Fashion Designer Kansai YAMAMOTO was amongst the visitors who enjoyed the educational sake experience.

Other entertainment on the evening included - performances by Tsugaru shamisen player ICHIKAWA Hibiki and folk singer MOCHIZUKI Akari, as well as a performance of Ryan PROBERT’s Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji by English acoustic guitar duo Vickers-Bovey, inspired by Hokusai’s prints.

The evening also included themed craft workshops, a community-led performance by seniors from Camden, and film screenings of the NHK production The Lost Hokusai (2017) and Power House production Ting Dong (2012), a short film about chindonya.

Tsukishima Chindonya performed along the River Thames over the weekend of Saturday, 15 and Sunday, 16 July to further promote Japan House coming to London. People were surprised and delighted to see chindonya performing with the backdrop of iconic London landmarks such as Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s and the Houses of Parliament. Many people shared photos of the chindonya on social media and were excited to hear that Japan House will be opening in London.

Japan House London will be a total experience, exploring Japan’s appetite for tradition and the new, expressed in its approach to innovation and creativity. Spread over three floors in the stunning Grade II listed Art Deco building that was once Derry & Toms department store, Japan House London will offer an immersive encounter with Japan through food, exhibitions, retail, workshops, performance, film, events and seminars. This was one of many Japan House London events set to take place in the lead-up to opening on Kensington High Street.

Japan House London’s next pre-opening event will be the Tanabata Festival at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in collaboration with Japan Society and the Embassy of Japan on 2nd and 3rd August 2017. To hear more about the Tanabata Festival, future Japan House London pre-opening events, and to be kept up to date with progress towards opening, follow Japan House London on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter  @japanhouseldn.