Japanese Magic Lantern Performance in London on October 30

posted on by Andrew Osmond
'Origin of anime' lantern performance at Japan Foundation, 3 p.m. and 6.30 p.m.

The Japan Foundation in London's Russell Square has announced that it will present a Japanese Magic Lantern show on Wednesday October 30. There will be two presentations, at 3 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. The performances are free but must be requested in advance. Customers should email [email protected] and give their name and the name of the performance (in this case, 'Magic Lantern Show.') The Japan Foundation is at 10-12 Russell Square, on the corner nearest to Russell Square tube station (map

From the press release:

Animated lantern shows in Japan, known as Nishiki Kage-E, are a traditional form of entertainment, which were popular in the Edo period. Now regarded to be the origin of Japanese animation, they feature exciting, beautiful and dream-like moving images projected by handheld lanterns, accompanied by music, sound effects and narration to bring the stories to life. The stories portrayed would often derive from a variety of traditional sources such as Kabuki and Rakugo, but the most popular of all were stories about ghosts and goblins, suiting the phantasmagorical, supernatural atmosphere created by the lanterns' projections.

Reviving this tradition is the Fantasmaglia Japonica Ikeda-Gumi, a group from Osaka, Japan, who have meticulously reconstructed the traditional equipment to recreate and realise new stories. In this special event at The Japan Foundation, the 16 members of the group will provide a live performance of the charming ghost story Sakura-shiranami hyoito-bukuro (Cherry Blossoms, Foaming Waves, Flicking Bag) and the animated graphic Karin-sha (Wreath Car), as well as talking about the cultural significance and mechanism of this forgotten art form.

In an age where we have become accustomed to computer and video graphics all around us, this traditional art will bring you back to the beautiful world of analogue animation, evoking nostalgia and stimulating the imagination of its viewers. All are welcome to attend this event, which is also guaranteed to be a great treat for Halloween!

N.B. Sakura-shiranami hyoito-bukuro and the projection of Karin-sha (approximately 30 minutes together) will be performed in Japanese with English surtitles.

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