Cultural City of East Asia 2015: Niigata autumn event introduced

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NIIGATA, Japan – The Cultural Cities of East Asia commenced based on the agreement in the Japan-China-ROK Meeting of Ministers of Culture. This project selects three cities in Japan, China and the ROK in which to hold various cultural and artistic events with the aim of promoting artistic and cultural development in the East Asia region and enabling the three countries to foster mutual understanding and sense of unity in the region. The project also enhances the ability to convey the highly diverse cultures in East Asia.

Niigata is home to a rich lifestyle with an abundance of water and soil. It has a world-renowned food culture centered on rice as well as deeply-rooted regional traditional performing arts. As a port town, it has also adopted foreign cultures and grew own culture of “Omotenashi (hospitality)”. Niigata’s “Cultural Creative City Niigata” urban development initiatives based on this background which takes advantage of creativity of culture and the arts have been praised in Japan, and Niigata was designated as Japan’s second Cultural City of East Asia in 2015 following Yokohama in 2014.

The three cities, Niigata city of Japan, Cheongju City of ROK and Qingdao City of China will mutually implement various entertainment, artistic and food culture exchanges, and Niigata will host a variety of events incorporating Chinese and Korean culture and arts.

In this time, we announce the attractions of the Autumn events that is currently held and will be held from now: ”Water and Land Niigata Art Festival 2015” which is currently held, “NIIGATA MINATOPIKA”, “Niigata So Odori Festival” and “Niigata Anime & Manga Festival Vol. 6” are introduced below. You can experience a variety of cultures. To feel the excitement, please come to Niigata.

Niigata has been selected as Japan’s Cultural City of East Asia for 2015. So, this year is the perfect opportunity to experience Japanese dance, excellent manga and anime, an abundance of Japanese food and a variety of culture in Niigata. The Water and Land Niigata Art Festival is currently being held in the city. Looking ahead, the “Niigata So Odori Festival” will be held in September and the “Niigata Anime & Manga Festival” will be held in October. So, why not come to Niigata and experience the excitement?

FOOD

The people of Niigata enjoy sushi made from “Koshihikari” premium rice and fresh seafood caught in coastal waters as well as local cuisine made using rich local ingredients of the four seasons.
The people who visit Niigata can also enjoy Ryotei (traditional Japanese restaurant) cuisine and gorgeous geisha dances that have developed from ancient times along with the history of the port city in a rich dining space tailored to the season.

Niigata is also producer of high-quality Japanese sake, which is indispensable when enjoying these foods of Niigata.

EVENTS

Water and Land Niigata Art Festival 2015

Currently being held until October 12 (Mon / public holiday)

The Water and Land Niigata Art Festival is an art festival with the theme of water and land which is held once every three years in the city. This year the festival is being held for the third time and features a variety of programs inspired by “lagoons”, a symbol of water and land, such as exhibitions, performances, workshops and symposiums held throughout the city. The entire city of Niigata will be steeped in art during the festival period thanks to the heavy participation of the local community and citizens in addition to that of a number of renowned artists, both Japanese and international.
You can experience the local history, culture and food set against the unique landscape of Niigata where “art” meets “lagoons”.

The four main lagoons and throughout Niigata city

Main fields: Toyanogata, Fukushimagata, Sakata and Uwasekigata
Base camp: Old Futaba Junior High School
Satellites: Tenjuen, Ikutopia Shoku Hana

“NIIGATA MINATOPIKA”

1 minute projection mapping 2015 international projection mapping competition in “NIIGATA MINATOPIKA”

September 19 (Sat) – 23 (Wed / public holiday)

Minatopia projection mapping was first organized in 2013 and attracted many visitors last year as the “Symphony of Light and Movement”. An international projection mapping competition will be held under the name of “NIIGATA MINATOPIKA” this autumn.

The theme of this year’s competition, inspired by Niigata’s selection as Japan’s Cultural City of East Asia, is “CROSS/INTERSECTION”, and entrants from around the world will express this theme through their representation of cross-culture, cross-race and cross-nation, etc. at Minatopia. Works that have passed the preliminary screening will be exhibited and prize-winners will be determined by audience vote.

Guest creators from various countries such as South Korea, Indonesia and Belgium, etc. will hold talk sessions and screen their works, and a collaboration performance integrating music and dance with projection mapping will also held in addition to the exhibition of works of the competition entrants.

This is a valuable opportunity to witness creators from around the world showcasing their unique works and competing against one another in a new form of expression. It’s definitely an event to look forward to!

・Venue: Minatopia Niigata City History Museum
・Schedule

9/19 (Sat): Screening of selected works, announcement of the competition

9/20 (Sun): Competition day #1 (screening of works that have passed the preliminary screening and works of invited creators, voting, talk session)

9/21 (Mon / public holiday) Competition day #2 (screening of works that have passed the preliminary screening and works of invited creators, voting, collaboration performance)

9/22 (Tue / public holiday) Competition day #3 (screening of works that have passed the preliminary screening, open review, announcement of results)

9/23 (Wed / public holiday) Screening of selected works (prize-winning works and works of invited creators)

Niigata So Odori Festival

September 19 (Sat), 20 (Sun) and 21 (Mon / public holiday)

A total of 250 dance groups from all municipalities of Niigata Prefecture and 16 areas across Japan will gather to perform 16 genres of dance which will enliven the streets of Niigata for three days to round out the Summer. The Niigata So Odori Festival is Japan’s largest dance festival which celebrates all genres of dance as well as a summer tradition that is expected to attract around 210,000 people. It is also a Japanese festival that inherits the dance culture passed down from the Edo Period.

So, what genres of dance are performed at this festival?

You can participate in any genre such as jazz, hip-hop, latin, salsa, bossa nova, creative, contemporary and folk as long as you put your heart into it! There’s nothing better than putting your heart into a dance.

As Niigata has been selected as Japan’s Cultural City of East Asia for 2015, the South Korean “Ulsan Traditional Culture Art Troupe” and Chinese “shanghe guzi yangge” will also participate this year. A total of approximately 250 teams and 15,000 dancers will gather in the streets of Niigata.

Niigata Anime & Manga Festival Vol. 6

October 24 (Sat) and 25 (Sun)

The Niigata Anime & Manga Festival has been held in Niigata City since 2011 and is commonly known as “Gatafesu”. The festival attracted 55,000 visitors last year and saw Niigata City awash with anime and manga. Hanano Komachi and Sasa Dangoro, the PR characters that support “Niigata Manga and Anime City”, are also active participants in the festival.

Niigata is the birthplace of prominent manga artists such as Shinji Mizushima, Rumiko Takahashi and Mineo Maya as well as home to the popular “Niigata Anime Manga Museum” and “Niigata City Manga House” manga facilities.