News | 11 November 2016

Japan Festival to blossom in Capital

Ichi, ni, san, shi, go! The fifth Japan Festival Wellington is springing into the Capital this November, bringing the best of the Land of the Rising Sun to the Coolest Little Capital in the World.

Held every two years in Wellington, previous Japan Festivals have exceeded 30,000 attendees, this year’s line-up of free entertainment and activities is expected to draw thousands more during the week of activities culminating in the Festival Day on 26 November.

The Japan Festival Wellington celebrates the relationship between New Zealand and Japan by bringing Japanese culture and businesses to the capital for an array of spectacular events, beginning 18 November through to 4 December.

This year's festival is presented by Wellington City Council, Asia New Zealand Foundation and the Embassy of Japan, with support from the Japan World Exposition 1970 Commemorative Fund and Wellington’s Japanese community.

Featuring the crazily-funny Japanese ventriloquist Showko, the world’s greatest kendama ninjas Zoomadanke, an exhibition of some of Japan’s most innovative and interesting cars, acclaimed jazz singer Tsubaki and many displays of Japan’s rich and fascinating culture, the Japan Festival has plenty to enthral all visitors.

“The sounds, sights and edible delights of Japan will provide an amazing splash of colour and culture to the Capital,” says Mayor Justin Lester, who is also the Arts and Culture spokesperson.

“The Festival is a great way of celebrating our warm and prosperous relations with our sister city of Sakai, and to promote the wonderful diversity of culture in our Capital.

“This year’s festival has an incredible line-up. From cutting-edge performance and comedy, flash electric vehicles, scintillating martial arts and the beauty of traditional Japanese culture in calligraphy, origami and tea ceremonies, there’s so much to see, hear, taste and create,” he said.

When Saturday 26 November 11am–7pm
Where  TSB Bank Arena

The Festival Day will feature local and international Japanese performances, including taiko drumming performance and workshop, martial arts displays (Kyudo, Naginata and Iaidō), origami workshop, tea ceremony, children’s Koten dance and food and cultural stalls.

International performers

  • Zoomadanke: Well-known Kendama duo “Kodaman” and “Easy” have enthralled both television and live audiences across Japan to Hawaii and Brazil, South East Asia and Europe since 2010.
  • Wrapped in a funky kimono and high heels, acclaimed ventriloquist and comedian, Showko (2016 Australia’s Got Talent), brings her hilarious ventriloquist show that has entertained audiences of all ages all over the world. 
  • Japanese singer, Aki Tsubaki, performs a soulful mix of jazz, bossa nova, flamenco and originals.
  • Hokai Shibayama brings vitality to this traditional art form, creating pieces of work that are rooted in the Japanese soul.

2016 Overload + Wellington Japan Festival Cosplay Compeition

After the immense success of the Cosplay Corner and the popularity of Victoria University of Wellington’s kimono booth in 2014, the Wellington Japan Festival, together with Overload – NZ Comic & Manga Convention, will bring to the stage the 2016 Overload + Wellington Japan Festival Cosplay Competition.

Other highlights

  • Photo exhibition of Japanese immigrants’ living in New Zealand, 26 November, TSB Bank Arena. 12 Japanese immigrants use photography to share their experiences in New Zealand.
  • Wellington Children’s Art Exhibition, 21–25 November, Michael Fowler Centre. Wellington City Council and three Wellington Artists – Kumiko Matsumoto, Rieko Woodford-Robinson and Joyce Wu – bring the Children’s art exhibition to Wellington as a part of the Japan Festival.
  • A Day in The Life of Wellington and Sakai photo exhibition, 18 November–3 December, Wellington Central Library Mezzanine Bridge. Wellingtonians and Sakai residents share their everyday experiences in A Day in the Life photo exhibition.
  • Japanese CARnival, 24 November–26 December, 10am–5pm, Te Papa Museum forecourt. The Embassy of Japan and the Wellington City Council present the Japanese CARnival, exhibiting the newest and most progressive models of Japanese cars and demonstrating Japan’s spirit of innovation and technology.
  • “Wishing Bright Life!” Hokai Shibayama Calligraphy Exhibition, 27 November–4 December, NZ Academy of Fine Art.
  • Kirin Beer Garden, 21–26 November, 3-8pm, Mac’s Brew Bar. Relax by the waterfront and enjoy a glass of Japanese beer in Wellington Japan Festival’s outdoor Beer Garden, proudly brought to you by Kirin Beer and Mac’s Brew Bar. For more information, check the Japan Festival Facebook page.
  • Martial Arts Display, 19 November, 1–1.30pm, Te Papa 2nd floor foyer. Enjoy an exciting visual display of some of Japan’s most interesting weapon based martial arts, including the Samurai sword art of Kendō (the way of the sword), Iaidō (quick drawing of the sword), the unique whirl of the Naginata (the Japanese halberd) and the power of the Bō staff.