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The Festival of Japan Video Highlights

This is your passport to the arts and culture of Japan as experienced through the Kennedy Center's Japan! culture + hyperculture festival (February 2008). This series will help you learn about some of the major art forms in Japan—art, theater, dance, music, manga, anime, robots, and visual art installations.

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Shin Tanaka: Papercraft

Shin Tanaka is a Japanese artist, graffiti writer, paper toy creator, designer who has worked with some of the biggest names in street fashion and designer toys. Born in Fukuoka, Japan in 1980, Tanaka’s claim to fame is a vast range of elaborate paper constructions ranging from adorably hip and colorful toy monsters, to spot-on replicas of cutting edge footwear. His work has led to collaborations with Nike, Adidas and Reebok, for specially commissioned shoes, and scores of gallery showcases throughout the world. Many of his original creations are posted on his website and made available for viewers to download and cut out into their very own paper toys. Shin Tanaka’s playful and fun designs are appealing for creative youngsters as much as they are for the most hardened and cynical hipster. At the Kennedy Center, Tanaka will present the art of paper toy making—Paper Toy Live! ARTSEDGE, the Kennedy Center's arts education network, supports the creative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning in, through, and about the arts, offering free, standards-based teaching materials for use in and out of the classroom, media-rich interactive experiences, professional development resources, and guidelines for arts-based instruction and assessment. Visit ARTSEDGE at artsedge.kennedy-center.org.

2mins

21 Dec 2008

Rank #1

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Koji Kakinuma: Trancework

Calligraphy artist Koji Kakinuma began studying traditional Japanese monochrome brushwork at the age of five. In 1989, Kakinuma arrived on the national stage when he became the youngest person to win the coveted Dokuritsu Shojindan Foundation prize. His rise through the Japanese art world has since been meteoric. For the festival, Kakinuma presented one of his trademark innovations, Trancework, in which he paints countless repetitions of a simple, powerful phrase, producing a giant calligraphic work. Japanese fue player Kaoru Watanabe and contemporary percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani accompanied the performance. ARTSEDGE, the Kennedy Center's arts education network, supports the creative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning in, through, and about the arts, offering free, standards-based teaching materials for use in and out of the classroom, media-rich interactive experiences, professional development resources, and guidelines for arts-based instruction and assessment. Visit ARTSEDGE at artsedge.kennedy-center.org.

3mins

21 Dec 2008

Rank #2

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Shigeo Kawashima: Wa

The Japanese have a long and deep relationship with bamboo, and their culture has produced the most beautiful art in this medium. Shigeo Kawashima's sculptures take bamboo as an artistic medium to a new level. His work WA ("Ring") was commissioned for the festival and constructed on site. ARTSEDGE, the Kennedy Center's arts education network, supports the creative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning in, through, and about the arts, offering free, standards-based teaching materials for use in and out of the classroom, media-rich interactive experiences, professional development resources, and guidelines for arts-based instruction and assessment. Visit ARTSEDGE at artsedge.kennedy-center.org.

3mins

21 Dec 2008

Rank #3

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Robotopia Rising: Asimo, Actroid and More

At the forefront of hyperculture, Japan's robots are at once amazing works of art and fantastic feats of engineering. Japan has been at the vanguard of global robot development and technology since the 1970s and continues to invent new ways these machines can aid, entertain, and inspire mankind. Robotopia Rising was a robot extravaganza that highlighted the science and culture of Japanese robotics. This groundbreaking celebration was a tribute to Japanese craftsmanship and technology as well as a preview of the future. The most sophisticated robots in the world were present, and daily shows will provided a fascinating showcase for all of their amazing talents. Kokoro's Actroid DER2 greeted visitors throughout the festival, talking to them and even answering their questions. Developed with cuttingedge technology, including Advanced Media, Inc.'s voice recognition " AmiVoice" support, the Actroid DER2 has an astonishingly human-like appearance and a great range of gestures and facial expressions. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd's Wakamaru can converse with people via voice and facial recognition with a vocabulary of up to 10,000 Japanese words and will be shaking visitors' hands. Honda's Asimo was designed to operate freely in the human living space and be people-friendly. It can walk smoothly, climb stairs, communicate, and recognize people's voices and faces. Toyota Partner Robot was developed with artificial lips that move with the same finesse as human ones, enabling it to play the trumpet. ARTSEDGE, the Kennedy Center's arts education network, supports the creative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning in, through, and about the arts, offering free, standards-based teaching materials for use in and out of the classroom, media-rich interactive experiences, professional development resources, and guidelines for arts-based instruction and assessment. Visit ARTSEDGE at artsedge.kennedy-center.org.

3mins

21 Dec 2008

Rank #4

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Matt Alt: Jumbo Machinders, part 2

Matt Alt walks you through his extensive collection of Japanese jumbo machinder toys, which were on display in the Kennedy Center's South Gallery. Matt Alt's childhood obsession with the Japanese giant robot led him to major in Japanese and International Relations at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He lives near Tokyo, where he and his wife run a translation agency. ARTSEDGE, the Kennedy Center's arts education network, supports the creative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning in, through, and about the arts, offering free, standards-based teaching materials for use in and out of the classroom, media-rich interactive experiences, professional development resources, and guidelines for arts-based instruction and assessment. Visit ARTSEDGE at artsedge.kennedy-center.org.

9mins

21 Dec 2008

Rank #5