The buzz

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 August, 2010, 12:00am

The influence of Japan can be seen everywhere in Hong Kong. No other nation has had a greater impact on our popular culture, fashion sense, eating habits and design sensibility, and it seems our city will be turning Japanese even more than usual in the weeks to come.

Apart from the usual slew of mainstream Japanese flicks hitting Hong Kong's cinemas - let's not mention the latest Doraemon animation here - there's a whole bento box of interesting cultural imports on offer from the Land of the Rising Sun that will have you saying domo arigato faster than it takes to eat a piece of sushi.

First, we have entered J-Pop season, with last week's showing at Hitec of anime soundtrack icons Kalafina and upcoming shows by two of the biggest acts in Japanese pop. Singer-model-actress Anna Tsuchiya (below) will be making her live debut in Hong Kong when she performs at Hitec on August 28, while former teen sensations Puffy - now looking much more grown up - will bring out the Hello Kitty-clad masses when they return for a show at the Convention and Exhibition Centre on September 23.

The Japanese-French trio United Future Organisation were among the prime movers of the acid-jazz scene and performed several times in Hong Kong during the heady days of 1990s nightclubbing. Since leaving the outfit in 2002, founding member Toshio Matsuura has maintained a busy schedule that will see him bringing his summery vibes back to Hong Kong for a poolside appearance at the W Hotel this Saturday night.

Performers of a more, ahem, risque type are also on their way to the region. Mihiro Taniguchi and Mika Kayama are two of the biggest stars of Japan's adult video industry, and will be making much-publicised visits to the 2010 Asia Adult Expo at the Venetian Macao casino from August 20-22. The Japanese will be basically owning this expo, which will be showcasing a host of curious and kinky products from our adventurous neighbours to the east.

Fans of the more traditional variety of Japanese cinema have plenty to look forward to as well. One of the highlights of the Summer International Film Festival is a showcase of films by revered Japanese director Yoji Yamada, now in his late 70s and the creator of one of the most respected oeuvres in modern cinema.

Yamada films including Twilight Samurai, Kabei - Our Mother, About Her Brother and Kyoto Story will be screening at various venues (see details on page 8) during the festival, which is also featuring flicks by other Japanese directors such as Sakaki Hideo, Katayama Kazuyoshi and Moriya Kentaro.

Japanese artists are also being featured prominently in several stand-out exhibitions around town. Experimental Japanese artists are among the Asian and Australian contributors to the Move on Asia 2010: Sealed Time in Video Art exhibition at Para/Site Art Space in Sheung Wan, and more traditional works by Japanese painters and sculptors are on show at the Summer Art Exhibition 2010 at the Asia Fine Art Gallery in Wan Chai.

And arriving in town after being shown around the world is Hidden Japan, an acclaimed exhibition of black and white photographs of his home country by renowned photographer Kijuro Yahagi, which is on show at the University of Hong Kong's museum and art gallery until September 5.

The kids aren't being left out of all this Japanese-themed goodness either. From August 19-22, the Venetian Macao will be hosting Hello Kitty's Fantastical Adventure, starring every little girl's favourite mouthless feline in a stage show alongside other much-loved characters from the famed Sanrio stable.

Sayonara for now.



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