Japan Visitor: What's happening in Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Shimane Japan

Home    Japan Travel Guide     Tokyo Guide     Contact     Auction Service     Japan Shop

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jiuta

地歌

Akiko Fujii (center) performing jiuta.

Jiuta - literally "earth song" - is a kind of Japanese musical performance dating from the 17th century when blind male musicians would entertain the yuppies of the day: the rising professional classes, with the koto: a kind of harp, the shamisen: a three-stringed guitar-like instrument, and the shakuhachi: a bamboo flute.

Needless to say, such music is now rarely heard in Japan, and I was privileged to be offered a ticket to a jiuta performance on Monday evening at Tokyo's Aoyama Round Theater, courtesy of the main jiuta performer, Ms. Akiko Fujii, and the Japan Traditional Cultures Foundation.

Like most court-inspired music in Japan, jiuta is hardly entertainment in the conventional sense of the word. It is very closely allied with silence, and has complicated rhythms that are not really designed to get toes tapping.

The main performer of the evening, Ms. Akiko Fujii, had a very engaging presence, a full, expressive voice, and exuded complete mastery of the jiuta form. Her very first performance, "Black Hair," was especially enchanting, and made even more enjoyable by being able to follow the lyrics in English translation.

“It is the pillow we shared that night, when I let down my jet-black hair…”

Between performances there was English commentary, which also helped make the music that much more approachable.

Jiuta group.

Akiko Fujii, born in Osaka, is the daughter of the National Living Treasure, Kunie Fujii. She comes from a long line of musicians with a history going back almost 400 years.

Keep an eye on JapanVisitor’s What’s On page for future performances.

Yahoo Japan Auction Service

Book a hotel in Japan with Bookings

Cheap accommodation in Japan

Happi Coats

Japanese For Busy People

Keywords

Japan Tokyo jiuta Akiko Fujii Aoyama Round Theater

No comments:

Post a Comment