The Japan-centric events of the month ahead promise to be as rich and full as autumn itself—brisk and colorful, with a dash of unpredictability.
This month’s highlights include:
Friday, October 3, 6:30 p.m.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas
New York premiere! Legendary Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, Pom Poko) revisits an ancient Japanese folktale in this gorgeous, hand- drawn masterwork decades in the making. Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter (James Caan) and his wife (Mary Steenburgen), a tiny girl grows into an exquisite young lady (Chloë Grace Moretz). The beautiful princess enthralls all who encounter her—but ultimately she must confront her fate. The film will have a “sneak preview” screening in Japanese at IFC Center on Thursday, Oct. 16 prior to its regular run Oct. 17. Click here for additional showtimes.
Sunday, Oct. 5, 4:00 p.m.
Morning Musume ’14
Best Buy Theater, 1515 Broadway
The 10-member Morning Musume ’14, also known as Momusu, are one of the most successful Japanese all-girl idol groups, produced by the famous rock writer-producer Tsunku. Their music style is poppy and upbeat, matched only by their elaborately choreographed dance performances. Their story began in 1997 after a TV audition and they made their major debut in 1998.The following year, their single “Love Machine” was their first to sell over one million units. Morning Musume ’14 have already performed in China, Taiwan, South Korea, France and the USA (Los Angeles), and are poised to make their New York stage debut.
Sunday, Oct. 5, 7:00 p.m.
Taikoza Live 2014
Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway
$40/$30 members, students and seniors/$22 children
Experience the thunderous rhyhms of the ancestral Japanese taiko drums and the magical sounds of the bamboo flutes, as Taikoza returns with richly authentic performances and colorful Japanese dances. The international touring taiko group, led by Swiss-born director Marco Lienhard, will present new compositions as well as traditional pieces in this unique concert featuring special guest from Japan Ichiro Jishoya, who was recently featured in the documentary film Drum Out the Drum of Happiness – Inclusion. This concert will celebrate the 150 anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between Switzerland and Japan.
Sunday, Oct. 5, 8:00 p.m.
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd Street
“Creating the album Soul Quest was like going on a soul quest, as I tried to figure out how to express the things I was thinking and experiencing during this past year,” confides pianist, composer and humanitarian Keiko Matsui. “This music energizes me and I am overwhelmed with emotion when I listen to it. I hope people will allow themselves to go inside the music and become a part of my journey.” With an all-star cast that includes such heavyweights as producer and drummer Narada Michael Walden, guitarist Chuck Loeb, saxophonist Kirk Whalum and bassist Marcus Miller, among others, Keiko explores themes of love, loss, spirituality and environmental consciousness in her newest recording.
Sara Galas Band “Unmeasurable Picture”
La MaMa at the Club, 74A East 4th Street
Free – RSVP suggested
In the mood for something experimental? Enjoy an interdisciplinary performance of original music, poetry and lyrical imagery conceived by Sara Galassini, directed by Sophie Bortolussi and composed by Yukio Tsuji. Together, the Sara Galas Band serves up a special performance by Galassini and flamenco dancer Maria Elena Anaya, featuring Bill Ruyle on drums, Claudio Scarabottini on piano, mandolin and accordion, Yuka Tadano on bass, and Yukio Tsuji on guitar and shakuhachi.
New York Comic Con
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street
$35 (Oct. 9 tickets only)
The East Coast’s largest gathering for comics, film, anime and manga fans, New York Comic Con returns with its biggest roster of Hollywood talent to date, including the first-ever U.S. personal appearance of Death Note artist Takeshi Obata and the NYCC debut of Yoshiki of X Japan! This year includes the inaugural NYCC Eastern Championships of Cosplay, the first stop in the “Quest for the Crown,” a new global cosplay competition circuit that celebrates the very best in cosplay design from around the world.
Saturday, Oct. 11, 8:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza
Led by co-founder, drummer, pianist and songwriter Yoshiki, X Japan returns to New York City for their first concert since 2010, performing both fan favorites and all-new music. This MSG debut—only the second time a Japanese group has headlined the World’s Most Famous Arena—marks a significant milestone for a group that has since toured 16 countries, sold over 30 million albums and singles combined, and sold out Japan’s 55,000 seat Tokyo Dome a record-setting 18 times. Amid death and breakups, the band has steadfastly maintained X Japan’s vision and this year brought them together to perform where their U.S. story started, in New York City.
Tuesday, Oct. 14, 7:00 p.m.
Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra
Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place
Back in the late 1980s, a group of musicians rose from the Tokyo street/club scene, and called themselves Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. Ever since their recording debut, the band’s popularity has grown exponentially with fans and fellow musicians alike, having earned credibility and the reputation for their one and only Tokyo-flavored ska music, which puts a playful and diverse spin on traditional ska tunes. 2014 sees the band celebrating their 25th anniversary with a special nationwide tour and their 19th studio album, Ska Me Forever, marking a new achievement for this iconic, yet ever-evolving band that continues to challenge and surprise audiences with their music.
Hatsune Miku Expo 2014 Concert
Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street
Fresh off of opening for Lady Gaga on the latter’s arena tour, this unique expo places virtual idol Hatsune Miku front and center in America, including an artwork exhibition at the Lower East Side concept space Wallplay, showcasing illustrations, videos and more, revolving around the Vocaloid singer and the cultural movement that was inspired by her. The long-awaited live concert show will utilize cutting-edge projection technology and a live band
Monday, Oct. 27, 8:00 p.m.
Maximum the Hormone
Best Buy Theater, 1515 Broadway
Turn it up! Last year, nu metal/hardcore punk outfit Maximum the Hormone appeared at Ozzfest Japan alongside Black Sabbath, Slipknot and Tool, and now they’re ready to invade New York City for their first-ever American gig as a headliner. Formed in 1998, MTH has achieved great success on the European continent and across Asia. Their last visit to the U.S was six years ago in 2008 for a national tour with Dropkick Murphys. MTH’s music has struck a deep connection with audiences across the globe, and is best defined as a amalgamation of fierce, heavy sound stirred within poppy, catchy melodies.
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