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edoanime1803: Magical “Utsushi-e”

Note: This page is from a previous year’s HYPER JAPAN Christmas Market event, please see our schedule for an up-to-date list of performances and activities.

edo1“Utsushi-e” is a form of animation that first appeared over 200 years ago in Edo (Tokyo). While little more than a series of of glass slides set in front of a crude candle projector, the result was nevertheless a spectacle the likes of which the Japanese people had never seen before. Now, after more than 200 years since the first show was performed, HYPER JAPAN Christmas Market will play host to the UK’s very first performance of utsushi-e at the Live.Japan stage, performed by Minzawa.

Magic LanternShowing will be the 1929 masterpiece “Kobutori” (lit: “plump”) which was directed by the visionary director Yasuji Murata. Also showing will be “Akai Rosoku To Ningyo” (“The Mermaid and the Red Candle”) by children’s storybook writer Mimei Ogawa. These two works of art will surely warm the heart of any anime fan with their retro feel and warm lines.

As a special feature, the stylish Samurai musical drama “Samurai Opera” will also be shown. This short 20-minute feature combines traditional samurai storylines with English-language opera, making for a slightly odd yet delightful, and definitely humurous experience.

An artistic group formed in 1968, Minzawa has been entertaining children and adults alike across the Japanese archipelago with their productions of shadow puppetry, “utsushi-e” and other traditional forms of Japanese theatre. Dedicated to supporting the traditional arts, the group is focused on using and keeping alive the traditional methods.