The year’s biggest celebration of all things Japanese got off to a flying start on Friday, with thousands of visitors descending on Tobacco Dock for a truly tremendous time! Highlights are too many and varied to mention in full, but here’s just a taste of what was on offer.
One of the most memorable performances was the UK debut by innovative creative troupe KAIEN, who’s cracking combination of dance, music and video had festival goers in a frenzy. And of course, visitors were able to say they saw them here first. Don’t worry, however, as there’s still a chance to see them second; they’ll be performing again during the second session tomorrow.
Yet another artist performing for the first time on British soil to great acclaim was Fuka Mariwo, who bewitched her audience with a performance that beautifully blended the very best of Japan’s ancient and modern traditions. She’ll also be performing again tomorrow, as well as on Sunday, giving you two more chances to be charmed by her unique sound.
Bringing the day’s proceedings to a crescendo, and making it a hat trick of hot debuts, was the thrilling musical trio REOL. Each member had successful solo careers before forming the band, but this evening’s performance proved they’re even better together. Their amazing alchemy can be admired twice more over the course of the festival, in tomorrow’s second session and on Sunday.
Those able to drag themselves away from the HYPER Live stage long enough were able to find a more than enough to keep them fed, watered and entertained. In the ever-popular J-Culture activity area, making your own kokeshi doll proved to be very popular. If you want to try this for yourself and missed out today, you’ll need to be quick: it’s only on again during session 1 tomorrow.
A final highlight was the appearance of Harajuku fashion legend Haruka Kurebayashi, appearing in collaboration with our friends at Dreamy Bows. Her fashion transformation event was a big hit, and she’ll be on hand for the remainder of the Festival, so be sure not to miss out!