The interdisciplinary performance features artists Tatsu Aoki, Kioko Aoki, Francis Wong, Megan Lee, Wesley Hitomo Yee and Melody Takata, as well as master artists Chizuru Kineya and Michikaoru Hanayagi.
Chizuru Kineya – Grand Master Samisen Player
Chizuru Kineya is a Nagauta samisen artist and an accredited master of the instrument from the legendary Kineya Shamisen family. She began her studies at the age of 6. Kineya performs in the Japanese music and performing arts scene, and makes regular appearances at the National Theater of Japan. She conducts workshops for regional schools and popular media to educate the general public of the nearly 400-year history of the samisen tradition. The 11th annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival marked her US debut and first collaboration with artists working in the Chicago Blues tradition. Kineya has been a regular collaborator with Tatsu Aoki and Genryu Arts in SF since her first Taiko Legacy appearance in 2005. In 2012, Chizuru Kineya produced the Tokyo Samisen CD project, TOYOAKIMOTO, with Tatsu Aoki.
Michikaoru Hanayagi – Japanese Classical Dancer
Michikaoru Hanayagi began her dance training at the age of 3. After dancing for the Takarazuka Revue, she received a Master’s License from the Hanayagi School of Japanese Classical Dance, and has been dancing and teaching traditional dance ever since. She performs and hosts workshops internationally, and works to preserve traditional Japanese arts and culture through Shikunshi, her non-profit organization. In addition to her work with Shikunshi, Hanayagi established Oukasanjyuku, a school for Japanese women to learn and share the heart and soul of Japanese culture.
GenRyu Arts, along with a stellar cast of musicians and dancers from around the globe, join us at the Asian Art Museum to celebrate 20 years of “collaboration and collision at the intersection of tradition and the avant-garde.” Founded as Gen Taiko in 1995 and incorporated as GenRyu Arts in 2008, the group’s mission is to promote, present and participate in Japanese and Japanese American culture through Taiko drumming and other traditional and contemporary art forms. Deeply rooted in San Francisco’s Japantown and in the Asian American Community, GenRyu Arts merges Japanese cultural forms—Taiko, dance and folk songs—with new music, spoken word and visual design. These singular expressions honor community heritage and address key issues stemming from the legacy of internment and redevelopment, both of which continue to impact San Francisco’s Japanese American community.