Each week I learn something new about Japan. Have you heard of Utsushi-e before? This is a style of animation that started more then 200 years ago in 1803 Edo Japan. It uses colored glass slides to make the animations and figures. This all was lit by a candle projector.
It originates from the magic lantern introduced from Europe in the 18th century. But these images did not move. Can you imagine the Utsushi-e performance with moving images 200 years ago in Europe? I think people would have seen it as magic. Now 200 years later there was an Utsushi-e performance in England! At the Hyper Japan Christmas market in London. Hyper Japan is a great event if you love Japanese fashion, anime, food and culture. We have been there last year and enjoyed it very much. Check out our video report over here.
Minwaza an Artistic group formed in 1968 from Japan preformed an Utsushi-e show at the Hyper Japan market. The show is a great combination of theater, animation and music. There were two Utsushi-e shows performed. 1929 Kobutori ( Lit: Plump) which was directed by director Yasuji Murata and also Akai Rosoku to Ningyo ( The mermaid and the red candle by children's storybook writer Minei Ogawa. A previous show of them was uploaded on Youtube. As and extra special, the Samurai musical drama Samurai Opera also was show. It was made by a young Japanese film maker. This was a short feature combining traditional samurai story lines with English Opera. This mix of traditional Japanese with the English and opera makes it very enjoyable to watch. Did you get curious? Go watch the official movie here on Youtube!
I hope to get the chance to see these performances in the future with my own eyes! Do you also hope to see it someday?