9/28/2019 (Sat) - 10/27/2019 (Sun) 12:00-14:00
9/28 (Sat)
Opening Ceremony at Mori no Terrace
Awaji Art Circus Executive Committee
Pasona Group Inc.
Various venues on Awaji Island (Japan)

Main venues:
Mori no Terrace (inside Nijigen no Mori) (Awaji City)
Awaji Yumebutai (Awaji City)
Sumoto Citizen Park (Sumoto City)
Minacoicoiya (Minamiawaji City)

Special events venues:
Awajishima Park (Venue for Special Event "Art Trip in the Woods")
Challenge Shop Market CAP
Performing Artists:
12 groups (22 people) from 12 countries
Nominal Support:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Japan Foundation, Japan Tourism Agency, Japan National Tourism Organization, THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN Sumoto Bureau, Kobe Shimbun, Sun TV, Radio Kansai, Kiss FM, Awaji Island Kuniumi Association, Awaji Island Tourist Association, Awaji City, Sumoto City, Minamiawaji City, Awaji City Board of Education, Sumoto City Board of Education, Minamiawaji City Board of Education (*in no particular order)

*Recognized as "This is Mecenat 2019" by the Association for Corporate Support of the Arts, Japan.
*Recognized as participating project for "Power of Culture from Kansai" proposed by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.
*Received grant "Support of touristic places" from Hyogo Tourism Association
Outstanding Performance Award (2nd place) in prestigious of “Mecenat Award 2019”



Photo by Anna Gorchanuk

 Reflecting our overall aim of breathing new life into all regional corners of Japan, we marked this 5th hosting of the Awaji Art Circus by moving outside Awaji Island for the first time and holding an event entitled 'TOHOKU ART CIRCUS' in the north-east Tohoku region. We visited Marumori town and Sendai city in Miyagi prefecture and the cities of Ichinoseki and Kamaishi in Iwate prefecture; putting on performances and arranging cultural experiences for the artists at the same time.

 In Marumori Town, all the overseas artists performed in the setting of a historical warehouse as well as putting on a collaborative performance with the local "Tabi Taiko" group. In Sendai city, meanwhile, the Aoba no Kaze terrace proved a generous venue and having glass to the rear of the stage made it ideal for admiring the scenery around, while enjoying the performance. Then, at Yagiyama Elementary School in the same city, we took part in an intercultural exchange program which gave 200 children the chance to enjoy the overseas artists perform for them. The venue in Ichinoseki city was a long-established movie theater, dating back some 70 years but eliciting a different experience from art circus venues we normally use.

 To really bring home Tohoku as a region to the artists and convey its charms, we held a cultural day for the artists in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture. Other activities included a visit to Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, the Tsunami Memorial Hall, a tour and tasting at the Hamachidori sake brewery, a tour of the Rugby World Cup fan zone at Omachi and a visit to Kamaishi Dai-Kannon Temple. This tour helped the artists feel more at one with Tohoku and after it, they shared details of their favorite and most memorable moments via social media - Facebook and Instagram - to the world.

② Main performance program

 The artists performed at a total of five venues (HELLO KITTY SMILE, Mori no Terrace (in Awaji Island Park, Nijigen No Mori), Awaji Yumebutai, Sumoto Citizen Square and Minacoicoiya) over a month or so and injected plenty of island-wide excitement in the process. Each venue featured four or so groups of artists putting on wide-ranging performances at 12 noon and 1pm, then interacting with onlookers and taking pictures after the show. the performance,
 The shuttle bus service we provided for kindergartens and nurseries in Sumoto City helped provide valuable opportunities for children to enjoy the performance of foreign artists.

③ Special Events


Photo by Anna Gorchanuk

 One notable new initiative in 2019 was a parade held in each of the Awaji Island cities, which saw all 12 artists perform while walking through Awaji Island Park, in time to accompanying music by the Pasona Awaji Orchestra. The enjoyable event also saw customers get involved in the parade - participating and walking together.

 The Honmachi shopping street in Sumoto City then played host to a lively parade from end to end, breathing new life into what was normally a sleepy shuttered area in hibernation, thanks to the music and performance energy of the Pasona Awaji Orchestra, crowned off with a grand show held at the Sumoto Citizen Square, in which all artists participated. Many people gathered in the public square, enjoying the performances there and interacting with artists and this date - the only one on which all artists appeared in Sumoto City - proved a great success.

Awaji Art Circus with Ningyaka Fukurando

 In Minamiawaji City, rather than a single art circus parade, instead, a large-scale event named "Ningyaka Fukurando with Awaji Art Circus" took place as we joined forces with the local Awaji Country Project NPO. A total of four stages were erected at Fukura Port and the Roadside Station Fukura and performances ensued throughout the wider Fukura area. Artists enjoyed putting on a show for tourists embarking on and alighting from the whirlpool cruise and walked from the pier to the “Ninkyaka Fukurando” main stage in a lively parade with the musicians from the Pasona Awaji Orchestra. Plus, in another first for Awaji Island, our foreign artists graced the Awaji Puppet Stage to perform, filling the puppet theater twice over with throngs of customers.
 As the night drew in, we rounded off the day by collaborating with the “Minato Oasis Fukura Wonder FUGU Festival”, with artists performing in front of the huge floating 'Tiger Puffer' Fugu in Fukura Port. Three groups of Awaji Art Circus artists paid homage to the fugu puffer fish with performances on a day which saw the city of Fukura buzzing enjoyably from dawn to dusk thanks to the Awaji Art Circus performers.

Awaji Art Circus with Awaji Island Family Festa in Seapa

 This year, the Awaji Art Circus held a special event at Seapa - the Minamiawaji shopping center, which featured two performances each from French acrobatic unit Cheese on Fire and the American clown and taxi horn (klaxon) player, Michelle Musser. Unique skills on show made it a riveting spectacle!
 Local people also joined forces with the artists to perform, in a combo including energetic 'tramparobix' from a kids trampoline studio and a masterful and nostalgic medley with electone player Kaoru Mano, Mikan Maru on piano and an ocarina wind instrument. Keeping the proceedings even more lively were the Tatami Band trio members Maho Furukawa (vocalist), Steve Eto (percussionist) and Yukinobu Kami (FM COCOLO DJ) who treated onlookers to original performances and a fascinating discussion. Plus, as well as the on-stage performances, visitors had the opportunity to buy different cute jewelry and participate in various workshops by locals.

Art Trip in the Woods

Photo by Yulia Skogoreva

 Using the whole of the Awaji Island Park, we set up four venues inside, aiming to provide the visitors opportunity not only to enjoy the stage performance but also to make the most of the island's wonderful nature while walking through the "woods". Stage 1 played host to a collaborative performance between the artists and a local Japanese drums group Kotan, Stage 2 saw artists perform alongside the Pasona Awaji Orchestra and Stage ③ was left to the artists to showcase their own performances. Adding to the spectacle, courtesy of a student from the Kyoto University of Art and Design, Naoyuki Yamamoto, a "Natural Fruit and Vegetable Zoo" plus an art installation called "Bamboo Pod" by Ankit Tomar from the Awaji Youth Federation, Pasona Group Inc.
 Between the stage performances, the Pasona Awaji Orchestra and accompanying artists moved from one stage to the next in a parade and welcomed happy audience to join in en route.
 The visitors also had an oportunity to participate in stamp rally by visiting and gathering all stamps from all venues, and then to win a nice present in a lottery.
 At the end of the event, on the main stage, the special performance of the day featured a collaboration of all artists with the Swinging Willow Jazz Orchestra of Sokai Junior and Senior High School. On this occasion, the overall performance of the artists, tailored to the students' musical performance, spawned unique content, unseen elsewhere. The icing on the cake was a general stall operated by local residents and a range of international activities thanks to Awaji Youth Federation colleagues. Visitors experienced the best of Awaji Island's nature, gourmet offerings and a range of activities in addition to the performance itself.

Special Collaboration with Local School

Photo by Anna Gorchanuk

 Once again, this year we took the opportunity to collaborate with local schools in greater depth and created a collaboration performance, centering on our work with the Swinging Willow Jazz Orchestra from Sokai Junior and High School, which performs on and off Awaji Island. We kicked things off with an exchange event for students and artists, so that both sides could showcase their performance and get to know the other better.

 However, given that the timing coincided with exams for students, only a single rehearsal was held, which spawned a unique event entitled “Art Trip in the Woods”, uniting famous jazz compositions with original performance offerings from our Awaji Art Circus artists. Here, one of the stand-out features was seeing artists go beyond their original casting groups, making new numbers of acrobatic, magic, juggling and dance performances.

 As well as presenting an opportunity for interaction and challenge, this was also an initiative that spawned fresh growth and a valuable experience for students and artists alike.

Closing Ceremony and Contest

 In a break from the normal routine, the closing ceremony this year saw all of the artists deliver their own performance repertoires while competing for the title of the most popular artist. There to judge as special jury members were Awaji Art Circus Executive Committee Officers, Awaji Art Circus partners and circus and entertainment industry figures. And alongside the official judging, all those old enough in the audience (elementary school age and above) present at the venue could take advantage of a system allowing them to show their support and vote for their favorite artists.
 Subsequently, following the contest, the second part of the program featured part of the collaborative performances that had been arranged with local school jazz band, Japanese drum group and the Pasona Awaji Orchestra, for the customers' enjoyment. Finally, the verdict from the judges and audience in attendance saw the following performers honored:
 In first place (Kirill Fire - the freestyle basketball from Russia), in second place (Cheese on Fire - The acrobats and magic unit from France) and in third place (Trio Banquine - The acrobats from Canada) in an awards ceremony.

④ Participation in the Events Inside and Outside Awaji

As well as the main performances unfolding simultaneously at several venues island-wide, Awaji Art Circus artists also take part in other local events as well as events outside Awaji Island. After watching the performances, local people and tourists enjoyed the chance for in-person dialogue with the international artists.

1)TANADA YOGA in OKAYAMA Kamimomi tanada
Date: October 5 (Sat.)
Venue: Okayama, Kamimomi rice fields
Artists: all artists

2)American Music Festival in Kyoto
Date: October 13 (Sun.)
Venue: Kyoto Station Bld. Muromachi-koji Square
Artists: Californian Dreamers、Michelle Musser

3)Beach Cleaning
Date: October 26 (Sat.)
Venue: Iwaya Tanoshiro Beach
Artists: Kirill Fire、Afiki Arts

⑤ International Cultural Exchange Program

School Visits

Minamiawaji Kashuu Elementary School, Sumoto First Elementary School, Sumoto Aihara Elementary School, Minamiawaji Miharashichi Elementary School, Awaji Oomachi Elementary School, Awaji Ichinomiya Elementary School, AIE International High School (Total 7 times)
One of the popular activities of Awaji Art Circus this year was the school visit performance, which featured some of the global artists visiting the local schools on Awaji Island for international exchange and cultural education. This year acrobatic group Trio Banquine from Canada not only performed but also gave presentation about their home country (in English, with interpretation). We also organized a workshop program, which meant students could experience performances together, as an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the art form and broaden their horizons by experiencing the global culture more closely.

⑥ Hotel Visit Performance

On weekends artists visited some resort hotels on Awaji Island and performed for staying tourists, helping them to create unforgettable memories about their trip.

⑦ Program for artists

Cultural Tours Around Awaji Island

 As far as the aim of the Awaji Art Circus is to help revitalize Awaji Island, participating artists come to Awaji not only to perform at different locations, but also to learn about and experience the local appeal and culture and then spread the word about the island worldwide. That’s why we prepared various touristic and cultural programs for them during the downtime of the Festival.
 We took the artists around the island and showed them the key Awaji venues, including the historical and meaningful Izanagi Shrine, the magnificent Honpukuji Water Temple designed by architect Tadao Ando, the marvelous Naruto whirlpools etc.
 To help the artists get a better idea of Japanese culture and experience local traditions, we organized several workshops, such as Japanese drums, fukimodoshi – party horn making, Japanese paper-making, incense-making, Awaji puppets etc.

Nushima Cultural Exchange Event

During the visit to Nushima Island, as well as the artists visiting the most famous touristic locations, they also held an event for local residents in the gymnasium of Nushima Junior High School. Children from Nushima Elementary School put on taiko drumming performances alongside other performances from Awaji Art Circus artists. To round off the day, a local Bon Odori experience party and cultural exchange with the local islanders took place.

Cultural Exchange Event at Kobe Women`s University

We visited Kobe Women's University for an exchange event. First of all, many foreign artists and students participated in a swing dance workshop organized by the university, which was followed by workshops on traditional dance from India and Africa, guided by artists. Reciprocating after this exposure to overseas culture, students at Kobe Women's University then introduced elements of Japanese culture in return. Thanks to the efforts of students and teachers, the artists enjoyed a wonderful opportunity to experience tea ceremony, calligraphy, koto, kendo, archery and karate. The highlights included an invaluable chance for artists to get up close to a range of Japanese culture within a limited time and students who had plenty of chance to practice their English with foreigners.

⑧ Artists sharing about Awaji Island experience

Since the artists of the Awaji Art Circus are also ambassadors for Awaji Island, their mission included spreading information about the island via social media. Artists posted in their own languages and English daily about the performance venues, what happened to them during the day, nice local people, wonderful views of Awaji, interesting things and unusual experiences etc. Their friends and followers then checked those posts, liked them, commented and helped convey news of Awaji Island worldwide in the process.

⑨ Awaji Art Circus 2019 in Massmedia

Awaji Art Circus 2019 was presented in Kansai Joho Net TV, Kiss FM KOBE and JRT Shikoku Broadcasting, as well as in major Japanese newspapers such as Yomiuri Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Kobe Shimbun etc.



Awaji Art Circus. All Rights Reserved.