Shubukai & Toyoaki Shamisen 2nd Annual Spring Recital – 4/15/18

Shubukai & Toyoaki Shamisen 2nd Annual Spring Recital

Join Shubukai and the Toyoaki Shamisen Ensemble for the 2nd Annual Spring Recital. “Ozashiki” or chamber music using drums, flute, and shamisen provide live accompaniment for the Shubukai Japanese classical dancers. This is a unique and exciting event in what we envision to be as a newly perpetuating legacy for Japanese performing arts diaspora here in the Midwest.


Asian Improv aRts Midwest

Here in Chicago, AIRMW has had tremendous success in connecting artists, community organizations and the city’s cultural institutions and has presented programs featuring world-class artistry while remaining rooted in the Chicago Asian American community. The organization consists of three departments; Traditional, Contemporary, and Media. The Traditional department is made up of 3 performance groups: Tsukasa Taiko(drumming), Toyoaki Shamisen(three stringed lute), and Shubukai(classical dance). All three departments are directed or assisted by professionals and artists.  AIRMW has collaborated with and/or received support from organizations that include the Japanese American Service Committee (JASC), the Jazz Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Illinois Arts Council, the Illinois Humanities Council, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Chicago Foundation and Meet The Composer, the Alphawood Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation.

Toyoaki Shamisen  豊秋三味線

Artistic Director Tatsu Aoki speaks about his music: “For me, the most influential art is the cultural legacy, the sound which surrounded me at Toyoakimoto, a geisha house in downtown Tokyo where I was born and grew up. I’ve known this sound, this music, and this feeling as far back as I can remember. From my early 20s when I was a rebel wondering whether to go along or go against, everything I have done as an artist revolved around my experiences of cultural legacy – the art and legacy embedded into my very body and soul.”  Toyoaki Shamisen joins with Shubukai to present performances of Japanese dance with live traditional accompaniment.

Shubukai Dance      秀舞会日本舞踊

Artistic Director and Founder of the program, Fujima Shunojo(藤間秀之丞), taught in Tokyo for several years before establishing his dance troupe in 1976 Chicago, where he has taught and maintained an active performance schedule.

For over four decades, Fujima Ryu of Chicago (シカゴ藤間流) has maintained its presence in the Japanese American community by performing and supporting various community events throughout the year. In the last 9 years, Asian Improv aRts Midwest has been a primary collaborator and has also produced the major cultural presentations of Fujima Ryu of Chicago. The continued success led to the merging of the two forces, and Fujima Ryu of Chicago has become one of the three traditional cultural arts programs within Asian Improv aRts Midwest.

In the Japanese tradition, every now and then there is a need to refocus and transform; it is called KO RO MO GAE(衣替え).  In October of 2016, in addition to celebrating both the 40th anniversary and the inaugural performance of the newest grandmaster, Fujima Yoshinojo(藤間淑之丞), we renewed our dedication, and redefined our commitment with the new identity of SHUBUKAI(秀舞会).

Together with Toyoaki Shamisen and Tsukasa Taiko, Shubukaipresents cultural arts and educational presentations throughout Chicago and the Midwest, and is committed to maintaining and sustaining the core aesthetics of Japanese cultural arts in Chicago and the Asian American community.