What to check out at Edinburgh Festival Fringe Japan

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has, for the first time in its seventy-year history, been cancelled due to Covid-19, which is yet another reminder of how much this year sucks. A highlight of the calendar for live performance fans across Europe, this institution has also played host to some of Japan’s top comedic talents over the years.

In an effort to not let the year be a total wash, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Japan has been set up due to a partnership between the Japanese consulate in Edinburgh, the artists of mycreate., and the Fringe Society, this is a programme of recorded events from previous Fringe’s that have showcased some of the best of Japanese artistic and comedic talent. From traditional taiko drummers to stand-up comedy, it is worth checking out the programme when you get a chance.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Japan Line-up

Chisato Minamimura

This Japanese artist presents an extract of her solo digital sign language performance “Scored in Silence” where she explores the often neglected perspective of deaf survivors’ of the atomic bombings. As this year is the seventy-fifth anniversary of those bombings, this is a particularly poignant and timely performance.

Kensaku Satou

Kensaku Satou is one of the premier taiko drum performers in Japan. His high-energy, precise interpretation of this traditional Japanese instrument has seen him perform all over the world. His shows are simply not to be missed if you have an interest in Japanese art and music.

Kilara Sen

Also known as Pink Unicorn, Kilara is a comedian originally from Tokyo. She is the host of Japanese Whiskey World, which already makes her one of my favourite people on the planet. Her TV credits also include Paul Hollywood Eats Japan and Asia’s Got Talent. The video she has on offer here is a collection of her current works, giving you a good taste of this vibrantly talented woman.

Tokyo Tap Do!

Tokyo Tap Do! does a little bit of everything. They call themselves a “comedy tap dance show group” and specialise in physical theatre and circus. With that much going on, they are an act that needs to be seen to really take in. I didn’t think that tap dancing and comedy really went together but this group has definitely proven me wrong.

Yuriko Kotani

Yuriko Kotani is a UK-based Japanese comedian who has been making waves on the comedy circuit over here since 2014. Her 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe performance is available online through the end of the month and got rave reviews during its original run last year. She is full of heart and hope while also being genuinely hilarious. This one is a must see for me.

Zeroko

This pair of performers specialise in physical comedy, something I always love to see. Physical comedy is a delicate art, balancing the absurd and the relatable and Zeroko do a great job of maintaining this balance. The showcase that Zeroko put together for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a quick taste of their talent and I can’t wait to see them come back for the festival next year.

mycreate.

mycreate at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

A theatre group that has travelled across the world performing their unique blend of contemporary theatre, mycreate explores all the ways we are truly similar despite how different we might look on the outside. They have included two of their previous performances in this year’s online festival.

The world might be cancelling a lot of our favourite events, from conventions to concerts to festivals, but the bright spot is that we can see some of these fantastic comedians and artists coming out of Japan in a way that we might not have been able to if the Edinburgh Festival Fringe had gone on as planned. All these performances will be available until the end of the month, so catch them before they’re gone.

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