Thousands of people attend a joyful and diverse celebration of Japanese culture

Japanese taiko drummer Debbie Tse of Narukami Taiko.  At left is Rachel Lynch.


Japanese taiko drummer Debbie Tse of Narukami Taiko. At left is Rachel Lynch.

From J-Pop to traditional taiko drumming, the Wellington Japan Festival was a colorful and joyful mix of contemporary and traditional Japanese culture.

The biennial festival was held on the waterfront on Saturday with estimates of 20,000 people attending the range of events at TSB Arena and Shed 6.

Arts such as a Japanese tea ceremony, live yokai monster drawing, haiku, Tokyo night photography, traditional sashiko embroidery, and martial arts displays were held throughout the day.

Ellie Beaumont of the dance group Koten.


Ellie Beaumont of the dance group Koten.

The tea ceremony brought together 70 VIPs to mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Japan and was attended by Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro who officially opened the festival.

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Wellington Japan Festival Trust president Jennifer King said organizers were very pleased that so many people showed up to enjoy the diverse program.

Narukami Taiko's Emily Ridgeway.


Narukami Taiko’s Emily Ridgeway.

She said contemporary Japanese cultural attractions were also popular, such as Sleepwalk Skeleton, which “brought the house down” with their J-Pop/J-Rock musical performance.

The food hall was in Hangar 6, where people enjoyed a range of Japanese dishes and cuisines.

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