Japan House LA, once again presents an extraordinary night of cultural infusion by debuting their newest exhibition, BAKERU: Transforming Spirits, through interactive digital technology.
Tuesday night, Japan house hosted a VIP preview for their newest display, BAKERU. The BAKERU exhibition is presented by WOW, a Tokyo based creative studio, that has captured and created four interactive projection installations for people to better understand the Japanese folk traditions by transforming into one of the four seasonal festival deities. This project was in response to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which placed a threat to the continuation of local festival traditions. As mentioned by Kaoru Kudo, Visual Art Director for WOW, “As a company [WOW] we thought, what can we do for Japan? And, that’s how we came up with this exhibit, where we can highlight the culture and the traditions of the area of Tohoku”.
Because there are many different areas of Japan, each location has their own unique variation of these traditions. WOW, strived to find a way to capture these century long folk traditions in a way that would be easily accessible and appealing to the younger tech savvy generation and preserve the heritage of such celebrations and customs. Going a step further WOW has brought this experience to the heart of Los Angeles, right on Hollywood and Highland. During the event guests were given their own mask to participate and transform into this interactive Japanese culture.
As people made their way through the exhibition they transformed from, “Saotome”, “Shishi-Odori”, “Kasedori”, and “Namahage”, which are references four specific traditions from Tohoku. Not only was the simulation fun to experience, but understanding the emphasis of the transformative power of nature and how that is important to human life is the center and essence of this exhibit.
Once guests made their way around the BAKERU showcase, Japan House LA hosted a beautiful reception and presented a special performance of Shishi-Odori (‘Deer Dance’). Attendees were able to experience ‘a religious dance found in Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures, where dancers mimic beasts lunging forward and backward to pray for bountiful harvest. Its name literally means ‘deer dance,’ and similar dances can be found in cultures around the world’. WOW actually paired up the performers of Shishi-Odori with a group of Native Americans to see how even with hundreds of miles of distance between these two groups, there are still many similarities found within cultures throughout the world.
BAKERU: Transforming Spirits is now opened to the public at Japan House LA on Level 2, and will run until October 6th. Don’t miss out on an amazing opportunity to experience a unique Japanese tradition.