To mark the occasion of the opening of the new Asia Society facility, Asia House Texas Center, Asia Society invited the Naniwa Tobi Dento Hozonkai group from Osaka, Japan to Houston to perform on April 14th and 15th.
Hikeshi performances including Kiyari (workmen’s chant), Matoi (procession of the Hikeshi flag), and Hashigonori (ladder-top stunts) are a traditional art dating back to the Edo period and were originally performed by firefighters of that period. The 14 members of the Naniwa Tobi Dento Hozonkai, led by Mr. Shishido, dressed in workmen’s happi coat, zori sandals and traditional headbands tied tightly around their heads began their performance with the Kiyari chant. Following the chant came the ladder-top stunts which were performed on a 20 foot bamboo ladder that was constructed in Houston with the help of a local craftsman. Four members in rotation climbed the ladder to perform stunts including Hizahassou (a great leap), Makurakantan (a nap), Haragame (a turtle) and Kimotsubushi (a heart attack).
To mark Asia Society Texas House’s Grand Opening, in addition to the Naniwa Tobi performance, many other performances and art activities highlighting Japanese culture delighted attendees. The well-known taiko drumming group, Ryukoku Matsuri Daiko gave a performance; Mrs. Mari Omori of Lone Star College taught the traditional Japanese tie-dye technique and an Ohara School of Ikebana instructor organized an exhibit introducing Japanese flower arrangement.
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