Day-Long Culture Festival Blooms with Art, Cinema, Live Concerts, Workshops & a Roundtrip Ticket to Japan Giveaway

j-CATION 2012: Sakura 

Saturday, April 14, 2012, 11:00 am-11:00 pm, at Japan Society


New York, NY – April 13, 2012 – Japan Society’s annual j-CATION all-day culture festival traditionallypresents “a trip to Japan without ever leaving New York City”. But the 2012 installment themed around sakura—or cherry blossoms, a spring season delight in Japan—promises more: one lucky person will walk away with an actual trip to Japan.


As the concluding event in the Sakura – Spring Renews, Beauty Blooms programming series commemorating the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to Washington, DC and New York City’s Upper West Side, j-CATION 2012: Sakura transports visitors to acherry blossom-filled haven ofworkshops, crafts andmini language lessons; a classic film screening;a Japanese-style game show with a grand prize of a round trip ticket to Japan; live music concerts; DJ party; stunning design art from the exhibition Deco Japan; and a hana-mi (cherryblossom viewing) lounge with seasonally appropriate drinks and snacks for purchase.


Taking place Saturday, April 14 from 11:00 am-11:00 pm, j-CATION 2012: Sakura kicks off with an outdoor taiko drum salute. Throughout the day, Japan Society’s 262-seat auditorium sets the stage for several feature presentations. Participants can try their luck with You’re on Standby! A Japanese Game Show, a spectacular travel quiz contest with the prize of a roundtrip ticket to Japan courtesy of United Airlines. Later j-CATIONers are transported to the vivid land of geishas, samurai and cherry blossoms in the early afternoon movie screening of Killing in Yoshiwara A.K.A. Heroes of the Red-Light District.


The evening explodes into a rocking rave with breakout artist Alex York, whose Japanese song “Change” (written for Tohoku earthquake relief efforts) received over 100,000 hits on YouTube in its first few weeks of release and continues to climb. The beloved Japanese girl band, The Suzan, whose “Come Come” was selected by an NFL Verizon TV campaign for the 2011 NFL season, returns following their debut at Japan Society’s 2011 CONCERT FOR JAPAN.


Throughout the day, master instructors teach spring-themed shodo (traditional Japanese calligraphy), cherry blossom woodblock print demonstrations, basic Japanese language lessons, and origami how-to’s. Everyone is invited to contribute pink paper blossoms with words of support for Japan to an ever-blooming cherry tree near the gallery. For the youngest visitors, traditional kamishibai (picture card storytelling) delights the senses.


Whether staying all-day or just for one event, admission is $10, $5 Japan Society members and children under 12, and FREE for children 2 years and under. Main stage presentations and workshops have a limited capacity and are on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets may be purchased at the door the day of the event only (no advance ticket purchase is available). More at



Taiko Kick-Off

11:00–11:15 am

j-CATION starts with a bang as New York taiko drumming consortium New York Suwa Taiko Association welcomes the crowd with a drum salute outside of Japan Society’s building.


Decoration Exploration

11:00 am–5:00 pm

Immerse yourself in bold lines, splashy colors, and stylistic verve in Deco Japan: Shaping Art & Culture, 1920-1945, the first U.S. exhibition of Japanese Art Deco. j-CATIONers roaming the gallery are encouraged to study the 200+ artworks while following cryptic questions listed on the day’s program. A small prize will be awarded to the first 300 people to complete the “Decoration Exploration”. The contest ends at 5:00 pm, but gallery hours are extended to 8:00 pm for j-CATION. Deco Japan is open through June 10.


Hana-mi Lounge

11:00 am–11:00 pm

Hana-mi is the Japanese word for “cherry blossom-viewing.” Guests can grab seasonally inspired beverages (beer, sake, plum wine, cold tea, juices and sodas) and transport themselves to a veritable Japanese public park. Live entertainment in the lounge includes Japanese instrumentalists and participatory karaoke in the afternoon and a DJ dance party at night. Throughout the day main stage events are shown via live video feed. Local vendors sell food in the Foyer and wagashi (Japanese sweets) are available on the 2nd floor for sample and sale.


Wall*Flowers Installation

11:00 am–8:00 pm

Guests can help a magnificent cherry tree reach peak bloom in Japan Society’s Sky Room bycrafting an origami cherry blossom with a few simple folds and cuts. After writing a wish, haiku or message to Japan, the bloom will be added to the growing sakura tree on the wall.


Game Room

11:00 am–6:00 pm

Participants can take a shot at traditional Japanese pastimes such as hanafuda (“flower card game”), wanage (“ring toss”), kendama (“ring and pin”), fukuwarai  (“funny face game”) and more.


Origami in Full Bloom

11:00 am–6:00 pm

Learn how to transform ordinary paper into beautiful springtime images, including a variety of flowers. Volunteers from OrigamiUSA are on-hand to offer tips, techniques and inspiration.


Memory: Things We Should Never Forget

11:00 am–11:00 pm

Visitors can pay tribute to those affected by Japan’s March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. This special exhibition in the A-Level is comprised of 47 photos taken in Tohoku by the photo department of Japan’s largest business and economy newspaper the Nikkei. "Then and now" pairings, portraits and landscapes poignantly illustrate the human tragedy as well as the optimism and resilience of local people as they rebuild. A video of the work of Japan Earthquake Relief Fund grant recipients runs in tandem. Open through May 27.





Kamishibai Storytelling

11:20 am–1:40 pm

This traditional storytelling technique transports children to a springtime world filled with cherry blossoms. Recommended for children ages 3-10 accompanied by an adult. Twenty-minute sessions: 11:20 am, 12:00 pm, 12:40 pm and 1:20 pm.


Simply Stunning Shodo

11:30 am–5:30 pm

Master calligrapher Masako Inkyo teaches basic strokes of this traditional art form with an emphasis on spring themes. Sakura-inspired calligraphy works by Inkyo sensei and her students will be on display in the language center. Thirty-minute sessions: 11:30 am, 12:15 pm, 1:00 pm, 1:45 pm, 2:45 pm, 3:30 pm, 4:15 pm, 5:30 pm.


You're on Standby! A Japanese Game Show

1:00–2:00 pm

One lucky j-CATIONer will walk away with a ticket to Japan during this live on-stage game show inspired by the zany world of Japanese TV. Winning the ticket won't be easy—contestants submit to grueling mental and physical challenges that test their stamina (and amuse everyone else). Hosted by Kenji America, You're on Standby! is an exciting, surprise-filled hour of fun involving the entire audience. Appropriate for ages 18 and up.


Sakura Cinema - Killing in Yoshiwara A.K.A. Heroes of the Red-Light District                              

3:00–5:00 pm

Audiences are transported to the vivid land of geishas, samurai and cherry blossoms in Tomu Uchida’s 1960 masterpiece Killing in Yoshiwara, following the sumptuous, tragic love affair between a disfigured merchant and a beautiful peasant courtesan. In Japanese with English subtitles. Adult-themed. (35 mm, 109 min., Color -16:9 widescreen, with Isao Kimura, Minoru Chiaki, Shinobu Chihara, Kogiku Hanayagi, Kensaku Hara, and Chiezo Kataoka.)


Cherry Blossom Block Printing Demonstration

3:00–5:00 pm

Cherry blossoms come into bloom during Graphic Designer Adrienne Wong’s demonstration of block printing on stationery and tea towels using seasonal motifs. Observers learn how to carve a linoleum block, select colors, papers, print and make patterns as a sneak preview to her upcoming workshop on Wednesday, May 9. For more information on the May 9 workshop, call 212-715-1224.


Japanese for Beginners

3:15–6:00 pm

The school year in Japan begins in the spring. Guests can start their Japanese studies with introductory language workshops taught by instructors from the Society’s renowned Toyota Language Center. Thirty-minute sessions: 3:15 pm, 4:00 pm, 4:45 pm, 5:30 pm.


Yozakura Nights

8:00–10:00 pm – Concert with Alex York and The Suzan

10:00–11:00 pm – DJ party

Yozakura is the word for evening cherry blossoms, and in the final festival mainstage events, j-CATIONers can rock the night away to the beats of acclaimed NYC-born pop-rocker Alex York, singing in Japanese and English, and New York City’s beloved riot-grrl, garage punk band from Tokyo, The Suzan. The festival ends with the mixed melodies of DJ Aki in the Hana-mi Lounge.





Hana + Haiku

**ONLINE IN ADVANCE; Contest Ended April 9

Aspiring poets and writers around the world were invited to send in their sakura-infused haiku to Selected submissions will be shown on the big screen atj-CATION, and may be highlighted through the Society’s social media outlets. The best haiku receives a springtime prize.



Japan Society launched j-CATION in 2010 to give a glimpse of Japan Society’s perennial garden of programming in film, performance, exhibitions, workshops, talks, language lessons, family activities, food, fun and more. Having drawn nearly 3,000 visitors at the initial “Taste Japan” j-CATION, 2011’s festival was transformed into a benefit CONCERT FOR JAPAN—a full day of music performances with 100% of all proceeds (over $88,000) going to the Society’s Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.


Japan Society’s programming series Sakura – Spring Renews, Beauty Blooms (March 6–April 14, 2012) commemorates the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to New York and Washington, DC, where American’s national cherry blossom festival is held. This series of programs is shaped around the many meanings of sakura, or cherry blossoms. In addition to j-CATION, events include live performances of centuries-old kabuki dance; a 10-part film series showcasing Japanese cinema’s beauty of transience (mono no aware); a haiku workshop; and separate Japanese confections discussion and workshop.


Founded in 1907, Japan Society is an American nonprofit committed to deepening mutual understanding between the United States and Japan in a global context. Now in its second century, the Society serves audiences across the United States and abroad through innovative programs in arts and culture, public policy, business, language, and education.


Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 and 7 subway at Grand Central or the E and V subway at Lexington Avenue). For more information, call 212-832-1155 or visit


Part of Sakura—Spring Renews, Beauty Blooms. j-CATION is generously supported by Kikkoman Corporation, Mitsubishi International Corporation, and Sir Howard Stringer. Additional support is provided by Toyota Motor North America, Inc., Chartis, Alan S. MacDonald, Megu, Jun Makihara and Megumi Oka, Satoru and Hiroko Murase, Nippon Steel U.S.A., Inc., Motoatsu and Nobuko Sakurai, and Jonathan B. Kindred. Game show grand prize is courtesy of United Airlines. Gifts are provided by DAIKIN and Miya Company. Sweets for the free tasting are provided by Minamoto Kitchoan Co., Inc.

Special thanks to volunteers from OrigamiUSA and volunteer Kamishibai storytellers Ai Nakajima and Fumiko Nishino.

The Society would also like to acknowledge all the volunteers who helped to make j-CATION possible.


# # #



Media Contacts:


Bridget Klapinski, 347-246-6182,


Shannon Jowett, Japan Society, 212-715-1205,


Kuniko Shiobara, Japan Society, 212-715-1249,

Calendar of Events

March 2018

S M T W Th F S
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
All content © 2018, Japan Society, unless otherwise noted. |
333 East 47th Street New York, NY 10017 Phone: 212.832.1155 |
Credits | Press | Contact Us | Privacy Policy