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Hokusai Music Expo: Calling for Elementary School Student Participants

  • Japanese Traditional Art ,
  • Music ,
  • Kids / Youth ,
  • Workshop

Let’s experience beautiful-sounding music from around the world, and present it to everyone!

Founded on respect for the world-famous Katsushika Hokusai, the Hokusai Music Expo is a music program in which children from areas surrounding Sumida-ku (Hokusai’s birthplace) get to experience beautiful sounding instruments from around the world, learn about their history and take part in rehearsals that culminate in a performance.

This year sees a new addition, Traditional Japanese Instruments, to last year’s programs of Steelpan, Gidayu, and Gamelan.
The appeal of this original program is its inspiring instructors, and the opportunity to learn material only possible with the Hokusai Music Expo.
We encourage large numbers of people to apply.

Program A: Steelpan

The sparkling sound of the steel drums! Come and play in the Steelpan band.
Steelpan music was born on the other side of the world, in the small Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. There every village has its band and its panyard, where young and old gather to practice. Feel the scent of the distant Caribbean Sea, and thrill to the bright, cheerful sound of the steelpans. Your instructor will be Yoshihiro Harada, one of Japan’s best-known pannists.

Number of Persons
15 players each for the lower grades student band and the upper grades student band
Practice Schedule
the lower grades student: 9:30 – 10:30, the upper grades student: 11:00 – 12:00 (6 practices in total)
1. Friday, November 23, 2018 (a national holiday)
2. Sunday, December 2, 2018
3. Sunday, December 9, 2018
4. Sunday, January 6, 2019
5. Sunday, January 20, 2019
6. Sunday, February 3, 2019
Practice Venue
Topping East 1st Floor, 2-10-7 Honjo, Sumida-City, Tokyo
Yoshihiro Harada

Program B: Gidayu Ballads

Go back in time to the Edo period and chant Gidayu narrations as loud as you can!
With a 300-year history, Gidayu is also familiar as the music that accompanies kabuki and bunraku puppet theater.The feeling of bringing the voice up from the stomach into the chanted Gidayu melodies is something exceptional, and something that even the shyest of children soon warm to.The women’s gidayu performers Kyonosuke Takemoto and Yaya Tsuruzawa will teach the fun of naturally projecting your voice. Participants will wear Gidayu costumes in the performance at the end of the program.

Number of Persons
Beginners: 5 Continuing: 10 (For those who participated in the previous program; applications for this group are closed)
Practice Schedule
1. Sunday, November 25, 2018 13:30 – 15:30
2. Sunday, December 16, 2018 13:30 – 15:30
3. Sunday, December 23, 2018 13:30 – 15:30
4. Sunday, January 13, 2019 10:00 – 12:00
5. Sunday, January 27, 2019 10:00 – 12:00
6. Sunday, February 3, 2019 10:00 – 12:00
Practice Venue
Topping East 1st Floor, 2-10-7 Honjo, Sumida-City, Tokyo
Kyonosuke Takemoto (Narrator)
Yaya Tsuruzawa (Gidayu shamisen)

Program C: Traditional Japanese Instruments

Bing! Bang! Boom! Join the percussionists of the Five-Person Hayashi Band
The “hayashi” band is an essential part of traditional Japanese music. The traditional “Girls’ Day” display of dolls includes a hayashi band, and children here can play the small hand drum “kotsuzumi,” the larger “otsuzumi,” and the other instruments in an atmosphere of fun that overturns the conventional idea of this kabuki music as being too formal for real enjoyment. Tazae Mochizuki, an expert in traditional instruments from drums through shamisen through traditional singing, will provide wide-ranging instruction in the appeal of this music.
*Instruction in flute, Noh chanting and shamisen is also available, depending on the age of the participant.

Number of persons
Practice Schedule
10:00 – 12:00 each practice day (6 practices in total)
1. Sunday, November 25, 2018
2. Sunday, December 16, 2018
3. Sunday, December 23, 2018 (a national holiday)
4. Sunday, January 13, 2019
5. Sunday, January 27, 2019
6. Sunday, February 3, 2019
Practice Venue
Topping East 1st Floor, 2-10-7 Honjo, Sumida-City, Tokyo
Tazae Mochizuki

Program D: Gamelan

Experience Gamelan, the amazing whirl of sound from Indonesia.
Gamelan is a musical form from Indonesia, a nation of some 13,000 islands in southeast Asia. The mysterious enchantment of this combination of music and dance has found adherents from around the world. Boys and girls dance together to the music of a wide range of musical instruments to create a single story. True Gamelan is an experience not to be missed.

Number of persons
Band: 15 Dancers: 10
Practice Schedule
10:00 – 12:00 each practice day (5 practices in total)
1. Sunday, January 6, 2019
2. Sunday, January 13, 2019
3. Sunday, January 27, 2019
4. Sunday, February 3, 2019
5. Saturday, February 9, 2019
Practice Venue
Sakurabashi Community Center 2-3-8 Mukojima, Sumida-CIty, Tokyo
Makoto Torii (Gamelan)


Practice schedule
Friday, November 23 2018 – Saturday, February 9 2019
*For the detailed practice schedule, please refer to each program information above.
Practice venue
Topping East, Sakura Bashi Community Center
Elementary school student (advance registration required)
Participation fee
5,000 yen (including the cost of costumes and costume rental on the performance day)
*Please provide your own tabi (special split-toe socks) for Program B and C.
Application form
Please fill in the form here.
Application deadline
Sunday, October 14 2018
* If the number of applicants exceeds the available spots, participants will be selected by lottery.
* Successful applicants will be informed by Sunday, October 21, 2018.
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Sunday, February 10 2019
Performance venue
Ekoin (2-8-10 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo) and others


  • Performances for all programs will be on Sunday, February 10 2018.
  • Performance details will be announced at a later date.
  • Applicants may take part in one program per person.
  • Participants should be able to attend all rehearsal and performance days.
  • Participants should be able to cooperate in publicity activities related to the project (press coverage/photography/filming for news reports, documentation and publicity; the publication/broadcast of limited personal information and photos/video footage in media outlets recognized by project organizers)
  • Please pay the participation fee by bank transfer by the date specified in the e-mail from organizers about lottery results.
  • Refunds will not be made to participants who stop attending the program.
  • Your personal information will be handled as strictly confidential, and used only to send you information from Topping East about this event.
  • Program contents are subject to change.


Topping East office
TEL: 080-9671-7507(11:00-18:00)


Topping East, Sakura Bashi Community Center



Organized by
Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Arts Council Tokyo(Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture), Topping East (NPO)