Flamenco in Japan

 In Flamenco

Flamenco is an art that breaks down barriers. It is pure expression of feelings, that’s why it is able to travel to other places, like Japan. In fact, the country of the rising sun is one of the countries that attracts the most people and there are many who come to Andalusia to immerse themselves in our culture and learn more about traditions, way of life and, of course, flamenco.

In addition to visiting, the Japanese come to learn singing, dancing and guitar playing from the best artists. The curiosity of flamenco in Japan was born around the 1920s, coinciding with the premiere of the film “Amor Brujo”, by Antonia Mercé, better known as “La Argentina”.

Only in the city of Tokyo there are more academies to learn flamenco than in the whole Spanish territory.

However, the final push came after World War II, when Japan began to be part of the tour of great artists of the time, such as Paco de Lucia and Antonio Gades.

Flamenco: expression and feelings

As a pure expression of deep feelings and sensations, flamenco in Japan has liberated the Japanese in many ways. With a more sober character than ours, this art has been and is a way of artistic expression, especially in women.

In fact, a curiosity that few know is that only in the city of Tokyo there are more academies to learn flamenco than in all of Spain.

Some experts maintain that flamenco in Japan awakens so much interest because it has a certain similarity to a song of traditional Japanese music (the hoarse voice and some chords).

The truth is that the rhythm, beats, movements and coordination of flamenco are difficult for those who are not experts, but this has not prevented many dancers and singers from going on world tours and being very well received.

Nor has it been an obstacle for Yoko Komatsubara or Shoji Kojima, two greats of flamenco in Japan, to become true references both there and in Spain.

During an interview with Yoko she was asked “why was this art form so popular in her country”, to which she replied “I don’t know, flamenco is still something of a mystery to me”.

And so, despite being part of the Andalusian tradition, of being present in our daily lives, flamenco has managed to dazzle such different cultures.

Currently, in Japan there are two national federations that dedicate their activity exclusively to it, one of them only for university students, who spend their summer holidays practicing and rehearsing everything they have learned during the year.

On the other hand, the Instituto Cervantes, a public organization dedicated to promoting the culture of Spain and Spanish-speaking countries at an international level, opened in Tokyo in 2007, which is the largest headquarters abroad.

La Yunko flamenco dancer
“La Yunko”, flamenco dancer.

Japan has been able to understand perfectly with the flamenco tradition, importing the flamenco elements and taking them to a new expression. Many tourists from Japan come to Seville every year to enjoy a good flamenco show.

A proof that many times with the flamenco duende is born in the most unexpected places.

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