The Japanese Art Foundation and Japanese Culture Center in partnership with the Chicago Park District, Shubukai, and Tsukasa Taiko are excited to announce the BON Fest Chicago / 盆フェスト・シカゴ on Saturday, August 6th.
This event will showcase bon odori dancing, taiko drumming, and festivities held in the Garden of the Phoenix in Jackson Park, Chicago.
At this time, no additional date due to rain is scheduled. Please check the weather report and confirmation of the event will be announced at 11 AM CT on August 5th.
In order to protect the sanctity of the Garden, attendance to the event is very limited. To gain access to this year’s festival, participants must have attended all 3 classes with Yoshinojo Sensei.
These classes are free of charge, however donations are welcomed.
Please note that you can register for classes at the Japanese Culture Center with the link below, but this is NOT for the event.
A Bon Festival ( or Obon Matsuri) occurs during the hottest part of the summer when it said that distance the natural and supernatural world is the smallest. People then come together to remember those that have passed on or where lost as a community. Traditionally, a specific regional style of dancing and music is performed by those in attendance to welcome spirits.
Our initial hope was to use the festival as an opportunity for our community to heal and process the tremendous loss and damage the COVID-19 pandemic has caused through the arts.
The Bon Odori Association of Japan, Asian Improv aRts Midwest, and Shubukai’s Fujima Yoshinojo all helped support this important event and make the inaugural Bon Fest in 2021 a success. Fujima Sensei (also a resident artist of the Japanese Arts Foundation and instructor at the Japanese Culture Center) taught Bon Odori dance lessons virtually leading up to the Bon Fest, so everyone could participate from the convenience of their own home.
Festival Program Schedule
Bon Odori Dance Class Schedule
Shubukai is honored to collaborate with Kimiei Fujima Sensei from Shizuoka, Japan and Ageha Bijou Sensei from the Nihon Bon Odori Association to provide seven Bon Odori for the 2022 Bon Fest Chicago. The dances planned for this year are: Shizuoka Meguri, Shizuoka Ondo, Tanko Bushi, Tokyo Ondo, Sado Okesa, Zundoko Bushi, and Hanagasa Ondo.
Bon Odori is made for people to come together to honor their ancestors, express their joy, respect, and feeling of community; to feel a connection with their ancestors and with everyone. One does not have to be a professional dancer, the dances are simple and fun.
Each lesson will focus on two or three dances. Make sure to wear comfortable clothing; Yukata is not required.
Pdf illustrations for all the dances will be provided with registration.
*Participation in all 3 classes is a requirement to register for to the Festival on August 6th.
Classes will be held at the following locations:
Asian Improv aRts Midwest
Asian Improv aRts Midwest was created in 1984, by Chicago based artist and community leader Tatsu Aoki. Since, then AIRM has been leading the way in creating bridges by connecting communities through Asian American cultural arts from coast to coast for over 20 years.
Tsukasa Taiko is dedicated to building community and being a leader in the taiko drumming culture of the Midwest. The groups offers instruction, education, and performances to achieves the mission of preserving and nurturing traditional concepts of Japanese art as a cultural legacy, while also expanding and evolving the art.
Tsukasa Taiko maintains a national profile with powerful performances across the country throughout the world, including such prestigious venues as the Contemporary Museum of Art, the Steppenwolf Theater, the Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park, the Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago Symphony Center, the Smithsonian, and the Malta International Theater Festival in Poland.
Shubukai (formerly Fujima Ryu of Chicago) is the only Japanese certified classical dance program active in the Midwest. The aesthetics are upheld through the link with Japan and is maintained through communication and collaboration with Grandmasters in Tokyo and Shizuoka Japan. The annual student recitals have been presented for over 45 years. Shubukai performs educational and cultural outreach presentations including traditional and contemporary applications of Japanese Classical dance throughout the year in the Chicagoland area.
Yoshinojo Fujima Sensei
Grandmaster Yoshinojo Fujima is trained in the Fujima Style (Iemoto Fujima Kan’emon VI/ Kabuki name Onoe Shoroku IV) of Japanese Classical dance, and received her professional stage name (Natori) from Shunojo Fujima, and her Grandmaster teaching license (Shihan) in Japan. As a principle member of Shubukai, (formally known as Fujima Ryu of Chicago), she performs, teaches, and continues to return to Japan to perform and train. The Fujima School is one of the five main dance schools in Japan and is known for its intricate choreography as well as dancemaking for kabuki theater. Fujima Sensei also holds regular workshops and class at the Japanese Culture Center and is an artist in residence with the Japanese Arts Foundation.
Kimiei Fujima Sensei
Kimiei Fujima Sensei began learning classical Japanese Dance from age three, and has attained her stage name and grandmaster license in the Fujima Style. Her teacher, Shu-ei Fujima, taught the bon odori for the Shizuoka Obon Festival and after her passing, Kimiei Sensei has carried on the teaching for the Bon odori Festival, the Shizuoka Festival, and the Fujieda Festival.