What happens with Flamenco in Japan?

Does the film Los Tarantos rings the bell to you? This movie released worldwide in 1963 is resposnible for the massive interest about Flamenco in Japan. But their love for this kind of art has its origins a bit before that happened.

This musical style arrive to this Asian country in the 20’s. The bailaora Antonia Mercé, La Argentina, toured Japan with productions from El Amor Brujo and Andalucía. That trip supposed the very first contact of the Japanese people with Flamenco, the beginning  of a great relationship in which either Spain and Japan still working nowadays.

After La Argentina, Carlos Montoya traveled to the nippon country to start teaching Flamenco dance and sing, and even if it happened that a lot of Japanese people went to Spain to learn more about this art, it was not until the releasing of the film Los Tarantos when the real passion about it started.

After the succes of this film it happened to appear tablaos flamencos all over the country and Japan became a must spot for all the Flamenco artists that left Spain seeking to show their art. In that time as well arise the big nippon figures of Flamenco as Yasuko Nagamine, Yoko Komatsubara or Shoji Kojima.

But, why Flamenco became that important in a country with such a different culture? Some experts, as the teacher Yoko Komatsubara, assure that this music style allows a total expressiveness of emotions in a culture where show emotions in public is not well seen. The bailaora, who runs 12 schools with more than 100 students, said once that “the feeling, Spanish and Japanese, is the same, but the expressiveness is very different. The Spanish person becomes sad and cries when they want, but with our education, for example, to laugh in public was very bad seen until recently”.

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