2014 / USC to present the 8th–12th century music and performance of Japan, Sept 30

Forwarded for University of Southern California, Center for Japanese Religion and Culture

Japanese Buddhist Chanting (Shōmyō) and Shirabyōshi Performance by Sakurai Makiko

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

University Park Campus, University of Southern California

The Rosen Family Screening Theatre

USC Shirabyoshi by Maiko sakurai

Shirabyoshi by Makiko Sakurai

Sakurai Makiko performs Japanese Buddhist chanting (shōmyō) and shirabyōshi dance in a live performance at the University of Southern California.  This two-part performance offers a rare look at music and dance of Japan’s Heian and Kamakura periods (794-1185).

Shōmyō, associated with the Tendai school of Buddhism, is performed at Buddhist services, generally by monks.  It has long been a component of religious ceremonies at Buddhist temples.

Shirabyōshi is a music and dance form in which female artists perform in male garb.  Shirabyōshi performers became quite famous at the end of the Heian period, entertaining the high nobility and even appearing at the Retired Emperor’s palace.

In addition to shōmyō and shirabyōshi, Sakurai Makiko has studied ryū-teki, a flute used in ancient court music known as gagaku, and the music of itako, female shamans of southern Aomori prefecture.

Her broad interests include Jewish religious music and the music of the Navajo and Hopi peoples, both of which she has studied in their native settings.  She has composed pieces for the Noh and puppet theaters, as well as a combination of Magrib (western Arab) and Japanese music for her “Arab Shirabyōshi Project.”

Her music can be found on two CDs, “The Night Chant” and “Izutsu,” both released on the Tzadik label.

Her visit to USC is sponsored by the Center for Japanese Religion and Culture. RSVP for this free performance at