Music Center to present Japanese storytelling with mime performance, May 15, 2010

Yamamoto Kuniko Looking

Florida-based Japanese storyteller and mime performer Kuniko Yamamoto will come to Los Angeles for a World City at the Music Center program on May 15. (Courtesy of the artist)

(May 15, 2010)  A World City program at the Music Center presents Florida-based performer Kuniko Yamamoto and Los Angeles-based On Ensemble at the W.M. Keck Children’s Amphitheatre inside Walt Disney Concert Hall, Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, May 15 at 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Admission free.

Performance tickets are free and distributed on the first-come basis at Grand Avenue and 2nd Street. Tickets for 11:00 a.m. performance distributed beginning at 10:00 a.m. Tickets for 12:30 p.m. performance distributed beginning at 11:00 a.m.

The W.M. Keck Children’s Amphitheatre is an intimate outdoor performance space. Sunscreen and appropriate seasonal attire are strongly encouraged. For more information, visit, email , or call (213) 972-4396.

In Kuniko Yamamoto’s captivating performance, charming Japanese folktales are combined with traditional musical instruments, magical masks, origami and mime to create storytelling that will have audiences spellbound in their seats.

Folktales from Japan are combined with folk songs, original masks, origami, highly stylized

movements and a touch of magic to entertain. The stories are selected from the oldest Japanese book of Kojiki, which portray the culture and moral perspective of Japan; social ideas are illustrated through commentary and description of Japanese traditions.

Audience are encouraged to compare Japanese and American tales, arts and the cultural elements, participating in wonders of East.

Origami Tales – In Japanese, ori- means “to fold” and -gami means “paper”. Using origami, music and audience participation, storyteller Kuniko Yamamoto provides a magical entry into Japanese culture and the art of simplicity. In her new show “Origami Tales”, mythological character masks & puppets, amazing flowers and a six-foot-long dragon — all made from origami — set the stage while Kuniko shares heartfelt stories from ancient Japan.

A native of Japan, Kuniko Yamamoto received her Bachelor of Psychology from Otani University of Kyoto, Japan in 1983. Started performing professionally in her hometown of Osaka where she grew up studying traditional dance, music and theater.

She has received national exposure performing Japanese Storytelling at the Silk Road International Exposition and on Kansai National TV in 1985. The following year Kuniko traveled to the United States to study with Tony Montanaro, highly respected mime and actor.

Then three years after began touring with Leland Faulkner Light Theater where she helped present lavish stage illusions and brought ancient tales to life with shadows and magic. For the next five years she has performed constantly in theaters, schools, colleges, and festivals across the country.

In 1992, Kuniko left the Faulkner Light Theater troupe to move to Florida. Married to Jon LeClair, a world-renowned magician whose books appear in magic shops worldwide has been helping her add subtle magic and mystery to her very special act.

In such venues as The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Disney Epcot Japanese Pavilion in Florida, the last decade she has been presenting her programs throughout the United States, also recognized by the Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina State Arts Council since 2000.

For more information about Kuniko Yamamoto, visit

In the World City program on May 15, along with Kuniko Yamamoto, On Ensemble combines the powerful rhythms of ensemble Japanese drumming with elements of hip-hop, rock and electronica.

World City at the Music Center brings to downtown Los Angeles the seventh season of exceptional artists. This free programming for families showcases cultures from around the world through dance, music, song, and storytelling.

Link to Music Center Calendar

Yamamoto Kuniko Tamasudare in red

Florida-based Japanese storyteller and mime performer Kuniko Yamamoto will come to Los Angeles for a World City at the Music Center program on May 15. (Courtesy of the artist)