Friday, 23 November 2012

NINJA Dance Movement

So Niji Iro Ninja has now merged with Dance Movement Japan becoming NINJA Dance Movement! Henceforth to be referred to as NINJA Dance Movement or NDM for short. By the way, the NINJA is an acronym for Niji Iro Ninja JApan!

The Facebook page is here and the Facebook group is here. We will keep you informed of NDM events. Check out the FB page and join the FB group and invite your friends. Yoroshiku!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Jérôme Bel for F/T

Here's one of the very cool flash mobs that's taken place as part of the F/T art festival.  Choreographed by Jérôme Bel, I love that this dance is made up of movements easy enough for regular people to execute, while hitting a sweet spot between ridiculous, fun, and joyful.  

F/T Mob series

The F/T Mob series is part of the F/T art festival. In each F/T Mob, a renowned choreographer or director stages a flash mob intervention involving dancers and members of the public. Unfortunately, I missed the start of this festival but some of my friends attended and participated in the event directed by hip hop choreographer, KENTARO!! which melded hip hop with contemporary dance. All events are centred on Ikebukuro, the home turf of the F/T festival. There are two more weekends of flash mobs, this coming weekend's, by contemporary dancer/choreographer, Momoko Shiraga, and next weekend's intervention by mime artist and director, Shuji Onodera. For more information, check out the F/T website.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

revelry and other crimes

'Time to change a strange adult entertainment law in Japan', by Richard Smart, posted on CNN Travel on January 26th, 2011

This article takes a look at some of the strange and outdated points of the fueiho.  My personal favorite states that "In night hours (which in Tokyo law are between 1 a.m. and dawn), customers are not to partake in revelry (yukyou)."

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Yoyogi circle dance at dusk...

Yesterday's protest had an infectious spontaneity! Niji Iro Ninjas joined a group of break dancers in the circular paved area at the entrance of Yoyogi Park, made a large circle and watched our friends take turns free-styling to whatever came up! Admittedly, this wasn't entirely what we had planned - not quite a full-on spectacle (that is something we need to work on) - but we rallied anyway and managed to welcome fine newcomers including a high school student who leapt into the circle and threw some shapes and a friendly Finn tourist, nicknamed Pie Chart, who pulled out his salt-liquorice Salmiakki Liquor - 32% proof - and shared it with us! Our man Isaac did a top job of getting everyone fired up with his fabulous moves and the break dancers were so generous in extending their groove to our gathering.

The whole thing had a kind of innocence about it, like an episode of Fame from the 80s transmuted to 21st century Nihon. (The whole NYC park fantasy dance thing very much fits Yoyogi somehow! if you know what I mean - Yoyogi Tower has that NYC Chrysler Building vibe about it.)

A boom box, break dancers, dusk, hip hop, disco, gundam, Salmiakki, friends = nearly the best soul tonic there is pretty much! As my friend Nina beautifully put it 'yesterday's [dance protest] sounds like it was hitting that important place of innocence and joy that is always more radical than is apparent'.

Let's do it again, and soon.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Don't let them pull the shutters on late night dancing...

Today is the latest Niji Iro Ninja dance protest. Get yourself to Yoyogi Park at 5pm and stop the powers that be pulling the shutters on late night dancing in Japan. From about now there is a picnic, so feel free to join and get to know the community!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Free the dance! Flash mob #5.

Concerned about the dance crackdown sweeping Japan?  If you're in the Tokyo area, head down to Yoyogi park this Saturday at 5pm for Niji Iro Ninja's 5th flash mob!  We'll be busting moves from the Gangam Style and Thriller dances, but if you don't know the steps, there'll be time for freestyle too! Our events are really fun, friendly, and international- so bring a friend and get ready to make some new ones.  Your friends are interested in this issue but shy about dancing in public, you say?  We welcome non dancers who support the cause and want to join the party. 

11月10日(土)17時から代々木公園でNiji Iro Ninjaの5回目のフラッシュモブをやります。
今回は最近流行っているGangam Styleとスリラーのダンスを踊ります。


Typo? Yes... our editors are working on that. 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Dancing in the street...a short history of the Rainbow Ninja revolution

Dance Out Loud is the website of the Niji Iro Ninja (Rainbow Ninjas) dance protest group and community. Niji Iro Ninja was started in late August as a response to the dance crackdown that has been sweeping Japan over the last two years and that was making itself strongly felt in clubs in and around Tokyo. Places that had once been pleasant hangouts for late-night dancing, not necessarily large clubs, but venues with a lively atmosphere, great for letting off steam on Friday or Saturday night, such as Arty Farty in Shinjuku's Nichome, were now being raided by police officers ordering people to stop moving and instructing venues to put up signs telling clients that dancing was forbidden. Yes, incomprehensible!

We are a group (including Japanese nationals and foreign Japan residents) who love dancing and who are passionately opposed to the increasingly rigid enforcement of a law that is as ridiculous as it is archaic! If you are interested in contributing to our community and its activities, please feel free to join us by following us here or on Facebook or Twitter. We welcome your ideas and suggestions as well as your participation in our events. Hopefully our activities will increase awareness of this sinister law and spur others to protest it in their own creative ways. We are open to contributions from all, irrespective of gender, age, sexual orientation, race or creed. Also, you don’t have to be resident in Japan to contribute! (But you do have to be resident in Japan to sign the Let's Dance petition.)

Niji Iro Ninja organises flash mobs in Tokyo aimed at increasing awareness of the late-night dancing ban and creating a community of like-minded friends keen to reverse the law and protect our right to dance through the night! So far flash mob events have been held at Shinjuku station and Shibuya Hachiko square and Sentaa Gai street. In a matter of weeks, the group has gone from a keen core of twenty or so peeps to a veritable international community - the Zombie Prom flashmob on October 20th in Shibuya was a total blast with a motley crew of zombies in spooky maquillage, getting their ghoulish haunches quivering to that towering classic of zombie pop, Michael Jackson's Thriller.

Future possible locations for dance protests and flash mobs are central night spots such as Roppongi and Harajuku, university campuses in and around Tokyo and Yokohama, and possibly places known for their vibrant bar and live music scenes, such as Shimokitazawa, Koenji, Nakano, Kichijoji... Watch this space...

On this site you will find information about the law and its enforcement and news of the activities of our community and sometimes of other groups, like us, who are also involved in protesting it. We will continue to post links to articles covering these topics as well as related sites. You will also find some more general information about dance culture in Japan, which we wish to celebrate and promote.

As a group, we wish to get people together to protest the crack down. We don’t advocate breaking the law as this may cause problems for venues and hassle for those working in them. Discretion is necessary in all actions and we respect the staff in clubs and do not wish to cause them undue stress. However, we do passionately advocate protesting against the enforcement of this crazy law, which should, we believe, be repealed and abandoned entirely! It is depressing, controlling, out-of-date...

The dance crackdown seems to have been instigated by a reactionary posse of shadowy establishment figures, bureaucrats, police chiefs and other bigwigs who are intent on destroying the late night dance scene. Apparently, the governors of Osaka and Tokyo would prefer to promote casinos. Though I am no expert on these matters, don't casinos have a stronger link with the criminal underground than your small or medium-sized dance or live music venue??? Which would you prefer in your city, large unsightly pachinko parlours and casinos with their blinding lights and deadening throng of slot machines, or small and medium-sized venues with a program of live music, club nights, dance classes and art exhibitions? A carbuncle packed with gambling drones or a creative hub promoting local talent and exciting youth cultures?

Puzzlingly, this crackdown is seemingly at odds with the policies of the Education Ministry, which make dance a compulsory part of the Physical Education curriculum in Junior High Schools.  So, it is okay for JHS studes to be dancing under the supervision of their teacher, but young adults are not to be trusted to dance after dark, to create their own vital forms of culture beyond the watchful eyes of their seniors. What coercive, paternalistic nonsense is this?

And for those that claim that Japanese night spots are noisy or unruly, that certainly hasn't been my experience of clubbing in Japan. On the contrary, many clubs are tucked away in basements, well sound-proofed, with staff that are considerate to those that reside in the vicinity. Japanese clubbers do not seem to me to be a particularly rowdy bunch. The atmosphere in clubs tends to be friendly, unthreatening, not overly drunken, certainly not unruly. The Japanese night is almost miraculously benign and attitude-free, especially to foreign observers! Of course clubs need to be safe, of course club owners need to take responsibility for noise, to keep drugs and under-age partiers off their premises. Of course. As far as I can see, Japanese club owners have been doing a very good job on all of these counts, so why the sudden change of policy?

Our group believes that late night dance culture is an essential element of a healthy and vibrant culture, a joyful expression of our love of music and a celebration of existence! It is a way of meeting and interacting with others, a beautiful form of exercise and a wonderful way to relieve stress in our hectic contemporary world! Dancing in clubs can provide access to fascinating people, music, art, performance, film, fashion, body art, and a wonderful plethora of exciting new cultures and trends from all over the world!

Furthermore, it is good for business in Japan! At a time when Japan is in the economic doldrums, shouldn't the government be promoting lively and lucrative forms of youth culture and expression, not criminalising them?

Why, suddenly, at the start of the 21st century, should the Japanese government choose to deprive Japan of the pleasures associated with the fascinating and vibrant culture that has developed around dancing in nightclubs, when the opposite is true of most world metropolises?

It has been two years since the dance crackdown started in earnest, so it is high time to stand up for free expression. We need to fight for our right to party through the night; to fight together peacefully, respectfully, with the funk of 40,000 years... If we don’t fight for late-night dancing, then other freedoms and cultures may be eroded by a nonsensical agenda which aims at straightjacketing youth expression.

Please join us now!