On a rainy autumn day in Northern Japan, Tibetans and Japanese gathered for the Kiki Soso Tibet Festival which celebrates Tibetan culture and history, and has the goal of strengthening exchange between Japanese and Tibetans.
The festival was held outside the historic city of Matsumoto, chosen for its hills and forests that resemble certain areas in Tibet. The festival featured live musical concerts, workshops on Tibetan music, traditions, and medicine among other programs. Kicking off with a traditional Sangsol smoke offering ceremony, the festival offered renditions of Namthar, a form of opera and Tibetan circle dance, led by Tenzin Kunsang, a former member of the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts who lives in Japan currently. The festival goers were fascinated by a presentation by Mr. Ogawa, a Japanese man who studied Tibetan medicine at Men-Tsee Khang in Dharamshala.
In between the workshops, the geodesic dome shaped stage was opened to Japanese and Tibetan artists who performed their respective traditional music. Tenzin Choegyal, a Tibetan musician based in Australia performed his unique Tibetan fusion brand of music and thanked the festival organizers for creating the event and supporting Tibet. “The success of the first Tibet Festival greatly inspired us to hold the festival this year. The enthusiastic response from the Tibetans and Japanese friends made the event successful,” said Genyen Tenzin, who organized the festival with his Japanese wife, Shoko Yanagida.