Arts and Culture with Japan400 Plymouth
Experience the distinct and varied culture of Japan with its unique blend of rich, ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology and creativity.

With Japan400 Plymouth you will have the opportunity to not only observe and discuss Japanese culture, but also get stuck in and experience it first hand with workshops and events aimed at bringing everything from samurai warriors to Street Fighter, sushi to Studio Ghibli, to the heart of Plymouth.

Art, theatre, tradition... Godzilla?


Homecoming of The Clove - Sutton Harbour, Plymouth
Saturday 27 September 2014
Free admission. No booking required.

  • 13.00-14.00 - The arrival of The Clove, including formal ceremony.
See the past sail into the present as we re-create The Clove’s homecoming with the arrival of a 112-foot tall ship sailing in to Sutton Harbour.
  • Join the celebrations with ceremonies to celebrate Saris’s homecoming and affirm Anglo-Japanese relations.  
  • Walk the decks of the historic vessel and meet Captain Saris himself as we bring history to life.
  • The ship is open to the public from 14.00-17.00 on 27 September, and 10.00-15.00 28 September.

British Shintaido Workshops

Saturday 27 September 10.15-10.45, The Barbican

Sunday 28 September 11.00-12.30, Plymouth University The House

Free admission. Booking essential.


Play it Again - Konnichiwa Kernow - West Hoe Park
Sunday 28 September 13.00-14:00
Free admission. Booking essential.
  • We are delighted to welcome the ‘Play it Again’ drama troupe.  Based in Liskeard, Play it Again will bring the power of live theatre in an interactive theatre experience that tells the tale of John Saris’s expedition to Japan. Produced and performed by the troupe, it promises to be a high-energy event.

Taiko Drumming Workshop -  Plymouth University The House

Sunday 28 September 14.00-16.00

Admission £20.00, Concessions/Students £15.00

Booking essential.

Manga! Anime! Illustration! - Plymouth Guildhall
Sunday 28 September 10.00-16.00
Free admission. No booking required.

Manga comics are highly regarded as one of Japan’s most important exports, so much so that in 2005, the Gaimushō (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) made it into a key plank of international foreign policy:  Manga gaikō (diplomacy through manga comics). 

  • Explore Japanese illustration, both traditional and contemporary.
  • Tour the marvels of Manga in the Embassy of Japan's Manga Jiman exhibition.
  • Let loose your artistic talents in an array of workshops and activities for people of all ages.  

Global Japan Culture Showcase - Plymouth Guildhall
Sunday 28 September 10.00-16.00
Free admission. No booking required.

Celebrate both traditional and modern Japanese culture through a showcase of performances and displays, and experience for yourself with interactive workshops. Do a bit of shopping, learn to write your name in Japanese, see calligraphy in action, learn about opportunities to study Japanese and improve your study skills, encounter modern pop culture and get a glimpse of traditional geisha fashion. There'll be something for everybody and every age from martial arts to food and hand-dyed fabrics, as well as:
  • taiko drumming
  • shakuhachi (bamboo flute)
  • Martial Arts - aikido, iaido, karate, kendo
  • shodo – calligraphy
  • chadō (the ‘way of tea’, tea ceremony)
  • kitsuke (the intricate skill of dressing in traditional kimono and tying obi belts) and fashion show
  • origami paper folding
  • Bengala fabric dying
  • manga and illustration

Peninsula Arts Cinema - Japan Film Series
Animation, violence and a distinctive exploration of intimacy and the everyday – Japanese cinema has had a transformative influence on the global film  industry. Experience films specially selected to tempt you into this celluloid world.

Booking essential. Contact Peninsula Arts Box Office for tickets.
Screenings Jill Craigie Cinema

Hibiki Ichikawa

Hibiki is the only professional player of Tsugaru Shamisen in the UK. He has performed on many occasions, including the Japanese Emperor's birthday event at the Japanese Embassy, the Japan Matsuri and HYPER JAPAN.

Hibiki recently participated in his original concert 'J-Triangle' with co-musicians from Japan and UK, as part of the Edinburgh Music Festival.

Learn more about Hibiki

Akari Mochizuki

Akari started singing Enka when she was three. She studied drama and modern music in the UK and started working as a professional singer in 2009. She has performed as an Enka & Minyo singer on occasions such as WOMAD 2010, HYPER JAPAN and Japan Matsuri.

She is passionate about introducing Japanese folk music to local people and is always seeking opportunities to sing.

Find out more about Akari Mochizuki

Ibaraki/Devon Sound Exchange

BBC Radio 3 presenter Nick Luscombe travelled to the east coast of Japan armed with his microphone and recorder to capture an audio snapshot of people's daily lives, then recorded similar in his home town of Plymouth.

The resulting radio programme features sounds from everyday life, set to original background music composed and played by Japanese musicians.

Learn more and listen to the Ibaraki/Devon Sound Exchange