Japan’s one of the most prestigious and popular theatre festival for children and young audiences, ‘International Festival OKINAWA for Young Audience – Kijimuna Festa’ is opening for 9 days from August 1st to 9th.

Each performance will have its own personality. For example, some will be performed at such a small place where you can almost feel each other’s breaths and others that shows an exciting acrobatics in a large theater. The variations are more than you can expect and will fill you up with fresh surprises and heart-warming emotions. Experienced-based workshops are also available during the festa. Workshops will need a reservation but if there are some openings, you can just join them! Everyone ranging from small children to adults will be able to enjoy the performances. 

Read more very useful informations about this year’s festival below. If you are around in Japan during this period, do not miss the chance to feel the true joy of world theatre!

1. Festival Objective

Through experiencing the world’s great performances and workshops led by artists together, it is our goal that children, who will become leaders of next generation, would be friends with each other, and that they respect and understand each other.  This festival is aimed to provide such a place where they can grow their sensitivity and creativity.

Also, by children and citizens communicating with people from other countries, Okinawa, as a whole, would like to proceed to the world’s peace with the Okinawan spirits of “Ichariba Choodee” (One meeting makes us all siblings) and “Bankoku no Shinryo” (to be a bridge to connect countries).

2. Co-operation with Asian Countries

The KIJIMUNA-FESTA cooperates with Shanghai International Children’s Cultural & Art Festival, Seoul Performing Arts Festival for Young Audiences, Taipei Children’s Arts Festival, International Performing Arts Festival OSAKA for Children and Young Audience, for programming and inviting companies and guests.  These organizations work together in order to enrich each festival.  Since 2007, the Asian Alliance of Theatre for Young Audiences (ATYA) is also held within the frame of a festival.  It was held in Seoul, 2007, in Taipei, 2008, and it will be held in Okinawa in 2009. 

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3. Program

A. Performance Programs

(1)  International Works Collection – In this collection, excellent international performing arts works for young audience will be shown.  The genres include theater, puppetry, dance and music. 

+ Asian Alliance of Theater for Young Audiences (ATYA)

Golden Dragon Water Puppet (Traditional Puppetry, Vietnam), Eclipse (Theater, Cambodia), A Passing Woman (Theater, Indonesia), Beijing Opera (Classical Beijing Opera, China), Tokebi (Theater, Korea), Snow Queen (Theater, Taipei), Chon Bien Pi (Traditional Puppetry, Taipei) etc

+ Festival for Little Audience (Age 0-4, international works)

Goodbye Mr. Muffin (Puppetry, Denmark), Looking at the sky (Theater, Italy), Under a different light (Theater, Italy), The Colors of Water (Theater, Italy), Parachutists (Theater, Croatia), And who are you? (Theater, Croatia)

+ Denmark Children Theater Festival

Grand Finale (Musical Theater, Denmark), Towering Dog (Theater, Denmark), Kling Klang (Dance and Music, Denmark)

+ European and American Works

Andersen “Tin Soldier” (Theater, Germany), Story of A Family (Theater, Italy), Surprise (Dance, Austria), Overcoat (Theater, Bulgaria), Snow White (Theater, Bulgaria), Circus Incognitus (Circus, Canada) etc

(2) International Collaboration Works Collection – Actors and staff from Okinawa will work with highly recognized international directors and actors.  They will perform for the young audience and citizens of Okinawa.

Looking for Yohgurt (Theater, Japan-UK-Korea), Little Gentleman (Theater, Japan-Sweden), Island Kitchen (Theater, Japan-Korea) etc…


(3) Domestic Works Collection – In this collection, excellent domestic performing arts works, including Okinawa’s, for young audience will be shown. The genres include theater, puppetry, dance and music.

+ Festival for Little Audience (Age: 0-4, domestic Works)

Let’s play with Teruteru Jo! (Puppetry, Jo Taira), Chi-Chi-Nin-Nin (Puppetry, Puppetry Nonohana), My First Stringraphy (Kazue Mizushima) etc

+ Excellent Works from Japan

Shinosuke Rakugo (Rakugo, Shinosuke Tachikawa), A Little House and Five Gentlemen (Theater, Tokyo Kandenchi, Akira Emoto etc), Gamaruchoba Silent Comedy (Performance, Gamaruchoba), Kyogen “Busu” (Kyogen, Sennojo Shigeyama, Akira Shigeyama etc), The Zukkoke Trio (Puppetry, Puppetry Company Hitomi-za), Puppetry for Children “Cinderella” (Puppetry), The String of Strings (Music, Kazue Mizushima)

+ Works from Okinawa to the world

An Invisible Boat (Theater, dir: Makoto Sato), The King Liar (Theater, dir: Choku Kato), Kizami-bushi (Theater, dir: Choku Kato), Haisai Shouhashi (Theater, dir: Motoo Miura), Mabui Koiuta (Theater, dir: Motoo Miura), From A Southern Window… (Theater, dir: Motoo Miura), Ryukyu Dance and Musical Theater “Michinuku” (Dance and Musical Theater, Kjimuna- Dance and Music Comapany), Young Artists Promotional Performance “To the South of Babel” (Theater) etc

(4) Special Performance – Okinawan Traditinal Performing Arts Performance

Okinawan Traditional Dance Performance (Dance, Okinawa), Koza Shishimai (Okinawan Traditional Performance, Okinawa)

(5) Children’s Performance – For children, youth and citizens, drama workshop, music workshop and dance workshop will be held.  The results will be shown on stage in a concert or a dance performance.

Ryukyu Children’s Traditional Music and Dance Troupe (5th~9th), Musical and Recitation Theater Workshop Result Performance (Age: 5~)


– B. Seminar                              

(1) Art Management Seminar – Art management brings the creators and the audience together.  We will learn about this important role from nine professionals.

(2) Drama Education Seminar and Workshop – What can the drama education do?  This seminar is held by a recognized authority, in search of the possibility of drama education.

(3) Seminar for theater staff – How to watch, in the perspective of producers – In this seminar, the participants will watch productions with professional playwrights, directors and critics and discuss in groups.  They will learn how to watch the productions critically.

– C. International Symposium                          

(1)  “World’s Theater for Young Audience, trying to bring peace” – The endless war and disputes are disturbing the healthy growth of children in the world. In this symposium, world’s theater practitioners will talk about their challenge of making peace through using theater.

(2) “Challenging the problems that children might encounter, from the perspective of women” – What can the arts do for the problems like domestic violence and child abuse that children face?  Female theater practitioners, who wrestle with these problems, will talk about how to create productions.

(3) “What the theater for little children can bring and its problems” – Theater practitioners from all over the world will discuss the possibility and problems of the theater for little children.

– D. Workshop                              

(1) Ballet Workshop – Ms. Dominique Genevois (ex-soloist at Bejart Ballet Lausanne) will give some ballet lessons.  She has been invited to Okinawa from 2005 to 2008.

(2) Dance Workshop – Contemporary dance artist, Alan Danielson from New York will hold dance workshops for experienced dancers.

(3) Akira Hino “Body and Expression” Workshop (2007~) – Akira Hino is recognized as a coach for top-level dancers, actors, athletes, wrestlers and such.  Body Workshop is intended for learning own body, how to control it and make muscles and senses work together.  Expression Workshop is to learn how to express the image in inner selves.

(4) “An Invisible Boat” Creation Workshop (2007~) – Inviting the director, Makoto Sato as a workshop lecturer, the drama workshops will be held for forming a new theater company for young audience (Asian multi-cultural company).

(5) Let’s make a puppet!  ~ for teachers and educators – Teachers and educators who lead the puppetry activities for children will learn with a professional puppetry artist. 

(6) Let’s make a puppet!  ~ for children – Making puppets and sets, children will also make a simple puppet show in groups.  What kind of story will they make this year?

(7) Circus Workshop – Children can enjoy the acrobat, through the experience of circus training, and develop their patience, concentration and communication skills.

(8) Musical and Recitation Workshop (2007~) – Participants will learn body expression, musical and recitation in the world of Kenji Miyazawa, a writer of stories for children.  It will be held by Yufuko Kanzaki.

(9) Enjoy Drama Workshop – Workshop given by a professional dramatist for children.  It’s fun to watch the drama, but why don’t we actually try?

– E. Picture Book Carnival (2007~)                       

Along with the performances in a theme of picture books, workshops, seminar, and symposium will be held.

(1) Children’s Picture Books Exhibition and Sale – Picture book is an entrance to “the heartfelt world” for children. In this corner, families can feel free to look through the books. There will also be recitation times as well.

(2) The World of Picture Book with Voice – Children can experience the world of picture book with artists.

(3) Picture Book Recitation Seminar – Seminar for people who do picture book reading.

(4) Lecture “Picture Book and I” – Picture book artists and narrator will talk about their encounter with picture books

(5) Symposium “Children and Picture Book”

– F. International Exchange Spaces                      

Resting spaces will be set where the participants, international guests and artists can rest.