Samurai Sword Soul
photo by Brian Kronts
Samurai Sword Soul (SSS) was founded by Yoshi Amao and Yoshihisa Kuwayama in 2003. Since then, Samurai Sword Soul’s numerous performances, an engaging mix of comedy routines, humanistic- theme drama, and thrilling sword fights have been attracting a wide range of audiences in New York. Their sword technique is based on Waki Ryu Tate, which was created by Keihei Wakisaka, Seido Karate spirit and Kendo technique. Now imbuing traditional Japanese sword fighting arts with a more contemporary essence and their own artistry, they have established unique “Samurai Sword Soul Style.”
St. Louis Osuwa Taiko
The original Osuwa Taiko was formed by Grandmaster Daihachi Oguchi in Suwa, Japan, In 1986, Oguchi visited St. Louis. with a generous donation of hand made drums to the City, and helped form the first Osuwa Taiko in St. Louis. St. Louis Osuwa Taiko was restarted at Washington University in September of 1996. Since then, the group has grown and invited to perform at numerous events and occasions mostly in the mid-western region of the United States. We hope to broaden the awareness of this rich Japanese tradition and culture to the general public.
Storyteller Kuniko Yamamoto
She enchants audiences of every age with dramatic storytelling using myths and fables from ancient and modern Japan. Kuniko Yamamoto uses traditional Japanese music, handcrafted masks, stylized movement and a touch of magic to create an artistic balance of illusion and reality. Every program encourages audience interaction and participation, with each narrative carefully selected for cultural and moral perspectives. Trained in dance and traditional arts in her native Osaka, Kuniko has lived in Florida since 1992.
Other featured performers
- Hiroshi Tada: Koma mawashi – Top Spinner
- Kizuna: Japan America Friendship Group
- Plaid Dragon – Local music group traveling to Japan 2014
- SRO Lyric Theatre Tracy’s Kenpo Karate Studio
And many more activities
The festival also includes daily tea ceremonies in the lakeside teahouse, a kimono fashion show, festival dancing, martial arts demonstrations, local performers, authentic Japanese food and regional artisans. Kids will enjoy hands-on activities with the Kickapoo High School Japanese Club, including chopsticks instruction, face painting and origami.
A tent-top market offers Japanese souvenirs and apparel, with all proceeds benefiting Springfield Sister Cities Association and the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden.
Times and Date
The Springfield Sister Cities Association, with support from the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, hosts the 18th Annual Japanese Fall Festival Friday, Sept. 6, through Sunday, Sept. 8, in the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden in Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield. For the full schedule, click here.
The festival kicks off Friday evening with opening ceremonies at 6:15 p.m. Hundreds of Springfield area elementary school students act as ambassadors and perform a festival dance at the main stage. The three-day festival runs from 5:30 – 10 p.m. Friday night; 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is $7/adult; $3/ kids 3-12; toddlers age 2 and younger are free. Weekend passes may be purchased at the gate for $10/adult; $5/kids.
Outreach to schools
Additionally, festival performers will visit several Springfield elementary schools Friday, Sept. 6, including:
Samurai Sword Soul:
Friday — 9 a.m. at Field Elementary, 10:30 a.m. at Rountree Elementary
Kuniko the Storyteller:
Friday — 10:30 a.m. at Watkins Elementary, 1 p.m. at Truman Elementary