In 2016, Japan and Belgium will celebrate 150 years of their diplomatic relations and friendship. On the occasion of this anniversary, in January 2017, Meiji Jingu, a prominent Shinto shrine in Tokyo, will organize in Belgium and other European countries, performances of Gagaku and Budo, two of the jewels of Japanese tradition and culture.
Gagaku, traditional court music, which has a melody that transports the audience to the ancient times of mythology, is said to be the oldest living form of orchestral music in the world. Traditional drums, flutes and other wind instruments accompany songs and dances. Being protected by the Imperial court, Gagaku was also played in major Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in homage to divinities who are purportedly entertained by the performance. The priests and the Miko, maidens serving the shrine, will unveil its spiritual significance.
Budo, with its spirituality directly inherited from the indigenous religion Shinto, will be represented by two Japanese traditional martial arts: Aikido and Kenjutsu, the art of the sword. The performance will thus provide the audience an excellent opportunity to discover the Shinto spirit in Budo. The performers will be masters from Meiji Jingu together with European amateurs who experienced the training course at Shiseikan, the dojo of Meiji Jingu.
Gagaku and Budo both represent the distillation of the Japanese spirit, which has been cultivated over countless generations. Thus, Meiji Jingu offers a rare opportunity to see two of them together in the same event. It is a unique occasion to be initiated into Japanese culture and its spirit.