Upcoming Washin Kai events:
Washin Kai Fall Event: Dramatic Recitation (Rodoku 朗読)
Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 7:00 p.m.
Kane Hall, Room 210, University of Washington
BENKEI AT THE BARRIER
A Modern Retelling of One of the Most Famous Stories in Japanese Samurai Lore
Performed in Japanese by Ms. Kima HOTTA with English subtitles
Based on the novel Ninjō: Ataka no seki by Mr. Hiroaki TODA
The brilliant general Minamoto no Yoshitsune distinguished himself in battle as a masterly strategist during Japan’s longest civil war, the struggle between the Minamoto and Taira clans that lasted from 1180-85.
Not long after Yoshitsune destroyed the Taira at Dan-no-ura, he was suspected by his elder half-brother and commander-in-chief Yoritomo of disloyalty, and fled the capital, Kyoto.
Among his trusted retainers was the formidable Benkei, a warrior and Buddhist monk renowned for his fearlessness, resourcefulness, and steadfast loyalty. Disguised as traveling ascetics raising funds to rebuild a temple ruined during the war, Yoshitsune and his band of retainers are stopped at the Ataka barrier by a suspicious guard, Togashi Yasuie.
The heart-rending story that follows has been told and heard for centuries. It was adapted into a noh play, a kabuki play, and a film by Kurosawa.
In this modern retelling, the talented Kima Hotta will recite an adaptation of the story by Hiroaki Toda, which fleshes out the story for contemporary audiences and adds its own clever twist. The performance will be accompanied by English subtitles and introduced by Paul Atkins, professor of classical Japanese language, literature, and culture at the University of Washington.
Audiences should be prepared to be moved, inspired, and stimulated by this cherished story and the intriguing values it represents.
Past Washin Kai Events:
REIWA: Paul Atkins speaks about the new Japanese reign name
Washin Kai lecture by Ross Henderson
"A Fistful of Incense: Basara and the Medieval Origins of Japanese Maximalism"
PhD student Ross Henderson delivered the Washin Kai spring lecture on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 to nearly 150 guests in Kane Hall at the University of Washington. His lecture, "A Fistful of Incense: Basara and the Medieval Origins of Japanese Maximalism" brought to light a lesser known Japanese aesthetic and how to spot its presence today.
Washin Kai lecture by Professor Paul Atkins
Friend from a World Unseen: Fujiwara no Teika and Medieval Japanese Poetry 見ぬ世の友：藤原定家と中世和歌
Thursday, October 25, 2018, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Kane Hall, room 210
University of Washington
Inaugural Washin Kai Lecture:
copyright Paul Atkins
Paul Atkins, professor of Japanese and department chair, gave a lecture on the medieval Japanese poet Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241), titled “Friends from a World Unseen: Fujiwara no Teika and Medieval Japanese Poetry.” It was introduced by Mr. Tay Yoshitani, a member of Washin Kai.
This lecture touched on Teika’s life, some of his most famous poems, and his work’s reception over the centuries since his death. Dr. Atkins’ intriguing and wide-ranging overview of Teika’s impact on Japanese literature and culture incorporated history, art, and even short clips from a noh play. A central theme was the possibility of knowing Teika—our “friend from a world unseen”—through his diary, calligraphy, and poetry. The ability to immerse ourselves deeply through reading and writing into the worlds of other people is still relevant in today’s increasingly digital and virtual world.
Mr. Eugene Saburi, another Washin Kai member, delivered a heart-felt plea for support for the organization's mission after the lecture. Professor Atkins’ lecture was sponsored by Washin Kai 和心会 (Friends of Classical Japanese at UW), which was formed in Spring, 2018 to preserve and strengthen classical Japanese studies at UW. It is composed of volunteers from the Puget Sound community with strong ties to the university and to Japan, and their goal is to create a permanent fund at UW dedicated to supporting the study of classical Japanese language, literature and culture.
The next Washin Kai lecture will be given on the evening of April 16, 2019, by Ross Henderson, Ph.D. student in classical Japanese literature. Please see here for details.
Washin Kai - Tanabata lecture by Professor Paul Atkins
Saturday, July 7, 2018
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
11100 NE 6th St. Bellevue, WA 98004
Professor Atkins gave a lecture at Japan Fair this year which coincided with Tanabata, one of the festivals of the traditional Japanese calendar. Originally based on a Chinese legend, Tanabata commemorates two lovers, the Weaver Girl and the Herder Boy, who were turned into stars (Altair and Vega) that meet in the heavens only once a year. Today in Japan, Tanabata is an occasion for making wishes, but for centuries it has been an important topic in Japanese waka poetry.
Filmed at Japan Fair 2018
copyright Paul Atkins