They’re bold, they’re brassy, they’re Chin-Don Ya

2 September 2010

Lunch hour shoppers are in for a special treat in the run up to the Japan Festival of Wellington as Japanese street musicians perform down Lambton Quay.

The Chin-Don Ya Tsushinsha group, established in 1984 under the leadership of Kojiro Hayashi, is taking part in the 2010 Japan Festival of Wellington on Sunday September 5 with support from Asia New Zealand Foundation.

It is one of the best Chin-Don Ya groups in Japan today, having performed in more than 20 cities around the world.

“Chin-Don Ya” is Japan’s unique, original form of advertising and publicity dating back to the end of the Edo era, more than 100 years ago before the modernisation of Japan. Chin-Don Ya members dress in colorful clothes, usually an eccentric version of traditional Japanese garments. Women may dress up like a geisha, with heavy make up. Men usually have their hair in a top knot, although nowadays they are usually wigs. The performers parade through the streets playing traditional Japanese tunes, military marches or jazz to attract customers.

The art of Chin-Don Ya went out of fashion as Japan underwent dramatic economic growth, but by the end of the 20th century it had started to make a comeback. People started appreciating its folksy, face-to-face approach and its entertainment value.

Chin-Don Ya Tsushinsha’s Mr Hayashi says the company has provided a breath of fresh air in the industry, creating sophisticated and eccentric street performances and expanding the diversity of their work.

12 noon, Friday September 3: Chin-Don Ya parade along Lambton Quay starting from the ANZ Bank, 215 Lambton Quay.
1.00pm – 6.00pm, Sunday September 5: The 2010 Japan Festival of Wellington at the Wellington Town Hall, organised by Wellington City Council and the Embassy of Japan, with support from Asia New Zealand Foundation.