Kick-off the 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival and watch world-renowned performers as we welcome springtime to Washington, DC and celebrate the anniversary of the gift of trees from Japan to the United States. Enjoy spirited traditional and contemporary performances in the historic Warner Theatre. The Festival heralds a natural treasure that unites our city, region, nation, and the world. The trees – both in Japan and the U.S. – always have symbolized birth and renewal. The Opening Ceremony celebrates the season through a showcase of great American and Japanese talent.
- T.M. Revolution: Born 1970 in Shiga prefecture, Takanori Nishikawa made his debut under his stage name T.M.Revolution (T.M.R.) in May 1996 with his single “Dokusai –monopolize-”. Since then, he has established a reputation as a singer with ear-catching tunes, perfect stage-setting and intriguing live performances. Many of his singles have been featured as theme songs for major animations and games including “Mobile Suit Gundam”, and “Sengoku BASARA”. Since his debut, T.M.R. has built a global fan base and reputation mainly among Japanimation fans.
- Akiko Yano: Akiko Yano was born in Tokyo and raised in Aomori, Japan. When her debut album Japanese Girl was released in 1976, many reputed her to be a “girl with a musical wonder.” To date, Akiko has released 27 original albums. In 2008, her original album akiko was recorded in Los Angeles, California and produced by Grammy-Award winning producer T Bone Burnett.
- The 6821 Quintet: Created by The Ryuji Ueno Foundation as part of the Potomac Music-Lab Project, this classical ensemble was specially assembled for the National Cherry Blossom Festival and named to reflect the distance from Tokyo to Washington, D.C. The group of world-class musicians perform a variety of classical and popular songs, and will premier a specially-composed piece as they return to the Opening Ceremony stage for the third year. The Potomac Music-Lab Project serves as an incubator for classical music, where world-class musicians can experiment with their craft.
- Shodo Girls (Fukuoka Prefectural Yahata Chuo High School): During Shodo performances, whether on stage or at a street corner, a work of calligraphy is completed vibrantly while dancing to music. “Shodo Performance Koshien” is a competition to determine the top high school Shodo performance team in Japan. In this competition, each team produces a single piece of work with the dynamic strokes on a large sheet of paper. In 2017, the Fukuoka Prefectural Yahata Chuo High School Japanese Calligraphy Club won the first prize in the 10th “Shodo Performance Koshien”, and has been one of the top finalists eight consecutive times. The club has been praised for their dynamic performance, innovative calligraphy composition, and their natural approach toward Shodo expressions.
- Miyako Taiko: Miyako Taiko (pronounced “mee-YAH-koh TIE-koh”) is a Japanese drumming group based in the Washington DC area and part of the Mark H Taiko School.