Issue 75: Japan in Argentina – Cultural Exchange

** Haga clic aquí para leer este artículo en Español **

The idea of Japan in Argentina emerged from different exchange cultural vision:
The exhibition; flying demonstrations; painting; miniature kites; dancing; music and traditional Japanese drums.

The place was “Complejo Cultural y Ambiental Jardín Japonés de Buenos Aires”.
This sanctuary park was built on February 3rd – 1989, in order to make the friendship between our country and Japan stronger. It is managed by the Argentine-Japanese Cultural Foundation. Its vision is focused on spread Japanese culture, environment care and Japanese community image care in Argentina.

My friend Polo Madueño is an excellent origamist; he lives in Comodoro Rivadavia – Chubut Province – in the south of our Country. He shares with us (Claris and I) the passion of flying and building kites. The idea came up from origamist to kites, sharing ideas and focuses on to present a project.

From a Zen worldview, the integration of different disciplines and thoughts, were translated into a cultural and uniform message.

The exhibition and workshop:

Claris is the artist who added miniature Japanese traditional kites. Some of their designs were Argentines’ and some from other cultures.

The Revolution Indoor kite, become into a Japanese´s Dragon – Nihon-no-rhyu itself endowed with spirit, symbolic, painted with traditional Japanese art.

As expected, Claris made a miniature Revolution´s Dragon incorporating it into a wonderful collection design.

The exhibition was held in the Chrysanthemum show room. More than 100 miniature kites with other natural size, were exposed.
The shape, color and design came from Claris Skoczdopole´s hands. Claris gave life to the kites.

Claris also, did a workshop where he showed his experience and extensive technical knowledge, historical and cultural.

He spoke about the kite origin, different names from Japan´s prefecture; how he chose the bamboo, how he cut it, how he made and painted, how he dido the flying test.

Some models exposed were: Fugu, Kintoki Dako, Kerori Dako, Abbu Dako, Machijirushi, Buka Dako, Semi Dako, Sode Dako, Edo Dako, Yako Dako, Rokkaku, Fukurasuzume Dako, Tombi Dako, Ogi Dako, Mishima, and so forth.

Also Claris transmited to the audience his experience from his last orient trip. He meet with his Senseis that inspired him.
Te dedication and detail of their work became even more evident after he stayed in Japan.

In order to the audience could realize the model differences, Claris, compared all designs emphasizing on his designs “The Witch”, that won the award Grand Champion at American Kitefliers Association convention (AKA) 2008.

Claris asked me, during his dissertation, about Revolution Indoor Nihon-no-ryu characteristics, so I talked about them.

I can assure you that the large audience became amazed.

Kite Paint:

The idea was from Pablo De Bella in collaboration with: Maria Cristina Pérez; Misae Arakaki Chibana, Yanina Chibana and Akira Kiyagi, belonging to the “Cristina Ishikawa´s Japanese Painting School.

“The Oriental Japanese painting style tries to capture the synthesis of nature through contemplation, trying to catch the essence of material to the spiritual movement.

The painting should take flight through the skies, including water, clouds and waves in the paint, giving life to the benefactor´s Dragon.
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The Japanese dragon known as Nihon-no-ryu are mythical creatures, emperor’s legendary emblem and heroes, representing “wisdom.”

It also represents the ability to control rain and storms, cause concern and it is respected and revered by farmers and fishermen.

Its appearance is very different from other Oriental dragons: Has snake body – camel head – lizard scales – Deer horns – Shrimp Eyes – Salamander nose – Eagle Claws – Lizard claws – Lion´s mane – Catfish whisker – They are more benevolent and grant wishes.


The Nihon-no-ryu flew over the audience, connecting emotions and memories of other times, other distances and other places linked by one common universal sky.

The place it was the Checkerboard, an outdoor space. It surrounded by greenery, the “Japanese Foundation” building, nursery garden.

On Saturday 16, I did 5 shows flying in time of “Sakura Sakura”, the name of a traditional Japanese folk song that describes the spring season in which the cherry blossoms. The song was written during the Edo period, to children who learned to play the “Koto”. (Traditional string instrument) The song has been popular since the Meiji period.

On October 17, my demonstration was at closing of Asian Festival in time of the song “Mukaito” representative of the “Mukaito Taiko” Japanese drums group.
That music contributed by giving life to the Nihon-no-ryu.

When the Mukaito Taiko sounds, The Nihon-no-ryu beats.

The song has 5 movements: Oroshi, Introduction, Firs Part, Wave, and Second Part.

Mukaito Taiko Japanese drums group:

Formed in August 1994, keeps the tradition of this musical style that combines traditional Japanese percussion with karate moves. The musical patterns run back to the earliest times of Japan and were used to encourage the warriors in battle, to request and thank the spirits for good harvests and fisheries and to communicate with the ancestors.

“Taiko” is the term used to designate the drums in general, is the art of Japanese percussion and engages the body, mind and spirit.

The characters that make up the name of the group meaning: “The dream of crossing the sea” and allude to many young people who left in search of new life.

Nowadays the group consists of young Japanese descent people as well as by Argentines who share an interest in their culture.

Friends, I can assure you that when I flew my Revolution Indoor Nihon-no-ryu, the drums were put inside my body. The rhythm went through my veins and the invisible hands transmited the Dragon life.

When I flew an indoor kite at outdoor; the environment changed. All of the sudden we can see new challenging conditions, where the trees announced the speed and wind directions, and total quiet. Despite that the Dragon generating their own wind, its own strength, their own flight tuning the spirit …

The large audience interpreted the message:
The traditional Japanese kites and Nihon-no-ryu, connects through the air to the Japanese comunity in Argentina with their ancestors, flying, monitoring, containing, protecting, and keeping alive the union and memory.

Eventually I’d like to thank to:

Cristina Ishikawa, Makiko Matsumoto, Nancy Itokazu, Natalia Yagui, Misae Arakaki Chibana, Yanina Chibana, Akira Kiyagi, Mukaito Taiko, Pablo De Bella, María Cristina Pérez, Polo Madueño.

Gustavo Di Si

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Author:Gustavo Di Si

Among other things, Gustavo is an avid multiple kite flier, an active member of the kiting community in Argentina, and a regular contributor to Kitelife... Visit his home page!

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