Arab News Japan
TOKYO: Japanese martial artist and “samurai dancer” MINAMOTO Koshiro has created a stir in Saudi Arabia with his performances at the “Saudi Anime Expo 2022” in Riyadh.
He performed at the Japan Pavilion in the Middle East theme park “Riyadh Season”. It is the world’s largest anime town, built under the leadership of Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman, who is known to be an enthusiastic fan of Japanese anime.
Minamoto said his Saudi performance was a very good experience in his life, adding, the people of Saudi Arabia respect Japanese culture and history.
Minamoto became so popular that whenever he walked through the city his fans would refer to him as “samurai” and “Kurosawa” (after the legendary film director).
Minamoto performs the expressive forms of Noh and martial arts, and is also a modern artist who has received various awards from the Ministry of Culture in Italy and elsewhere. He plans to exhibit his AI art works “Haramita” at the Dubai International Art Festival to be held in March next year in cooperation with sponsoring publisher Clubhouse Co., Ltd.
Minamoto and his colleagues believe that creating a “samurai boom” in the Middle East will further enhance the friendship between Japan and the Middle East using soft power.
Minamoto put on 33 performances in Riyadh, featuring “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba,” Gurenka, Atsumori and Takasago in conjunction with SATO Sakurako (shamisen), FURUTATA Kenji (shamisen) and SUZUKI Nobuyuki (flute).
Minamoto’s next role will be as HIJIKATA Toshizo, the star of the international film “Toshizo no Katana (Toshizo’s sword)” being produced in Japan and Russia by film director MASUYAMA Rena.
The work is a historical fantasy story in which Hijikata travels to Russia at the end of the Edo period with a meteorite sword.
Saudi Anime Expo is the world’s largest anime festival and was being held for the first time in three years and is part of the country’s national growth strategy “Vision 2030,” which aims to diversify Saudi Arabia’s industry and break away from an oil-dependent economy.