Korea is Japan’s closest neighbor, and at various times throughout history the Korean Peninsula has influenced various aspects of Japanese culture, acting as a kind of cultural bridge between Japan and China. On October 31, a Korea–Japan Friendship and Goodwill Concert titled The Beauty of Korea—Dancing of the Thousand Years was held at Niigata TERRSA Hall in Niigata Prefecture. Cosponsored by the Korea Foundation and the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Niigata, the world-renowned Gyeonggi Provincial Dance Company was brought to the stage in Japan at Min-On’s invitation to introduce the cultural heritage of Korean music and dance to Japanese audiences.
Since its establishment in 1993, the Company has represented Korean traditional performing arts, and at the same time served as a leader in the arts’ development under the direction of Artistic Director Cho Heung-Dong, who has featured unique blends of traditional and modern Korean dance with a martial arts twist. The ensemble of world-class performers wearing brightly colored traditional dress presented quintessential Korean traditions, including the fan dance incorporating large, colorful fans to represent butterflies in flight and elegant flowers in bloom; the Samulnori, a graceful dance to the accompaniment of a rhythm on hourglass-shaped drums and gongs; and other traditional pieces as well as some new choreography. This gorgeous dance performance, expressing the beauty and traditions of Korea, drew an enthusiastic response from the audience. The event, designed as a cultural exchange between the two neighboring countries, was also held at Nagaoka Lyric Hall in Niigata Prefecture on November 2.