Performances of Peking Opera were held in Kyoto on October 19 and 20 to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and the People’s Republic of China. The performances were put on by students and graduates of J. F. Oberlin’s College of Performing and Visual Arts. In addition to performing in the university’s Prunus Hall, in recent years J. F. Oberlin students have been invited to perform in China three times by the Chinese government, and each time they’ve been highly praised for their skill.
On the 19th they put on a show at Ritsumeikan University, jointly sponsored by that university’s Confucius Institute and by J. F. Oberlin’s; on the 20th they were at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies’ Morita Memorial Hall. The weather on both days was rainy because of an approaching typhoon, but large audiences turned out to see the shows. As well as students, the audiences included many members of the general public, and on the 20th, China’s Vice-Consul, Liu Lei, and Consular Attache, Geng Yichao, came from the Consulate in Osaka to take in the performances.
In addition to current students and graduates, J. F. Oberlin’s delegation included Professor Yuan Yingming and Ma Zhenghong, who teach Peking Opera at the university. With the help of musicians and make-up artists from the National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts in Beijing, the foremost institution of Peking Opera, the students staged “Autumn River,” “At the Crossroads,” “Finding a Jade Bracelet,” and an excerpt from the famous “Legend of the White Snake.” Singing and delivering their lines in a mixture of Chinese and Japanese, the students were rewarded with hearty applause and shouts of “Hao!” (“Bravo!” in Chinese).