Beauty in Movement: The Elegance of Japanese Dance

This event is Sold Out. 

Take a journey with us to the world of Japanese dance. Be mesmerized through the elegant movements of classical dance accompanied by the tranquil melodies of the koto, the Japanese zither. Visitors will be treated to a visual and sensory delight by Japanese dancer Satomi Hirano, koto performer Yoshiko Carlton, jiuta shamisen performer Mayumi Hopkins, and the Matsuriza Tsugaru Shamisen group.

This program is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.


  • Time: 7:00 (museum doors open at 6:00pm)
  • Tickets will be held at the door under your name at will call.
  • Please note that the Cornell Café and Gardens will be closed for the evening.


Satomi Hirano began her dance instruction in Tokyo at the age of four years. She studied under Master Kichifuji Wakayagi and the late Kisaho Wakayagi. At the age of 16 years, she received the title Master Fujichiho Wakayagi. She danced “Sagi Musume” for her inaguration, and began her career as a master classical dance teacher in Sasaduka, Tokyo. Following a move to the US, she resumed teaching in Orlando, Florida. Her speciality – Wakayagi-Ryu – is one of the five main classifications of Japanese dance styles. Through her mastery of classical Japanese dance, coupled with her certification in Yamano-style kimono dressing, she is dedicated to revive and spread traditional Japanese culture.

Yoshiko Carlton is a native of Kagoshima, Japan. She started her koto training at the age of nine years. She continued her koto studies after moving to Florida with Mrs. Kyoko Okamato, founder of the Washington Toho Koto Society based in Washington D.C. She furthered her studies with renowned 25 stringed koto player, Brian Yamakoshi.  Since 1990 she has directed, mentored, and performed with the taiko drumming ensemble Fushu Daiko, in which she was a founding member. She established “Yoshi no Kai”, “Friends of Koto” in 2002 for the purpose of educating and introducing koto music to the West. In 2003, she was awarded a certificate of recognition by the Consulate General of Japan in Miami for her contribution in promoting Japanese culture, especially Koto, to the community.

Sayaka Kikuchi, Keiko Ishikura and Mayuko Ishikura are professional Japanese taiko drummers with over 10 years experience with the Orlando Matsuriza Taiko group. They began their shamisen ensemble Matsuriza Tsugaru Shamisen in 2008 and have performed at Orlando’s Japan Festival and throughout the Southeast USA. Their repertoire includes traditional tsugaru shamisen music from Northern Japan and their own original compositions and arrangements.Tsugaru shamisen is a type of Japanese banjo, which originated in Aomori prefecture located in Northern Japan. The unique and powerful performance of the tsugara shamisen reflects the harsh lifestyle one encounters in the snowy environment of Northern Japan. Tsugaru shamisen displays at times an eloquent melody or a commanding presence with vigor and intense rhythm.

Mayumi Hopkins, hails from Hokkaido, Japan where she began learning the koto at age 7 and the jiuta shamisen at the age of 15. She was a member and performer of the Friends of Koto Orlando group under the direction of Yoshiko Carlton, before moving to Portland, Washington where she currently resides.