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UPCOMING: Samurai: Beyond the Sword special exhibition @ DIA March-June 2014

Special Exhibition
March 9–June 1, 2014
Detroit Institute of Arts
Exhibition will be ticked.

Samurai: Beyond the Sword will be a rare opportunity to experience the world of the Japanese Samurai. Moving beyond the stereotype of the warrior, the exhibition explores the role of the military arts and the importance of Samurai engagement in the cultural, spiritual, and art worlds of their time.

Hours and Admission
Museum hours are 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesdays–Thursdays, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. General admission (excludes ticketed exhibitions) is free for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb county residents and DIA members. For all others, $8 for adults, $6 for seniors ages 62+, $4 for ages 6–17. For membership information, call 313-833-7971.

See below for full schedule of related events.

There is a lot more to the legendary Japanese samurai than meets the eye, and visitors to the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) exhibition Samurai: Beyond the Sword will experience the nuanced culture of these revered warriors through around 130 artworks that tell their story. The exhibition is on view March 9–June 1, 2014.

The exhibition offers an in-depth look at the samurai—shoguns (supreme military rulers), daimyo (regional lords) and soldiers—who sought balance between military and cultural pursuits. Samurai: Beyond the Sword explores artworks that project the image of the samurai not only as fierce warriors but also as patrons of the arts and sophisticated artists and scholars, focusing on the relatively peaceful Edo period (1603–1868).

Among the artworks are helmets, face masks, and paintings of legendary Buddhist and Chinese figures, as well as scenes of epic battles, shimmering Noh theatre costumes and illustrated classical literature on screen and scroll paintings. These and other objects reveal the principles of awareness and mindfulness that samurai pursued throughout their lives.

Exhibition tickets are on sale now and are $16 for adults, $8 for ages 6–17, and free for DIA members. Group tickets (15+) are $12 per ticket and discounts are available for early reservations. Purchase at DIA Box Office, or 313-833-4005. A $3.50 charge applies to nonmember tickets not purchased at the DIA. Tickets are timed, and advance purchase is recommended.

Related Programs

Special Opening Event
Saturday, March 8
Exhibition Preview and Dinner, 6–10 p.m.
A special exhibition preview hosted by the Asian & Islamic Art Forum includes a reception with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, a three-course dinner with a Japanese flair, an exhibition viewing and valet parking. Tickets are $250 and information is available at

Family Sunday
Sunday, March 9
Sunday Music Bar: Harumi Omitsu, 1 and 3 p.m.
Harumi Omitsu plays traditional Japanese music on the koto, a centuries-old stringed instrument resembling a zither.

Sunday, March 16
Artist Demonstration: Japanese Tea Ceremony, 1–4 p.m.
The Japanese Women’s Club, in association with the Japanese Consulate of Detroit, demonstrates the intricate rituals of a traditional tea ceremony, an ancient ritual created as a quiet moment in time away from the chaos of the world beyond the teahouse walls. Ceremonies will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. and again from 3 to 4 p.m.

Sunday, March 23
Storytelling: Kuniko Yamamoto, 2 p.m.
Charming Japanese folktales are combined with traditional musical instruments, masks, origami and mime to create a storytelling experience that portrays the culture and moral perspective of Japan.

Sunday, April 6
Artist Demonstration: Ikebana, the Art of Flower Arranging, Noon–4 p.m.
The Ikebana International Detroit chapter illustrates the principles and demonstrate the art of traditional Japanese flower arranging.

Sunday, May 4
Artist Demonstration: Japanese Boys Day, Noon–4 p.m.
In celebration of Japanese Boys’ Day, martial artists demonstrate Kendo and Judo, and kiting demonstrations will be performed on the north lawn (weather permitting).

Sunday, May 11
Sunday Music Bar: Shakuhachi, 1–4 p.m.
Enjoy Japanese cuisine and beverages in Kresge Court while listening to Michael Chikuzen Gould perform on the shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese flute made of bamboo. Gould studied in Japan and is one of a few to hold the title “Dai Shihan” (Grand Master of Shakuhachi)

Detroit Film Theatre
Saturday, April 5
The Sword of Doom (Japan/1965—directed by Kihachi Okamoto), 3 p.m.
In the 1860s, the merciless behavior of an outcast samurai leaves him little choice other than to make his living as a paid assassin. His fearsome authority is challenged and his life placed in jeopardy when he makes an enemy of the only samurai who is his equal as a swordsman. In Japanese with English subtitles. Tickets are $8.50 and $6.50 for DIA members, seniors and students.

Saturday, April 12
13 Assassins (Japan/2009—directed by Takashi Miike), 3 p.m.
Set near the end of the feudal era, 13 Assassins is the story of a group of unemployed samurai recruited to bring down a sadistic lord and prevent him from ascending to the throne, which would plunge the country into a bitter, war-saturated future. In Japanese with English subtitles. Tickets are $8.50 and $6.50 for DIA members, seniors and students.

Friday, April 18
A Story of Floating Weeds (Japan/1934—directed by Yasujiro Ozu), 7 p.m.
A Story of Floating Weeds is the deceptively simple tale of an aging, travelling actor who returns to a small town with his troupe where he reunites with his former lover and their illegitimate son. This does not sit well with his current mistress, who accompanies him, and the flood of repressed emotions takes a profound toll on all. Accompanied by Alex de Grassi, commissioned by the New York Guitar Festival to compose and perform his original score for this 1934 silent classic. Free admission.

Saturday, April 19
Yojimbo (Japan/1961—directed by Akira Kurosawa), 3 p.m.
A masterless samurai wanders into a village terrorized by two warring factions. Seeing a way to turn the situation to his advantage, he secretly sells his services as a master sworsdsman to both sides, resulting in a tidal wave of apocalyptic swordplay and a satisfying conclusion. A darkly funny, deeply cynical adventure, Yojimbo (The Bodyguard) is a blend of violence and wit, remade by Sergio Leone as A Fistful of Dollars. In Japanese with English subtitles. Tickets are $8.50 and $6.50 for DIA members, seniors and students.

Friday, May 30
The Twilight Samurai (Japan/2004—directed by Yoji Yamada), 9:30 p.m.
A low-ranking samurai living in the fading days of the feudal Shogun period is forced into manual labor to survive. His wife died, and with two daughters and a mother to support, he and his family must live in austerity. But when news of his sword-fighting prowess gets out, the samurai code of honor causes him to embark on a last, dangerous mission. The Twilight Samurai won 12 Japanese Academy Awards. In Japanese with English subtitles. Free admission.

Friday Night Live, May 30
Los Angeles Matsuri Taiko, 7 p.m. only–in the DFT Auditorium
Under the leadership of Master Etsuo Hongo, the Los Angeles Matsuri Taiko is one of the premier taiko (Japanese drum) ensembles in the United States. Master Hongo studied traditional taiko drumming in his native Japan and founded LA Matsuri Taiko in 1977. Hongo’s style can be described as one with powerful sounds, various challenges in technique, exciting movement and visual flair.
The Twilight Samurai will be shown at 9:30 p.m. as part of the Friday Night Live program. (see description above)

Saturday, April 5
Martial Arts: Civil and Military Interactions in Ming Dynasty China, 2 p.m.
The relationship between samurai culture and the arts is an important part of Japanese art history. In China, however, during the Ming dynasty, military men often participated in scholarly and artistic activities, while many influential literati engaged in pursuits associated with the warrior class. Professor Kathleen Ryor of Carleton College talks about this fascinating subject. Sponsored by Asian & Islamic Art Forum.

Sunday, May 4
In Attendance to the Realm: Kano Painters in 17th-Century Japan, 2 p.m.
Professor Yukio Lippit of Harvard University discusses the origins, artistic developments and artists of the Kano House of Painters, an official painting school in Edo-period Japan. She will also talk about how the Kano Painters relate to trends in Japan’s cultural and political history, with an emphasis on their influence on Detroiter Charles L. Freer’s collection of Japanese art. Sponsored by Asian & Islamic Art Forum, Freer House, Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute/WSU, Japan America Society and Detroit Creative Corridor Center.

Lecture/Artist Demonstration
Saturday, May 10
Lecture/Artist Demonstration: Bunraku Inspired Puppets of Tom Lee, 2 p.m.
Puppeteer Tom Lee, who collaborated on the puppets for the play War Horse, will talk about the history of bunraku and kuruma ningyo puppetry styles and the synthesis of Japanese traditions with contemporary experimental theater.