"Asahi no Matsu" is Nikkei Student Union (NSU) Odori's second spring dance recital. NSU Odori is a group of UCLA undergraduate students who bring nihon buyo or traditional Japanese dance, to the UCLA and broader Los Angeles communities. They are under the direction of Bandō Hirohichirō (Nakamura Gankyō), the first non-Japanese citizen to become a professional kabuki actor in the history of kabuki theater.
I had the privelege to be both a Graphic Designer and Co-Director for the recital. As a Co-Director, I was in charge of coordinating NSU Odori's Recital along with a Co-Director and Producer. This included coordinating practices, applying for student funding, learning the choreography, managing schedules and etc. Simultaneously I was designing for the recital's program, poster and flyer. "Asahi no Matsu" was a passion project that conveyed my great appreciation for Japanese traditional culture, heritage and history.
The name "Asahi no Matsu" or "Pines in the Sunrise" was a collaboration between Sensei, co-directors, producer and alumni.
In Japanese culture, the pine tree symbolizes longevity, virtue, good fortune and solitude. In reference to Japanese New Year, the pine tree and sunrise also symbolizes renewal, rebirth and hopeful for a bright future. The name of the recital represented our journey as undergraduates who will soon graduate from UCLA and move forward to the next steps in our lives - jobs, graduate school and etc.
The recital design reflects the literal meaning of its' name - "Pines in the Sunrise."
I was inspired by ukiyo-e (Japanese traditional print) and contemporary art for the recital design. Ukiyo-e depicted different themes and subjects such as nature and serene landscapes. For the design, I used the pine branch as the subject with a crisp sunrise gradient in the background - pastel yellow to blue. As a modern touch, I incorporated sunrise rays/streaks and a dancing fan silhouette overlay.
Photo Credit: Albert Lien