Satsuki no Mai

2017 | Nikkei Student Union Odori

Role(s): Graphic designer, animator

Project Type: Print design, program, flyer, animation

Client Type: Collegiate cultural organization, traditional dance

Nikkei Student Union (NSU) Odori's third spring dance recital, "Satsuki no Mai," showcases traditional Japanese dance performed by UCLA undergraduate students under the direction of Bandō Hirohichirō (Nakamura Gankyō), the first non-Japanese citizen to become a professional kabuki actor.

Despite graduating from UCLA, I still designed assets for NSU Odori and my Sensei's dance group, Kyo no Kai. I created the flyer, poster, and program for "Satsuki no Mai," which was similar to the previous recital. Along with the print graphics, I also produced an animation for "Chōjū Giga," also known as "The Frolicking Animals."

Research and Development

Modern Design

The recital design reflects the meaning of its' name - "Dance of the Azaleas."

I was inspired by typographical contemporary art for the recital design. These design examples demonstrate playful and artistic arrangements between letters/words and the flowers. I also like the sense of depth from the overlapping elements and subtle drop shadows.


The first dance performance of "Satsuki no Mai" was "Chōjū Giga." The piece was a live dance performance with an animation video in the background.

The dance was inspired by the famous picture scrolls that's known as the oldest work of manga (Japanese comics). The scrolls illustrate anthropomorphic rabbits, monkeys and frogs interacting with each other. One panel has rabbits and monkeys bathing in the river. Another panel has a monkey thief stealing and knocking over a frog. The last panel has frogs and other animals praying to a Buddha statue.

I took parts from the original artwork and created subtle animations that go along with the music and dance performance.

Program, Poster and Flyer


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