Tango-ing in JapanTanguito2019-12-25T20:06:18+01:00
Japan tango scene
It might be a surprise for some but Japan has a very established tango scene. The only non-south American dancers who won the world championship were a Japanese couple – this shows the level of tango there. It is astonishing how well tango is established in Tokyo: one can milonguerar every day of the week, go to multiple schools for practicing tango, and learn from both Japanese and Argentine professionals (either permanently or temporarily based in Japan).
The role of tango in Japan is interesting. Personal space there is culturally very important. There is an emphasis on distance, for example when greeting someone. Partner dance, and particularly tango, allows a place for an acceptable embrace, for it to be fine to embrace someone without fear of invasion of personal space.
You know, Japan is one of the reasons tango is still around today. When tango went underground in the 1970’s during the dictatorship in Argentina, it kept going in Japan and maestros visited to teach and do workshops. The prevalence of tango in Japan was one of the contributing factors to its survival when Argentina reclaimed it in the 1980’s and 90’s.
Finally, in Japan is organised the Tango Dance Asian Championship (under the patronage of Tango BA, the Buenos Aires department in charge of the World Tango Championship). In its 13th edition and with more than 200 competing dancers, it is one of the main tango events worldwide!
Together with the maestros, we will visit the best milongas Tokyo has to offer – get ready for beautiful evenings of tango in the capital!
A little bit of history
how did tango start in Japan?
José Gobello, president of the Argentine Slang Academy, said that «even though it might seem a joke, Paris is the place from where the tango came to Argentina». This controversial expression could be applied, however to describe the arrival of tango in Japan.
The Baron Tsunayoshi Tsunami Megata, was born in Japan on November 17, 1896. He was the grandson of the samurai Kaishu Katsu —the first noble warrior to travel to the United States—, and the son of a Japanese diplomat.
In 1920 Megata went to Paris to undergo a surgical operation. He remained in the City of Lights until 1926, where he learned and mastered the art of dancing tango while patronizing the cabaret El Garrón.