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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 19, 1997)
Group draws on Japanimation
By Bret Schulte
In a postwar apocalypse, two children strug
gle to find love and shelter in a devastated
world: It’s as close to Disney as Japan has to
Friday, the campus organization Global
Friends of Japan is offering a free evening of
Japanimation - the deeply detailed and typical
ly dark animation of Japan’s burgeoning video
cartoon subculture - to students interested in
the country’s world-renowned animated films.
The evening will feature the Japanese block
buster “Hotaru No Haka,” by graphic artist
Hayao Miyazaki. Translating to “Grave of the
Fireflies,” it is a deeply somber tale of a young
brother and sister lost in post-World War II
Japan, trying to survive in the war-tom nation.
“I don’t want Americans to take this film the
wrong way,” said Kari Yanai, vice president of
Global Friends of Japan, “but we need to know
the facts. It happened. The point to this (film) is
it could happen anywhere in the world.”
Although Japanimation is notorious for its
graphic violence, sexual content and disturbing
images of destructive youth subcultures,
“Hotaru No Haka,” is “kind of like Disney,”
Chosen because of its wide appeal, the film
can be viewed by people of all ages while also
offering a window to Japan’s turbulent and
painful past. But, Yanai said, people can get
whatever they want from the film.
“You can leam anything,” she said.
“You can learn how people used to
live in the ’40s in Japan, or you can f
Although the film carries strong political
overtones, Yanai says the group’s intention sim
ply is to provide an evening open to everyone
interested in learning more about Japan, and, in
this case, its extremely popular animated films.
“I hear about a lot of Americans who are
interested in Japanese animation,” Yanai said.
“We thought maybe this way we can attract
some Americans. There is no point in having
this organization with just Japanese people.”
Global Friends of Japan is an official orga
nization of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
and currently boasts between 40 and 50 mem
bers, but, Yanai said, many are not UNL stu
dents, and most aren’t Japanese. Members
include faculty, businessmen, musicians and
even people so removed from campus life that
they live in New York.
“It’s kind of surprising that a lot of
Americans want to learn about Japan,” she said.
“Americans know details (about Japan) that I
don’t even know. The interesting thing about
Americans is that they focus on something I
wouldn’t - like animation.”
Yanai said the reason the club decided on
animation was because of American’s interest in
the art form, but she hopes that people also will
discover that many myths still persist about
“Americans can learn a lot about Japan just
by coming to the show and meeting people,” she
said. “It’s not true that we eat sushi every day,
and we don’t all know karate. It’s not silly, it’s
If the program is successful, the group
hopes to make the Japanese films a regular
“We want to put out a variety of films, not
only animation” Yanai said. “This is Japanese
animation night, but we’re going to do Japanese
movie night with old films and contemporary
Friday’s show begins at 6:30 p.m. in the
Nebraska Union, the specific room being posted
that day. Also, free soda will be available.
Call (402)436-8898 for more information.^^
As the semester drives to a conclusion, the
UNL dancers want to offer die community one last
chance to see their work.
Today, the dancers will present “Last Chance to
Dance,” a concert featuring nine pieces from
Composition 1 students, two pieces by graduating
University of Nebraska-Lincoin seniors, a work in
progress by dance program director Charlotte
Adams and a demonstration by modem and impro
visation dance classes.
This year’s concert is the third “Last Chance to
Dance” since last fall. Adams instituted the series to
encourage students to bring their choreographic
work to a culmination.
Rena Armendariz, a junior dance major and a
Composition I student, agreed that the concert
served as a catalyst during the choreographic
“I think the importance of the concert is that it
pushes us to work harder on the pieces because we
know we’re going to have to perform them,”
Amy BaUou, another junior dance major, said
that while the concert pushed the dancers, stress
was minimized by its informal style.
“The audience is not going to be real critical,”
Ballou said. “A number of dance majors will be
attending so this is an audience we can trust and can
get input from.”
Adams remarked on the variety of choreogra
phy featured in this semester’s concert
“(The students) are choreographing mainly in a
modern style, but they each have their own individ
ual voice,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of growth and
experience. They’re really grasping how you chore
ograph, that there is intent behind the movement.”
A creative process
Armendariz agreed that she had learned how to
“stay true to the intent” while choreographing her
piece, “In Beauty I Walk.” Armendariz set the piece
to music ftofn Peter Gabriel’s “Passion” album.
The piece originated from a study Armendariz
composed on preferred movement and body-part
accentuation. She said it focused on the contracting
and releasing movements of modern dance.
Sophomore dance major Kellie Wefrier said in
addition to intent, she learned how to personalize
“(Composition I) taught me how to take a basic
step or basic turn and stylize it and make it into my
own movement,” Werner said.
Werner will perform her piece,
“Homecoming,” for the concert The work originat
ed in a time study where Werner worked on tempo
change. The theme of the piece is longing for a
loved one, and Werner described it as balletic and
Ballou will perform “Time Out” a piece she
choreographed to the song “Who Do You Think You
Are?,” played by the Turtle Island Quartet. The
piece originated in a study of time and qualitative
“The piece is about manipulating time and time
as a kind of driving force,” Ballou said.
While choreographing this piece, Ballou said,
she learned to be more spontaneous.
“You can’t be extremely analytical.
Choreographing is truly a creative process,” Ballou
said. “A piece needs time to evolve.”
Capers in choreography
The other Composition I students presenting
pieces are seniors Carrie Orsi and Kevin Gibbs,
freshman Nicole Haynes.
Becky Drum and Heather Schwenzer are the
two graduating senior dance majors presenting
pieces for the concert; They first choreographed
thejr pieces for their senior projects last semester.
Drum said the chance to continue working on?
ho- piece, “In Love and War,” allowed, her to soljd£
fy the work.
“I knew wh^rlwa^aimingfortiiistime,” Drum '
said. “It was easier to get the movement out and on
to die dancers.4’
Drum based her piece on a poem she wrptejb^
the same name. Six dancers perform the piece!
which Drum described as abstract modem move
The piece Adams will present is actually a, work
in progress she based on stones the UNL dancers
told her about grooving up.
“I based it on tilings that (the dancers’) parents
would tell them,” Adams said “Like/Don’t leave
the lights on! ’ and ‘Don’t leave the refrigerator door
Adams titled the piece “Lockjaw” and set it to
harpsichord music fay Scarlatti and Couperin.
“Last Chance to Dance” will run at 2:30 and 8
p.m toda^ inMable Lee^11304. Admission is$3.
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