Tokyo Jihen pays homage to multiple facets of traditional Japanese culture in this breathtaking new music video.

Tokyo Jihen, also known as Tokyo Incidents in English, was formed in 2003 by acclaimed singer-songwriter Sheena Ringo, who’s known for her raw and dynamic vocals. After disbanding in 2012, the band reunited in early 2020 and has since released a string of promotional singles and a new EP. An upcoming sixth studio album titled “Music” (音楽) is slated for release on June 9, 2021 and will be their first full-length album in a decade.

Tokyo Jihen’s latest promotional single, “Awakening (Ryokushu [緑酒]),” was released back on March 30 but the accompanying music video wasn’t uploaded to YouTube until more recently. The title refers to a green or sweet wine of good quality. Directed by Yuichi Kodama, who handles almost all of Tokyo Jihen’s music videos and live videos at concerts, the video immediately garnered praise on the Japanese Internet for its lush visuals showcasing many aspects of traditional Japanese culture and aesthetics.

▼ “Awakening (Rokushu)”

The video opens with Sheena entering a traditional Japanese house while busy with preparations for a gathering. The other four band members each arrive in turn donning western-style suits and hats reminiscent of an older era, taking time to admire the gardens and koi pond, and relax on the balcony as well. Intentionally framed shots of katana, bonsai, hanging picture scrolls, temari (folk hand balls), and more cultural artifacts are also interspersed throughout the cuts.

▼ Even small details, such as one band member carefully arranging his shoes to point towards the door, are subtle but important nods to Japanese etiquette.

Sheena helps prepare something in the kitchen before she and the others take a moment to change into traditional clothing. These sequences are lovingly filmed and add an edge of anticipation that something exciting is about to happen.

Finally, the members gather around a multi-course feast and make a toast with their sake cups. Shots of them conversing and laughing with sunny expressions pull the viewer right into the joyful party with them as well.

The scene then switches to a vibrant display of the band performing live next to a river, with a blizzard of cherry blossom petals swirling around them in the breeze. These shots are intercut with more exterior shots of the house and individual members. They even sit down to take an old-fashioned photo together!

One definite highlight of the video is alternating scenes of drummer Toshiki Hata performing the Iwami Kagura, a variety of Shinto ceremonial dance that you might recognize from the animated film Your Name. His passion lends itself to a spellbinding performance.

We could go on and on about the gorgeous imagery in “Awakening (Rokushu),” but you’d probably prefer to simply watch it on repeat to take in all of the artistry again and again. We can only hope that Tokyo Jihen elects to film their future music videos in a similar style for even more cinematic-quality eye candy.

For another unique music video that pays homage to a real-life samurai in anime form, check out this song by Japanese band Unicorn.

Source, images: YouTube/東京事変
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