If a recent spate of performances by Japanese dance groups, “talent” stars and other Japanese artists who brought the house down on Western television is any indication, the west may finally once again be catching on to “Cool Japan” – that tagline the country’s tourism board wants so desperately to sell abroad – after a long hiatus.
Of course, we all know and adore Baby Metal by now, Hatsune Miku had that awkward appearance on Letterman (which arguably may have hurt Japan’s pop culture image more than anything) and our adorable friend Mininja seems poised for foreign fame any day now, but that’s just scratching the surface of Japanese performers catching on abroad. And the number of artists waiting in line for their chance to shine in foreign lands is only growing, as evidenced by an increasing number of Japanese hopefuls on shows like "Asia’s Got Talent," such as this super cool dance troupe hailing from Tokyo who recently brought the house down on the show.
Triqstar, the six-person dance group, appeared on the show in early May and blew the audience away with a neat kabuki-inspired dance routine that drew on traditional shamisen music, modern dance moves and even Buddhist iconography to deliver a powerful, awe-inspiring performance that felt like some it landed somewhere between the musical stylings and aesthetics of Wagakki Band and the jittery, robotic dancing of Kenichi Ebina – that guy who appeared to make his own head fall off on "America’s Got Talent" a couple of years ago. There’s even some brief contortionist stuff.
While it’s all pretty neat looking and definitely worth a look, this wasn’t Triqstar’s first time in the spotlight by a long shot. They’re modestly well-known here in Japan – in the right circles anyway – and at least a few of the members used to perform as Madonna backup dancers. Maybe they left that gig because she insisted on sneak-attack making out with them on stage and traumatized them all.
Thanks to Triqstar’s stunning performance, the team was welcomed into the top six and will move on to the next round of eliminations, which means there’s a remote but very real possibility the final episode will feature a showdown between Triqstar and this other very talented tambourine man.
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