Looking for a Japanese arts and culture fix in the heart of Kuala Lumpur?

The Konnichiwa Zhongshan festival by the Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur (JFKL) is the place to this week for all things Japanese. It will be happening at the Zhongshan building in Kampung Attap. Indulge and learn about Japanese culture at this four-day event, which runs from Dec 16-19. Events start noon onwards.

Visitors can dig into the wonderful, niche world of “gyotaku”, an ancient Japanese printmaking art involving fish, an an exhibition of fishy prints made by Studio Red Hong Yi. Don’t miss an exhibition debuting social enterprise INKAA’s “Crafting Resistance” batik series, which applies Japanese indigo-dyeing techniques to local traditions of batik-making. The showcase is a collaboration between INKAA and master block-makers and batik workers in Terengganu and Kelantan.

Indie bookshop Balai Buku Raya is also hosting a visual exhibition on the wide-ranging influences of the Japanese bicycle industry on Malaysian society, economy, and subcultures. Or you can lose yourself in the sights and sounds of an unexpected rainforest pop-up at the Zhongshan, the latest installation by multidisciplinary designer Ejin Sha.

Konnichiwa Zhongshan, a free festival, features more than 20 Japanese-themed events – that’s bound to keep (fully-vaccinated) visitors entertained and engaged. Art exhibitions, live music performances, workshops and talks are part of the programme. Japanese food stalls will also be rolled out, setting the stage for a fun day out with friends and family.

Participation from the community-minded tenants at the Zhongshan building add to the event’s charm. The festival is a joint effort between JFKL and the Zhongshan, with activities inspired by Japanese culture and tradition. Printmaking workshops, Make Your Own Bonsai Kokedama, Japanese inspired cocktails, City Pop deejay sets, Letterpress Experience Tour and Make Your Own Christmas Card are among the events planned.

Festivalgoers can also collect stamps from participating tenants to earn prizes. Throughout the festival, stamp collectors will be able to redeem exclusive gifts.

The Zhongshan building is home to a diverse group of creative businesses and private studios.

Among the current tenants are exhibition space The Back Room KL, silkscreen workshop Bogus Merchandise, indie bookstore Tintabudi, record shop Tandang Store, graphic design studio Valenlim Studio, the Rumah Attap Library and Collective, the Malaysian Design Archive and typography studio Ejin Sha.

This pre-Merdeka three-storey building used to house the Selangor Zhongshan Association, and was the premises of Lee’s Frozen Food since 1962, before the company moved out in 2015.

More info here.

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