Special Guests

 
 
Back row from left to right: Kenya, Ayumu,Shoji, Masahiro, Taiki; Front Row from left to right: Yuto, Rikiya, Shin, Miku

Back row from left to right: Kenya, Ayumu,Shoji, Masahiro, Taiki; Front Row from left to right: Yuto, Rikiya, Shin, Miku

 

Jr. Exile

As we celebrate Children's Day, we highlight young talent from Japan.

Opening and closing the Gulf States Toyota Waterfront Stage will be the hip-hop dance and singing group Jr. Exile of Japan’s talent development program Project TARO (Top Artist Road).  Ranging in age from 15-17, the eight boys of Jr. Exile are the subject of a popular Japanese reality TV show following their 3.5 year training in New York.  Selected from highly competitive auditions in Japan, the group is taking part in an entertainment-driven education program to develop their talent and global appeal.

Created by EXILE's HIRO, the goal of Project TARO (www.project-taro.jp) is to cultivate “global superstars.” The program takes young, talented Japanese performers who have a strong passion for entertaining and who dream of performing internationally and given them the opportunity to train outside of Japan.  While providing exposure to English, diverse ideals and styles through training outside of Japan, Project TARO also nurtures in the emerging artists a sense of identity and pride for their Japanese roots. 

While TARO serves as an acronym for "Top Artist ROad," TARO is also the name of a folk-tale character who was known for being courageous and just. These virtues are also key elements of the Samurai code, which continue to inspire EXILE TRIBE's "Soul of Japan" philosophy.  It is HIRO's hope that Project TARO provides Japan's next generation of talent with experiences that maximize their potential and raise the profile of Japanese entertainment.

 

Jr. Exile is well on their way to achieving the Project TARO goals.  The group is the reigning co-champions of Amateur Night at the Apollo.

Meet the members here.

Performances by Jr. Exile will take place on both days of Japan Festival Houston, May 6-7, 2017.

 
 

Jr. Exile Dance Video
Directed by Shaun Evaristo
Choreograph by Tony Tzar

 
 

"A Broader View - Studying Abroad in America - A Life Changing Opportunity" -- U.S. Embassy Tokyo

featuring Jr. Exile's Ayumu IMATSU and Masahiro SUNADA