OSAKA, JAPAN – The grand Midosuji Autumn Party 2016 (Midosuji Runway) event took over Midosuji Boulevard in central Osaka on Sunday 20-11-2016.
With a theme of «A Journey Across Time», Midosuji Runway presented a vision of Osaka’s past, present day, and future as surprise-filled, large-scale entertainment. Over 500 of Japan’s top fashionistas, athletes, kabuki performer and other talents paraded along a carpet runway stretching more than 400m in the center of Midosuji Boulevard.
At the launch of the event, Osaka Prefecture Governor Ichiro Matsui greeted the gathered crowd: «The Midosuji Autumn Party is a fall tradition in Osaka, and I’m very pleased that everyone can enjoy it once again this year. My sincere thanks to the planners and everyone involved with preparing this event. Thanks to all of you, almost 10 million people have visited Osaka this year. Today, I call on everyone’s cooperation to turn Midosuji into one big party and give all of Osaka a boost.»
After the greeting, the curtain rose on the «Past» stage with a performance from taiko drum troupe Dadadadan Tenko. This was followed by a Japanese puppet show from Rokkakuza and a kabuki performance by famed actor Kazutaro Nakamura based on Izumo no Okuni. Next came a fashion show exhibiting Japanese kimono designed by photographer and film director Mika Ninagawa. Looking very pleased, Ninagawa commented on the festivities: «This is the first time I’ve seen my kimono paraded on the streets like this. It’s a vivid and exciting thrill, if I do say so myself!»
On the «Present Day» stage, much loved talent Yumi «Big Sis» Suenari of the Yoshimoto Shinkigeki theatre hit the runway for the «Osaka Designers Brand Show», which featured an appearance from current Osaka City Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura, sporting mode designer fashion. According to Mayor Yoshimura, it was his first time walking a runway, but he comfortably strode along the red carpet, waving to spectators and striking poses.
A futuristic apparel exhibition unfolded on the «Future» stage, with stylist Tetsuro Nagase incorporating Segways and Poweriser stilts.
As the day’s events drew to a close, the national track and field team of Ryota Yamagata, Shota Iizuka, Yoshihide Kiryu and retired Olympic medalist Nobuharu Asahara thrilled crowds with a recreation of this summer’s Olympic silver medal-winning relay performance. Spectators cheered loudly as they streaked by and passed the very same baton they used in Rio de Janeiro. Looking ahead to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with enthusiasm, Yamagata addressed up-and-coming athletic hopefuls: «We’re going to go for gold at the next Olympic games. The whole Japan team has to come together and do its best. I want to show the kids watching this that they can excel at track and field in Japan, and do what we can to give them a dream.» Teammate Iizuka added «We’re training hard for four years from now, so we’re doing our best as role models for the kids watching us today who will be the next generation of athletes.» Yoshihide Kiryu echoed Iizuka’s thoughts: «I hope kids see us today and think track and field looks like fun and then give it a try. Even if they have a small thought of winning a medal like we did, that’d be great.» 2012 Olympic medal winner Nobuharu Asahara added final comments: «I’m retired now (laughs), but there are qualifying events in Osaka next year, so we’d love to see lots of people show up to the stadium. Cheers boost an athlete’s energy. My wish is for track and field to keep growing and the athletes to strive for the top.»
250,000 spectators attended Midosuji Autumn Party 2016. The event continues to gain prominence as entertainment and a facet of Osaka tourism, both in Japan and globally.
Organizers: Midosuji Autumn Party 2016 Organizing Committee.