I thought I'd summarize the Hirosaki Taikai 2018 Performances of Bachido-Folks (and other people of personal interest). Feel free to correct or add your own Picks :)
Fujita Yukio (Accompaniment Cat. B):
Honda Rin (Women Solo Cat. A):
Matei Kolenic (Youth Cat. C):
Jose Luque (Youth Cat. C):
Fujita Yukio (Solo Cat. B):
Shishidou Toshinobu (Solo Cat. B):
Nakamura Norm (Solo Cat. B):
Yokuta Masa (Accompaniment Cat. A):
Narita Takanori (Men Solo Cat. A):
Yamanaka Nobuto (Men Solo Cat. A):
Thanks for posting this Andreas!
Lots of great playing this year as usual. Takeda Kanami, who came in 2nd in the woman's A-level, stood out for me. The last time I was in Japan, 8 years ago now, she and Shirafuji Hikari were cleaning up at the contests. They've been performing together as a duo under the name Ki&Ki for several years now, playing really inventive stuff. Anyway, Takeda's playing this year was fierce and flawless.
For whatever reason, these videos don't usually stay up for long, so you should all check them out while you can.
I agree Gerry. But I think flawless is not a word to use too easily :P I think she lacked in dynamics. It was a very solid tataki through the whole piece basically, but not so many variations in volume. But how much volume dynamics the listener wants may be individual.
I loved her beginning. I'm a big fan of different openings. I feel it's sometimes a forfeit to be a pro player and start with a very common opening.