No one will be surprised by the statement that the symbol of Andalusian culture is flamenco and that it identifies us as Andalusians within and beyond borders. And there must be something about flamenco if someone like Shoji Kojima says that “the inner strength of flamenco attracts everybody, reaches everyone. It is like the spirit, it has no borders”
The Andalusian Institute of Flamenco, a body under the Department of Education, Culture and sports of the Andalusian Government, is aimed at the spread, promotion, enhancement and conservation of our most universal art. Among its guidelines is the internationalisation of this cultural manifestation promoting a presence in order to consolidate its prestige and to get to more audiences and stages.
This target was reflected in 2013 on 25 activities and programs carried out in 20 countries. It was a total of 90 performances organised in Germany, France, Holland, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Portugal, Poland, Russia, Ireland, Morocco, Mexico, Argentina, Qatar, Eastern European countries, Denmark, Brazil or Belgium among others. And, of course, in Japan.
The data speak for themselves and show the opportunity (artistic and economic as well) of the spread and promotion of flamenco in this country, not only because of its potential audience but also because this audience is young, which means a future guarantee. All this comes from a fact: it is estimated that there are at least 100,000 aficionados in dance schools in Japan and the number of schools increases every year. Thus, three years ago they were estimated in 500 and nowadays some sources say there are 650. The youth of their students -95% are a woman between 25 and 35- opens a very interesting horizon for the present -and especially future- spread of this art.
The importance of flamenco in Japan, of Japan for flamenco is greatly appreciated by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. This institution did not have a doubt in bringing the campaign Flamenco Soy to the Tokyo Summer Festival. The target of this campaign was happily met: flamenco was included by UNESCO on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.