Professional NZ Rugby Player Catches Shen Yun in Japan

February 7, 2014 Updated: February 8, 2014

KOBE CITY, Hyogo, Japan—Josh Blackie, a professional rugby player from New Zealand, was in attendance of the Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company at the Kobe International House, International Hall, on Feb. 5.

Josh Blackie, who watched the performance with his wife Nicola, had learned about Shen Yun back home in New Zealand, and also that the company was going to be in Japan.

He had been based in Japan for six and a-half years playing for Kobe Steel, although he spent 2009 with the Blues in Auckland, according to the Otago Daily Times.

Lured by love of ballet, he decided to take his wife to the New York-based Shen Yun presentation lauded around the globe as “the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company,” reads the company website.

Classical Chinese dance is richly expressive, and combined with China’s deep cultural traditions, it became a vast and independent system of dance over hundreds of years, according to Shen Yun’s website.

Mr. Blackie was impressed with the thunderous drumming sequences and the clattering chopsticks in the fast-paced dance, Mongolian Chopsticks.

“Mongolian men are gathered in companionship. Drinking to life in the harsh northern steppes, they pull together to perform a traditional chopsticks dance, alternating between fast, furious footwork and long, extended arm movements. Mongolian dance is a vivid testament to free-spirited vitality and boundless, expansive expression. Dancers use chopsticks to create a crisp, staccato beat that quickens the blood and stirs the heart,” according to the program book.

“Yeah, it was good,” the former Highlanders and Otago captain quipped.

Josh Blackie is still playing with Kobe Steel in Japan and off the field is advocating for players all over the world.

He played 57 games for the Highlanders from 2001-07 and 73 for Otago from 1999-2006 as an openside flanker, and has become fully involved with player welfare. He is the International Rugby Players’ Association’s member services manager, the Daily Otago Times reported.

Shen Yun Is Brilliant

Shimichi Tokunaga, a famous Japanese human rights lawyer was very excited at seeing Shen Yun, and exclaimed that it is so brilliant that Shen Yun’s beauty should be known to all Japanese.

Shen Yun’s website reads, “A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending East and West, and dazzling animated backdrops—together creating one spectacular performance.”

Mr. Tokunaga said that the Shen Yun performance impressed him every time, and today’s performance is “getting more and more brilliant!” He thinks the beauty of Shen Yun, which is touching, should “be told to all the Japanese.”

Upon learning that even before Shen Yun’s organizer contacted any social department about the performances, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) personnel from the embassy had attempted to forestall the performances in Japan by spreading rumors and making aspersions, Shimichi Tokunaga said: “It’s time for good versus evil!”

He said that such illegal acts cannot be allowed in Japan, a democratic country, and he will try his best to help with this.

Reporting by Ren Zihui and Raiatea Tahana-Reese, Zhan Benzhen and Fleu L

Read the Chinese article.

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit

The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.