Ikeda Yosuke: August 21, 2014, Toronto

November 2, 2014 at 12:10 pm

by David Fujino

Ikeda Yosuke


Meet Ikeda Yosuke, or Yosuke Ikeda — Greetings.

Slender and lithe, with bulgy mobile eyes, Yosuke Ikeda is a Japanese juggler (3 to 5 black bowler hats at a time) and a poised pantomime performer, as well as a smart creator, producer, and a mathematics teacher.

August 21st afternoon in front of  Toronto’s 250 Yonge Street. The “precise and sophisticated” Yosuke Ikeda shared with his street audience such representative pieces as Rhythm — a mime story about a man who falls under the control of a metronome, and Clock, about a man who struggles to get up in the morning, but falls back to sleep again, all to the soundtrack of Erik Satie’s suspended Trois Gymnopedies and the rhythmic hand claps of the live audience. Then in Ikeda’s signature act, Hello Goodbye [The Beatles], his flip cards and hand-size banners with text on them generated laughter and smiles. And when “hello”, then “good bye” was sung, the contrasting, lamenting emotions tugged at our heart-strings. The whole set was 20 minutes in total length.

… Earlier on, I hurried over in the steady drizzling rain, determined to catch Ikeda, and by 4:56 pm I arrived at the east side of the Eaton Centre (250 Yonge Street), only to find the small boxes containing his act covered over by plastic tarps. Rained out. It looked like I was fresh out of luck, but I hung around talking to Ikeda-san and a presiding crew member. We looked up at the sky. By 5:27 the rain mercifully stopped. As an audience member, I felt the show must go on. They felt the show must go on. Always. The show must go on.

It was worth waiting for.

Ikeda was one of 400 performers invited to this year’s 15th Annual Scotiabank BuskerFest, an annual celebration of street culture and theatre in support of Epilepsy Toronto — but what separated Ikeda from the crowd-pleasing array of acrobats, buskers, fire eaters, performers, contortionists, stilt walkers, living statues and musicians, was Ikeda’s brand of simple and clear pantomime that was rhythmically timed to a soundtrack and — most interesting of all — completed by the audience’s imagination.

I’d previously viewed an online performance of Hello Goodbye and knew I just had to catch the seemingly effortless work of this performer live in Toronto. Ikeda’s unflashy and organized set, with the right word, the right look and emotion, the right flip chart at the right time, made for a humorous, quietly entertaining, and charming offering on this very moody August afternoon.

Of course, the above written observations frankly boil down to a matter of taste and the fact that, ever since I was a kid growing up in Toronto, I have to say I was never awestruck by the CNE midway nor the Ringling Brothers and the Shriners’ circuses that annually came to Maple Leaf Gardens and why I always wanted to avoid the creepy unshaven clowns and their vaporous breath. Little of that rang my little bell. And I still haven’t been interested in seeing Cirque Du Soleil spectacles. If you don’t praise them, what you say sounds like heresy somehow.

Theatrical performances are more to my taste — and Yosuke Ikeda’s work hit the spot. His act was easy to understand for people of all ages and all countries. Accessibility can be a virtue.

This year, the Scotiabank-funded (FREE) BuskerFest ran from Thursday, August 21, to Sunday, August 24, 2014, throughout the downtown Yonge street corridor from Queen to College Streets and surrounding areas (including Trinity Square Park and Yonge-Dundas Square). It brought to Toronto an outstanding roster of international and Canadian acts, both new and returning.

BuskerFest hours:
Thursday noon – 11 pm; Friday noon – 11 pm; Saturday 11 am – 11 pm; Sunday 11 am – 8 pm
Admission was by voluntary donation to Epilepsy Toronto.

Ikeda Yosuke






Yosuke Ikeda’s Website:

Yosuke Ikeda’s email address:

Scotiabank BuskerFest:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BuskerFestToronto

Publicity for Scotiabank BuskerFest:
Dianne Weinrib or Josh Dumont, DW Communications, 416-703-5479 or dw@dwcommunications.net