A road film featuring Bentenya, a group of Chindon-ya performers from Japan, will be shooting on Route 66 starting Sept. 13.
During their journey, the girls will meet people, introduce Japanese culture and perform Japanese and American music “as a new way of nurturing 150 years of Chin-don culture while on historic Route 66 in the United States,” according to a news release.
The working title of the film is “Bentenya x Route 66: US-Japan Cultural Film Project.”
Toshi Goto, president of the Route 66 Association of Japan, is listed as the associate producer of the movie. Since he has traveled Route 66 multiple times, he’ll know of good places for Bentenya to stop.
Bentenya also is from his hometown of Nagoya, Japan. Hiroshi Kono is the film’s producer.
The Chindon-ya art form is a sort of costumed marching band dedicated to street advertising that also performs at events.
More from Bentenya’s website, translated via Google:
Dressed in a kimono, each member of Bentenya has bright-colored hair. On stage or on the streets, Bentenya plays and dances with fans or umbrellas occasionally.
Bentenya plays Japanese folk songs, J-pop, anime or music from all over the world. They perform in hopes to bring happiness and smiles on people’s faces.
Here is a video of the group:
The group will be in the U.S. from Sept. 13 to Sept. 30 traveling from Chicago to Santa Monica, California. A website dedicated to Bentenya’s Route 66 trip is here.
Production for the film is slated to be completed by June, with screenings to include varying spots on Route 66, including the Route 66 Road Fest in Oklahoma.
The director of the film is Takashi Horie, who helmed the drama “The Last Passenger” this year.
(Image of a flyer of Bentenya for the Route 66 journey courtesy of Toshi Goto)