Any attempt to tie together 60-plus years of Japanese art, dance, music and design is going to commit sins of omission. Film—aside from an evening of anime premieres, at least—is conspicuously absent in the diverse line-up of lectures and performances comprising the two-week “Japan! Culture + Hyper Culture” festival. Bunraku-style puppet theater is getting the shaft, too, but let’s give credit to the Kennedy Center for amassing the densest concentration of Japanese artists outside of Tokyo’s ultra-trendy fashion district Shibuya. “Hyperculture” is intended as a catchall for the two-way handshake between art and society, though the weird combination of industry and alchemy embodied by post-WWII Japanese culture defies easy descriptors. It’s really about the post-modern act of taking one thing, transforming it into something else entirely and using that model to shift ways of thinking about the original object. Designer Shin Tanaka plays off sneaker fetishism and the current vinyl toy craze by fashioning gorgeous replicas of shoes and robots out of folded paper—a technique he’s eager to demonstrate during a presentation on the Millennium Stage. Meanwhile, Japan’s leading pop-art figure Yayoi Kusama (a former protégé of Georgia O’Keefe) tugs gently at the fabric of reality with a site-specific installation decorated with her trademark polka dots. The theme of transmutation is also prevalent in Sankai Juku’s full-length piece Kinkan Shonen, a rare opportunity to experience butoh in performance. Imagine the visual iconography of Kabuki with more dramatic, expressive movements—a new paradigm for theater that’s so transgressive that it remains lost in translation, even in Japan. The festival runs to Sunday, Feb. 17, at the Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW. See for a complete schedule of events and prices. (202) 467-4600.