About WMDF

Feel the Rhythms of the Earth. Hakodate hosts one of Japan’s largest and most international performing arts festivals. We aim to be Japan’s first and foremost festival focussed on regularly bringing large numbers of overseas performers to the country.

Who Are We?

WMDF and its co-located festivals are brought to you by “Worlds Meet Japan”, which is officially registered with the Japanese government as a non-profit “General Incorporated Assosication” (GIA). There is a simple homepage for Worlds Meet Japan (worldsmeet.org) that has profiles (Japanese) of the directors. We are supported by volunteer townsfolk from all walks of life in Hakodate City.We all have full-time jobs or study outside our festival work.  Some funds come from the city each year, but the bulk of our budget is covered by sponsorship and by ticket sales. Any proceeds of events go towards transformational social and educational projects locally and internationally.

We believe in the power of mixing different worlds and different people. Although Japan is a land of many festivals, there are few that focus on inviting groups from overseas. Our festival succeeds by filling this gap. Worldwide, there is an acknowledged system where traditional folk groups who can provide their own travel funds (from government or corporate sponsors or from cultural sources) can attend festivals that provide them with food & lodging as well as a platform for showcasing their performances. WMDF mixes this system with a roster of hand-picked Japanese artists and also co-located festivals to produce an event that provides unique experiences for all.

Concept: Long, Now, Big Here

Music and dance are models for how ideas and culture can become the heritage of future generations. WMDF explores the pathways of the future through a living recreation of cultural traditions in the present. Expanding peoples’ sense of both time and space (“Long Now, Big Here”) describes not only what we hope for as the result of our efforts, but also the core performance method by which our Festival achieves its goal. Through unique stages and through creating global ties of shared friendship and experience, WMDF aims year on year to help the world build a long, big future.


We encourage WMDF-ers to look at the work of the Long Now Foundation. WMDF has no affiliation with the foundation, but we share the goal of wanting to spread “Long Now” and “Big Here” thinking. For us, the mix of tradition, education, and global exchange represented by an international festival is beautifully suited for this.


Although stage performances may appear to be the focus of the festival, WMDF is all about the changing of world-views. Visiting groups take part in our key “Outreach” program by visiting schools and Old Peoples’ Homes around town, and will take away with them a whole new vision of Asia, Japan and Hakodate. Festival-goers will also have their horizons expanded. And the people who have the ultimate experience from the Festival? The staff.   WMDF brings together people from an extraordinary cross-section of local life. And once artists start to arrive, we have the rare opportunity to genuinely feel what it means to be a working part of an event that can stay in the hearts and minds of people across the globe for years to come. WMDF is far longer and far bigger inside than out. Care to join us?


Our orange theme colour was inspired by the “yuuyake” evening lights that our town is renowned for, and that give our event site a stunning backdrop.


  • Original Logo: Nandy (2008)
  • Concept: Represents the atmosphere of a dancing crowd.
  • Meaning: The letters “sai” come from the Japanese character for “Festival”.




  • 005 Logo: Atelier Gosuke (2012)
  • Concept: Simplify festival name, Japanese calligraphy, re-use “Sai” in Japanese and English