A devilish Shinto mask may represent Japan's alluring traditional culture, but xenophobic entry policies may well undermine Japan's future plans to be a tourism, business and finance hub. Photo: Tom Coyner

Since first setting foot on Asian soil in 1970, American Tom Coyner has traveled widely across the region, photographing its denizens. Now retired in Seoul, South Korea, he has taken a special interest in traditional cultures, in religious sites and in related practices.

His gallery below showcases Asians at play. Coyner’s camera captures amateurs engaged in impromptu, at-home entertainment and professionals and semi-professionals performing fine and modern arts for audiences and cameras.  His subjects range from folk dancers to classical musicians; from puppeteers to buskers; and from country music ensembles to K-popsters.

The gallery takes us on an east-west course across the region, with our journey beginning in Polynesia and concluding in India.

An extended family and friends sing and dance on a beach on Mo’orea, French Polynesia. Photo: Tom Coyner
A Polynesian family breaks into yet another jam session as they travel home by boat. Photo: Tom Coyner
A busker in Tokyo’s Asakusa district feigns whispering directions to her trained Macaque monkey. Photo: Tom Coyner
A girl band struts its stuff at the Rotary International Convention, near Seoul. Photo: Tom Coyner
On a Sunday in January 1975, traditional Korean dancers perform for TV in Changdeok Palace, Seoul. Photo: Tom Coyner
A high-pitched repartee takes place between two Peking Opera actresses in Taipei, Taiwan. Photo: Tom Coyner
Actors perform during filming at a movie set in Taipei in 1979. Photo: Tom Coyner
Mongolian ranchers and their wives, after feasting on goat and vodka, step out onto the summer steppe to dance – accompanied only by their own voices. Photo: Tom Coyner
A Balinese dancer portrays a princess in the famed Monkey Dance. Photo: Tom Coyner
A Thai dancer elegantly glides through her moves at Bangkok’s Erawan Museum. Photo: Tom Coyner.
Yeehaw! A country music extravaganza underway at a wedding in KhaoYai, Thailand. Photo: Tom Coyner
Myanmar traditional puppeteers do their thing at an outdoor evening performance in Bagan. Photo: Tom Coyner
A Buddhist temple dance in Bhutan. Photo: Tom Coyner
Farming women celebrate Lunar New Year in one of their homes in central Bhutan. Photo: Tom Coyner
A horn player leads a religious procession to a Hindu temple in the alleys of Varanasi, India. Photo: Tom Coyner
A classical dancer performs for tourists at a carpet seller in Varanasi, India. Photo: Tom Coyner

For a fuller portfolio of Coyner’s work on this topic, please click here