Contributed Article

This article, which digs deeper into the topic of the month, is written by a scholar or a researcher in and outside Japan on his or her thoughts on the topic.


Itsukushima Shrine and the Atomic Bomb Dome: Communicating Traditional Eastern Values in Venice

I have spent my career working in Kanazawa, a place where traditional culture like the tea ceremony and townscapes featuring historic machiya houses can still be found. It was in this quaint old setting that our contemporary art museum was established, and here I have long curated exhibits of today's artworks. In the process, I have also encountered the local traditional culture and been electrified by what it has to offer. At times, these cultural experiences have nimbly transcended the boundaries set by the museum as a modern Western institution.


Film Director Ryota Nakano talks with Naoyuki Sato in commemoration of the screening of Her Love Boils Bathwater at the Japanese Film Festival in the Philippines

Film director Ryota Nakano, famed for his 2016 film Her Love Boils Bathwater, visited the Philippines from July 6 to 9, 2017, at the invitation of the Japan Foundation, Manila. Immediately after returning to Japan he met for the very first time with "satonao" or Naoyuki Sato, Executive Vice President of the Japan Foundation* to talk about his experiences during the Japanese Film Festival (JFF) in the Philippines, its impact, and the significance of introducing Japanese films to an overseas audience.


Pascal Rambert and Théâtre de Gennevilliers: Driving Forces behind Theatrical Exchange between Japan and France

Born in 1962, Pascal Rambert is one of the most prominent modern French stage directors and playwrights. Based on his personal relationship of trust with Japanese playwright Oriza Hirata, Théâtre de Gennevilliers (T2G), where Rambert served as director from 2007 through the end of 2016, realized numerous joint projects with Komaba Agora Theater, and has become one of the major hubs of contemporary theatrical exchange between Japan and France. Since 2003, Rambert has regularly visited Japan to present his original works and to direct their Japanese language versions at Komaba Agora Theater and other theatrical venues. Parallel to these activities, he has invited numerous productions of contemporary Japanese playwrights such as Oriza Hirata, Toshiki Okada, and Yudai Kamisato to T2G.

2017.8. 3

The 25th Anniversary of the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership/the Abe Fellowship Program

Makoto Iokibe

"Even though a state may be vast, those who love warfare will inevitably perish." This is an East Asian proverb that Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto often wrote in calligraphy. Leading up to the Second World War, Japan was the only country in Asia to possess modernized armed forces, invariably allowing it to win any battle it chose to fight. Emboldened by such victories, from the Manchurian Incident of 1931 onwards, Japan became a warring country. The result, as foreshadowed in that East Asian proverb, was devastation for the nation in 1945.


One Bottle of Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is an essential condiment in Japanese cuisine. And although it is an integral component, we take it for granted and buy whatever is available at our local supermarket without much consideration. However, there are a variety of choices and each product has certain characteristics depending on where it is produced. California-born Nancy Shingleton Hachisu, who is married to an organic farmer in Saitama Prefecture, recognized the depth of soy sauce and has been making sauce at home every year for the last several years. Hachisu has written a few books on Washoku, which was added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2013, and she contributed an article to Wochi Kochi Magazine, to share her passion for Japanese food and artisanal soy sauce.


en Created by Architecture in the Aftermath of Disaster

On July 27, 2016, a briefing session was held at the Japan Foundation Hall "Sakura" to present the exhibition at the Japan Pavilion conducted as part of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition at the Japan Pavilion titled en: art of nexus was curated by Professor Yoshiyuki Yamana of the Department of Architecture and Building Engineering, Faculty of Science and Technology at the Tokyo University of Science and produced by filmmaker Seiichi Hishikawa, editor Masaki Uchino, and urban space theory researcher Masatake Shinohara. It showcased works of 12 groups of architects with experience in designing shared houses and community spaces. The venue design was created by teco. The main staff alone exceeded 30 people who worked relentlessly to create this exhibition at the Japan Pavilion with en (which has several meanings in Japanese: connections, relation, ties, chance, edge, fringe, and rim) as the theme. The exhibitors examined the social conditions in Japan since the beginning of the 21st century and especially in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the need for connections and sharing experienced by many Japanese people in the context of three themes--"The en of People," "The en of Things," and "The en of Locality"--and presented works built over the past few years that are actually being used.


Let's Think about Japanese Hip Hop, Japanese Rap, and Their Future

Japanese rap has been experiencing a massive boom in recent years, not only among hip hop fans, but among the general public. But what is hip hop? What is rap? DARTHREIDER, an active rapper in today's Japanese rap scene, is someone who should be able to answer these questions. He has written about the history of hip hop and the present boom in Japanese-language rap.


Art and Technology in Japan: Present, Past, and Future

The Japan Foundation Asia Center and the Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture) co-hosted the international symposium for media art "Art & Technology: Changing Times, Contemporary Trends, Future Platforms" on July 9, 2016. The goal of the initiative is to promote the creation and spread of innovative forms of arts and culture, such as media art, through the application of groundbreaking technologies.


The World of Haruki Murakami: Melding Text and Music

The Japan Foundation has started a new initiative to offer different ways to overseas fans to enjoy the works of renowned Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. Titled "Watch", "Listen to" and "Talk about" Haruki Murakami, this program was to provide exposure to Murakami's works in Singapore and South Korea through a play, concert, and panel discussion. Jun-ichi Konuma, the supervisor of the concert, contributed an article about the process of creating this concert, the music in Murakami's works, and international exchanges through this concert.

2016.3. 1

Twelve Days that Opened a Door from Tohoku to Asia

The Japan Foundation carried out a "designer-in-residence" program titled "DOOR to ASIA" in and around Rikuzentakata City on the Sanriku Coast from December 1 through 12, 2015, with the participation of seven young designers invited from ASEAN member countries.

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