Maison de la culture du Japon à Paris (The Japan Foundation), commonly abbreviated to MCJP, hosts a series of exhibitions Transphère to introduce new creativity, which corresponds to sensibility of people living today, from international perspectives. Under the supervision of the MCJP's artistic director Aomi Okabe, the series is to exhibit nationally and internationally active contemporary artists, architects, designers, and other artists and creators. As the first exhibition of the series, the MCJP held Fertile Landscape welcoming the media artists Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi, who have a mastery of cutting-edge technology, between March 16 and May 7, 2016. We reprint the interview of the two artists, which was originally appeared in the exhibition catalogue, together with pictures taken at the exhibition and the artists' past works.
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.
As a self-proclaimed Japanophone Taiwanese, I am proficient in Japanese. For me, Japanese is the easiest language for the purposes of talking, listening, reading, and writing. People sometimes ask me "You are Taiwanese, so you speak Chinese, right?" My answer to this question is "Well, not exactly." This, of course, does not mean that I do not speak Chinese at all. But I do not speak it very well, either. In other words, my Chinese is better than incomprehensible but less than fluent. I used to feel dejected every time someone asked me "You are Taiwanese, so how come your Chinese is so bad?" but now that is a thing of the past. I have the Japanese language. My Chinese (and Taiwanese) language is alive and thriving in my Japanese. There are Taiwanese people like me. There is Japanese language like mine.
The Japan Foundation invited a group of young intellectuals, with an interest in social issues in contemporary Japan, from Southeast Asian countries for its program. It aims to promote and deepen exchange between specialists, as well as build and strengthen network, in order to establish joint and cooperative initiatives in Asia toward tackling these issues. In FY 2015, under the theme of "Revitalization of Rural Areas and Creation of New Values," the program seeks to provide a comprehensive introduction to the issues confronting rural society in contemporary Japan, such as depopulation, rapid decline of population, and super-aging society, as well as the actual state of the country that has emerged as a result of these issues. It also provides an opportunity for learning about the initiatives taken by the Japanese central and local governments, civil society, and individuals to resolve these issues. Tans Szue Hann and Dang Thi Viet Phuong, two of the program participants, have written their impressions on the program and how they make use of the experience they gained from it for the future.