Sankyo Yanagiya, a rakugo performer, has been active in performing rakugo, which is one of the traditional performing arts of Japan, and teaching kobanashi (short comic story), as part of Japanese language education for many years. In recognition of his contributions to the spread of Japanese culture, both in Japan and overseas and the development of Japanese language education, he was awarded the 2014 Japan Foundation Awards. This was the first time that the Award had been presented to a rakugo performer. We present a part of a lecture given by Sankyo Yanagiya commemorating the receipt of the award, "Rakugo and Japanese Language Education."
At the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, the documentary film Inside Architecture - A Challenge to Japanese Society was shown and a talk session were held in Tokyo. The film, directed by Tomomi Ishiyama and shown in a space on the stilted ground floor of the Japan Pavilion, had been produced exclusively for the Biennale. We talked to the director of the Japan Pavilion Project Team as well as the producer of this film, Norihito Nakatani, and film director Tomomi Ishiyama, about production anecdotes and other aspects of this documentary film.
Every year since 1996, the Japan Foundation and the International House of Japan jointly set up the Asia Leadership Fellow Program (ALFP). The ALFP seeks to create a close, personal and professional network of public intellectuals in Asia, deeply rooted in and committed to civil society beyond their own cultural, disciplinary and geopolitical backgrounds. One of the seven ALFP 2014 fellows, Mr. Wonjae Lee (Korea) talks about his two months of ALFP in Japan, such as his views on Japan or the Japanese through ALFP, interactions with other fellows and his expectations towards this program and the younger generation.