Feature Story – Somewhere in the world today

Every day, somebody, somewhere on the planet, is acting as a bridge between Japan and the world. We bring you stories direct from artists and researchers working on location around the globe, who share their various experiences, ranging from sketches of street life, to profiles of people encountered on the job.


Why I Study Japanese -Kevin Reynolds-

The Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services organize the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), which measures and certifies the Japanese-language proficiency of those whose native language is not Japanese. Canadian figure skater Kevin Reynolds passed the N2 level of JLPT in December 2016. When he came to Japan in April 2017, he talked about how he encountered Japan and how he started studying its language.

2017.6. 2

Imagining Japan's Tomorrow

For more than 40 years the Japan Foundation has supported the publication of Japan-related books around the world through its Support Program for Translation and Publication on Japan. Through this support program, books in over 50 languages have been published in a wide array of genres, including classic and contemporary literature, history, sociology, politics, economics, and cultural theory.


Yasuhiro Suzuki Connects the Neighborhood with the Globe

The London Design Biennale 2016 was an international design exhibition held in September 2016 that saw the participation of 37 countries. Yasuhiro Suzuki, an artist who creates artworks based on concepts taken from discoveries and memories in daily life, was chosen to represent Japan at the exhibition. Suzuki, who had recently reconfirmed his artistic position by holding a large-scale solo exhibition at an art museum, responded to the theme of the Biennale, "Utopia by Design," with the words "neighborhood globe." What exactly does Suzuki mean by "neighborhood" and "globe"? Together with Noriko Kawakami, who served as the curatorial advisor for Japan's participation, Suzuki looks back on the Biennale.

2017.2. 8

A Message from Cai Guo-Qiang to Japanese Art Students
―The Japan Foundation Awards Commemorative Lecture Report

Contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang is known for his works that combine the dynamism of the "gunpowder drawing" technique, a blend of creativity and destruction, with abstract artistic concepts. He was selected as one of the recipients of the 2016 Japan Foundation Awards. Every year since 1973, the Awards have been presented by the Japan Foundation to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to promoting international mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and other countries through academic, artistic, and other cultural pursuits.


Lessons to Learn from European Initiatives for "Religious Minorities"

Against the backdrop of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, the world is still unable to cope with the issue of refugees crossing national borders to flee the horrors of war. At the same time, however, the threat of terrorism in Europe is still real and present. This issue is further complicated by problems related to religion and Islam in particular. For Europeans, these problems are more pressing than what people living in Japan imagine. We came to realize this through our participation in a seminar organized by the Council of Europe under its Intercultural Cities programme, "Tackling Prejudice and Engaging with Religious Minorities."


How did Japanese-language Education Develop in Brazil, the Home of the Largest Nikkei Community?

Brazil is home of the largest community of Nikkei, or people of Japanese descent. Their number reaches approximately 1.6 million. When Japanese migration began in 1908, Japanese-language education in Brazil was implemented with priority given to heritage language education for Japanese-Brazilian children. As the generational change in the Nikkei community advanced, however, heritage language education has shifted to teaching Japanese as a foreign language. The Centro Brasileiro de Língua Japonesa (CBLJ) was established against this backdrop in 1985, and has provided support to Japanese-language teachers and learners, and worked to popularize Japanese culture. It has also contributed to the advancement of Japanese-language education in South American countries with large Nikkei communities. The CBLJ was given a 2016 Japan Foundation Award for its distinguished achievements. Armando Toshiharu Tachibana, President of the CBLJ, delivered a lecture on October 20, 2016, at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS) in commemoration of CBLJ's receipt of the Japan Foundation Award. The lecture was titled "The Situation and Challenges of Japanese-language Education for Future Generations: The Meaning of Japanese-language and Culture to Brazilian Youths."


From Rio to Tokyo: "Olha Pro Céu~Look at the Sky~" Joint Japan-Brazil Pop Concert

Prior to the 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the Japan Foundation hosted "Olha Pro Céu~Look at the Sky~," a joint Japan-Brazil pop concert in Rio de Janeiro on July 29 and 30, 2016. The participants in the concert from Japan were Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra and Marcia, who were joined by Brazilian artists Vanessa da Mata, a highly popular singer with a great singing voice, and Emicida, one of Brazil's top rappers. These artists created a bridge of music connecting Japan and Brazil. Music and radio program producer Jin Nakahara, who worked on the production of this concert, and who for many years has been involved in activities that link Japan and Brazil through music, contributed this article describing how the concert was organized and held.


Brazil in the Eyes of Street Dancers: No Borders

Coinciding with the 19th Japan Festival in Brazil held in July 2016, the Japan Foundation, São Paulo invited a Japanese street dance unit Hilty & Bosch and hosted dance performances at the Festival do Japão and the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) . Hilty & Bosch, now in their 19th year, have performed street dance in over 30 countries. Here is what they wrote about their dance exchanges with the children in a favela they visited, as well as the dance performances.

2016.6. 1

Forms of Communication Born Out of Our Differences

In March 2016, a project entitled "Reality, Extinguished/Generated by Science and Culture - Fiction, Institution, Technology and Bodies in the 21st Century" was conducted by the Japan Foundation. This project considered the ways in which we look at "reality" as it continues to change with the development and spread of cutting-edge technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI), through five inspection tours, workshops, and lecture series, the Foundation's "Mission Project."


New Ways of Living in Japan

For more than 40 years the Japan Foundation has supported the publication of Japan-related books around the world through its Support Program for Translation and Publication on Japan. With our grant funding, books in over 50 languages have been published in a wide array of genres, including classic and contemporary literature, history, sociology, politics, economics, and cultural theory. The booklet "Worth Sharing - A Selection of Japanese Books Recommended for Translation" introduces some good books that give people overseas a better understanding of contemporary Japan. New ways of living in Japan" was chosen for the theme of Vol.4. Twenty works, which allow us to explore the various forms of love expressed by Japanese people of the same age carried, has been selected. A member of the selection committee, Mariko Ozaki, shares her thoughts on the theme.

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