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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The Japan Foundation, in partnership with the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Washington, D.C.), presented the exhibition Sōtatsu: Making Waves (October 24, 2015-January 31, 2016) at the Sackler Gallery. Co-curator James Ulak contributed some observations and insights about the exhibition highlights and audience reactions to works by an artist not well-known to Western audiences.
The Japan Foundation presented Logical Emotion: Contemporary Art from Japan, jointly organized by curators from Japan and Switzerland, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between these two countries. After opening in Switzerland, the exhibition went on tour in Poland and Germany. Co-curator Kenjiro Hosaka reflects on the exhibition.
Many people from all over the world will visit Japan during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In consideration of this, various discussions are underway regarding the necessity to expand and improve the environment for people with disabilities, so that everyone can experience and enjoy Japan's diverse culture.
The Japan Foundation, together with the Dallas Museum of Art (Texas), presents Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga. It is a retrospective exhibition of the Gutai Art Association (Gutai) and shown until July 19, 2015. One of the curators of the exhibition, Gabriel Ritter contributed an article about its highlight.
The Japan Foundation awards the Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship to organizations that endeavor to strengthen networks and collaboration among citizens both inside and outside Japan, and mutually share knowledge, ideas, and expertise through intercultural exchange. In 2014, the Prizes for Global Citizenship were awarded to three organizations: AmerAsian School in Okinawa ; the Nara International Film Festival Organizing Committee; and Plus Arts . AmerAsian School in Okinawa provides bilingual education for "Amerasian" children who are born to an American and an Asian parent and who struggle with their identity. The education allows children to take pride in their Amerasian identity and expand their opportunities for further education and employment. AmerAsian School in Okinawa contributes to building vibrant and dynamic communities in which there is an understanding of and respect for diverse cultures. The school was chosen as one of the recipients of the prizes in 2014 in recognition of these activities.