"Japan 2019," an initiative for broadening interest in and understanding of Japanese arts and culture in the United States leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, took place from March to December 2019. The Japan Foundation served as the secretariat for this festival that was anchored by eight official events (three exhibitions and five stage performances), held mainly in New York and Washington, D.C. The Foundation was involved in organizing, co-sponsoring and collaborating on these core projects which showcased Japanese arts and culture, and viewed by over 435,000 visitors. During "Japan 2019," in addition to the official events, 138 associated events organized by public and private entities were also held across the United States to enhance multilevel strengthening of Japan-U.S. relations.
The year 2019 was a splendid year to experience Japanese art around the world, especially in the United States. Four major institutions--the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art--partnered with the Japan Foundation in organizing noteworthy exhibitions of Japan's rich artistic heritage. Audiences from across the country were able to enjoy a memorable year devoted to Japan.
Commenced in 2014, the Sanriku International Arts Festival is an initiative that connects Sanriku and Southeast Asia through local performing arts. This festival is hosted by the Japan Foundation Asia Center and the Sanriku International Arts Committee. In addition to mutual visits by traditional performing arts groups from the Sanriku region and Asia to teach each other performing arts, these groups also engage in a variety of performances that include new joint productions. (The Japan Foundation Asia Center has been collaborating since 2015.) This is the second half of a report on our visit to the Sanriku International Arts Festival held from October 26 to November 4, 2019 in four cities and three towns along the Sanriku coast in Aomori and Iwate prefectures.
The Japan Foundation invites academics and researchers in the area of Japanese studies to study in Japan. The guest contributor for this issue is Carolyn Wargula, a 2018 Japanese Studies Fellow who researched "Embodying the Buddha: The Presence of Women in Japanese Buddhist Hair Embroideries, 1200-1700" at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies as a fellow writing her doctoral thesis.