From shamisen concerts to international social research, the Japan Foundation’s activities span a wide range. We bring you a glimpse of the action backstage, the joys and pains that go into making these events happen, featuring stories that only staff members can tell, of episodes that could only happen in that particular corner of the world.
"What can we do together to help Asia evolve into a powerhouse of football?" This desire to unleash Asia's full potential on the global playing field is what inspired the 2014 launch of a Japan-Southeast Asia football exchange program by the Japan Foundation Asia Center, the Japan Football Association (JFA), and the Japan Professional Football League (J. League).
As humanity is faced with an unending series of catastrophic disasters around the world, it has become even more important for Japan to share its knowledge and skills internationally.
The Japanese language is taught at 57 public junior and senior high schools in the Philippines, mostly in Manila and Cebu. The Japan Foundation, Manila (JFM), at the request of the Philippine Department of Education, supports local Japanese-language education through activities such as teaching materials development and teacher training. The JFM also assigns Japanese-language specialists to provide day-to-day support for classroom learning and events at secondary education schools in Manila and Cebu. One of the projects that is a very big focus for the JFM throughout the year is a unique exchange program called the "Japanese Speakers' Forum."
Japonismes 2018: les âmes en résonance, a major Japanese arts and culture festival celebrating 160 years of friendship between Japan and France was held from July 2018 through February 2019 in France.
Every February, the Philippines celebrates the National Arts Month. Since 2009, when I was still working with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), I was actively involved in the yearly celebration of the National Arts Month, except in 2017.
On September 14, 2017, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, visited India, and together with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, announced a Japan-India Joint Statement. The Joint Statement includes the following words: "The two Prime Ministers recognized the importance of expanding Japanese language education in India, for achieving wider and closer industrial cooperation.The Joint Statement includes the following words: "The two Prime Ministers recognized the importance of expanding Japanese language education in India, for achieving wider and closer industrial cooperation.
Building up to "Japonismes 2018: les âmes en resonance," the Japan Foundation held the exhibition "Japanorama: A new vision on art since 1970" from October 20, 2017 to March 5, 2018 at Centre Pompidou-Metz (Metz, France). On February 7, the exhibition's curator Yuko Hasegawa (Artistic Director, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts' Graduate School of Global Arts) held a debriefing session at the Japan Foundation's Tokyo headquarters. Noboru Takayama, Kohei Nawa and Haruka Kojin, whose works were displayed at the exhibition, also participated. The session featured candid discussions between these artists from different generations and fields.
The year 2017 was marked as the Year of Japan-India Friendly Exchanges by the prime ministers of Japan and India in celebration of the 60th anniversary since the Cultural Agreement came into force in 1957. In fact, sixty years is not a short span of time. Today, Japan and India seem closer but still distant at the same time. Since I was appointed to be in charge of Arts & Cultural Exchange at the Japan Foundation New Delhi in late 2013, I have felt a strong urge to enhance mutual understanding through interactive and collaborative projects in addition to simply showing Japanese culture to the Indian audience. In the ever-growing economy in India, Japan-India cultural exchange has entered a period of transition.
I wonder if the readers of Wochi Kochi Magazine know that a design similar to an ukiyo-e by Katsushika Hokusai was used on the cover of the first version of the musical score for Debussy's The sea, three symphonic sketches for orchestra. In the recently released movie, Gauguin Voyage de Tahiti directed by Edouard Deluc, there is a scene in which Gaugin, played by Vincent Cassel, gazes at a drawing of this ukiyo-e. At the time, Japanese ukiyo-e fascinated many artists in Paris, and that artwork had a significant impact.
Children kick a football on a bright afternoon in the sweltering heat, with temperatures in excess of 30 degrees Celsius. Fathers and mothers watch from the sidelines--perhaps an everyday scene in Japan, but here, after 3:00 p.m., the sound of the adhan can be heard calling Muslims to prayer at a nearby mosque. This is the Republic of Indonesia, the most heavily populated country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and these kids are practicing football under the watchful eye of their 26-year-old Japanese coach, Yu Komiyama.