The Japan Foundation, Beijing
When Chinese president Hu Jintao visited Japan this May, Japanese and Chinese governments signed the joint statement that required each government to establish a cultural center in the counterpart. Based on this statement, the Japan Foundation, Beijing, restarted with its new Chinese name "北京日本文化中心 (the Beijing Japan Culture Center)." The center's opening ceremony was held in Beijing on October 10 inviting over 200 guests, including Chinese government officials, scholars, and artists, as well as representatives from the Japanese Embassy and companies. Hisashi Michigami, Minister of the Japanese Embassy to China, gave a congratulatory speech by stating that the establishment of the center symbolized the new start of Japan-China relations in cultural exchange and wishing further success in any future endeavor of the center.
At the ceremony, a band Soothe performed and set the audience alight. "Soothe" is a band of 5 male performers: Tsugaru shamisen, guitar, bass, Japanese drum, and drum. They were sent by the Performing Arts Division of Japan Foundation for a tour in China. Soothe gave a concert on October 11 at the Minorities Culture Palace Theater in Beijing with over 1,000 audiences, mainly young Chinese people, who were enthralled by the band's sound of various genres of traditional and modern music, including Japanese traditional music with Shamisen solo, call-and-response by shamisen and Japanese drum, and contemporary music by all 5 musicians.In addition to the performance, a video jockey "DaDaKingZ" projected live paintings and improvising video collage, which transformed the hall into a surreally unique space.
As a brand-new center of Japanese culture, the Japan Foundation, Beijing, is planning to offer further diversified programs, including screenings of Japanese films, Japanese pop music concerts, and a series of lectures for Japanese language educators, to deliver various aspects of Japanese cultures to Chinese citizens, especially younger ones.