The Japan Cultural Institute in Cologne:Activity report of the Japan Cultural Institute in Cologne

The Japan Cultural Institute in Cologne



The Japan Cultural Institute in Cologne is placed slightly outside of the inner city where the city's famous Cologne Cathedral resides. Nonetheless, the surroundings of the Institute are marvelous: there is a lake on the west, the Museum for Oriental Art on the north, the Italia Cultural Institute is on the other side of the street, and a large park on the south.

At the Japan Cultural Institute, two Japanese films are screened every week. From this October to December, documentary films in 70s and 80s are on the screen. Since there is no other organization to introduce Japanese films systematically, the screening at the Institute is highly appreciated by film magazines.

This November started with a public reading by OE Kenzaburo. The audience enthusiastically listened to the reading of his novel by the Nobel Prize winner himself, and it was followed by a reading of its German translation by an actor. Mr. Oe also gave a lecture on his view of world and literature, at which the audience was particularly impressed by his thoughts that developed seamlessly from a private domain to the criticism against the society.

On November 25, we hosted the lecture and demonstration of Chanoyu (the Way of Tea) by Sen Sooku, hereditary successor to the Mushakoji Senke Tea School. Some 200 audiences were moved deeply by Mr. Sen when he talked with great zeal that Chanoyu tended to be regarded as a typical traditional Japanese culture, but it should not be isolated from daily lives of the times.

On November 21 and 22, we hosted the symposium on the comparative study of the aging society in Japan and Germany. It may not be widely known that both Japan and Germany are the most advanced countries of the aging society. These two countries are placed in similar position in the world economy and have similar social system; they share common interests and many common problems to solve. At this symposium, the panelists discussed, sprinkling with practical examples, how to establish the network among elder people and to provide them with opportunities to learn and enjoy activities to lead their lives vigorously. A number of coverage in the mass media indicated a high concern of German people for this issue. We are intending to host such events on the common issues to Japan and Germany to foster mutual understandings of modern Japanese and German societies.

In addition, on November 21, the "Dialogue Exhibition" opened with collaborative works by young Japanese and German artists. This year, Taka Kagitomi and Johannes Hensen, both living in Dusseldorf, have been amazing the audience by exhibiting their novel idea utilizing familiar objects such as garbage containers. We are also hosting various concerts and performances throughout the year. If you're ever in the neighborhood, you are always welcome to drop by our institution.

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