The Japan Foundation, London
In the last eight months of FY 2009, the Japan Foundation, London organized a variety of events in our three major categories: Japanese Language Education, Art and Cultural Exchange, and Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange.
Japanese Language Education Overseas programs are targeted mainly at children and youngsters to support the mid or long-term effects to broaden and deepen the understanding of Japan. With this aim, we have been contributing educational materials to the Japanese-language institutions overseas as well as providing and supporting various training programs for teachers. In June 2009, we held "Nihongo Cup 2009," the national Japanese-language speech contest for secondary school students. 19 finalists selected from an initial 124 applicants gathered together in London for the final speech. In November, we ran our Japanese-language stand at the Language Show in London and provided a Japanese taster lesson.
In Art and Cultural Exchange category, we have been introducing diverse genres and artists from Japan, and supporting projects. In June, two British specialists on traditional sashiko textiles and contemporary cross-stitch gave lectures and workshops. In July, Mr. Makoto Nomura an exclusive talk on the Melodica, also known as the "Keyboard Harmonica," a fairly well-known instrument in Japanese music education but less familiar to people overseas. Mr. Nomura and other Japanese and British composers/musicians demonstrated the mechanism of the Melodica and the array of sounds it can produce. From August to September, we organized a tour by Japanese Kendama (cup-and-ball) maestro and Edo-Daikagura (traditional Japanese circus skill) performer at six venues in five cities around the UK.
In Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange category, we supported scholars in the UK in visiting Japan and in holding conferences. In November, we hosted the roundtable on culture and peace-building at our office with participation of scholars and specialists from Japan and the UK.