Top Story

This is an article on a special topic published each month. It carries an interview with a top runner in one of various fields or a dialog with a key person who leads an international project.

2019.3.29New

Premonitions of Works Where Souls Reverberate
—The Resonance of Literature and Music in "Encounter of Souls Crossing Borders" an Event to Commemorate the Japan Foundation Awards 2018

To live in language is to keep flowing, as far as the stream will take you. In her acceptance speech for the Japan Foundation Award 2018, the writer and poet Yoko Tawada alluded to the quiet creativity of such a life in words. Singling out the Chinese character 流for "flow," she connected it to her own work and—as in the title of her most recent novel—that of other writers who are "scattered over the earth." As an astounding amount of information circles the globe at lightning speed, the flow of words, like a hidden stream, crosses all borders to seep into people's hearts, producing, as a sort of residue, literary works that contain a wide variety of elements, but that all have one—breath—in common.

2019.1.16

"Shima Uta" resonates across India:
Music by Kazufumi Miyazawa at the Japan Foundation, New Delhi

The Japan Foundation, New Delhi organized a two-day event on February 22 and 23, 2018, titled Okinawa Ki Hawa ("Wind of Okinawa" in Hindi), inviting as a special guest Kazufumi Miyazawa, the musician behind the global hit song "Shima Uta" (Island Song) and activities to preserve the music and culture of the chain of islands that form Japan's southernmost prefecture.

2018.11.29

Toward New Forms of Dance: Transcending both the everyday and work with a choreographer

In the spring of 2018, two collaborative projects in contemporary art and dance were held in Havana in commemoration of the 120th year since the first Japanese immigrants arrived in Cuba. In the area of dance, the world-renowned choreographers, Saburo Teshigawara and Rihoko Sato, who are also Japan's leading dancers, took up temporary residence in Havana, where for three weeks they worked together with dancers from a local dance company, Acosta Danza, to carry out creative activities and stage a new production called One Thousand Years After. On April 6, the world debut of the work was successfully performed at the Gran Teatro de La Habana, known normally as the "Alicia Alonso" Theater. Upon his return to Japan after giving three public performances in Cuba, Teshigawara was asked about the processes and results of his creative activities with the Acosta Danza, which has developed unique methods at its foundation.

2018.7.11

Treasures from Kyoto: 300 years of Rinpa creation

Flowers that never wilt ―
From ardent emotions they come,
Eternally in bloom
So beautiful and fragrant...

The words in this poem by Sugawa Nobuyuki (1839-1917) call to mind the blossoming friendship ushered in by the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between France and Japan, signed on October 9, 1858. The treaty focused primarily on economic and diplomatic ties, but as time passed those parameters expanded to welcome artistic influences as well. Through international expositions in the 19th century, France was introduced to a new artistic sensitivity as another way of looking at nature and beauty. French people developed a deep appreciation for works springing from Japan's Rinpa movement. And yet for some reason, the excitement of those years faded away with the passage of time.

2017.12.20

The Japan Foundation Awards 2017 Commemorative Lecture
The state of the field of postwar and contemporary Japanese art history in America and the rise of global art history

Alexandra Munroe has engaged in empirical research and advanced the history of Japanese art from the postwar to the contemporary period, and has planned and organized several exhibitions. She has contributed to heightening the international appreciation of Japan's Gutai, Neo-Dada, and Mono-ha groups as well as the works of a younger generation of Japanese contemporary artists. She received the Japan Foundation Awards 2017 in recognition of her work.

2017.9.27

What is the Real Meaning of Diversity?
Southeast Asian Contemporary Art Through the Eyes of May J.

SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now, an exhibition held from July 5 to October 23 at both the National Art Center, Tokyo and the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi, gathered 86 group and individual artists active in the nations of ASEAN, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. It has been the largest exhibition ever to present the art scene of Southeast Asia, garnering attention from inside and outside Japan. The works presented embodied direct messages on politics, history, and ethnicity that gave a sense of Southeast Asia's uniqueness of expression, a voice not found in Japanese and Western contemporary art.

2017.6.29

Culture and the Arts as the Driving Force for Revitalization of Regions and Communities
- Taking a look at the activities of Japanese Americans and the initiatives of the Creative City of Kanazawa (part.1)

The Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program is held every year in March, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. As part of the 2017 program, the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP) and the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC) jointly hosted the Japanese American Leadership Symposium in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture on March 6. The JALD program began in 2000. Since then, many Japanese Americans who are leaders in their respective fields across the United States have visited Japan, including both Tokyo and regional cities, where they have engaged in discussions with scholars and experts in various fields and visited cultural institutions. The 2017 program ran from March 4 to 11, with USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye accompanying a delegation of 11 Japanese Americans. The delegation arrived in Kanazawa on March 5, where they visited major cultural institutions. The Japanese American Leadership Symposium was held in Kanazawa the following day, March 6.

2017.6.29

Culture and the Arts as the Driving Force for Revitalization of Regions and Communities
- Taking a look at the activities of Japanese Americans and the initiatives of the Creative City of Kanazawa (part.2)

The Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program is held every year in March, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. As part of the 2017 program, the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP) and the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC) jointly hosted the Japanese American Leadership Symposium in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture on March 6. The JALD program began in 2000. Since then, many Japanese Americans who are leaders in their respective fields across the United States have visited Japan, including both Tokyo and regional cities, where they have engaged in discussions with scholars and experts in various fields and visited cultural institutions. The 2017 program ran from March 4 to 11, with USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye accompanying a delegation of 11 Japanese Americans. The delegation arrived in Kanazawa on March 5, where they visited major cultural institutions. The Japanese American Leadership Symposium was held in Kanazawa the following day, March 6.

2017.3.30

CGP/Abe Fellowship Program 25th Anniversary Symposium: Emerging Futures in a Changing World

On November 15, 2016, the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP) and the Abe Fellowship Program commemorated its 25th anniversary with a special symposium on the challenges and issues currently facing Japan and the United States--and the role that the intellectual communities in both countries play in navigating the world's ever-changing dynamics. The gathering brought together a distinguished group of experts from a wide variety of fields to discuss the U.S.-Japan partnership, a topic that had taken on a decidedly new tone and significance with Donald Trump's victory in the presidential election just a week prior to the event. After keynote addresses by Yukio Okamoto and Gerald Curtis, the symposium then featured a dialogue between leading authorities in international relations. The recent election, the uncertainty surrounding America's new president, and the implications of America's changing political landscape proved popular talking points throughout, with each speaker weighing in on what the transformations might mean for Japan, the U.S., and Asia.

2016.12.27

International exhibitions: Massimiliano Gioni

Massimiliano Gioni, a native of Italy, served as the general director of the 55th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition (2013). Gioni drew much attention for being the youngest curator to be selected for the biennale, as well as for his decision to present outsider art. While based in New York in the United States, Gioni also curates large international exhibitions held in Asia and the Middle East. What does he think about when planning exhibitions in cultural spheres that differ from his homeland and how does he go about it? We interviewed Gioni in New York about his encounters with Japan, what he expects of exhibition visitors, and the future of international exhibitions.

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