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Getting to know more about the Japan Foundation

Chapter 2
The Asia Center

The Asia Center was established in April 2014 to be the body responsible for the new Asian cultural exchange policy "WA Project: Toward Interactive Asia through Fusion and Harmony," announced by the Japanese government at the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit Meeting in Tokyo in December 2013. The Asia Center endeavors to nurture, among the people of Asia, a common awareness for mutual coexistence and understanding as neighbors by implementing activities in a wide range of fields embracing the 4 Cs: Communicate, Connect and Share, Collaborate, and Create.

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List indicating a transition of the number of two main initiatives which the Asia Center implemented since they were established. For the support for Japanese-language learning, the number of NIHONGO Partners dispatched was 100 people in FY2014, 170 people in FY2015, and 364 people in FY2016. In addition, the number of the students taught by NIHONGO Partners was approximately 7,000 students in FY2014 and 75,000 students in FY2015, and 130,000 students in FY2016. For Arts and Cultural Exchange, the number of events organized or supported was 164 events in FY2014, 379 events in FY2015, and 516 events in FY2016. Participants attended those events were approximately 220,000 people in FY2014, 810,000 people in FY2015, 1,160,000 people in FY2016.

Looking back on FY2016

From Exchange to Cooperation and Collaboration:
Asia Center Projects Enter a New Stage

FY2016 marked the third year of the Asia Center's ongoing mission to bring to reality the vision set forth at its launch in April 2014.

The "NIHONGO Partners" program has sent partners to all ten ASEAN countries and commenced programs in Taiwan and China, responding to strong demand from local counterparts. In Japan, more than 2,400 people participated in 73 information sessions held throughout the year and the number of applicants reached 1,347, underscoring the growing interest in the program.

In the field of art and culture, we implemented a wide range of projects for network-building, human resource development, curation of platforms for professionals in different fields, international collaborations, and sharing the achievements of our efforts. Cinema projects included the launch of the Japan Film Festival (JFF) in various countries, and the completion of Reflections: Asian Three-Fold Mirror 2016, an omnibus film production by directors from three countries that had its world premiere at the Tokyo International Film Festival in the autumn of 2016. Our art-related initiatives included the international art exhibition Condition Report, which was a collaborative effort of curators from Japan and Southeast Asia and was hosted in several countries, and the launch of the Media Art Initiative. We commenced several other projects in FY2016, such as TAMU/Talk with Muslims series and the Judo Exchange Program.

In addition to establishing Asia Center liaison offices in Vientiane and Phnom Penh in 2015, we opened new facilities in Yangon, Ho Chi Minh, and Chiang Mai this year that will serve as centers for cultural, artistic, and local exchange between Japan and other parts of Asia, with energetic activities already underway.

These diverse projects are creating new interactions and connections throughout Asia, leading to new collaborative efforts. Many NIHONGO Partners returning to Japan continue their relations with the students and teachers where they served, as well as using the experience they gained to start new exchanges on their own. A variety of networks in the fields of art and culture are also growing.

We will leverage these achievements as we continue implementing initiatives to deepen exchange between Japan and other parts of Asia.

Masaya Shimoyama, Managing Director, The Japan Foundation Asia Center

Photo of the opening of the exhibition Equinoctial
Opening of the Asian Culture Station exhibition Equinoctial in Chiang Mai
Photo: Atikom Mukdaprakorn

Photo of the opening reception of the Japanese Film Festival in the Philippines
Opening reception of the Japanese Film Festival in the Philippines