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3 Fields of Cultural Exchange

Culture [Arts and Cultural Exchange]
Presenting Japan's Diverse Arts and Culture Overseas

We carry out a wide range of projects to introduce to people around the world the diverse charms of Japanese culture, from traditional performing arts to contemporary art, including performances, exhibitions, translation and publication, and lectures. We also engage in activities such as dispatching and inviting experts, and holding workshops as forms of international contribution to human resources development and networking in arts and culture.

Cultural Programs Coinciding with the Olympics and Paralympics

Coinciding with the Rio Olympics, cultural exchange programs were comprehensively implemented in the fields of visual arts, film and music in an initiative to pass the baton from 1964 Tokyo to Rio, and then once again to Tokyo in 2020. In visual arts, "The Emergence of the Contemporary" was held as the first exhibition in Brazil to trace the development of avant-garde art in Japan from the 1950s to 1970, drawing over 30,000 attendees. In film, eight works of master director Ko Nakahira, including Juvenile Jungle and Summer Storm, were shown in Brazil for the first time ever in a special screening. In music, a joint Japan-Brazil pop concert was held under the theme of "Sukiyaki," and artists from Japan and Brazil delivered a universal message from Rio de Janeiro to people throughout the world.

Photo of the exhibition of the Emergence of the Cotemporary: Avant-Garde Art in Japan, 1950-1970
Visual arts: "The Emergence of the Contemporary: Avant-Garde Art in Japan, 1950-1970" Exhibition

Photo of a film of Juvenile Jungle, copyright 1956 Nikkatsu
Film: Japanese movie screening, "Ko Nakahira Special Features: Juvenile Jungle"
(c)1956 Nikkatsu

Photo of a joint Japan-Brazil pop concert
Music: From the left, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Emicida, Vanessa Da Mata, Marcia

The Shochiku Grand Kabuki in Beijing

Three popular kabuki titles were performed at the Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center as the opening event for commemorations of the 45th anniversary of the normalization of relations between Japan and China. Torii-mae (In Front of the Shrine Gate, featuring actors such as Shikan, Takataro, Monnosuke, Hashinosuke, and Fukunosuke) displayed vigorous theatrical fighting, while Fuin-giri (Breaking the Seal, with actors such as Ganjiro, Shikan, Monnosuke, Kichiya, and Kazutaro) served as a definitive example of refined Kyoto style. Fuji-musume (Wisteria Maiden, starring Takataro) also featured a splendid cast. The tickets for the five performances were sold out in just four days, and more than 4,200 attendees savored the spectacle of traditional Japanese performing arts.

Photo of Fuin giri, copyright Shochiku Co., Ltd.
Fuin-giri (Kameya Chubei: Ganjiro; Tanbaya Hachiemon: Shikan)

Japan Festival Support Program (Singapore)

In celebration of Japan's 50 years of diplomatic relations with Singapore, YUGEN: The Hidden Beauty of Japan was performed at the River Nights Festival, a premier outdoor festival of Singapore. In a show created by renowned director Amon Miyamoto, 1,600 audience members wore 3D glasses and enjoyed Noh works Shakkyo (Lion's Dance) and Hagoromo (Maiden's Dance) intertwined with 3D imagery expressing the world of nature in Japan and profound beauty.

Photo of YUGEN: The Hidden Beauty of Japan
YUGEN: The Hidden Beauty of Japan

"The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945" Exhibition

In celebration of 150 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Italy, an exhibition introducing Japanese houses designed from the post-war period until today was held at the MAXXI, National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome (the exhibition later toured London and Tokyo). Attended by 69,052 visitors, the exhibition included lectures by renowned, globally active Japanese architects such as Toyo Ito and Kazuyo Sejima.

Photo of the exhibition of the Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945
"The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945" Exhibition

Dispatch of Japanese martial arts group to Central Asia

Karate, kendo and judo experts were sent to five countries of Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan) to introduce Japanese martial arts. In addition to conducting demonstrations in each country, they coached local athletes and students.

Photo of Judo training in Kazakhstan
Judo training in Kazakhstan

ASEAN Orchestra Support Project

Seeking to contribute to the enhancement of orchestras' performing techniques and managerial practices, we dispatched professional musicians from Japan to the Philippines and Thailand for long-term support. In addition, two management staff were invited from Vietnam to undergo training with five orchestras in Japan. Experts were also sent to the Myanmar National Symphony Orchestra periodically to provide on-site instruction.

Photo of Mr. Yasukazu Morizono providing instruction on the contrabass
Yasukazu Morizono provides instruction on the contrabass at the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra (Bangkok)

Asia Students Package Design Competition project (ASPaC)

In an initiative that seeks to nurture the next generation of designers, a package design competition for students was held in six Asian countries and regions, including Japan. As a collaborative project organized with private enterprises, winners were selected from among 3,000 applications and invited to Japan to participate in an award ceremony. The invitation included visits to design firms and winning works were introduced to the public through a special exhibition.

Photo of winning students at the ASPaC 2016 Award Ceremony, copyright Kazuhiko Monden
Winning students at the ASPaC 2016 Award Ceremony
(c)Kazuhiko Monden

Kaman Kalehöyük Archaeology Museum "Conservation & restoration" field course

The Japan Foundation, the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology, and Gazi University co-organized a conservation field course on the restoration of papers and books for young specialists and students at Kaman Kalehöyük Archaeology Museum and Gazi University in Turkey.

Photo of an exercise in restoring ancient documents
An exercise in restoring ancient documents

Completion of Worth Sharing-A Selection of Japanese Books for Translation project

A special project, Worth Sharing was initiated in 2012, with the objective of promoting translation and publication of Japan-related books overseas and enhancing understanding of contemporary Japan through literature. A booklet under the same title introduced a selection of books in Japanese that were viewed as outstanding and recommended for translation. The fifth and final volume of the booklet, Imagining Japan's Tomorrow was published in the spring of 2017, bringing a total of 100 titles presented through this series.

Photo of all five Worth Sharing publications
All five Worth Sharing publications