Japan-Europe “Kizuna” Project - Embracing Solidarity and Diversity in Community

Thank you very much for your participation and collaboration.
Owing to your support, this event was held successfully.
The fund raised for the damaged areas of Japan totaled 71,977 yen,
with the help of EUNIC Japan and volunteers.
All have been donated for helping the people in the region. Half the amount has been brought to Professor Takashi Murakami of the MMIX Lab while the remaining half to Ms. Elizabeth Oliver of the Animal Refuge Kansai (ARK). Thank you very much once again for each and every one of your great contribution!

Japan Foundation and EUNIC JAPAN are delighted to announce the following event titled ”Japan-Europe ‘Kizuna’ Project - Embracing Solidarity and Diversity in Community” to be held on Sunday July 3rd .

This symposium was originally planned to take place in March 2011 with themes on Identity and Diversity in Europe. However, the terrible disaster on March 11th forced it to be postponed. Some European participants expressed their uneasiness to travel to Japan and organizers at one point thought about cancelling the event. But after all organizers and panellists agreed that it is even more important to host this event now and celebrate the importance of Kizuna, or bonding, of community. So here we are. Proudly announcing the event.

Charity fundraising will be conducted at the site.

Japan-Europe "Kizuna" Project - Embracing Solidarity and Diversity in Community

Date: Sunday July 3, 2011, 10:30 to 6:00 p.m. followed by buffet reception
Venue: Italian Cultural Institute, Tokyo
Organizers: The Japan Foundation & EUNIC Japan (European Union National Institutes for Culture)
Reservation: 200 seats, Entrance charge: free (For reservation)


A community is a group of people with something in common that binds them together. Often the “glue” in a community is simple geographical proximity, but it can also be something else – for instance a common language, or a shared musical heritage. “Community spirit” is displayed when a shared sense of identity leads a community’s members to help each other.

In Japan, the concept of a community as “people who help each other” has come to the fore after the terrible earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region.

This symposium offers some different perspectives on these concepts. Is the EU really a single community, despite its 23 official languages, and its wide cultural diversity? Or is it a multi-layered construct of different overlapping communities?

Bringing together experts and musicians from both Europe and Japan, this symposium aims to shed new light on what “community” means and how community spirit can be strengthened and sustained?


10:00  Venue Opens
10:30  Start

Session 1: Language, Dialect and Communities
This session considers the extent to which communities are defined by a shared language or dialect. It features Irish and Bulgarian musicians who share roots from different language, and Japanese expert of Kesen language/dialect in Tohoku area.

Garry SHANNON, The Kilfenora Ceili Band, Ireland Icon indicating musical performance
Dr. Harutsugu YAMAURA. Medical Doctor. Advocator of the Kesen language/dialect, Japan
Alexander LIALIOS (piano) & Dessislava TCHOLAKOVA (violin), Studies at "Prof. Pancho Vladigerov" National Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria Icon indicating musical performance


Session 2: Communities in Adversity
Communities are brought together by shared experiences during difficult times, and the ways in which people help each other during crises can create something positive even out of tragedy. We hear about the community in Tohoku following the disaster there in March, and we learn from the experiences of an Italian politician who went through something similar.

Dario BARNABA, Secretary of Association of Italian Banks. Former managing director of Friuli Training Consortium, Italy
Takashi MURAKAMI, Professor at Miyagi University of Education. MMIX Lab, Japan Chikuhou OHTOMO, Shakuhachi Player, Japan Icon indicating musical performance


Session 3: Diversity in Community
Communities may have a natural impulse to exclude outsiders. But outsiders often have a lot to offer, both in practical help and new ideas. This session includes a foreign charity active in Tohoku after the earthquake, and a Japanese musician absorbing new influences that are taking his art in unexpected directions.

Rui ZINK, Writer and Dramatist, Professor at Nova University in Lisbon, Portugal
Dr. Carola HOMMERICH, German Institute for Japanese Studies, Japan
Elizabeth OLIVER, Founder of Animal Refuge Kansai (ARK), England

*Icon indicating musical performance indicates musical performance.

Participants (alphabetical order)

Dario BARNABA (Italy)
Secretary of Regional Commission of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Association of Italian Banks (ABI). Born in 1946. After working in steel industry for about ten years, he was elected to City Council in 1975, as well as being Regional Secretary (Chief) of the Italian Republican Party in the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, a position he held until 1980, when he became a member of the Republican Party's national committee. In 1978 he was elected to Friuli Venezia Giulia's Regional Council, within which he was the Chairman of the Regional Council's Commission for Budget, Finance and Economic Planning. He served three terms. From 1980 to 1988 he worked as Regional Minister for Education, Vocational Training, Cultural Heritage and Activities. In 1988 he became Regional Minister for Local Self-Government, a position he held until 1993. He widely contributed to several steps of the Region's legislation about the reconstruction after the earthquake which hit Friuli in 1976. After leaving his political positions, he served as managing director of Regional Services Center for Small and Medium Industry Spa, and, later, of Friuli Training Consortium, Institute for Higher Education, University of Udine. He has published three books: "Discorsi & Riflessioni" (Speeches & Reflections"), "Idee per la società che cambia" (Ideas for changing society", and "Res Publica".

Dr. Carola HOMMERICH (Germany/Japan)
Deputy Director of German Institute for Japanese Studies
Carola Hommerich holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Cologne. In her dissertation research she investigated the change of work values in Germany and Japan. Since April 2008 she is working as senior research fellow at the DIJ, where she researches on happiness and social inequality in Japan. Here, she especially concentrates on the interrelations of objective precarity and subjective perception of social exclusion. Her main research interests relate to empirical, cross-cultural research, social values as well as sociological approaches to social inequality.

Alexander LIALIOS (piano) & Dessislava TCHOLAKOVA (violin) (Bulgaria)
Studies at "Prof. Pancho Vladigerov" National Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria

Alexander LIALIOS (piano)
Alexander Lialios began piano lessons at the age of six. In 2004, he graduated the Music High School of Sofia, where he studied with Lydia Kuteva and later with Jenny Zaharieva and Atanas Kurtev, together with the American College of Sofia and the "Astrinidis" conservatory in Thessaloniki (in 2003). He completed his Bachelor's degree in 2008 at Yale University, where he studied With Anna Grinberg and Wei-Yi Yang. At master courses he has worked with professors Alexander Semetsky, Gerald Stoffsky, Natalia Trull, Julian Jacobson, Fulvio Turrisini, Agathe Leimoni, Nicholas Astirinidis, Boris Berman, Einar-Steen Kokleberg, and others. He has received prizes at numerous competitions, such as : "Music and Earth", Sofia; the National Greek Piano Competition in Thessaloniki (First Prize); "Albert Roussel?, Sofia; "Carl Filtsch?, Sibiu (First prize in composition and Third prize in Piano), and others. In 2009/2010 academic year, he specialized at the Frankfurt Conservatory with Prof.Caterine Vickers. Alexander Lialios is about to obtain a master's degree at the Academy of Music in Sofia, where he studies piano with Atanas Kurtev and chamber music with Jenny Zaharieva.

Dessislava TCHOLAKOVA (violin)
Dessislava Tcholakova received her first training in music in her native city of Pazardjik, where she started to study the violin. Her first teacher was her mother, and her first achievements were prizes in national contests in 1985, 86, and 87. Her participations at festivals were broadcasted on the Bulgarian National Television, as well as performances with the Pazardjik Symphony Orchestra. Later, Dessislava entered Plovdiv music high school. She has received Grand Prix and awards in national and international contests and overseas and played with many orchestras overseas. In 2004, she participated in "Mahler Jugend Orchester" festival as a member of the International Youth Orchestra under the conducting of Claudio Abbado. From 2004 until 2006, she worked as a member of the orchestra in Lausanne, "La Verdi" orchestra in Milano, with which she participated in concerts in "La Scala?, and others. She is currently a student at the National Academy of Music in Sofia.

Takashi MURAKAMI (Japan)
Associate Professor at the Miyagi University of Education. Representative and Planner of MMIX Lab General Corporation http://mmix.org
He was born in Kumamoto Prefecture. His career as an artist started in 1986 when he started to produce art works with straw mats and rice grains. Since then he has participated in numerous art projects including exhibitions both in Japan and overseas. He organized art exhibitions for which schools and towns were changed into museums. The exhibitions include the IZUMIWAKU Project in Suginami, Tokyo, in 1994, the 10th Anniversary of Joseph Beuys" Death in 1996 and Sightseeing and Art in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, in 2003. He specializes in project-based contemporary art exhibitions, art education and educational information. He is also involved in research on art resources and nonprofit organization activities. Lately, he has been holding lectures and workshops in cultural facilities on the dissemination of art and cultural and educational policies.

Elizabeth OLIVER (England/Japan)
ounder and Director of the Animal Refugee Kansai (ARK)
She came to Japan from the UK as an English teacher and started to rescue homeless animals with friends. She established ARK in 1990. The objective of ARK is to form a network of people who love animals, share life with them and work actively to rescue them from suffering. The organization aims to establish animal welfare in Japan, to alleviate the unfavorable situation of animals, and to facilitate the enforcement of truly effective animal welfare laws. ARK also strives to find homes for unwanted pets. The group has approximately 30 staff members and receives support from volunteers. Since its foundation, it has found new homes for more than 2,700 dogs and 1,000 cats. In accepting animals made homeless by the Tohoku-Pacific earthquake and tsunami, the organization draws on its experience of building an emergency shelter for homeless pets and finding homes for them in the aftermath of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995.

Chikuhou OHTOMO (Japan)
Shakuhachi Player
He is from Yamasakichokamino in Shiso City, Hyogo Prefecture. He became a disciple of Seizan Ikeda in the Tozan School and at the same time started to study under shakuhachi maker Chikusen Tamai. Later, Ohtomo was taught by Kojiro Horii of the Ueda School. Ohtomo passed the NHK Traditional Japanese Music Audition and has performed in many countries such as the US (including Hawaii), Canada, China, South Korea and Singapore. He has co-produced albums with musicians including jazz pianist Duke Jordan and drummer Masahiko Togashi. Ohtomo played in the backing band of famous Japanese ballad singer Hiroshi Itsuki for six years and helped another singer, Itsuro Oizumi, record his song "Grandchild." Ohtomo has been active in the music world and is now playing a number of important roles: member of Orchestra Asia, instructor and conductor of an ensemble of traditional Japanese musical instruments in Tokyo called Raion and another traditional music band in Niigata Prefecture, a Yune, and leader of shakuhachi playing group Chikuhou Kai.

Garry SHANNON (Ireland)
The Kilfenora Ceili Band
Garry Shannon comes from a celebrated musical family which includes accordionist Sharon Shannon and Mary Shannon of "The Bumblebees". Garry's music has been very influential on the Irish Traditional music scene. Over two decades, he has travelled extensively as a performer and teacher. Garry has recorded many albums as a soloist and with many traditional bands currently including the legendary Kilfenora Ceili Band. He has written and spoken on the theme of community-based musical performance and teaching and is the coordinator at the popular residential summer music school, 'Meitheal' which caters for young high achievers in traditional music. He is based in Clare in the West of Ireland is also a teacher of Irish and French languages.

Harutsugu YAMAURA (Japan)
Medical Doctor from Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture
He obtained a doctor of medical sciences from the Tohoku University in 1966. He served as an associate professor of radiology at the Research Institute for Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Cancer at Tohoku University and later as director of a hospital in Miyagi Prefecture. He is the director of Yamaura Clinic, Ryugen Healthcare Corporation. He is well known as a developer of the Kesen language, which he started to work on in 1974. He received the Iwate Prefecture Education Award in 1990 for promoting local culture. He translated the four Gospels of the New Testament directly from Greek into Kesen language and published them. They were recognized by Pope John Paul II for enhancing understanding of Christianity in Japan, and Yamaura had the honor of meeting the Pope to present them in 2004.

Rui ZINK (Portugal)
Writer and dramatist. He lectures at School of Humanities and Social Sciences, New University of Lisbon (Universidade Nova de Lisboa). Born in 1961. He received a doctorate in Literature from New University of Lisbon on the theme on "Comic Books as Literature?. He became famous with his 1986 novel "Hotel Lusitano?. He writes in wide range of styles, including novella, novels, romance, children's books, academic papers, and original for cartoon animations. He has published more than 30 books translated into 10 languages. He is acknowledged as writing Portugal's first interactive e-book in 2001 ("Os Surfistas", "The Surfers"). For the stage, he wrote both plays and opera libretti. He has been a regular guest on late-night TV discussion programs and a specialist in unconventional happenings and performances. In 2009 he was Endowed Chair at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. In 2005 he won the Portuguese Pen Club award and will be included in "Best European Fiction 2012".


Ai Goto
Senior Officer
Europe, Middle East and Africa Section.
Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange Dep.

4-4-1 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku
Tokyo 160-0004 JAPAN
T +81-3-5369-6071
F +81-3-5369-6041

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