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The Lie of the Land - Rethinking Landscape Painting
Join the Club! Fandom in Japanese Theatre: Kabuki & Takarazuka
Shinya Tsukamoto: Filmmaker Talk new
Riding the Current - Japanese Contemporary Art and its Curatorial Views new
Shojo manga: Girls' Comics from Japan
Current Location (Fellswoop Theatre)
Takehisa Kosugi: SPACINGS
Sensoria 2015 new
Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival new

The Lie of the Land - Rethinking Landscape Painting   org

Considered to be a category of art that is an objective and concrete representation of specific sites, landscape painting might be seen as quite a traditional art practice. The question of the relevance and necessity of the expression of the land and landscape paintings is however of pressing interest to many modern artists and critics. With the golden age of English landscape painting led by Turner and Constable and the heyday of Japanese ukiyo-e wood blocks prints representing nature now being seen in a nostalgic light, how can contemporary subjects and techniques associated with landscape art highlight modern society’s relationship with our environment? Has the all-important artist’s gaze towards their surroundings been devalued? Should landscape art just be deemed passé or be allowed to reconstruct itself?

Bearing these issues in mind, The Japan Foundation has invited artists from both Japan and the United Kingdom to discuss the current practices related to landscape art, and look at the legacy of this considered medium and its place in contemporary art history. Referring to the invited artists’ works and the concepts behind them, this event will raise questions about the way that landscape painting is appreciated by present audiences and artists, taking stock of how this genre has evolved, as opposed to other painting styles, as well as examine what the future may hold.


Andrew Gifford is recognised as one of the most innovative British landscape painters working today. His paintings and light installations have been widely exhibited, including solo public shows at Leeds City Art Gallery (2004), Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh (2001) and Middlesbrough Art Gallery (2000). Collections include the New Art Gallery, Walsall and Chatsworth House and in private collections in Europe, USA and Japan. A monograph on the artist was published in 2005. This depth of interest in the natural world is also reflected in his painting style.

Masakatsu Kondo is an artist whose paintings draw on the natural world and symbolic imagery of contemporary media. Born in Nagoya, Japan in 1962, he graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 1993 and has continued to live and work in London. He has exhibited internationally, both solo and as part of group shows.

Miyuki Tsugami is a Japanese artist living and working in Japan who uses a combination of colours and forms, rather than narrative or sentiment. In 2013, she won the 24th Gotoh Cultural Award Fine Arts Division, which led her to relocate to the United Kingdom where she was able to work on internalising landscapes through sketches of European scenery, drawing influence from notable British landscape artists and revisiting the actual sites that they depicted in their art.  While Tsugami’s works are subjective renderings symbolic of a vague atmosphere, she is meticulous in her research of each location, observing all aspects of the spaces in order to create work that conveys a sense of connection and engagement.

The discussion will be chaired by Alastair Gordon, practising artist and part time lecturer at the Leith School of Art in Edinburgh, as well as founder/director of Morphē Arts and founder of Husk Gallery, London.

Date: 11 September 2015 from 6.30pm

The Art Workers Guild
6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT

Booking: The event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please e-mail your name and the title of the event to

Image: Miyuki Tsugami, View-trees on the uphill, Nov.12-Jan.13, 2013, 218.2×333.3cm, pigment, glue, acrylic, and others on canvas, © TSUGAMI Miyuki, courtesy of HASHIMOTO ART OFFICE, photo by Tamotsu Kido, Private Collection

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Join the Club! Fandom in Japanese Theatre: Kabuki & Takarazuka   org

The Takarazuka Revue Company is a theatre company with a 100 year history in Japan and is well-known for its stylised musicals performed by an all-female cast. The lavish stage productions have been enthusiastically appreciated by tens of thousands of devoted fans who dedicate their time, money and energy to the company, and who make the tickets to Takarazuka notoriously difficult to obtain.

Reflecting on the fever pitch of Takarazuka fandom, Prof Naomi Miyamoto, Lecturer at Ritsumeikan University and author of the book Sociology of Takarazuka Fans will explore the characteristics of Takarazuka fans and the role that fandom has played in Takarazuka theatre, considering how vital its fan culture may be to its ongoing popularity.

As a comparison, Dr Alan Cummings, Senior Teaching Fellow in Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies will look into the nature of Kabuki's aficionados, examining fandom in Japan’s traditional, similarly stylised yet all-male theatre.

Offering an often unexplored aspect, this event is to provide an opportunity to compare and contrast how these distinct theatres keep attracting enthusiastic audiences for many decades, through social changes facing Japan.

Date: 25 September 2015 from 6.30pm

Impact Hub Westminster
1st Floor New Zealand House, 80 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4TE
Nearest tube stations: Charring Cross and Piccadilly Circus


This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To book your place via Eventbrite, please visit:

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Shinya Tsukamoto: Filmmaker Talk   org

Iconoclastic auteur Shinya Tsukamoto is considered to be one of the most important filmmakers to emerge from Japan in recent decades. Achieving cult status from the release of his low-budget cyberpunk masterpiece Tetsuo: The Iron Man in 1989, Tsukamoto's films have since, regardless of setting or theme, retained his trademark experimental and brutal style, capturing nightmarish visions of human existence. Often compared to Hollywood directors David Lynch and David Cronenberg, Tsukamoto has influenced many more (including Quentin Tarantino and David Fincher) and helped pave the way for many other contemporary Japanese filmmakers exhibiting their films overseas.

In this special talk, Tsukamoto will journey through his filmmaking career, looking at his ground-breaking body of work up until his most recent film, the anti-war epic Fires on the Plains, to be screened at this year's Raindance Film Festival. Reflecting on the current state of the Japanese film industry, he will also reveal his decision to remain independent as a director, and his creative aspirations in taking multiple roles in his films; directing, writing, producing and often acting in his own productions.

This talk will explore Tsukamoto's unique cinematic vision and offer an insight into the mind of Japan's most exciting and uncompromising director.

Date: 26 September 2015 from 2.30pm

Impact Hub Westminster, 1st Floor New Zealand House, 80 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4TE

This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To book your place via Eventbrite, please visit:


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Riding the Current - Japanese Contemporary Art and its Curatorial Views   org

With the turn of the millennium being a tipping point for some, contentious questions have been raised in the direction of Japanese contemporary art. While borderless activities by Japanese artists - both in the media they work with and places they choose to live – are globally identified, it is also a truth that there are some whose interest it is to explore, rather introvertedly, their immediate surroundings as a contrast. One connecting factor is however that in the wake of the 3.11 Great East Japan Earthquake, artists and the art from Japan are for the first time in a long time regarded as being more politicised than before. Has contemporary Japanese art managed to re-set the existing framework, and are artists able to act as a tool to shift the paradigm of Japan? Where are the latest currents pulling Japanese art?

Hinted at by the most recent edition of the Dojima River Biennale in Osaka, Take me to the River which examines the current of contemporary art as influenced by the ancient Heraclitus quote “everything flows, nothing stands still”, the Japan Foundation has invited two distinguished art professionals, Tom Trevor, the Artistic Director of this year’s Dojima River Biennale as well as the former Director of Arnolfini, Bristol, and  Mizuki Takahashi, Chief Curator of Art Tower Mito in Japan, to explore what they have observed is happening with this new era of Japanese contemporary art and artists through a series of presentations and conversation. These two established curators will also discuss how contemporary Japanese art is seen from both Japanese and British perspectives, examine the curatorial issues in presenting Japanese art, and explore what is to come in the Japanese art world flowing forward.

Date: 30 September 2015 from 6.30pm

The Lecture Theatre, the Courtauld Institute of Art
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN
Nearest tube stations: Temple, Covent Garden, Charing Cross and Embankment


This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To book your place via Eventbrite, please visit:

Image The Play, IE: The Play Have a House, 1972, © The Play.

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Shojo manga: Girls' Comics from Japan   org

The Japan Foundation will co-present a gallery talk at the British Museum by Japanese shojo manga artist Akiko Hatsu and historian, critic and curator Paul Gravett. For further details about the event, please click here.

Date: 20 October 2015 from 1.15pm

This event is part of the exhibition Shojo: The World of Girls’ Manga, to held at the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal.

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Current Location (Fellswoop Theatre)   JPsupported

The Japan Foundation is pleased to support performances of Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada’s Current Location, performed by the award-winning British company Fellswoop Theatre. The immersive piece of theatre written in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster was originally presented by the company as a work-in-progress performance at the Japan Foundation in early 2014 and has since been performed in London, Bristol and Madrid. The play will next be presented as part at Summerhall, Edinburgh, in a series of performances developed specifically for the venue's 2015 festival.

Date: 17 August 2015 - 30 August 2015

Summerhall, Edinburgh

For more information, please click here.
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Takehisa Kosugi: SPACINGS   JPsupported

The Ikon Gallery present the first major exhibition by Japanese composer and artist Takehisa Kosugi. Kosugi was a pioneer of experimental music in Japan in the early 1960s and is considered to be one of the most influential artists of his generation. The exhibition will feature three of the artist’s sound installations, involving everyday materials and radio electronics, and interacting with wind, electricity and light.

Date: 22 July 2015 - 27 September 2015

Ikon Gallery, Birmingham

For more information, please click here.

Image: Takehisa Kosugi. Interspersion for Light and Sound, 2000 (detail). Audio generator, light pulse generator, piezo transducer, LED, sugar, plastic container. Courtesy the artist.

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Sensoria 2015   JPsupported

The Japan Foundation is pleased to support Sensoria 2015, a festival of film, music and digital art taking place in Sheffield. Now in its eighth year, the festival will feature a number unique events based on the theme of ‘Altered States’, and will include a performance by the Japanese psychedelic band, Bo Ningen.

For further details of the events, please visit:

Date: 25 September 2015 - 3 October 2015

Various venues in Sheffield

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Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival   JPsupported

The Japan Foundation will be supporting this year's Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival, a festival screening the best in Japanese animation and culture. This year the festival will be taking place in two locations in Wales and will feature a number of films including A Letter to Momo (dir. Hiroyuki Okiura, 2011) and Tiger & Bunny: The Rising (dir. Yoshitomo Yonetani, 2014).

For details of the full programme, please visit the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival website.

Date: 26 September 2015 - 10 October 2015

Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff (26 September 2015) and Aberystwyth Arts Centre (10 October 2015)

Image: © 2012 "A Letter to Momo" Film Partners

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