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The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme
It Only Happens in the Movies? Japanese Cinema and Encounters
Metamorphosis of Japan After the War
Reality Check: Artist talk by Chim↑Pom new
Film Screening: KABUKU
Behind the Curtain of Contemporary Kabuki Theatre
Eastern Exchanges: East Asian Craft and Design

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme
It Only Happens in the Movies? Japanese Cinema and Encounters

This year’s Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme will provide an exciting programme of films under the narrative framework of ‘encounters’. Showcasing a vast variety of styles and tones, from popular contemporary films, classics through to animation, the programme will include titles in which characters experience seemingly unusual meetings, plunge into unexpected circumstances and new environments, as well as collide with different generations, ideals and ideas – asking the question, does it really only happen in the movies?

For full details of the lineup and participating venues, please visit the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme website.

Date: 30 January 2015 - 26 March 2015


Image, clockwise from top: Wood Job! (part), The Handsome Suit (part), Short Peace (A Farewell to Weapons) (part)

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Metamorphosis of Japan After the War   org

In 1945, postwar Japan made a new start from the ashes of devastation, and, in the twenty years leading up to the Tokyo Olympics of 1964, it succeeded in undergoing a dramatic transformation, embarking on a path towards becoming an economic power.

These two decades constituted a period truly brimming with creative energy – a time in which democracy led to the restoration of vitality through free photographic expression and in which new talent pioneered postwar photography.

This new exhibition looks back on this turbulent period that followed the war, exhibiting over 100 black and white photographs by 11 leading artists of postwar Japan photography, including Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Shomei Tomatsu, Eikoh Hosoe and Ken Domon. Rather than arranging the works by period and author, this exhibition is divided into three sections - "The Aftermath of the War," "Between Tradition and Modernity," and "Towards a New Japan."

Although the arrangement may seem arbitrary, the sequence in fact provides a vivid narrative of the convoluted aspects of this complicated era.

Date: 22 January 2015 - 26 April 2015

Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool

For more information, please click here.

Image: Shigeichi Nagano, Completing management training at a stock brokerage firm. Ikebukuro. Tokyo 1961

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Reality Check: Artist talk by Chim↑Pom   org

Chim↑Pom, the six-strong artist collective known as the enfant terrible of Japan's art scene, create distinctive works that challenge contemporary social problems, and the realities that we choose not to see. Formed in Tokyo in 2005, the group's approach is underscored by the use of found objects, mass media, and chance. Chim↑Pom work mainly in video but their many mixed medium creations look beyond traditional aesthetic standards to construct coded narratives that drive compelling messages about limitations and boundaries, both literally and figuratively. Through critical thinking and creativity they tackle themes including urbanisation, celebrity, and more recently, the tsunami and nuclear incidents of 3/11.

Fresh off their success at this year’s Prudential Eye Awards, where they won not only “Best Emerging Artist Using Digital/Video” but were also named “Best Emerging Artist of the Year”, two members of this provocative collective, Ryuta Ushiro and Ellie, have been invited to map Chim↑Pom’s diverse career. Preluding their first group exhibition in London, by the mountain path held at the White Rainbow Gallery, they will explore how they came to be and why their work pushes the limits of contemporary Japanese art and the Japanese art scene.

After their presentation, Ushiro and Ellie will be joined in conversation by Dr Sook-Kyung Lee, Research Curator of Tate Research Centre: Asia-Pacific. 

Date: 29 April 2015 from 6.45pm

Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA


This event is ticketed. To buy tickets please visit the Free Word website.

This event is organised in association with Free Word, White Rainbow Gallery and Mujin-to Production

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Film Screening: KABUKU
Behind the Curtain of Contemporary Kabuki Theatre

Kabuku is a fascinating documentary offering a behind-the-scenes view of the unique theatrical genre of Japanese kabuki. Focusing on the rehearsal process and lead up to the performance of the contemporary kabuki play Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Yoshitsune and the 1,000 Cherry Trees) - a version of which was also performed at Sadler's Wells in London in 2010 - the documentary follows the preparations by the play's well-known and respected actor, Kamejiro Ichikawa II, now inheritor of the prestigious stage name Ennosuke Ichikawa IV.

The film is an often unseen glimpse into the many backstage preparations involved; including kabuki stage make-up as well as the rarely unveiled traditional but very innovative routines and special effects behind some of the play's spectacular character shifts, exits and entrances. It will also reveal the meticulous, demanding and even daring tasks required by performers and set up by dedicated backstage staff, providing a colourful introduction to contemporary kabuki performances.

The screening will be introduced by Dr Alan Cummings, Senior Teaching Fellow in Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and followed by a discussion with the film's director, Yoshitaro Saito.

In Japanese with English subtitles

Date: 1 May 2015 from 6.30pm

Asia House, Fine Room 1
63 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 7LP


This 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

Additional Screenings:

The film will also be shown at these selected venues, followed by a discussion by Yoshitaro Saito: 

27 April 2015, from 6:00pm
The University of Edinburgh
Screening Room (G.04) at the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, 50 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LH
Click here for more information 

30 April 2015, from 6:30pm
Royal Holloway University, London
Caryl Churchill Theatre, Katharine Worth Building, Department of Drama & Theatre, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham Hill, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX

2 May 2015, from 2:00pm
Durham University
Lecture Room 9, Elvet Hill House (adjacent to the Oriental Museum), Elvet Hill, Durham EH1 3TH 

Image: © Yoshitaro Saito

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Eastern Exchanges: East Asian Craft and Design   JPsupported

This exhibition will trace the history and future of East Asian craft and design and its global influence in this exhibition inspired by objects from Manchester Art Gallery’s collection. The show features over 1,500 years of the rich craft heritage of Japan, China and Korea: ceramics, metalwork, furniture, lacquer, textiles and sculpture, with exhibits ranging from magnificent court treasures, to masterpieces by contemporary makers.

There will be opportunities to see historic works from Manchester’s collection which have not been exhibited for over 30 years, including an exquisite early nineteenth century Japanese lacquer norimono (travelling carriage) and hand-chiselled Japanese tsuba (sword guards), which are being conserved especially for this show. Contemporary work includes Fumio Enomoto’s ‘Weave Stool’, commissioned specially from the award-winning designer, plus elegant ceramics by Yasuko Sakurai.

Date: 2 April 2015 - 31 May 2015

Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester

For more information, please click here.

Image: Yasuko Sakurai, Orb 2012

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