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Japanese Noir - Author Fuminori Nakamura in conversation new
Bite-sized Bunraku: A Little Flavour of Japanese Traditional Puppetry new
Design for living with kids - talk by Shu Hagiwara new
The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2016
Creation from Catastrophe – how Architecture rebuilds Communities


Japan Now is a day of talks and debate presenting literature, politics and wider culture of contemporary Japan and featuring writers and critics including Ian Buruma, Kyoko Yoshida, Takashi Hiraide, Fuminori Nakamura and Richard Lloyd Parry.  

From the nation’s response to the Tsunami to writers’ fascination with crime and mystery, Japan Now will take the pulse of the contemporary nation, exploring its recent past and immediate future.

The Japan Foundation forms partnership with Modern Culture for the contemporary literature strand as part of the event.

Date: 27 February 2016 from 11.00am to 5.00pm

British Library, Conference Centre
96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB

For more information, please click here.
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Japanese Noir - Author Fuminori Nakamura in conversation   org

Japan’s rich literary history may be traced back to the 11th century with the masterpiece The Tale of Genji, a story considered to be the world’s earliest full-length novel. Ever since, many high calibre authors, such as Yukio Mishima, Junichiro Tanizaki, Yasunari Kawabata and most recently Haruki Murakami, have helped increase the presence of Japanese literature in the world. Amidst the success of such literary greats, a new, younger generation of Japanese of authors is also starting to gain international recognition and award-winning author Fuminori Nakamura is without doubt at the front of this movement.

On the occasion of the Japan Now, an event focusing on contemporary writing, politics and culture in Japan (the British Library, 27 February 2016) the Japan Foundation is delighted to host this special talk by Nakamura.

In conversation with journalist Paul Blezard, Nakamura will reflect on his rise into the literary world and introduce his work which has led him to be called the new master of ‘Japanese Noir’. Often featuring marginalised protagonists on the fringes of society, Nakamura will discuss his inspirations and process of creation, as well as overview the current situation of Japanese literature.

With now four of his novels translated to English garnering praise internationally, as well as awards and film adaptations, Nakamura looks set to follow in the footsteps of many literary greats and this event will be great opportunity for booklovers to discover a new voice of Japanese literature.

Date: 28 February 2016 from 2.30pm

Foyles Bookshop, Level 6
107 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0DT 

Organised in association with Modern Culture


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

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Bite-sized Bunraku: A Little Flavour of Japanese Traditional Puppetry   org

Bunraku is widely thought to be the most sophisticated form of puppetry in the world. Originating in the 17th century in Osaka Japan, the complex performance involves the very delicate and intricate movement of puppets exacted by skilled puppeteers, beside the live music of the shamisen-kata (shamisen player), and overseen by the tayu (narrator), who recites the parts of distinct multiple characters. This classical tradition is one of Japan’s main traditional performing art forms alongside Kabuki and Noh, and was designated a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003.

Due to the refined arrangement and complex staging of this serious art form, Bunraku is rarely performed in full outside Japan, nonetheless The Japan Foundation has invited Kanjuro Kiritake III, one of the most revered modern Bunraku puppeteers, and a select few professionals from Japan’s Bunraku world performers to present the performance skills that they have spent a lifetime acquiring.

Including two excerpts of well-known Bunraku titles “Hadesugata Onna Maiginu : Sakaya no dan ‘Osono’” and “Honcho Nijushiko : Okuniwa Kitsunebi no dan”, this event will also featuring a complementary talk explaining the three roles in Bunraku plays to give attendees a delicious flavour of this high-level stage art with exquisite dolls. 

Date: 7 March 2016 from 7.00pm

Sadler's Wells Theatre, Lilian Baylis Studio
Rosebery Ave, London EC1R 4TN


Tickets for this event are priced at £7 (concessions £5). To book tickets, please click here.

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Design for living with kids - talk by Shu Hagiwara   org

In a modern environment, life with a child necessitates different requirements and results. The nuclear family in contemporary Japan has seen a rise in working mothers and along with the decline of the childbirth rate, it is becoming increasingly important for a shift in perception as to what design and designers can offer in order to accommodate these sociological and localised changes. As such, Japanese product design reveals that designers are creating items not only from the viewpoint of the children that will be the direct users but also from the perspective of families living with the children.

Shu Hagiwara, designer and advocate of design for children has for the past decade been dedicated to the grass-root project “kids, Goods and things” which offers a platform for designers to explore what is needed in busy households. In this special talk, Hagiwara will introduce his long term activities while showcasing the products and ideas that have stemmed from them, including designs which facilitate the development of identity, hand-eye coordination, and the strengthening of relationships with parents, siblings, and other children. This talk will also reflect upon some essential issues in modern design and how designers can be seen to be proactive promoters of social change by creating products that are not only user-friendly but also sustainable and lovable.

Date: 2 March 2016 from 7.00pm

Banqueting Hall, Chelsea College of Arts
16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU


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

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The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2016   org

IKIRU: The Highs and Lows of Life in Japanese Cinema

Inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s iconic 1952 film Ikiru (“To Live”), the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2016 will provide an exciting collection of films looking at the way in which Japanese filmmakers have been observing and capturing people’s lives, and how people across the ages persevere, negotiate and reconcile with the environment and situation they live in. This year’s programme is the largest yet and will feature a mixture of classics, animation and contemporary films, catering for all audiences’ tastes!

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

Date: 5 February 2016 - 26 March 2016


Image, from top: The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky (part), Noriben - The Recipe for Fortune (part), The Elegant Life of Mr Everyman (part)

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Creation from Catastrophe – how Architecture rebuilds Communities   JPsupported

Destruction and devastation present unique opportunities to radically rethink our environment. This exhibition explores the varying ways that cities and communities have been re-imagined in the aftermath of natural or man-made exhibitions. Among the exhibition’s case studies, a number of Japanese architects and movements will be represented including the Metabolism movement showcasing works by Arata Isozaki, Kenzo Tange and Kisho Kurokawa, as well as 21st century solutions, such as the Homes-For-All project instigated by Toyo Ito and Shigeru Ban’s Nepal project from 2015.

Date: 27 January 2016 - 24 April 2016

The Architecture Gallery, RIBA
66 Portland Pl, Marylebone, London W1B 1AD

For more information, please click here

Image: Photomural - Reruined Hiroshima, project by Arata Isozaki © MOMA

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