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London Design Biennale 2016
Winds of Change: Staged Readings 2016
Part 2: Got to Make Them Sing!
Manga: The New Generation - Talk by Ken Niimura and Miki Yamamoto new
Lakes International Comic Arts Festival 2016 new
Talk by author Mitsuyo Kakuta new
Here and Now new
TUSK Festival 2016 new
Koki Tanaka: Liverpool Biennial 2016

London Design Biennale 2016   org

The Japan Foundation will represent Japan at the first London Design Biennale, which takes place this September at Somerset House and features over 30 countries taking part from all over the world. The inaugural Biennale will feature artist Yasuhiro Suzuki, whose installation titled A Journey Around the Neighbourhood Globe will invite visitors to change the way they look at everyday things.

Talk: During the London Design Biennale, invited artist Yasuhiro Suzuki will give a talk at Somerset House on Saturday, 10 September at 6pm, providing attendees with an opportunity to find out more about the ideas and concepts behind his installation. Tickets for the talk are £8 (plus booking fee). 

Date: 7 September 2016 - 27 September 2016

Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA

For more information, please visit the London Design Biennale website.

Image: Large-sized Aerial Being © Yasuhiro Suzuki Installation view at Musashino Art University, 2016

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Winds of Change: Staged Readings 2016
Part 2: Got to Make Them Sing!

The Japan Foundation, in collaboration with Yellow Earth and StoneCrabs Theatre Company present a new monthly series of events, to introduce to UK audiences the work of some of Japan’s most outstanding playwrights, all of which will be heard in English for the first time.

Part 2


Written by Ai Nagai, Translated by Mari Boyd, Directed by Kim Pearce

Synopsis: At a public high school in Tokyo, a few hours before the annual graduation ceremony, former chanson singer, Michiru, now music teacher and school pianist has lost her contact lens putting at risk her ability to play the national anthem.  As the high school’s principal and his colleagues try to find a solution, they also have to deal with Haijima, the social studies teacher, who threatens to bring the whole school into disrepute. 

Hilariously dark and using the Tokyo Board of Education’s decision to punish teachers who fail to comply with the ruling to raise the flag and sing the national anthem at graduation ceremonies, Ai Nagai’s contemporary social comedy Got To Make Them Sing calls in to question the very nature of freedom of thought and conscience, and just how far we are prepared to fight for it.

Ai Nagai is one of Japan's foremost playwrights of her generation. Got To Make Them Sing is one of her most popular plays, first staged in 2005 by the Nitosha Theatre Company.

The reading will be followed by a Q&A with Ai Nagai.

Date: 12 October 2016 from 7.00pm

The Studio Theatre, RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art)
16 Chenies St, London WC1E 7EX

For details of how to reach the venue please visit:

Tickets for this event are priced at £6 (concessions £5). To purchase tickets, please visit:

Upcoming events as part of the Staged Readings 2016 series:

Written by Toshinobu Kojo
Written by Tomohiro Maekawa

This series is organised by the Japan Foundation, StoneCrabs Theatre Company and Yellow Earth Theatre. The project was instigated by StoneCrabs Theatre Company and Yellow Earth Theatre.

Main image: Photo by Keisen Rin

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Manga: The New Generation - Talk by Ken Niimura and Miki Yamamoto   org

Manga has a deep root in the history of Japanese culture. A medium constantly evolving, Manga reflects the interest of readers as well as creating trends in Japanese society. Lately, there have been stirrings within the artistic world to suggest that the medium is on the verge of a new era of creativity. This change comes in the form of the latest generation of artists who continue to redefine Manga and the result is some of the most experimental and expressive material in decades.

This October, the Japan Foundation welcomes two promising artists, Ken Niimura and Miki Yamamoto, to illustrate their works in this talk event as well as to discuss their influences and new trends within the current world of Manga. It coincides with their first exhibition at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal till November 7th, organised in association with the Japan Foundation. Together with Paul Gravett, curator, writer on comics and co-director of Comica.London, they will also explore the diversity and power of Manga and the innovations which young talented Manga artists from Japan may produce.

Ken Niimura
Ken Niimura is a Manga artist and winner of the Golden Prize in the 5th International Manga Award. His work I Kill Giants has been confirmed for film adaptation following its international success.

Miki Yamamoto

Miki Yamamoto is Assistant Professor of Art and Design at the University of Tsukuba, Manga artist and researcher. Her works include Sunny Sunny Ann which received the 17th Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize Creative Award. 

Date: 17 October 2016 from 6.30pm

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


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

The fourth Lakes International Comic Art Festival will run from 14-16 October 2016 in Kendal, Cumbria. For more information, please visit:

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Lakes International Comic Arts Festival 2016   org

In partnership with Japan Foundation, the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival returns with an exciting line-up of some of the most innovative authors of the new generation of manga artists.

In his exhibition Making a Scene, internationally acclaimed comic artist Ken Niimura provides a glimpse into his diverse portfolio including I Kill Giants, Henshin and unreleased works. These are brought to life through annotations and additional sketches on the Gallery walls.

Ken Niimura also provides a platform for his contemporaries in handpicking five distinct voices for Five Rising Stars from Japan. This exhibition sees upcoming authors Est Em, Takehito Moriizumi, Tsuchika Nishimura, Keigo Shinzo and Miki Yamamoto bringing their artwork to the UK for the first time. 

Whilst these exhibitions are on display exclusively over the weekend, events at Lakes International Comic Arts Festival continue until 7th November.

Find out more at: 

Date: 14 October 2016 - 16 October 2016

Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal

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Talk by author Mitsuyo Kakuta   org

Mitsuyo Kakuta is an award-winning, prolific Japanese author whose works have earned her countless devoted readers. Kakuta started her serious writing career while she was still a university student, and her debut book won her the prestigious literature prize, the Kaien Prize for New Writers in 1990. Kakuta’s works, together with tapping into the more popular “entertainment” end of the literary spectrum, which enabled her to broaden her readership, centre around what resonated with her: the perpetual themes of mother-child relationships, and gauging the mind of ordinary people in society and the occurrences of our everyday life. Not only a household name in Japanese literature, her works have been televised and made into successful films, such as Hanging Gardens and The Eighth Day, both of which the Japan Foundation has had the pleasure of screening as part of their annual Touring Film Programme. In addition to her writing pursuits, she is a monthly supporter of Plan International Japan, for which she underwent the task of translating Because I am a Girl, a short story collection about girls in developing countries, into Japanese.

In light of the upcoming translation of The Eighth Day into Spanish, the Japan Foundation is proud to invite Mitsuyo Kakuta to explore her writing career, style, and gaze towards the contemporary Japanese society. Joined in conversation by Megan Bradshaw, Editor at Large. Asymptote Journal, Kakuta will also discuss issues such as the lives of women in Japan as well as trends in the Japanese literature world.

Date: 26 October 2016 from 6.30pm

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


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

Kakuta’s feature stories such as The Eighth Day and Hanging Gardens are available in English through the British Library’s database, and her short stories can be purchased on Amazon’s Kindle if you wish to read her books in anticipation of this event.

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Here and Now   JPsupported

Here & Now is the first major curated exhibition of contemporary tapestry in England for over 20 years, showcasing international talent and innovative approaches to the medium. Alongside work of British tapestry weavers, the exhibition features over 20 international artists including a selection from Japan: Ayako Matsumura, Misao Watanabe, Yasuko Fujino, Saori Sakai and Ai Ito. Placing the works by Japanese artists in an international context, the exhibition will show the vigor and new aesthetic sensibility of contemporary tapestry in Japan.

Date: 1 October 2016 - 15 January 2017

The National Centre for Craft & Design
Navigation Wharf, Carre St, Sleaford NG34 7TW

For more information, please click here.

Image by Yasuko Fujino

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TUSK Festival 2016   JPsupported

The Japan Foundation is pleased to support TUSK Festival 2016, a three-day festival of unclassifiable musical genius, films, talks, workshops, exhibitions and more. This year’s lineup includes Eiko Ishibashi, a Japanese multi-instrumentalist and frequent collaborator with Jim O’Rourke. At TUSK, Ishibashi will be on grand piano with her trio of Sudoh Toshiaki on bass and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto on drums.

Date: 14 October 2016 - 16 October 2016

Sage Gateshead, St. Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays NE8 2JR

For more information, please click here.
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Koki Tanaka: Liverpool Biennial 2016   JPsupported

Koki Tanaka is an artist based in Los Angeles and Kyoto whose diverse practice spans video, photography, site-specific installation and interventional projects. For his Liverpool Biennial 2016 commission, Tanaka will revisit the scene of a huge protest in Liverpool in 1985. Tanaka’s work as a result of this project will be on display at the Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool.

Date: 9 July 2016 - 16 October 2016

Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool
More details:

For more information, please click here.

Image: Koki Tanaka, Provisional Studies Action #6, 1985 School Students’ Strike, 2016. Installation view at Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool Biennial 2016. Photo: Mark McNulty

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