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Can a Freeter Buy a House? Contemporary Housing Issues in Japan from the 'Lost Generation' to 'Generation Rent' new
The Eleventh Japanese Speech Contest for University Students
Art in the Age of the Global Environment
The Crucified Lovers (Chikamatsu monogatari)
What Girls Want - The World of Shojo Manga (Girls' Comics) new
J-Basic Online for Teachers 2015
Kawaii: Crafting the Japanese Culture of Cute new

Can a Freeter Buy a House? Contemporary Housing Issues in Japan from the 'Lost Generation' to 'Generation Rent'   org

Since the collapse of its speculative asset bubble in the early 1990s and the onset of Japan’s first ‘lost decade’, it has become evident that younger adults have been finding it increasingly difficult to adopt standard life courses, inhibited, in particular, by shifts in economic and labour market conditions. One issue that has seemed to symbolise this shift is the emergence of so called freeters, young casual workers who seemingly reject the Japanese traditional life-course in favour of flexible work and personal goals.

Tapping into these contemporary social concerns,  the  2010 Fuji Television drama ‘Furita, ie o kau’ (Freeter, buy a house) followed the life of Seiji, a recent college graduate who quits his secure office job but resolves to work as a part time labourer to buy a house for his family. But, can a freeter really buy a house in contemporary Japan? And to what extent is Seiji’s dream of home ownership still a key life goal for new generations of Japanese young adults today?

This seminar will approach the various issues thrown up by Japan’s changing social and economic environment through the lens provided by housing.  Drawing on a range of sources, including examples from television drama, art, and architecture, Dr Chris Perkins (University of Edinburgh) will investigate the role of housing in post-war Japan, examining ways in which housing has been used to mobilise the workforce, and how some activists in Japan are now radically reconceptualising housing.

Professor Richard Ronald (The University of Amsterdam/The University of Birmingham) will then place this media and cultural reaction into the broader context of shifts in housing markets and the household careers of young people in Japan, exploring recent trends such as a rise in one person-households, a surge of younger people residing in private rental sector rather than purchasing a family home, and also recent data which suggests that the latest generation of Japanese millennials may be readapting ideas of home and household around various forms of shared living.

This seminar will provide an opportunity for reflection and debate on the role of housing in advanced industrial economies: an issue that, in an age of austerity and increasing income inequality, is as pertinent as ever.


Dr Chris Perkins is  Lecturer in Japanese at The University of Edinburgh, a position initially funded by a Japan Foundation Staff Expansion grant. He completed his  PhD thesis entitled ‘National Thinking and the Politics of Belonging in Contemporary Japan’  at Royal Holloway University of London and has since published on a range of subjects including television and film, memory, nationalism and borders. His most recent publication is The United Red Army on Screen: Cinema, Aesthetics, and the Politics of Memory (Palgrave).

Professor Richard Ronald is Associate Professor at the Centre for Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Professor in the School of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham, UK. His work focuses on housing in relation to social, economic and urban transformations in Europe and Pacific Asia, with his latest research project (HOUWEL: Housing Markets and Welfare State Transformations) supported by a European Research Council StG grant. He has previously held Japan Foundation as well as Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowships at Kobe University in Japan.

Date: 27 November 2015 from 6.30pm

Mander Hall, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London, WC1H 9BD (Close to Kings Cross, St Pancras and Euston stations)

Followed by a drink reception

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 (right): Payless Images/

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The Eleventh Japanese Speech Contest for University Students   org

We are delighted to announce that the 11th Japanese Speech Contest for University Students is open for applications!

This contest gives students the chance to make their voices heard in Japanese, and win some fantastic prizes including a return air ticket to Japan! Finalists will all perform their speeches on Saturday 27th February 2016 at SOAS, University of London.

:: Contest Aims
The main purpose of the event is to improve the speaking and presentation skills of students studying Japanese as a foreign language. Through this event, we hope to promote Japanese language learning at higher education level in the UK and Ireland. The contest is organised by the British Association for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language (BATJ) and the Japan Foundation, London.

:: Who can apply?
The contest is aimed at undergraduate students who are currently studying Japanese as a foreign language at a university in the UK or Ireland. Postgraduate students are not eligible. Candidates with Japanese parents are welcome to apply. Please see our websites for full eligibility criteria. Please note that First Prize winners from previous years will not be able to enter the same category again this year. There are three different categories:

1. Speech Category: Students take part in this category as individuals, and are free to choose their speech topic. The Speech Category is for those who are studying Japanese as either a degree or non-degree course at a including an elective, optional or other university-based language course.
Application Deadline: 10th November 2015

2. Individual Presentation Category: Students take part in this category as individuals. The Individual Presentation Category is aimed at those studying Japanese at post beginner level. Participants will give a PowerPoint presentation using Japanese.
Application Deadline: 24th November 2015

3. Group Presentation Category: Aimed at those studying Japanese at beginner level. Participants will take part in groups of two to four students and give a PowerPoint presentation using Japanese.
Application Deadline: 1st December 2015
Click here to download application form 

Please see the files below for contest poster, FAQ and application forms for each category.

Date: 15 September 2015 - 1 December 2015
Download 2015_ApplicationForm-Group_Presentation_Category
Download 2015_FAQ
Download Rules and guidance - Speech Category
Download speech_students2016_A3poster_final
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Art in the Age of the Global Environment   org

Far beyond the global conception of hyper-modern Tokyo and the consumer wonderland of ‘Cool Japan’, the declining local regions of Japan have, in the past two decades, seen a flowering of startlingly ambitious contemporary art festivals that offer a response to the many crises the country faces today, bringing contemporary art installations, community projects and the latest curatorial trends to the most unlikely places.

Fram Kitagawa, Director of Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale and visionary art producer and curator, will speak about his life’s work at the heart of this uniquely creative social movement, and its impact on contemporary art and society in Japan. Kitagawa will outline his socially engaged and environmentally conscious vision of contemporary art that has brought hundreds of Japanese and international artists to the mountains of Niigata and the islands of the Seto Inland Sea. He will be joined in discussion by the curator Jonathan Watkins, Director of Birmingham’s IKON Gallery, who has organised many pioneering shows of Japanese contemporary art in the UK. Following the discussion there will be a Q&A chaired by Adrian Favell, SISJAC and University of Leeds.

Date: 3 December 2015 from 6.00pm

Norwich Cathedral Hostry, The Close Norwich NR1 4DH


This lecture is free to attend, but booking is essential. To book your place for this event, please visit:


Organised by: Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC), Norwich in association with Japan Foundation


Conference - 4 December 2015

The lecture is part of the international conference held the following day on Friday 4 December, examining the relation of dramatic social change in Japan to the social promise of these art movements. The conference will feature two other leading curators from Japan, Mizuki Takahashi of Art Tower Mito and Mizuki Endo of HAPS, Kyoto, as well as a range of distinguished researchers, curators and artists from the UK and Japan. More information via the weblink above.


Image: Two of the works from Echigo-Tsumari in Matsudai, Niigata. In front, Yayoi Kusama, Echigo in Bloom, behind the Nohbutai art centre, designed by MVRDV. Photo by Osamu Nakamura.

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The Crucified Lovers (Chikamatsu monogatari)   org

As part of BFI’s LOVE season, the Japan Foundation will co-present two screenings of Kenji Mizoguchi’s tragic tale of a forbidden love affair The Crucified Lovers (Chikamatsu monogatari). Based on a 17th-century play by Chikamatsu Monzaemon, the film tells the story of a young wife wrongly accused of committing adultery with her husband’s top apprentice, in an era when the punishment for adultery was crucifixion. Mizoguchi’s portrayal of the lovers' dilemma lead famed Akira Kurosawa to describe the film as "a great masterpiece that could only have been made by Mizoguchi.”

The screenings of The Crucified Lovers will take place on 2 December 2015 (8:40pm) and 6 December 2015 (4:00pm)

For more information, please click here


241 Ticket offer: To enjoy 2 for 1 tickets for the screenings of The Crucified Lovers and others as part of BFI's LOVE season, simply quote LOVEFRIENDS online, in person or over the phone.

Date: 2 December 2015 - 6 December 2015

BFI Southbank
Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XT

This event is organised in partnership with BFI

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What Girls Want - The World of Shojo Manga (Girls' Comics)   org

Image: © Eiko Hanamura

Shojo Manga – often translated as ‘comics for girls’ – is a genre of Japanese comic books which has a history spanning many decades in Japan. Contrary to its male counterpart ‘Shonen Manga’, Shojo Manga features narratives of sweet love stories, anguished romances and even real-life issues facing women across a vastly broad range of genres. Whether a sci-fi, fantasy or even period drama, the stories reflect the desires and dreams of its mainly female readership, showing truly what girls want.

In this talk Nozomi Masuda, Associate Professor, Konan Women’s University, Japan, will trace the origins of Shojo Manga from its beginnings in girls’ magazine through to its more recent transformations today, questioning what significance the genre has in Japanese society, and what it has been expressing over its diverse and complex themes.

Following the presentation, Manga artist Eiko Hanamura, one of the pioneers of Shojo Manga, will have a conversation with curator and writer on comics Paul Gravett and Masuda. Together they will look into Hanamura’s work, reflecting on her illustrious career of over half a century in the Manga industry, as well as discussing the phenomenon of Shojo Manga and the impact it has had upon Japanese culture and beyond.

Date: 14 December 2015 from 6.30pm

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


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

For more information about Eiko Hanamura, please visit:

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J-Basic Online for Teachers 2015   org

This online course is for teachers with a basic level of Japanese who would like to build up their language skills. Through the course, you will develop a basic working knowledge of Japanese grammatical structures and build up your confidence and skills in using Japanese effectively in your classroom.  This course is provided by the Japan Foundation Sydney.

Course fee:  A$130 - A$190 (depending on stage) 

Who can sign up?
Any teacher residing in the UK, Australia or New Zealand who has a basic knowledge of Japanese, and can read hiragana and katakana.

What level of Japanese is it suitable for?
Four stages are available. We recommend you take the “level check test” to make sure you choose the best level for you. Stage 1 (the easiest) is suitable for those who know hiragana and katakana.  Stage 4 (the hardest) is about the same level as N5 (old Level 4) of the JLPT.

How does the course work?
Every week a new unit is uploaded. You will work through the unit at your own pace, and then complete your homework by the end of each week. Your homework will be marked and returned to you with helpful advice and comments from our Japanese Language Advisor. 

Feedback from previous participants:

“I have really enjoyed it, the course content is useful as covers all areas of the Japanese language i.e. speaking, listening, reading, writing – lots of writing practice which is a challenge but good practice!”

“I really, really like the Production task, especially as you get some prompt feedback from the Language Advisor. Brilliant!”

 2015 Dates 

  • Term 1 February 2 March 27
    Term 2 May 4 June 26
    Term 3 August 3 September 25
    Term 4 19 October December 11
    Term 1 February 2 - March 27
  • Term 2 May 4- June 26
  • Term 3 August 3 - September 25
  • Term 4 19 October - December 11
Session 1: 3 February – 28 March 2014
Session 2: 31 March – 23 May 2014
Session 3: 26 May – 18 July 2014
Session 4: 21 July – 12 September 2014
Session 5: 15 September– 7 November 2014

Session 6: 24 November 2014 -23 January 2015


 For more information and to enrol, please go to

Date: 3 February 2014 - 23 January 2015
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Kawaii: Crafting the Japanese Culture of Cute   JPsupported

This exhibition supported by the Japan Foundation explores the many levels of meanings of the word ‘kawaii’. Exploring this notion are a number of Japanese artists using the traditional crafts of Japan, including textiles, urushi (lacquer), ceramics, glass, Ohigashi (sculpting soft bean paste), washi (handmade paper). Combining the seemingly opposing elements of these crafts and popular culture, this exhibition will look at the cultural impact of contemporary crafts.

Date: 30 October 2015 - 12 December 2015

James Hockey & Foyer Galleries, UCA Farnham

For more information, please click here.

Image: Minako Nishiyama, Erica's palpitant Teleppon Club

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