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Japan Foundation at Japan Matsuri 2016
London Design Biennale 2016
Winds of Change: Staged Readings 2016
Part 2: Got to Make Them Sing!
Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) December 2016
Japan Foundation at Language Show Live London 2016
Manga: The New Generation - Talk by Ken Niimura and Miki Yamamoto new
Talk by author Mitsuyo Kakuta new
Talk by author Miri Yu
The Twelfth Japanese Speech Contest for University Students
Japanese Taster for Schools Programme Volunteer Training Day 2016 new
Primary Japanese Resource Sharing workshop new
Dartford Grammar School - Japanese Networking Event for Head Teachers
Koki Tanaka: Liverpool Biennial 2016

Japan Foundation at Japan Matsuri 2016   org

Japan Foundation will be exhibiting at Japan Matsuri, London's annual festival of Japanese culture. Come to our stand to try our Japan Quiz, get information about learning more Japanese language and culture, or just to say "konnichiwa!"

For more information, please go to the Japan Matsuri website.

Date: 25 September 2016 from 10.00am to 8.00pm

Trafalgar Square, London

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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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Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) December 2016   org

The next Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) will take place on Sunday December 4th. It will be held at SOAS University of London, the University of Edinburgh and (for the first time) Cardiff University.

Please make sure you apply directly at the university where you wish to take the test.

The deadline for applications will be Wednesday 5th October or when the test centre has reached its maximum capacity.

For more information about the JLPT, please see the official JLPT website.

Date: 23 August 2016 - 5 October 2016
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Japan Foundation at Language Show Live London 2016   org

Come and see the Japan Foundation at Language Show Live London 2016!

Language Show Live is the UK’s largest language event and the show for those who offer products and services to language teachers, learners, translators, linguists, language professionals and businesses. This year, the Japan Foundation are giving visitors more chances than ever before to learn about Japanese language and culture.. The Language Show Live London will be held at the Olympia.

Our attractions will include:

The Japan Foundation Information Stand (stand 709)

Packed full of information about studying and teaching Japanese in the UK, our stand will be staffed with members of Japan Foundation who would be delighted to give you advice on your Japanese studies. You can also:

• Write your name in Japanese with the help of our volunteers and make your own name sticker!

• Have a go at simple origami

• Complete a Japan Questionnaire, giving you the opportunity to contribute to Japan Foundation’s research in Japanese language education in the UK, as well as having the chance to win a goody bag full of Japan Foundation exclusive gifts

• Take a free little gift home with you

The stand will be shared with JP Books, a supplier of Japanese books including learning resources for Japanese language.

Japanese Language taster 

Experience Japanese language first hand by taking a taster lesson, led by Japan Foundation’s Assistant Language Advisor Kanako Ukai

Friday October 14th   15:45 - 16:15
& Saturday  October 15th 1.15 – 11:45, Language Taster classroom



Seminar:  Learning Language Through Problem-Solving: A Case Study of UK-Japan Young Scientists with Mary-Grace Browning MBE, Chair of Examiners for Edexcel GCSE Japanese

A case study of UK-Japan Young Scientists partnerships, which involve exchanges between school students in the UK and Japan to experience science as a cultural bridge where by working together they learn to value each other’s languages and way of life.

Mary-Grace Browning MBE has taught Japanese for over 40 years. She has conducted exchange programmes through the UK-Japan Young Scientists Programme, which fosters partnerships between students of science in the UK in Japan. In 2016 she was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun for her contribution to Japan-UK relations

Saturday October 15th 10.30 – 11.15, Seminar Room 4


Piazza Performance: Learn Japanese with Radio Exercises! With Paralympian Gold Medallist Noel Thatcher MBE 

Rajio taisoo (Radio Exercises) were started in 1928 in Japan.

They were a form of calisthenics that anyone from children to the elderly could do and they were broadcast on the radio and spread throughout Japan. Now, people do them at elementary schools or at their work places and some people even make Radio Exercise groups and get together at parks.

In this session, you can enjoy trying this healthy and fun exercise together with Paralympian Noel Thatcher! Noel represented the United Kingdom at six Paralympic Games between 1984 and 2004, collecting a total of five gold medals. He also studied Japanese at SOAS University of London and speaks fluent Japanese.

Join in our Radio Exercises and keep your body and mind fit and well!

Saturday October 15th 12.45-13.15 at the Piazza 


Don’t miss out on the UK’s biggest languages event – click here for more information and to book your place (entrance is free if registered in advance)!

Date: 14 October 2016 - 16 October 2016 from 10.00am to 6.00pm

Olympia Central – Level 2, Hammersmith Road, London, W14 8UX 

Don’t miss out on the UK’s biggest languages event – click here for more information and to book your place (entrance is free if registered in advance)!

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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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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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Talk by author Miri Yu   org

Miri Yu is a multi award-winning Japanese author of Korean descent from Yokohama, Japan. Although now known foremost for prose, Yu's artist life started as an actress in the Tokyo Kid Brothers theatre troupe, before her attentions turned to playwriting, and literary works of both fiction and non-fiction. Through Yu's (semi)autobiographical literary endeavours, Yu found catharsis for the turbulent childhood she lived through. Yu's works cover a range of real-life topics, such as Japan's high suicide rate, the neglect of children, and the troubles faced by those of arguably ambiguous national identity, such as the zainichi kankokujin group (ethnic Koreans born and raised in Japan), a number of which Yu has first-hand experience of. Yu has won numerous awards for her works, including the coveted Akutagawa Prize in 1997 for Kazoku Shinema ("Family Cinema"), and has a vast readership in both Japan and South Korea, with her works being translated into several other languages, including Gold Rush which was translated into English in 2002 by Stephen Snyder. Tilted Axis Press will be releasing the English translation of Yu's 2014 JR Ueno-eki koen-guchi (“JR Ueno Station Park Entrance”) in 2018.

In anticipation of her new translation, the Japan Foundation is proud to host a special talk with Miri Yu, who will discuss her works and colourful life in conversation with Tilted Axis Press Founder Deborah Smith. Together they will explore various topics, such as the blurry boundary between fiction and real life experiences in Yu's works, and how her works echo modern Japan's issues and resonate with her readership.

Date: 23 September 2016 from 7.00pm

Impact Hub King's Cross, 34B York Way, London N1 9AB


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

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The Twelfth Japanese Speech Contest for University Students   org

We are delighted to announce that the 12th 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! Finalists will all perform their speeches on Saturday 4th March 2017 at King’s College 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: Thursday 10th November 2016

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: Thursday 24th November 2016

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: Thursday 1st December 2016

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

Date: 31 August 2016 - 1 December 2016
Download ApplicationForm-Speech_Category(12)
Download ApplicationForm-Individual_Presentation_Category(12)
Download ApplicationForm-Group_Presentation_Category(12)
Download FAQ(12)
Download Rules and guidance - Speech Category
Download 12thSpeechContest

“I decided to enter the contest to give myself a challenge. Having been to Japan on exchange visits, I’d become more or less comfortable speaking Japanese casually among friends, so I wanted to take that a step further and practice my formal public speaking skills...On the day I was impressed not just by everyone’s level of Japanese but also by the genuinely fascinating contents of their various speeches and presentations.”
- Dennis Sung, 1st Prize, Individual Presentation Category (11thSpeech Contest Finals Day, 2016)

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Japanese Taster for Schools Programme Volunteer Training Day 2016   org

We are delighted to announce that the next Training Day for existing and prospective volunteers of our Japanese Taster for Schools (JTS) Programme will take place this November!

About the JTS Programme

Can you speak Japanese? Are you keen to promote the language to young people around the UK? If so, the Japan Foundation needs YOU!

JTS volunteers carry out school visits across the UK to introduce students at any level to the Japanese language. One of the main purposes of JTS is to give schools that do not teach Japanese the opportunity to find out what it is like to learn the language and to provide them with further information should they wish to start offering Japanese.

By joining the JTS Programme you will be a member of a UK-wide network of over 300 Japanese speakers who are keen to visit schools on a one-shot basis to carry out Japanese language tasters. JTS is as big a time commitment as you want it to be. If you are have time to spare, are keen and enthusiastic, it is a great opportunity to get some teaching experience. You can find out more about the JTS Programme here

JTS Volunteer Training Day

Our JTS Volunteer Training Days are a great opportunity to meet other volunteers, get teaching ideas, and ask any questions you may have. Those who are not yet members of JTS but are interested in joining are also welcome to sign up for the training day. You can read about our last Training Day, held in November 2015, here.

Additionally, this Training Day will include an exclusive discussion session on supporting Japanese as a home language, especially for parents and teachers at Japanese supplementary schools and language groups who would like hints and tips on teaching Japanese to their children.

Click here to book your place!

Date: 25 November 2016 from 11.15am to 3.40pm

Brockway Room, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

Download JTS2016-Timetable
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Primary Japanese Resource Sharing workshop   org

In this free workshop, primary school teachers at all levels of Japanese proficiency will share teaching materials and ideas that can inspire their pupils.

Resource Sharing:
This event will bring together primary teachers of Japanese to share their ideas about what went well with their Japanese teaching over the last year. There will be information about how teachers have used the scheme of work, how they improved the resources, what worked best, as well as introduce other useful resources or ideas that they have tried in their classes.

The Japan Foundation Scheme of Work for Primary Schools:
This event will also introduce new resources that can be used alongside the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Scheme of Work for Key Stage 2 – for Year 4 and 5s.  This will help give teachers of Japanese information and ideas to continue teaching Japanese for the second and third years.

The resources follow the Japan Foundation Japanese Scheme of Work for Primary Schools, which is packed full of lesson plans, resources and exciting and fun ideas for teaching primary-level Japanese to Year 3, Year 4 and Year 5 pupils. These teaching materials have been created by the Japan Foundation’s Chief Language Advisor Makoto Netsu, and have been tested with two classes of Year 4 pupils at Southfield Primary School. Participants will additionally have access to exclusive draft versions of the resources, and Mr Netsu will give explanations about how he has used them, and how they might be adapted for other primary Japanese classes. The resources themselves include worksheets, plans, activities, games etc.

Book your place today here.

This course is for teachers of any level of Japanese that would like some hints about how to get started and how to use the Japan Foundation Scheme of work for Key Stage 2 Japanese language lessons.

 Spaces on this course are limited. Priority will be given to teachers or trainee teachers employed by a primary school.

Timetable (provisional and subject to change):


10:00 – 10:15  Introduction, greetings
10:15 – 10:45  Helen Morris from Madley Primary School -  Momotaro Play
10:45 – 11:00  Share ideas/ discussion
11:00 – 11:30  Clare Kuroishi – Using kendo, and rajio taiso (teach parts of the body)
11:30 – 11:45  Share ideas / discussion
11:45 – 12:15  One more topic (TBC)
12:15 – 12:30  Share ideas / discussion
12:30 – 13:30  Lunch
13:30 – 14:30  Introducing the JF Scheme of Work for Year 4 – Year 5
14:30 – 15:00  Introduction to support from Japan Foundation
15:00 – 15:30  Q&A, Evaluation and extra time to share ideas 

Date: 5 December 2016 from 10.00am to 3.30pm

Brockway Room, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London. WC1R 4RL

Book your place today here.

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Dartford Grammar School - Japanese Networking Event for Head Teachers   JPsupported

In association with the Japan Foundation, Dartford Grammar School for Boys would like to invite Head Teachers, school governors and members of the Senior Management team to a networking event in order to discuss and showcase the significance of the Japanese language as part of the Primary and Secondary curriculum. (Maximum of 2 free places per school)

Japanese was introduced at Dartford Grammar School in 1998 and was immediately popular. Over the next few years it became fully embedded in the curriculum and we now have 370 students throughout the school learning Japanese.  The enjoyment of Japanese learning has had a significant positive impact on the learning and success of other languages.  In 2015 Japanese became a compulsory subject for half of Year 7 (93 pupils) who will continue with Japanese until their GCSE in Year 11.  Therefore by 2020 there will be 450 Key Stage 3 and 4 Japanese learners and approximately 80 Key Stage 5 students studying Japanese at level 3.

It is a subject that is remarkably popular with our students, who are motivated by its fascinating traditions, youth culture and the artistic appeal of writing characters. As a direct result of their interest in, and commitment to Japanese, we have achieved between 96%-100% grade A*-C with our GCSE students over the last 10 years.

We would like to offer the opportunity to talk to a wider network of Head Teachers, Governors and members of senior management of schools who may be interested in taking Japanese up as an extra-curricular subject, introducing it to the curriculum, or further embedding it within the curriculum.  Therefore on the 2nd November we would like to invite you to visit our school and participate in a programme of lesson observations, discussions and sharing of practical ideas about the provision of Japanese at your school.  We will cover implications for the curriculum resources and teacher supply.

If you would like to find out more about the transformational qualities of Japanese learning in a secondary or primary school, please email to register your interest in this event.

Date: 2 November 2016 from 9.30am to 1.30pm

Venue: Dartford Grammar School for Boys
West Hill, Dartford DA1 2HW 

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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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