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Reality Check: Artist talk by Chim↑Pom
Film Screening: KABUKU
Behind the Curtain of Contemporary Kabuki Theatre
Public Seminar: People Make Places: Empowering Locals through Community Design new
Japanese from Scratch: Sweet-Talk your way in Japan!
Metamorphosis of Japan After the War
Worn with Pride -- Textiles, Kimono, and Propaganda in Japan, 1925-1945
A Lost Art Revived: Tsujigahana, Itchiku Tsujigahana and Ichiku Kubota -- A talk by Dr Jacqueline M. Atkins
Learn & Teach Primary Japanese! new
J-Basic Online for Teachers 2015
The Japan Foundation & SOAS Language and Culture Course (Beginner Level) - Term 3 new
Eastern Exchanges: East Asian Craft and Design

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.

To download the flyer please click here

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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 screening taking place at Asia House is now fully booked. To register for the waiting list, 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
Click here for more information

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

Image: © Yoshitaro Saito

To download the flyer please click here

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Public Seminar: People Make Places: Empowering Locals through Community Design   org

Ryo Yamazaki defines community design as 'the empowerment of locals through design to make them happy'. He is one of the speakers at this special seminar, which will discuss the principles behind community design and how they have been applied in projects in both Japan and the UK.

As CEO of community design company studio-L, and Professor and Director of the Department of Community Design at the Tohoku University of Art and Design,  Ryo Yamazaki  is  involved in  wide ranging activities throughout Japan which aim to facilitate local communities to not only create and improve  public spaces, but also to seek their own solutions for the social problems that they are facing. Starting with the development of Japan’s first park managed through citizen participation, more recent  projects have ranged from  developing  new ways to use open space in a department store, to helping an island community promote tourism.

At this public seminar Ryo Yamazaki will be joined by Sophia de Sousa, Chief Executive of The Glass-House, an independent charitable organisation which plays a leading role in the promotion of community led design in the UK. Sophia de Sousa will introduce the aims and activities of the Glass-House, which strives to put local people at the heart of making changes to their neighbourhoods. She will also join Ryo Yamazaki to discuss the development of  community  design in both Japan and the UK, and what can be learned from each other’s experiences.

Date: 7 May 2015 from 6.30pm

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

The event will be followed by a drinks reception.

Booking: The event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please send an email to

For more information:


The Glass-House, Community Led Design

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Japanese from Scratch: Sweet-Talk your way in Japan!   org

Learn some basic Japanese while exploring Japan’s culture of regional sweets and snacks...and get to try some for yourself!

In this workshop especially for those interested in learning Japanese and travelling to Japan, you will have the chance to learn:

  • All about Japan’s culture of omiyage – regional souvenirs usually in the form of tasty treats

  • What kind of sweets and snacks you can find in different parts of Japan  

  • Essential Japanese language skills for describing omiyage and other sights and experiences in Japan.

You’ll even get the chance to try some authentic Japanese omiyage yourself!

We hope this event will give participants a taste for studying more Japanese language, and a craving to visit Japan themselves...

When: 11th or 12th May 2015 (content same each day),  19:00 – 20:30   

Participation fee: £5.00 (including samples of Japanese local delicacies)

Click here to register your place

Japanese from Scratch is for those who are interested in learning Japanese but haven't started yet, or those who have just started learning Japanese.  Instructions and explanations will be in English. Advance booking is essential.  

Date: 11 May 2015 - 12 May 2015 from 7.00pm

Bloomsbury International, 8 Southampton Place, Holborn, London. WC1A 2DB

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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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Worn with Pride -- Textiles, Kimono, and Propaganda in Japan, 1925-1945   org

Japan has a rich tradition of textile production, crafting remarkable fabrics that reveal the country’s considered aesthetics. From century to century, decorative fabrics have been used to adorn the body and bring pleasure not only to those who wore them, but also to all who saw them. One period of history, however, highlights a remarkable change in the visual design of Japanese textiles.

Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, The Japan Foundation, London has invited Dr Jacqueline M. Atkins, to give a special illustrated talk on the capacity of cloth to communicate the persuasive power of Japanese propaganda of the time. While presenting various examples of the striking designs used in garments from children’s kimonos to adult attire, Dr Atkins will map the evolution in pattern design during a time of conflict that produced a new look in fashion. She will also discuss the meanings behind the distinct graphics represented in the textiles, and why these unique visual references symbolised the social, cultural, and even political interest and patriotism of this period in Japanese history.

Dr Atkins will be introduced, and later joined for a discussion by Anna Jackson, Keeper of the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Dr Jacqueline M. Atkins, a textile historian, was Chief Curator and the Kate Fowler Merle-Smith Curator of Textiles for the Allentown Art Museum in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She has lectured extensively on Japanese modern textiles, Japanese and American quilts, and American folk art. Her publications include Wearing Propaganda: Textiles on the Home Front in Japan, Britain, and the United States, 1931–1945, based on her exhibition of the same name, and “Japanese Novelty Textiles” in The Brittle Decade: Visualizing Japan in the 1930s. She holds a Ph.D. from Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture.

Date: 14 May 2015 from 6.30pm

The Swedenborg Society
20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Entrance on Barter Street) London WC1A 2TH

For further details of the location, please visit:


The event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please send an email to

Image: Child’s kimono, Searchlights, Tanaka Yoku Collection. Photo: Nakagawa Taadaki, Artec Studio

To download the flyer please click here

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A Lost Art Revived: Tsujigahana, Itchiku Tsujigahana and Ichiku Kubota -- A talk by Dr Jacqueline M. Atkins   org

Translated literally as “flowers at the crossroads”, tsujigahana refers to a sophisticated stitched- and tied-resist dyeing technique that was especially popular from the late Muromachi (1338–1573) to early Edo (1603-1868) period. This complicated and time-consuming decorative process was a way of creating magnificent visual imagery and resulted in fabrics that were exceptionally beautiful, very expensive, and highly revered.

In this illustrated talk, Dr Jacqueline M. Atkins, will introduce the history of this very special design technique and expand on its development and subsequent mysterious disappearance around a hundred years after its inception. Dr Atkins’ discussion of Itchiku Tsujigahana, a rejuvenated contemporary version of this ancient art created by kimono artist Itchiku Kubota as he sought to replicate the technique’s elusive beauty, will also focus on Kubota’s documented style and reflect on how his methods encouraged an evolution in the traditional tsujigahana processes for application in the 20th century.

Dr Atkins curated the exhibition Kimono Transformed: The Textile Artistry of Itchiku Kubota that travelled to Moscow and St. Petersburg last year and is now a consultant for the museum in Japan named after the artist. She recently completed The Textile Artistry of Itchiku Kubota, a volume featuring many of the most important kimono designed by Kubota, who died in 2003.

Date: 15 May 2015 from 6.30pm

The Art Workers' Guild
6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT

For further details of the location, please visit:


The event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please send an email to

Image: Three sequential kimono from Symphony of Light, The Kubota Collection. © The International Chodiev Foundation 2015

To download the flyer please click here

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Learn & Teach Primary Japanese!   org

Discover how to teach Japanese language to primary level pupils...through learning Japanese yourself!

As of September 2014 it is compulsory for all maintained primary schools in England to teach at least one foreign language at Key Stage 2. In response to this, the Japan Foundation London is holding a series of workshops and events to help prepare primary teachers who are teaching, or would like to teach, Japanese language.

In this two day course, primary school teachers with little or no prior knowledge of Japanese will have the opportunity not only to learn the basics of Japanese language and culture, but also how to impart their new knowledge on to their pupils.

The course will include content from 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. We will also give advice on funding, resources and other assistance available to get Japanese classes up and running at your school. On the second day, you will even be able to have the chance to practise your Japanese while making authentic sushi!

This is an incredible opportunity for primary school teachers to learn new language skills that will benefit your entire school – don’t miss out!

“The teacher was brilliant and the course was well prepared and delivered.” (Rishi Gohil, 2014 participant)

“I loved the writing aspect- this really helped to clarify the different alphabets and their uses.” (Kimberley Devonshire, 2014 participant)

Fee: £20.00 (includes all course materials and ingredients for sushi-making)

Click here to register your place

Please note that spaces are limited – first come, first served. This course is for teachers with absolute beginner level, or those who have only studied a little Japanese. Priority will be given to teachers, or those training to teach, at a primary school. 
Timetable available to download below.

Please note that spaces are limited. This course is for teachers with absolute beginner level, or those who have only studied a little Japanese. Priority will be given to teachers, or those training to teach, at a primary school. 

Timetable available to download below

Date: 27 May 2015 - 28 May 2015 from 10.30am

UCL Institute of Education (Day 1) & Kuriya Keiko Japanese restaurant (Day 2)

Download PrimaryBasic15-Timetable

 This event is generously supported by Kuriya Keiko  

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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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The Japan Foundation & SOAS Language and Culture Course (Beginner Level) - Term 3   org

Term 3 now open for enrolment!

The Japan Foundation & SOAS Language and Culture Course (Beginner Level) is a new kind of course for beginners (JF Standard for Japanese Language Education A1 Breakthrough) of Japanese. It is based on the JF Standard for Japanese Language Education, rather than traditional methods of language education that focus on grammar and sentence structure. The aim of the course will be to use Japanese language skills to get to know people, visit restaurants and take part in many other Japan-related events. At the end of every lesson, participants will be able to perform specific, practical tasks in Japanese.

The course will not focus on language alone; learning Japanese culture will also be an important element in the lessons. The course will incorporate videos, games and media that will help you to learn about Japan and to give you the opportunity to use your new Japanese skills outside of the classroom. You will also have access to the supplementary MARUGOTO+ Japanese Learning websiteThis course is perfect for beginners of Japanese who would like to use their new language skills in practical situations and really connect with Japanese society.

  • Term 3 Dates: 23rd April 2015 – 23rd June 2015 (every Thursday)19:00 - 21:00
  • Course Leader: Mr Shinichiro Okajima, SOAS Language Centre
  • Venue: SOAS, University of London 
  • Course Fee: £330 per term, including course textbook and materials 

I liked the pace of the course and was surprised we learned hiragana and katakana [Japanese writing] so quickly. As it was an introductory course, I felt the balance was right for people who were complete beginners  and self-studying students like myself who had a little bit of language under my belt already. I certainly feel, after learning about ordering food, that I would be able to do this in Japan.” - JP Rutter, former course participant.

For more information to book your place please click here to visit the SOAS website. 

For full information about the course timetable, future term dates etc. please download the flier below.

Other Japanese courses organised by SOAS can be found here.

Date: 23 April 2015 - 23 June 2015 from 7.00pm

Download JpLangCult 2014-2015
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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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