Whose Film Is It Anyway? Contemporary Japanese Auteurs

10 February – 28 March 2012 : 7 venues in 7 cities in the UK

Following last year‟s successful Back To the Future: Japanese Cinema since the mid-90s season, this year‟s Japan Foundation touring film programme looks at narrative creativity in Japanese cinema, showcasing directors both young and emerging, such as Miwa Nishikawa and Takatsugu Naito, and the more established, such as Masayuki Suo (the director best-known for Shall We Dance).

In recent years, Japanese cinema has been dominated by generic spin offs of media such as TV shows and manga, to generate an audience based on a pre-existing market. The nine films that have been chosen for this season however clearly demonstrate in fact the wealth of original writing and creativity evident in recent Japanese cinema.

Having successfully forged and retained their own identities within what is one of the largest film markets in the world, these directors reject the “safe” formulaic film model and instead choose to pursue their own methods of expressing themselves through film. Audiences will be able to hear the individual directors‟ voices, whilst also being exposed to characteristics and techniques of some of the best examples of auteur directors from Japan.

The film season is produced and organised by The Japan Foundation, and supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

Programme:

The Dark Harbour (Futoko) When recording a video message for a matchmaking party, solitary fisherman Manzo makes an unusual discovery. Dir: Takatsugu Naito, 2009, 101 mins, English subtitles

Dear Doctor

A young medical graduate opts for a job in a remote mountain village, where everything is not as it seems.

Dir: Miwa Nishikawa, 2009, 127 mins, English subtitles

I Just Didn’t Do It (Soredemo Boku Wa Yattenai) The story of a young man accused of groping a woman on a crowded Tokyo train, and his battle with the Japanese legal system. Dir: Masayuki Suo, 2007, 143 mins, English subtitles

About Her Brother (Ototo) Depiction of a complex relationship between a black sheep of a brother and his long-suffering sister. Dir: Yoji Yamada, 2010, 126 mins, English subtitles

A Stranger of Mine (Unmei Janai Hito) In one long Friday evening, Takeshi Miyata, a straight-arrow businessman, will encounter a number of people who have intertwining fates. Dir: Kenji Uchida, 2005, 98 mins, English subtitles

Sleep (Nemuri Yusurika) The desperate story of a family who have sacrificed everything to bring to account the rapist who changed all their lives. Dir: Katsumi Sakaguchi, 2011, 96 mins, English subtitles

All Around Us (Gururi No Koto) The journey of a married couple after a miscarriage, and how they each begin to come to terms with its reality. Dir: Ryosuke Hashiguchi, 2008, 140 mins, English subtitles

Bad Company (Mabudachi) Teenager Sadamoto is torn between a desire to please his father and a need to rebel against him, as his middle school teacher Dir: Tomoyuki Furumaya, 2001, 98 mins, English subtitles

Heart, Beating In The Dark (Yamiutsu Shinzo) A multi-layered work, this film is half-sequel half-remake, and is the story of a couple on the run after killing their baby. Dir: Shunichi Nagasaki, 2005, 104 mins, English subtitles

For more information click here.


Queer as Queen

Tuesday 7 February from 7.00pm for 8.00pm live performance

Pipeline Bar

94 Middlesex Street
City of London
E1 7DA

Cost: £5 in advance, £7 on the door

Well known in Japan for their storming QUEEN covers, tribute band QUEER will make their European debut in London!

Bulsara as Freddie Mercury
BULA!!!ian M Sato as Brian May
Roger M.T. as Roger Taylor
George Deacon as John Deacon

Find out each band members favourite Queen Album and more at www.queer-web.co.uk.

With its Scandinavian design and excellent mix of drinks from the Nordic region, the Pipeline Bar offers a comfortable gathering place for Japan Society members before, during and after the performance.

To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 7828 6330 or email events@japansociety.org.uk or submit the online booking form

Tickets are also available to purchase at the Pipeline Bar before and on the night of the performance.

 


Tokyo is trending: the rise of J-Pop

From the Sweet Lolitas to the anime addicts, expect to see much more of these Japanese fashion tribes across London in the immediate future. We’re heading for a Tokyo takeover. Do you want to know more? Read on….

While the emergence of K-Pop, the South Korean pop music phenomenon, was big news late last year, in 2012 it’s J-Pop that is taking centre stage with London’s teens – and bringing with it a Japanese street-style scene.

As Japan is the world’s second largest music market behind the US, its latest export already has a massive cult youth following and London’s club scene has been quick to embrace the trend.

New Bloomsbury Lanes club night Japan Underground boasts live bands and music from top J-Pop and J-Rock DJs. The launch night, themed on the cult Samurai fighting game Sengoku Basara, sold out and the venue’s next night, on February 4, is set to be a Japanese tribute to the best of the West – with a full DJ set of remixed dance-floor hits and a Queen cover band.

But music is not the only aspect of Japanese culture that has engrossed London’s youth. Current J-Pop icons, such as nine-strong girl group Morning Musume and oshare kei three-piece ALiBi, have found fame as much through their eccentric fashion. Self-confessed queen of kook Kyary Pamyu Pamyu started life as a style blogger before turning to music, while Ayumi Hamasaki – known as Ayu to her fans and the Empress of J-Pop to the media – embodies a constantly changing image which earned her Japanese campaigns with London-based brands Rimmel and Aquascutum last year, as well as becoming the first J-Pop artist to have a number one album for 13 consecutive years since her debut.

Iconic Japanese street fashion, most notably hailing from the Harajuku shopping district of Tokyo, is being adopted by many style tribes, from the black lace grunge of Gothic Lolita to the glam rock aesthetic of Visual Kei and the purveyors of all things cute and fluffy, Kawaii. But, J-Pop artists aside, several Western pop stars have moulded their image in the same quirky way. Style extremist Nicki Minaj and blue-haired chameleon Katy Perry are currently helping to make the look mainstream.

This season the unique Japanese street style has also trickled into high fashion circles. On the spring/summer 2012 catwalks the look was championed by eclectic London Fashion Week designers Meadham Kirchhoff, who layered frilled blouses with teddy bear pinafores and paired knee-high socks with pom-pom Geta sandals. Miu Miu also teamed A-line patchwork skirts, crop tops and off-the-shoulder capes that reflected the doll-like styling favoured by Lolitas.

But for the devoted Londoners – for whom Japanese styling is more than just a fashion trend – there is a Far East fest coming to the capital. Next month, Japanese culture convention Hyper Japan heads to Brompton Hall, celebrating everything from sushi and sake to J-Pop and Harajuku. From the Sweet Lolitas to the anime addicts, expect to see much more of these Japanese fashion tribes across London in the immediate future. We’re heading for a Tokyo takeover.

Article written by Emma McCarthy, published on Evening Standard (23/01/12)

Duelist

Duelist

Screening + Q&A with Director Lee Myung-Se

January 26, 2012

Apollo Cinema, Piccadilly Circus

n the late Chosun dynasty, counterfeits were circulating around. Detective Ahn of Left Security Station and a passionate newcomer, Nam-sun try to trace the source of the counterfeiting. They chase the Secretary of National Security and his man ‘Sad Eye’ as suspects. A predestined battle between the best woman detective in Chosun, Nam-sun, and a mysterious assassin ‘Sad Eye’ is unfolded. A magnificent, chivalric film that showcases Lee’s style.

Booking on Site.

POSTCARDS FROM JAPAN – A Message from Tohoku Artists

12 December 2011 – 31 January 2012
Embassy of Japan, 101/104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT

Admission free; Monday to Friday; 09:30 to 17:30
Visitors are requested to present a form of photographic identification when entering the Embassy.

This month, the Embassy of Japan will host a small exhibition with a rather poignant message.

After the major earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the Tohoku region of north-eastern Japan on 11 March 2011, power supplies, telephone land lines and mobile telephone networks were cut and internet access became impossible.

This made it extremely difficult for people to contact family and friends. The Japanese postal service – Japan Post – was, however, quickly up and running again. It was by postcard, in many cases, that people first heard that their loved ones were safe.

Sculptors, Katagiri Hironori and Kate Thomson, share their time between Iwate and Scotland. They were working in their studios in the countryside of Iwate when the immense earthquake of 11 March 2011 struck. Their home and studio inland were not damaged and they were safe, but they were desperately worried about family and friends along the Tohoku coast. In the days after the quake, power and telephone connections slowly returned. Despite the telephone lines’ being restored, however, they could still not get through to anyone.

Inspired by the impact that the receiving of postcards can have, Katagiri and Thomson invited Tohoku-based artists from Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, and Aomori prefectures to make new work for Postcards From Japan – A Message from Tohoku Artists. Even artists who had lost so much in the tsunami were enthusiastic to celebrate life through art with their communication with the world outside. The results are works made especially for this exhibition and which give an insight into the incredible grace and resilience of the people of North East Japan.

The priority in the devastated regions is to rebuild communities and livelihoods and the recovery will take years. Art and culture will play vital roles in this recovery and in celebrating life itself, helping to nurture imagination, energy and the determination to move on. Many people in Japan have realised that family, friends and communities are their most precious treasures and that they require and deserve the most time and investment. Cherishing the relationships they have, people are re-establishing contact with those with whom they had lost touch.

The project continues and in response, artists from around the world are being invited to make ‘Postcards to Japan’ and post them to Tohoku as tangible messages of support to communities affected by the devastation.

Please see www.postcardproject.org for more information.