Director Talk: John Williams – Making Films in Japan

27 September 2012, from 6.30pm

The Japan Foundation, London

John Williams is the most celebrated – if not the only – British film director working in Japanese film today. Growing up in Wales and having lived in Japan for 20 years, Williams has written and directed a number of feature films, both in Japanese language and performed by Japanese actors, which have earned him international film awards as well as a nomination for Best New Director by the Directors Guild of Japan for his 2001 film Firefly Dreams (Ichiban utsukushii natsu). In a market where it is indeed rare to see a non-Japanese director making films, Williams’ determination as a filmmaker has succeeded in establishing him as a prominent name in Japanese independent cinema, and in 1999 he formed his 100 Meter Films production group.Complementing the UK premiere of his most recent film Sado Tempest (Arashi) at this year’s Raindance Film Festival, the Japan Foundation has invited John Williams to reflect on his career to date as a filmmaker and the environment he has been working in within the Japanese film industry, particularly as a non-Japanese. Joined in conversation with Kieron Corless, Deputy Editor of Sight & Sound magazine, they will exchange views regarding independent filmmaking and establishing oneself as a feature film director. In countries where it is becoming increasingly hard to secure funding to make films, they will discuss the current situation in film production and distribution both in Japan and the UK.

This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please email your name and the title of the event you would like to attend to event@jpf.org.uk

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British Music for Lute and Early Guitar: Played by Taro Takeuchi

25 September 2012, 7:00 – 8:15pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House

n the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the lute and the guitar ruled as king and queen of musical instruments. The lute gained popularity in Europe during the Middle Ages and soon took on an important role in music making. In the 16th and early 17th century in Britain, the lute was much loved by nobles such as Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The Baroque guitar came to Britain in the 17th century from France. Charles II and Samuel Pepys were great lovers of the guitar. The English guitar was invented in Britain in the middle of the 18th century and instantly became popular among citizens.

In this concert respected early guitar/lute player Taro Takeuchi will perform some of the finest pieces for those instruments from the 16th, 17th and 18th century Britain. The concert will include pieces by John Dowland, Henry Purcell, Francesco Geminiani, George Frideric Handel and others.  Taro Takeuchi uses antique guitars from the 18th century as well as a faithful modern copy of an original 16th century lute.

Taro Takeuchi

Taro Takeuchi was born in Kyoto, Japan. After completing his degrees in law and music in Tokyo, he studied early music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He now lives in London and he has been in great demand as a soloist and ensemble player. Taro has toured most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, the USA and Japan. As a continuo player he has worked with The English Concert, The Royal Opera House, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Berlin Philharmonic, as well as Sir Simon Rattle, Rachel Podger and Nigel Kennedy. He has made numerous recordings for Deux-Elles, EMI, Hyperion Records, Harmonia Mundi, the BBC and others. His solo recordingsFolias!The Century That Shaped the Guitar andAffectuoso: Virtuoso Guitar Music from the 18th Century were received with critical acclaim and high praise.

September Training Day for Volunteers

Taken from Japan Foundation website

Friday, September 21st 2012

The Japan Foundation, London

The next Volunteer Training Day for our Japanese Taster for Schools (JTS) Programme will take place on Friday, September 21st 2012.

Our regular Training Days at our London office are a great opportunity to meet other volunteers, get teaching ideas, and ask any questions you may have.  We ask our volunteers who live within travelling distance to London to attend at least one Training Day before making a school visit, in order to get a full understanding of the JTS Programme.  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 May 2012, here.

The day will begin with an induction for new attendees at 12:30 (registration starts from 12:15). Those who have been to a JTS Training Day before may attend from 13:00.  You can find a provisional timetable of the event below.

How to apply

To register, please click here to use our online application form.

The registration form uses Google Documents and is subject to Google’s standard terms and conditions of use. Alternatively, you may register by downloading and printing the PDF application form below, completing it by hand and sending it to the Japan Foundation by email, fax or post. Please note that your application may take slightly longer to process via this method.

If you are not yet a member of JTS, please click here for more information about the programme and to complete a membership application form.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday, September 19th. Please note that this is event is free, but prior booking is essential.  Attendees who arrive without booking, including those accompanying attendees who have booked, may be denied entry.

For more information about the JTS programme, please click here.

Click here to apply for our September 2012 Training Day

Dance Town

September 20, 2012

Multi-Purpose Hall, KCCUK

Jung-Nim, a North Korean middle class worker, defects from the North following the accusation of watching a porn video. Her husband barely gets Jung-Nim out of the country but is arrested by the North Korean security forces. Jung-Nim lives in South Korea under the surveillance of Kim Soo-Jin, who was assigned to do this by the government. Jung-Nim feels lonely, and then meets Oh Sung-Tae, a patrolman. But as time goes by, its her husband that Jung-Nim misses and worries about more and more. It is then that she hears news about her imprisoned husband through her watchdog Soo-Jin&hellip.

The Sea by Night and Day by Toru Kuwakubo

12 Sep 2012 to 14 Oct 2012

At the Japan House Gallery

Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

The Sea by Night and Day is an exhibition containing a new body of work by Toru Kuwakubo. Following his VOCA awarded work, Study of Mom (2011), he explores the idea of the sea as the origin of life, in contrast to its associations with fear and destruction, especially in post-tsunami Japan. In this first solo show in London, Kuwakubo will experiment by dividing the exhibition spaces into day and night to invite viewers to navigate through his world.

Toru Kuwakubo’s work seeks to question the nature of artistic practice. In adopting the persona of fictional painter Kuwoud Bonet, a character inspired by the work of the Impressionists, Kuwakubo explores clichés of ‘Art’ and ‘The Artist’. His paintings depict everyday objects set within vibrant seascapes; their thick layers of richly coloured pigment imbuing a deep sense of nostalgia. Though originating from his personal experience, the paintings appear as if they are fiction from the artist’s mind.

Toru Kuwakubo was born in 1978 in Kanagawa, Japan. After graduating from Tama Art University in 2002, he was awarded the 3rd Koji Kinutani Prize by Mainichi Newspapers in 2011 and the VOCA Encouragement Prize in 2012. Selected exhibitions include Portrait Session, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima (2007), Out of Noise, GALLERY HYUNDAI, Gangnam Space, Seoul (2010), and Telling of Sea, Telling of Painter, Tokyo Wonder Site Shibuya, Tokyo (2010). Kuwakubo’s work is included in major collections in Japan, including the Toyota Art Collection, Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Takahashi Collection, the Flowerman Collection and The Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Company. Kuwakubo is represented by Tomio Koyama Gallery, Japan.

Mozart Town

7pm, September 06, 2012

Multi-Purpose Hall, KCCUK

South Korean writer-director Jeon Kyu-hwan’s 2008 debut was the first in his Town Trilogy, which includes Dance Town and Animal Town (also appearing in SDFF 34) and explores the themes of urban alienation in the modern era. Mozart Town introduces us to Sara, a concert pianist visiting Seoul from Europe. She sees the city through the eyes of a tourist—everything is fresh, and as she records her travels in her journal, she feels content.

Parallel to this run the very different lives of the other characters, who are consumed by the misery they experience in the day-to-day drudgery of city life. Ji-won runs a newspaper stand and, as a hobby, photographs passersby; her husband has abandoned her and she finds more meaning in detached photographs than in real life. Etoo and Ayo are illegal immigrants from Africa; separated from their family and unable to make ends meet working at a laundry, they struggle in desperation…

Sumidagawa and Curlew River: Britten’s Encounter with Noh

6 September 2012

6:00 – 7:30pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:15pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House

Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan’s leading specialist music and arts college, is staging back-to-back performances of the Noh play Sumidagawa and Benjamin Britten’s opera Curlew River, in London and Suffolk on 7 and 9 September (sumidagawa-curlewriver.com). Curlew River is closely based on Sumidagawa, which Britten saw twice when he visited Japan in 1953. In advance of these performances, this event aims to help audiences understand both pieces and put them into context. How does Sumidagawa fit into the Noh tradition? Why did this ancient Japanese art have such a powerful impact on Britten? And how did he digest his Japanese experiences as he produced Curlew River, shifting the locale from Tokyo’s Sumida River to the marshy landscapes of East Anglia, transforming the “capital birds” of the original into curlews, and replacing Buddhism with medieval Christianity? Whether you are able to attend the performances or not, the encounter between one of Japan’s most sophisticated art forms and the UK’s greatest 20th century composer is a fascinating story.

Professor Tomotaka Sekine

Professor Tomotaka Sekine began his stage career at the age of four playing the child parts in Kurama Tengu and Hibariyama, and gave his first shiteperformance in Tsunemasa in 1963. After graduating from Tokyo University of the Arts, he became a pupil of the 25th Kanze Soke Motomasa Sakon. Becoming independent in 1981, he gave performances ofShakkoMidare and Dojoji. Performing as a member of Kenkyu-Kai, Kanno-Kai and Mori-no-Kai, his Noh repertoire included OkinaKinutaMochizukiand Sotoba Komachi. He joined Tokyo University of the Arts as an associate professor in 2004, becoming a professor in 2010 (Department of Traditional Japanese Music, Kanze ’school of Noh’). In the university’s “Beauty of Traditional Japanese Music” programme, he collaborated with other art fields in presenting Konjaku Monogatari. He was certified Intangible Cultural Property, is a board member of the Kanze Association, a member of Kenkyu-Kai, and the chairman of Kangetsu-Kai.

Dr Daisaku Mukai

Dr Daisaku Mukai is a lecturer in musicology at Ueno Gakuen University, Tokyo. He has also been a research fellow at the Research Centre of the Graduate School of Music, Tokyo University of the Arts since 2009. His specialities are 20th century music and music aesthetics. He completed his PhD on Britten at Tokyo University of the Arts in 2008. In his dissertation entitled “Dramaturgy of invisible sounds in Benjamin Britten’s opera”, he analyses Britten’s musical dramaturgy, focusing on his leitmotiftechnique and the function of invisible sounds in his operatic works. He is now working on the study ofCurlew River and Britten’s relationship with Japan.

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