Director Talk: Isshin Inudo

4 February 2013 from 6.30pm

The Japan Foundation, London

Isshin Inudo is a Japanese director with a very colourful career. Renowned for his genre-spanning cinema, Inudo has been engaged with both art-house and larger-scale productions and shifting back and forth between the two, as well as directing a number of television commercials in Japan. Inudo’s films have stretched from films tackling social issues such as coping with disabilities in Josee, the Tiger and the Fish (2003), homosexuality in La maison de Himiko (2005), in addition to a number of blockbuster films, including Inudo’s recent co-directed period drama epic The Floating Castle (2012).

Complementing the UK premiere of Inudo’s 1950s-set crime thriller Zero Focus (2009) as part of this year’s Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme, Once Upon a Time in Japan, the Japan Foundation has invited Isshin Inudo to introduce his work and filmmaking style in this special talk. With Inudo’s Zero Focus being an adaptation of Seicho Matsumoto’s novel previously imagined in Yoshitaro Nomura’s 1961 film, Inudo will discuss the process constructing his world using an ever-popular source, creating his own interpretation and envisaging a period beyond one’s own experiences. In a discussion to follow, Inudo, joined by James Bell, Features Editor for Sight & Sound, will also talk about the advantages and disadvantages of directing and writing for art-house, mainstream cinema and even television commercials in Japan, regarding a variety of themes and sources, including manga and horror; sources which Inudo is very fond of.

A pair of tickets to the screening of Zero Focus on February 5th
will be awarded to one lucky guest!

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

sshin Inudo’s film Zero Focus will be screened at the ICA on February 3rd (Sunday) at 5.00pm and again on February 5th (Tuesday) at 6.10pm, before touring at five further regional venues across the UK.

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Art, events and bodies in 1960s Japan Talk by Peter Eckersall

30 January 2013 from 6.30pm, at the Japan Foundation, London

Through public and social events such as the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the 1970 Osaka Expo and the radicalisation of the student protest movement, the 1960s in Japan can be considered an era of embodied cultural acts; events all engaging with experience of the body, whether it be athletics, the crowds who gathered at Expo, and mass rallies that took over the city streets and railway stations.  So too can a relationship with the body be identified in the arts of the 1960s, ranging from its use in stage performance, art events and the fascination with the body in cinema.

From Nagisa Oshima’s films about the protest movement to the Black Flag stage performance art events, Peter Eckersall, Associate Professor of Theatre Studies in the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne and Research Fellow at the Centre for Interweaving Performance Cultures, Freie Universität Berlin, will discuss the various connections between the body, politics and action in the 1960s in the broader cultural context and look into how the era can be considered a decade of embodied gestures and events.  This event will give an insight to the state of arts and culture in the 1960s, an era marking a milestone in Japan.

 

Grilled Rats Are a Tasty Snack

Rat

Grilled Rats Are a Tasty Snack In Phitsanulok

In the winter, Phitsanulok locals like to eat “grilled field rats.” The prices of cooked rats then increase to 250 THB per kg. Popular rat dishes include fried field rats, curry field rat, and fried field rats with garlic. Residents believe that eating rats warms the body

PHITSANULOK – January 24, 2013 [PDN]; on a winter’s day, a reporter driving in Phitsanulok province noticed a big poster on the side of the road, which said “Grilled Rats.” The sign was on the roadside along the route going from Sukhothai to Pitsanulok in Tambon Phaikhordorn, about 10 km from Phitsanulok.

The reporter stopped and talked to the rat-selling owner, Mrs. Somboon Yuyen, age 50, who lives on Tharmmul road, Amphur Meuang, Chainart province.

She said that selling grilled rats is a business that provides revenues to many families in the area. In winter, many local people like to eat grilled rats and come to buy her rats. Sometimes there are so many customers, she runs out of grilled rats to sell.

Mrs. Somboon has been selling grilled field rats for about 7 years. In the decade before that, she used to mainly catch the field rats to sell to the grilled rat shops. Back then the price would be 30 THB per kg. Her revenue would total only 200 THB per day.

Then the wholesale rat prices increased to 80-100 THB per kg. However, the grilled rats had a higher price of 150 THB per kg. So Ms. Somboon and her husband began to catch the field rats to grill and sell themselves.

The rat-grilling business was going well, with a steadily increasing number of consumers. So Mrs. Somboon began to go to other provinces to buy more field rats in the lower northern and central Thailand areas.

She bought field rats from rice field owners that fetched high prices according to the demands of the sellers. Prices would average 100 THB per kg of rats, but sometimes reached 150 THB per kg. Mrs. Somboon would freeze the rats and store them, to be grilled later for hungry customers.

Mrs. Somboon said there seems to be more demand for grilled rats than in the past. So she has been traveling around and selling her rats in many lower north provinces, including Chainart province, Pijit province and Pitsanulok province. Business has been good in Phitsanulok, where she has been selling rats for five months, so she has no immediate plans to move.

The prices for her rats vary according to size. For the small size rats, the price is 200 THB per kg; the medium size rats sell for 220 THB per kg; and big rats sell for 250 THB per kg.

Although she considers the prices of rats to be expensive, the people who like to eat rats consider it a cheap price to pay. For people who want to grill their rats at home, her frozen field rats are priced at 180 THB per kg.

Some customers buy 3-5 kg of frozen rats each time to store in their refrigerators, and also buy rats for their relatives and friends. Most of her customers are local people, and some are drivers passing by who notice her shop.

Selling grilled field rats is an occupation that Mrs. Somboon is proud of, and can generate revenues up to 1 million THB a year. Mrs. Somboon averages more than 2,000-3,000 THB daily in sales. During the festivals, she can earn more than 10,000 THB daily.

Mrs. Somboon now enjoys a better financial status because of her business. She bought a pickup truck to buy more rats in many places, and can now build her own house from the money she made selling rats.

 Article and picture taken from Pattayadailynews.

Education and Social Class in the UK and Japan

29 January 2013

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

13/14 Cornwall Terrace (Outer Circle), London NW1 4QP

Organised by Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation

According to UNICEF, 12.1% of children in the UK are living in poverty, while the figure for Japan is 14.9% (Innocenti Report Card 10, May 2012). Since this report was produced, the economic situation has, if anything, deteriorated in both countries.  Inequality and social exclusion have become concerns again, and in a time of austerity for both the government and parents, the role of education needs reconsidering. Can education contribute to better social mobility? Are working-class groups still under-represented in higher education, and if so, why? Although higher education has become more inclusive in both countries in recent decades, if investing in education does not necessarily guarantee a job, then what is the incentive for young people to aspire to go to university? Professor Robert Cassen of LSE will look at social exclusion and education, and at government policies aimed at making life chances more equal, in pre-school, primary and secondary education. Issues of gender and ethnicity will also be explored. Professor Takehiko Kariya of Oxford University will analyse a new educational selection mechanism that has contributed to rising disparity in learning motivations after Japan’s education reforms in the 1990s, and will offer important insights for understanding similar problems in other countries.

Robert Cassen

Robert Cassen is Visiting Professor at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics. He held his first post at LSE in 1961, and subsequently was a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, and Director of Queen Elizabeth House and Professor of Development Economics at Oxford. He also served on the staff of the UK Department for International Development, the British High Commission in New Delhi, the World Bank, and the Brandt Commission. His books include Does Aid Work? (with associates, Oxford University Press, 1994); with Tim Dyson and Leela Visaria,  21st Century, India: Population, Economy, Human Development and the Environment (Oxford University Press, 2004); and with Geeta Kingdon, Tackling Low Educational Achievement: a Report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2007. In 2008 he received an OBE for services to education. He is currently working on a new book, with Anna Vignoles and Sandra McNally:Making a Difference: What Works in Education and What Doesn’t, to be published by Routledge in 2014.

Takehiko Kariya

Takehiko Kariya is a Professor in the Sociology of Japanese Society, at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies and the Department of Sociology, University of Oxford and he is a Faculty Fellow of St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. His research interests include the sociology of education, social stratification, school- to-work transition, educational and social policies, and social changes in postwar Japan. Before he joined Oxford University, he had taught sociology of education at the Graduate School of Education, University of Tokyo for 18 years. He is co-editor of Challenges to Japanese Education: Economics, Reforms, and Human Rights (Teachers College Press, 2010), the author of Education Reform and Social Class in Japan (Routledge, 2012) and Japanese Education and Society in Transition: A Sociology of Education Reforms, Opportunities and Mass Education during the Lost Decades (Routledge, forthcoming), and he has published more than 20 books in Japanese.

BOOKING FORM

A Good Lawyer’s Wife

January 31, 2013

Korean Cultural Centre UK

The story involves dancer Eun Ho-jeong (Mun So-Ri), wife of the unfaithful Yeong-jak (Hwang Jeong-min) and mother to a seven-year-old son. She meets a teenage boy and named Shin Ji-un (Bong Tae-gyu) and the two share an intimate friendship despite their age difference. When Ji-un’s father discovers their relationship, he threatens to tell her husband. Meanwhile, her father-in-law (Kim In-mum) dies and her mother-in-law (Yun Yeo-jeong) quickly starts up another relationship. A Good Lawyer’s Wife was screened at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.

Winnebago, Carpets, Onsen, Potter by Peter McDonald

Monday to Friday, 9:30am- 5:00pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, Outer Circle, London, NW1 4PQ 

Peter McDonald depicts colourful scenes inhabited by people engaged in everyday activities. Images of teachers, artists, hairdressers or carpet sellers are constructed with an elementary graphic language. By making use of archetypes, symbolism and our incorrigible tendency to make the strange seem more familiar, McDonald’s alternative world reads like a parallel universe.

The artist describes the exhibition as a view of his painted universe, showcasing his paintings and works on paper, revealing the influence of everyday experiences upon his practice. For example the diptych, Looking for a Carpet(2009) was based on an experience during a trip to Morocco. Some of the works on paper reflect his stay in Japan during and after his year-long project Visitor, in Kanazawa, whilst the Noh drama series of works were based on his memories of traditional theatre performances and collaborations with the Kanazawa Noh Museum duringVisitor.

Peter McDonald was born in Tokyo in 1973, studying sculpture at Central St. Martins School of Art and painting at the Royal Academy Schools. He has had solo exhibitions at Kate MacGarry, Londonand also at Gallery Side 2, Tokyo, amongst others. He was awarded the John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize (2008). Art on the Underground commissioned McDonald to produce Art for Everybody a large scale billboard installation at Southwark station (2009). As artist-in-residence at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan (2011–12), he worked on a year-long project called Visitor, which included workshops and work-in-progress shows.

Daiwa Foundation Art Prize 2012 Exhibition Tokyo, SCAI THE BATHHOUSE, 18 January – 23 February 2013

18 January – 23 February 2013

Haroon Mirza, 2012 Daiwa Foundation Art Prize Winner, Solo exhibition at SCAI THE BATHHOUSE in Tokyo

We are delighted to present this solo exhibition by Haroon Mirza at SCAI THE BATHHOUSE in Tokyo, Japan. As the winner of the Daiwa Foundation Art Prize 2012, Mirza was given the opportunity to have this exhibition in Tokyo. Partnerships have been central to the successful realisation of the Art Prize and we are very grateful to Masami Shiraishi, President of SCAI THE BATHHOUSE, for agreeing to host this exhibition. I am confident that Mirza’s work will resonate strongly with Japanese audiences, and I hope also that his experiences in Japan will offer new inspirations for his artistic practice.

The Daiwa Foundation Art Prize aims to open doors in Japan for British artists. From over 700 initial applications, Haroon Mirza, Tom Hammick and Jennifer E. Price were shortlisted by our expert panel of judges – Jonathan Watkins, Mami Kataoka, Masami Shiraishi, Martin Gayford and Grayson Perry. Work by the short-listed artists was shown at the Daiwa Foundation Japan House Gallery in London in June and July 2012.

The Trustees of the Foundation join me in offering congratulations to Haroon Mirza. We hope that, in awarding the Daiwa Foundation Art Prize and holding this exhibition at SCAI THE BATHHOUSE, we will not only open new doors for British artists in Japan but also create valuable partnerships and opportunities for the future.

Jason James, Director General, Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

 

Art and Music and Haroon Mirza

 

“I was brought up Muslim … In certain regimes [in Islam] music is sort of frowned upon and related to things like infidelity and other terrible things if you listen to or engage with music”                                                                 

By Haroon Mirza

Haroon Mirza’s commitment to sound, to music in particular, is an intelligent challenge not only to the dogma of organized religion, but also to the institution of art. In Mirza’s work, music counteracts the religious tendencies in art, challenging the faith required to persist with the notion that art is somehow transcendent and distinct from everyday life.

Our ears, unlike our eyes, do not have lids. Waves of sound break through. Music is irresistible, undeniable, leaking in to affect us, insinuating, and pervasive. As a constant factor in the aesthetic equations devised by Haroon Mirza, music subtly contradicts the notion of a self-contained work of art, beautiful and true in itself. Our response to music stems from association, from the countless ideas and emotions we bring to our encounter with it, which can also be said of visual art.

Found objects, readymade and often ready-used, likewise occur in Mirza’s work as signs of free thinking, a philosophical scepticism that is, frankly, one of the only redeeming features of art. He knows, as we know, that the final artistic destinations of found objects were never envisaged by their makers, and so it becomes clear that this business of art is a question both of (our imaginative) projection and co-option. This applies as much to found objects that are works of art in their own right, and sounds that are music. All is revealed as being wonderfully unfixed.

Haroon Mirza was brought up Muslim. We were all brought up within some kind of prescriptive structure – be it ideological, religious and/or political – which insists that certain thoughts, tastes and behaviours are simply not acceptable. Art can be like that too, negative and dull. Haroon Mirza’s work, on the other hand, is life-affirming and positive.

 

Jonathan Watkins, Director Ikon Gallery

Haroon Mirza- Winner of the 2012 Daiwa Foundation Art Prize 

Haroon Mirza gained an MA in Fine Art at ChelseaCollegeof Art & Design with a Lynda Brockbank Scholarship (2007). He was awarded the Northern Art Prize 2010 and the Silver Lion for most promising young artist at the 54th Venice Biennale, 2011. He has participated in notable exhibitions including The British Art Show 7 (2011) organised by Hayward Touring, Preoccupied Waveforms (2012) at theNewMuseum inNew York, and the ninthGwangju Biennale inKorea.

 

Through his work, Mirza attempts to isolate the perceptual distinctions between noise, sound and music. He explores the potentiality for the visual and the acoustic to come together as one singular aesthetic form. These ideas are examined through lo-fi yet complex assemblages and installations that employ furniture, household electronics, video and existing artworks to formulate audio compositions with a temporal basis.

Image: Haroon Mirza, Digital Switchover, 2012 installation view of |||| ||, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, 2012 Courtesy of the artist, and SCAI THE BATHHOUSE Photo by Gunner Meier