Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Anime… : Talk with Hirokatsu Kihara and Michihiko Suwa

The end of the world did not materialise … so I’d like to invite the readers of this Blog to this interesting event.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Anime… : Talk with Hirokatsu Kihara and Michihiko Suwa

29 January 2013 from 6.30pm

The Japan Foundation, London

Japanese animation has enthralled audiences worldwide and through its stories, concepts and visual splendour, the enchantment of the likes of Studio Ghibli and abundance of television series continue to captivate the imaginations of many. But how did such ideas come about, what is it that makes anime so distinct and original, and how has animation developed over the decades to become such a worldwide success?

The Japan Foundation has invited two of the most renowned figures in the industry behind this phenomenon, Hirokatsu Kihara and Michihiko Suwa, to introduce the real world of creating Japanese animation. Through Kihara’s involvement with early Studio Ghibli productions and the current subculture scene and manga, and Suwa’s role as Chief Producer at the Animation department of Yomiuri TV for anime franchises including Detective Conan (aka Case Closed), City Hunter and Inuyasha, they have helped realise a number of world-famous anime television series and movies during their illustrious careers. Despite their differing experiences, productions and working styles, Kihara and Suwa both hold a huge passion, understanding and vision for the medium, expressed through their work and activities.

Having witnessed the Japanese animation industry’s rise to the worldwide phenomenon, Kihara and Suwa will be joined by Helen McCarthy, journalist, author and anime expert, to explore the different sources of anime – both manga adaptations and originally crafted stories – and discuss their position in the Japanese animation industry, suggesting what the future holds for the medium. With Kihara’s experience of the celluloid-era of animation, and Suwa’s experience of its transition to digital, this event will also provide a fascinating insight into the ‘behind the scenes’ of anime production, telling the real story and history around the animated images.

 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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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.

BOOKING FORM

Tengu: The Shamanic and Esoteric origins of the Japanese Martial Arts by Roald Knutsen

Book Launch

6 December 2011 from 6.00pm

The Japan Foundation, London
10-12 Russell Square
London, WC1B 5EH

This fully illustrated volume is the first in-depth study in English to examine the warrior and shamanic characteristics and significance oftengu in the martial art culture (bugei) of Muromachi Japan. Prompting Roald Knutsen’s life-long study of tengu – part-human, part-animal creatures – was the realisation that they were interacting with the deadly serious bugei masters teaching the arts of war. Here were beings who did not conform to the comic, goblin-like creatures of common folklore and were not the creations of the Buddhist priests intent on demonising that which they did not understand and could not control.

Roald Knutsen has practised traditional Kenjutsu, Kendo, Iai-jutsu, and So-jutsu under a succession of famous Japanese masters, having menkyo-kaiden (senior master’s licence), in one of the oldest transmissions of Iai-jutsu, and the rank of 7th dan Renshi in Kendo. He has researched and written extensively about the Japanese warrior traditions and aspects of Japanese history. Clive Sinclaire will act as discussant at this event – he is a very active kendo practitioner who runs a dojo in Kent, with over thirty years involvement with the To-ken society, an organisation dedicated to the study of Japanese swords, fittings and armour.

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

 

Creating Impressions of Colonial Korea: The Role Played by the Japan Society and its Membership, 1910-1939

Monday, 17th October 2011 6.45 pm

The Oriental Club
Stratford House
11 Stratford Place
London W1C 1ES

A pay bar is available before the lecture
(Please note that Oriental Club rules require gentlemen to wear a jacket and tie)

Dr Susan House Wade, Independent Author and Lecturer

Japanese perspectives were often either directly or indirectly responsible for images of colonial Korea which emerged in England between 1910 and 1939. The role played by English and Japanese enthusiasts, who were frequently members of the Japan Society, will be addressed in this talk. The position occupied by the Society allowed it to make a significant impact on the study and exchange of Japanese arts and culture, and it was to the Transactions and Proceedings that both scholars and other interested parties looked for the informed perspectives of the Society’s high profile membership. Activities of these members, including those who resided overseas, went well beyond the papers they presented, to inform and influence the writings of others.

Dr Susan House Wade is an independent author and lecturer, with an MA in Art and Archaeology from SOAS, University of London, and a PhD in Humanities from the University of Brighton. Alongside writing and lecturing, she is currently engaged in preparatory work for the publication of her PhD thesis entitled Representing Colonial Korea in Print and in Visual Imagery in England, 1910-1939. Before embarking on an academic career, Susan worked in media, including assignments as diverse as bureau chief of a US-based newswire, to the creation of large scale events for Spanish language broadcast. She has also played active roles in Japan 2001, and later as chairman of the Japan Society Art Circle.

Booking Information

Please contact the Japan Society office on tel: 020 7828 6330 or email:events@japansociety.org.uk to book a place for any of our events. When emailing, please include the event title in the subject line.

Learn more about upcoming events at www.japansociety.org.uk.

Matureness and Unmatureness in Contemporary Japanese Art and Culture: Aging and Kawaii

A really interesting event held at Birckbek College.

Matureness and Unmatureness in Contemporary Japanese Art and Culture: Aging and Kawaii
A talk by Prof. Inuhiko Yomota
Respondent: Dr. Sharon Kinsella

6pm Friday 25th March
Room 251
Birkbeck College Main Building
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX
FREE AND OPEN TO ALL
but booking is essential, please email lapcsf@gmail.com

In this special event for LAPCSF, celebrated critic Inuhiko Yomota will contrast the culture of kawaii—so prevalent in manga, anime, and East Asian pop culture in general—with the aesthetics of aging within Butoh dance and other performing arts. Traversing from the figure of the girl warrior in the anime Sailor Moon and Henry Darger’s Vivian Girls, to the “immortality” of legendary Butoh performer Kazuo Ohno, this talk promises to be a tour de force from a unique voice in cultural criticism.

Prof. Inuhiko Yomota’s publications range over film history, literature, manga, and even food culture. His One Hundred Years of Japanese Cinema has been translated into German, Italian, Korean, and Chinese, while his books on kawaii and manga have been published in Chinese and Korean translations. Among the prizes he has been awarded for his writing are the Kodansha Essay Prize, the Kuwabara Prize, and the Saito Ryoku’u prize. He has also translated works by Paul Bowles, Edward Said, Pier Paulo Pasolini, and Mahmoud Darwish into Japanese. He is Professor of Motion Picture History and Comparative Literature at Meiji Gakuin University, and he has been a visiting professor at Konguk University, Columbia University, the University of Bologna, and Tel Aviv University, among others.

Dr. Sharon Kinsella is author of Adult Manga: Culture and power in postwar Japanese society and Girls as Energy: Fantasies of rejuvenation in contemporary Japan. She is lecturer in Japanese Visual Culture at the University of Manchester, and has previously held positions at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, MIT, and Yale.

Beyond Boundaries: Japanese Performing Arts for a New Generation

For those interested in art this event looks promising.

The contemporary Japanese cultural scene has embraced a drastic change of direction since the beginning of the new millennium, largely due to the upsurge of Otaku culture and its influence upon many art forms including performing arts.

However, while we can observe a marked change in the cultural landscape during the last decade, the current batch of artists are the latest example of a generation in Japan exploring and creating a cultural scene which reflects their current reality.

In this illustrative lecture, Atsushi Sasaki, a Japanese critic whose interests and knowledge easily cross between many disciplines, from music and philosophy to theatre and subculture, will examine the most critical Japanese cultural scenes to appear since the turn of the millennium and introduce the diverse forms and expressions used by Japanese performing artists such as faifai, an emerging performing arts group which aims to transform the perception of theatre into a type of pop culture.

This event will serve as a guide to the current frontline and emerging trends and players in Japanese performing arts, while also looking to what the future of where these new movements may lead.