Bye Bye Kitty!!! – Beyond kitsch, kawaii and otaku in Japanese Contemporary Art: An illustrated talk by David Elliott

Kitsch, otaku (“geek”) and kawaii (cuteness, sometimes super-girly hyper-cuteness) – are all stereotypes frequently attributed to contemporary Japanese culture. It is true to say that Japanese society often embraces such images of itself, and some Japanese artists, such as Takashi Murakami and Kaikai Kiki, respond to, or exploit, these trends, making them even more widespread. Yet is this the whole story? Does this kind of work actually represent the most significant and powerful art being made in Japan today?

David Elliott, founding director of the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, who spent five years in Japan, thinks not. He sees an intensely reflective, self-critical, controversial, even political, spirit within contemporary Japanese art that is less easy to appreciate than the stereotypes but more rewarding to grasp. It was this which led him to curate the successful exhibition Bye, Bye Kitty!!! – Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art held at the Japan Society in New York earlier this year. This fascinating exhibition concentrated on diverse work by talented young and middle generation Japanese artists, many of whom have not yet been well enough represented on the international art scene.

In this talk, David Elliott will offer an overview of this exhibition and the artists he chose for it, mapping them in the social context of modern and contemporary Japan. Complementing his talk will be a discussion with sociologist and Japanese contemporary art specialist Adrian Favell. Together they will further explore how significant the exhibition is today, reflecting on Japanese aesthetics, social realities and global reactions.

This event is organised in collaboration with TrAIN Research Centre.

17 October 2011 from 6.20pm

The Banqueting Hall (Chelsea College of Art and Design)
16 John Islip Street
London SW1P 4JU

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.

 

Japan Matsuri 2011

Sunday 18th September 2011
County Hall

Riverside Building
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7PB

Join this fantastic celebration of Japan and its rich culture at the County Hall on the South Bank.

For more information please visit the official Japan Matsuri website.

Matsuri 2010

Japanese Cultural Experience Day

Saturday, 3rd September 2011   10:00am – 16:00pm

Large Meeting Room 
Nippon Club 
2nd floor
Samuel House
6 St. Albans Street
London SW1Y 4SQ

£30.00  including  lunch and materials

Booking Deadline  26th August 2011

This is your opportunity to try for yourself a selection of Japanese cultural traditions!
The Japan Society is delighted to welcome Mrs Taeko Fujii from Kyoto, to lead a special Japanese Cultural Experience Day. Mrs Fujii is a tea ceremony and ikebana instructor, belonging to the Urasenke International Association and the Ikenobo school. She teaches aspects of Japanese culture at Wakayama University and other institutions and, as an instructor for WAK Japan Co., she coordinates programmes enabling foreign travellers to experience Japanese cultural traditions.

Provisional Programme
10:30 ~ 12:00    Ikebana Workshop: become an artist with flowers!
12:00 ~ 13:00    Lunch (Japanese obento)
13:00 ~ 14:00    Japanese Bookbinding Workshop
14:00 ~ 15:30    Tea Ceremony – a practical workshop

In tandem with the practical workshop experience, Taeko Fujii will explain aspects of Japanese culture which underpin these traditions.

Ikebana Workshop
Ikebana is very different from the Western art of flower arranging. The tools it requires are flowers, a container and your own ability to create form. This lesson will give you an introduction to the basics of ikebana.

Japanese Bookbinding
Traditionally, Japanese books are not bound using glue, but are stitched. Can you tell where the binding thread begins and ends? How do you hide joins in the thread? Unfamiliar even to many Japanese people, here is your chance to learn the techniques of watojibon.

Tea Ceremony
Tea ceremony is frequently spoken of as a ‘complete art’. In just a moment, cha no yu helps you to escape from the cares of everyday life. The flavour of the tea depends on how it is made. This introductory session will give you the chance to make tea and to appreciate its flavours.

The event is open to beginners as well as those with prior experience. Japanese nationals are also welcome. Numbers are strictly limited, so please hurry to reserve your place. When booking, please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements

To book, please call the Japan Society office on 020 7828 6330,emailevents@japansociety.org.uk or submit the online booking form

Shinjuku Diaries: Films from The Art Theatre Guild of Japan

1 August 2011 – 31 August 2011

BFI, London

This season celebrates a period in the 1960s and 70s when the Japanese film industry was experiencing considerable shifts in its development. The Art Theatre Guild of Japan (ATG) became for audiences an alternative to the traditional film culture, and brought together outcasts and countercultural icons. Beginning with Imamura’s genre-blurring A Man Vanishes, and Oshima’s absurdist farce Death By Hanging, the ATG became the driving force behind a burst of creativity that was to mould an entire generation of Japanese filmmakers. The season finishes with Terayama’s iconic Pastoral Hide and Seek, a fantastical look at the past, present and future of man.

For more information, please click here.

Rewriting Meiji Women’s History – The New Woman, Modernity and Hasegawa Shigure

20 July 2011 from 6.30pm

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

In this talk, Dr Patessio will challenge the distinction and gap that exists in Japanese women’s historiography between the Meiji ‘good wife and wise mother’ and the Taisho ‘new woman’ by reviewing understanding of late Meiji women’s (in)ability to participate in, and express their opinions on, social and political life. She will also introduce the life-story of Hasegawa Shigure (1879-1941), a female biographer, playwriter, and editor whose activities she has studied in detail as part of her Japan Foundation Fellowship – a marvel of her time who Dr Patessio believes deserves far more recognition than she has hitherto received.

Dr Mara Patessio was a Japan Foundation Fellow in 2010-11 and has been Lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Manchester since 2007. Her undergraduate degree at Venice University in Italy was followed by an M.Phil at the University of Cambridge. From 2004 to 2005 she was a JSPS fellow in Japan before she then moved back to Cambridge as a Leverhulme Trust funded Research Associate, working with Professor Peter Kornicki on a project that investigated Edo and Meiji women readers, writers, and their reading practices.Professor Naoko Shimazu will be the discussant for this event – she is Professor in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her research interests include the cultural history of diplomacy and the social and cultural history of Japanese society.

Booking: 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.

 

Pop Culture from a Multipolar Japan

Another interesting event organised by DAIWA.

Is there something more to the West’s fascination with Japanese anime and manga? How are anime films and manga comics cultural channeling zones, opened by the horrors of war and disaster and animated by the desire to assemble a world of new looks, feelings and identities?  Lecturer at the University of Tokyo, Sophia University and the University of the Sacred Heart Tokyo, Roland Kelts addresses the movement of Japanese culture into the West as sign and symptom of broader reanimations.  With uncertainty now the norm, style, he argues, is trumping identity, explaining, in part, the success of Japanese pop and fashion, design and cuisine in the West.

Roland Kelts is a half-Japanese American writer, editor and lecturer who divides his time between New York and Tokyo. He is the author of Japanamerica : How Japanese Pop Culture has Invaded the US and the forthcoming novel, Access. He has presented on contemporary Japanese culture worldwide and has taught courses in Japanese popular culture at numerous universities in Japan and the US, including New York University and the University of Tokyo. His fiction and nonfiction appear in such publications as Zoetrope: All Story, Psychology Today, Playboy, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue Japan, Adbusters magazine, The Millions, The Japan Times, Animation Magazine, Bookforum, and The Village Voice. He is the Editor in Chief of the Anime Masterpieces screening and discussion program, the commentator for National Public Radio’s series, Pacific Rim Diary, and the author of a weekly column for The Daily Yomiuri newspaper. Click here for his blog.

Lecture details:

14 April 2011

4:00 – 5:00pm, followed by a drinks reception to 6:00pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House

Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

BOOKING FORM

 

 

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.