Japanese from Scratch: Shodo – An Introduction to Japanese Calligraphy

13 March 2013 from 6.30pm

The Japan Foundation, London

 

Learn the basics of Japanese writing while creating your own calligraphy…

Japanese from Scratch is a Japanese language and culture workshop from the Japan Foundation London, suitable for those who are interested in learning Japanese but haven’t started yet, or those who have just started learning.

This month’s workshop theme is Shodō: An Introduction to Japanese Calligraphy

The course will teach you to:

  • Uncover the basics of Japanese writing
  • Learn the techniques of Japanese calligraphy
  • Create your own beautiful piece of calligraphy

The course will be led by Hiroko Tanaka, Japanese Language Advisor at the Japan Foundation London. Instructions and explanations will be in English.

The course fee is £5.00, which includes all necessary calligraphy materials. This must be paid in cash on the day of the event – we regret that we are unable to accept credit cards or cheques.

Advance booking is essential. This workshop is limited to 20 people.

The deadline to apply is Friday, March 8th 2013.

 

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Factional Politics: How Dominant Parties Implode or Stabilize

5 February 2013

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

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

Margaret Thatcher was thrown out of office in 1990 but the British Conservatives still won a fourth term in office in 1992. Academics claimed that the British political system was ‘turning Japanese’. Within a year, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was voted out for the first time in 38 years just as Italy’s Christian Democratic Party (DC) was imploding after four decades of hegemony. The Conservatives’ aura as the natural party of government was shattered in 1997 by Tony Blair’s New Labour but it took another 12 years for Japanese voters to vote out the LDP. Meanwhile, Canada’s Liberal Party had been in charge for some 80 years but came third in a 2011 election. Particular circumstances differed in each country but internal dissent and disorder were common. Particular circumstances differed in each country but internal dissent and disorder were common. In her book, Françoise Boucek explains how this factionalism precipitates the downfall of many political leaders but can also prolong office by containing conflict and hanging onto dissidents. In a survey of the British Conservative Party, the Liberal Party of Canada, the Christian Democratic Party of Italy and the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, Dr Boucek explores this paradox and the potential dangers of factional politics for dominant political parties.

Dr Françoise Boucek

Dr Françoise Boucek is Teaching Fellow in European politics and policy in the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University of London, Visiting Professor at the University of Witten Herdecke (Germany) and Research Associate of the London School of Economics’ (LSE) Public Policy Group. She grew up in France, graduated in business administration (1973) and moved to London and then Canada where she worked as a research analyst for an investment bank. She gained her BA (1988) in political science from the University of Toronto and gained her MSc (1991) and PhD (2002) from the LSE. She was Lecturer in the Department of Politics and Modern History at London Metropolitan University (1991-93) and LSE (1994-97 and 2001-03). She has written widely about political parties, representative democracy and one-party dominance including in Japan and is co-editor of Dominant Political Parties and Democracy: Concepts, Measures, Cases and Comparisons (London: Routledge, 2010).

Professor Kensuke Takayasu

Professer Kensuke Takayasu (discussant) is Professor of Political Science at the Faculty of Law, Seikei University in Tokyo. He received his BA (1994) and MA (1996) both in political science from Waseda University. He read his doctorate at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), gaining his PhD from the University of London in 2003. He became a research fellow at Hokkaido University in 2004, before joining Seikei University as associate professor in 2006. He is currently a visiting fellow at the Department of Government, LSE. Professor Takayasu has written widely on both British and Japanese politics, and has published a book in 2009 titled The Power of Prime Ministers in Japan and Britain – Dynamics of their Relationships with the Governing Party (Tokyo: Sobunsha). His articles appear regularly in Sekai. In 2011, his paper ‘New Conventions Required: Ideas to Re-invigorate Japanese Party Politics’ was published in Asia-Pacific Review (Vol.18 Issue 2), while the website Japan Echo Web (No.7 August-September) carried his article ‘In Need of New Rules of the Game.’

BOOKING FORM

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.

United Red Army and the Legacy of Koji Wakamatsu Talk by Jasper Sharp

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

Koji Wakamatsu, a controversial and iconoclastic filmmaker tragically passed away in October 2012 aged 76. A self-taught director and producer, Wakamatsu produced over 100 films in his career, gaining notoriety for his soft-core ‘pink’ and exploitation films before delving into a more politically-charged cinema. Wakamatsu’s most ambitious and celebrated film is United Red Army, a docu-drama depicting the rise and fall of 1960s left-wing radicalism, will be screened as part of this year’s Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme.

Complementing this screening, Jasper Sharp, writer and film curator, will briefly go through Wakamatsu’s prolific career and contribution to the nation’s cinema. Focusing particularly onUnited Red Army, this talk will look into how Wakamatsu came to make the film about a brutal and bloody history that had almost been forgotten, and how it stands out as the best among the films depicting Japan’s epic historical radicalism activities in the 1960s.

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

The Challenges of an Ageing Society in Japan

 

4 December 2012 from 6.30pm

The Japan Foundation, London

Ageing Society is a phenomenon happening not only in Japan but also in many other developed countries, and will soon spread to developing countries as well. In this seminar looking at how Japan is tackling this challenge, we have invited four speakers from Kobe University to address different aspects of the issue – Prof Naoki Mitani will look at the question of ageing in relation to Employment Policies in Japan; Prof Yuki Sekine will be considering the status of social security within an ageing society; Prof Masahiko Yoshii will be looking at the consequences for the Japanese economy of ageing; and, Prof Zhiwei Luowill examine Innovations in Health Engineering related to an Ageing Society. Each speaker will talk for 10-15 minutes, followed by time for discussion.

This event will be chaired by Professor Christina Victor of the School of Health Sciences and Social Care, Brunel University.

Prof Naoki Mitani has been Professor of Labour Economics at the Graduate School of Economics at Kobe University since the year 2000. He studied Mathematics at the Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo and obtained a Ph.D in Economics at Kobe University. His professional experiences include the positions of Deputy Director at the Ministry of Labour, as well as Administrator at OECD. He has published papers in various journals and books on topics such as the employment of older workers, youth and female workers, and the Japanese employment system.

Prof Yuki Sekine is Professor of Social Security Law at the Graduate School of Law, Kobe University. She holds a degree of Bachelor of Law from Universite Libre de Bruxelles, and a Master of Law from the University of Tokyo. She has worked for six years with the ILO, spending three years in the International Labour Standards Department in Geneva, and two years in detachment to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Tokyo, before joining Kobe University in 2004.

Prof Masahiko Yoshii has been Professor of the Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University since 1998, and is currently Dean of the Graduate School. He obtained a PhD in Economics at Kobe University in 2001. His major research interests are comparative economic systems, and the economics of Russia and Central-Eastern European countries.

Prof Zhiwei Luo obtained his PhD in Engineering from Nagoya University in 1992. From 1992 to 1994 he was an Assistant Professor of Toyohashi University of Technology. In 1994, he moved to BMC RIKEN as a Frontier Research. He then worked at Yamagata University as an Associate Professor. Since 2001, he served as laboratory head of BMC RIKEN, and led the development of a human interactive robot RI-MAN, which was selected by TIME as the best invention of 2006. In 2006, he became a Professor of Kobe University, where he joined the setting-up of the new Graduate School in System Informatics, and is now promoting integrative research on health for the Aging Society.

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 Foundation at Japan Matsuri

6 October 2012 from 11.00am

Trafalgar Square, London 

The Japan Foundation will be holding a stall at the Japan Matsuri, London’s annual celebration of Japanese culture.

Come and visit us to learn more about what we can offer to learners and teachers of Japanese language, take part in a Japan Quiz and maybe even grab some Japanese goodies!

You can view more details about Japan Matsuri here.