The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 107 Updated Jul. 30, 2015
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Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
Artist Interview: A magician in the art of bringing spaces to life  The aesthetic approach of Itaru Sugiyama
Junnosuke TadaAs a long-time friend and artistic colleague of Oriza Hirata entrusted with the stage art for Hirata’s theater company Seinendan, as well as that of many theater people with strong ties to Seinendan such as Motoi Miura (Chiten), Shu Matsui (Sample), Roba Shimori (Fukin Kobo), Ikue Osada (Tegami-za) and others, Itaru Sugiyama is highly acclaimed for his stage designs that bring life to theater spaces. In this interview we get a broad picture of the artistic activities of Sugiyama, who also serves as a special advisor to the activities base for stage artists and directors, Rokushakudo, and teaches at the university level.
Artist Interview: Toko Nikaido and her spirit behind the “berserker” performances
Toko NikaidoToko (Toco) Nikaido (born 1986) burst onto the theater scene with a style of wild, frenzied performance called “ohagi live” that takes ota-gei (audience group performance at “idol” concerts) as its base while drawing on elements from the idol and anime worlds and other images brought together in chaotic collages. This interview explores the world of Nikaido, who says that creating “explosions” of the culture that is Japan is the only way to portray her generation’s real life in Tokyo in 2015 and to really love the wild pace of these chaotic times.
Artist Interview: Creating performances in a live mode like a DJ, the world of Junnosuke Tada
Junnosuke TadaSince he first drew attention with a performance titled Re/Play with repeated slapstick scenes in a party-like mode, Junnosuke Tada has continued to gain momentum and become a leader among the new generation of performers with works full of live atmosphere, like a “Macbeth” performance employing a musical chairs device and citizen theater where common citizens tell episodes from their experience. In recent years, he has also devoted much energy to collaborative works with Korean artists, such as the work “Karumegi” that he directed and won South Korea’s 50th Dong-A Theatre Awards. In this interview we look for the essence Tada seeks in live performance.
Presenter Interview
Presenter Interview; A breakthrough in exchange between playwrights  Connecting contemporary theater in South America
Cynthia Edul
Established in Argentina in 2010, the non-profit organization Panorama Sur (Panorama South) is a platform that connects young theater artists in the countries of South America. Speaking with Cynthia Edul, the co-founder of Panorama Sur and a talented young playwright and director playing a leading role in building the creative environment and infrastructure for the future of theater arts in South America, we learn about her and the organization’s activities, as well as the current state of the theater scene in Buenos Aires.
Presenter Interview; Seeking new context for communicating the multicultural contemporary Asian experience
Tang Fu Kuen
From his base in Bangkok, Tang Fu Kuen is active as a curator in festivals throughout Asia. Born and raised in Singapore, his involvement in the performing arts began as an actor in the company Theatre Works, before going on to work as a critic in London, New York and Berlin. Free from organizational affiliation and active now as an independent curator, Tang talks about his quest for new contexts for presenting the work of contemporary Asian performers.
Presenter Interview; One of Europe’s leading dance festivals, ImPulsTanz
Karl Regensburger
The ImPulsTanz festival is an outgrowth of the Dance Week intensive dance workshops launched in 1984 by Karl Regensburger, who serves as the festival’s director, and the Brazilian-born dancer Ismael Ivo. Having grown to become one of Europe’s largest international dance festivals, the ImPulsTanz international dance festival now presents programs of over 30 performances of works by well-known masters and young artists alike and over 200 workshops. We spoke with its director, Karl Regensburger, about the festival.
Play of the Month
Play of the Month; Moro-moro, Uru-uru By Jun Tsutsui
This is a contemporary colloquial-language style play for senior citizens created by the leader of the performance arts group dracom, Jun Tsutsui, in collaboration with the Takatsuki Senior Gekidan theater company “Soyo Kaze Pedal.” The play intermixes scenes of the members of a mountain climbing club and their anxiety about one of their members who disappeared after going climbing alone and is now a “missing person,” and scenes from a video that he left behind. The result is a poignant depiction of people trying to come to grips with the cruelly intangible “death” of a missing person.
Play of the Month; Choreography Concept 001 for untrained amateurs / Study in weight and movement by Yuya Tsukahara
Yuya Tsukahara, the leader of the group “contact Gonzo” known for its unique type of improvisational performance that sometimes looks like street fighting and sometimes dance, wrote this stage direction script as a form of choreographic guide to enable even amateurs to give performances. As a stage performance it premiered as a finalist work in the 2014 Toyota Choreography Awards. It is a performance (silent play) in which the four performers use movement alone and, by applying weight to each others’ bodies, experience the fetters and responsibilities, and at times the joys, of being alive.
Play of the Month; “Ato, Ato (Traces - On and On)” by Yuko Kuwabara
This play by Yuko Kuwabara, the playwright, director and actress of the theater company KAKUTA, is winner of the 18th (2014) Tsuruya Nanboku Drama Award. A hit-and-run accident took place on a stormy night. Ten years later, the mother of the victim has once again set out to trace the life of her son, after being told by doctors that she has a terminal illness. Relying on what she can learn from people involved in her son’s life, the search goes on in an air of suspense while revealing images of people’s lives buffeted by fate.
Arts Organization of the Month
Arts Organization of the Month: Aerowaves
Aerowaves was established in 1996 as a network to support the activities of younger choreographers. The Aerowaves network is an outgrowth of a proposal by John Ashford, who served as theatre director of the comprehensive contemporary dance institution, The Place. The network members currently consist of theatres, festivals and the like in 33 countries across Europe, which collectively provide support for the twenty promising young choreographers called the “Aerowaves Twenty” selected each year.
Arts Organization of the Month: Gati Dance Forum
Based in New Delhi, India, Gati Dance Forum is an organization dedicated to sustainable, long-term development of an environment to support a dance community in India. Founded in 2007, the Forum is known for its pioneering role in the field of Indian contemporary dance and as organizer of the international dance festival “IGNITE!”. In addition, the Gati Dance Forum runs the GATI STUDIO and engages in a variety of programs aimed at nurturing and stimulating the dance community in India.
Arts Organization of the Month: IMAGINE 2020
IMAGINE 2020 is a network organization devoted to promoting artistic activities dealing with the global issue of climate change. Serving as the project leader is Kaaitheater of Brussels. The network’s participating members are progressive performing arts organizations based around Europe that seek to make effective use of creative expression in programs aimed at bringing about a revolution in consciousness concerning the environment.
Japan Topics
The 59th (2015) Kishida Drama Award winner is Kenji Yamauchi’s Torowaguro   May. 7, 2015
English version of “THEATER IN JAPAN: An Overview of Performing Arts and Artists” published
Artist interview collection from this website, “Energizing Japanese Culture: The Performing Arts in Japan,” released!
Presenter Topics
Germany’s Ruhr Triennale opens (Aug. 14 – Sep. 26, 2015)   New! (Aug. 7, 2015)
The 69th the Avignon Festival opens (Jul. 4 – 25, 2015)   New! (Jul. 28, 2015)
New York’s Lincoln Center Festival begins (Jul. 7 – Aug. 2, 2015)   New! (Jul. 28, 2015)
68th Edinburgh International Festival opens (Aug. 7 – 31, 2015)   New! (Jul. 28, 2015)
News from the Japan Foundation
News from the Japan Foundation
Japan Foundation 2014-15 (second application period) foreign exchange grant recipients announced   Oct. 8, 2014
Performing arts support program “Performing Arts Japan” (PAJ) accepts grant application period for 2015 – 2016   Oct. 8, 2014
Japan Foundation 2014-15 (first application period) foreign exchange grant recipients announced   Jun. 13, 2014
2014 – 2015 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for North America programs finalized   Jun. 2, 2014
2014 – 2015 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for Europe programs finalized   Jun. 2, 2014
Overview of “THEATER IN JAPAN: An Overview of Performing Arts and Artists”   Jun. 9, 2010