The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 130 Updated Jun. 1, 2018
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Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
Artist Interview: What does Hatsune Miku embody? The vision of Wataru Sasaki
Mayumi MiyataJapanese gagaku court music has been passed down for more than a thousand years. Born of a mix of ancient Japanese music and music transplanted from continental Asia, gagaku developed into a unique musical tradition, and in 2009 it was officially added to UNESCO’s list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as a representative form of Japanese culture. Mayumi Miyata is a professional Sho musician who has pioneered efforts to introduce the unique appeal of Japanese gagaku music internationally. In this interview we hear about the world of Miyata’s music, which now includes collaborations with artists in contemporary music, contemporary dance, opera and more.
Artist Interview: What does Hatsune Miku embody? The vision of Wataru Sasaki
Wataru SasakiWataru Sasaki (born 1979) of Crypton Future Media, Inc. is the creator of the virtual singer software “Hatsune Miku.” Since it was released 2007, a new creative culture has swept the Internet as huge numbers of users began uploading new Hatsune Miku songs and videos they created with it. This new culture has spread with the birth of various types of collaborative productions, including even concerts where fans can go to hear Hatsune Miku perform “live” on stage. In this full-length interview, Sasaki talks about the new future that digital technology like this can open up in the performing arts, and also his personal vision that extends to genres like Butoh.
Artist Interview: Shintaro Hirahara’s image of Theatrical dance
Shintaro HiraharaShintaro Hirahara is the double award winner for the final Toyota Choreography Awards 2016, receiving both the Next Age Choreographer Award and the Audience Award. Starting his career with the dance company Noism, he also danced as a member of C/Ompany and Condors and went on to establish his own dance company OrganWorks in 2013. In this interview, Hirahara speaks about the “theatrical” dance expression he seeks with his high trained physicality.
Artist Interview: Stage musician/sound artist Hiroko Tanagawa Interpreting Satoshi Miyagi’s theatrical world
Hiroko TanakawaFor over 20 years, Hiroko Tanakawa has created the stage music/sound for productions directed by Satoshi Miyagi. Using the performing actors in their rotations on stage and a rich variety of percussion instruments, Tanakawa has created a unique style of stage sound. For Miyagi’s 2017 New Kabuki production The War Chronicles of Mahabharata, Tanakawa worked in collaboration with Kabuki musicians. In this interview we explore the work of Tanakawa, who, with no formal music education, recognizes herself as a creative outsider in world of stage sound and music.
Presenter Interview
Presenter Interview; La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club  Artistic Director Mia Yoo
Mia YooLa MaMa Experimental Theatre Club was founded in 1961 by the New York theater legend Ellen Stewart. The initial space was so small that it accommodated only around twenty-five people, but it has expanded to become an organization today with four buildings in the East Village. After Ellen passed away in 2011, Mia Yoo became her successor as artistic director; and in this interview with Yoo we learn about the La MaMa spirit and the richly diverse range of programs it engages in today.
Presenter Interview; Mozambique’s Emerging Contemporary Dance Scene
Quito Tembe
As a multiethnic country with a large immigrant population located in the southeast of the African continent, Mozambique has a rich culture of ethnic dance. In the 15 years socialist reform and governance following the country’s independence for Portugal in 1975, the performing arts were promoted as a means to build national spirit and awareness, and since the nation’s democratization around 1990, a dynamic new wave of creators has emerged. In this interview we talk with the initiator of the Kinani international contemporary dance festival launched in 2005, Quito Tembe, about the latest developments in dance in Mozambique.
Presenter Interview; A new director takes the reins in Lyon, France’s mecca of contemporary dance
Dominique Hervieu
Known as a city flush with budget for arts and culture, Lyon, France has embraced contemporary dance as a core of its identity as a city. After establishing its Maison de la Danse as France’s first theater dedicated to dance, the city launched the Lyon Dance Biennale in 1984. In this significant interview we talk with Dominique Hervieu, the successor to the founding director of the theater and the festival, Guy Darmet.
Presenter Interview; New Theatre Institute of Latvia (NTIL) Leading the Latvia Performing Arts World since the 1990
Laura Stasane
Located on the east coast of the Baltic Sea, the Republic of Latvia became independent from the former Soviet Union in 1991. Based in the capital city of Riga, the New Theatre Institute of Latvia (NTIL) with its producer Laura Stasane is the co-organizer of the country’s representative performing arts festivals, “Homo Novus.” In this interview with Stasane, we learn about Latvia’s independent performing arts scene, which until now has been little known to the Japanese audience.
Play of the Month
Play of the Month; Sekido no Shita no Macbeth (Macbeth on the Equator) by Chong Wishing
This is the fourth play in Chong Wishing’s series of plays on Japan’s postwar history, following Tatoeba No ni Saku Hana no Yo ni (Like a Flower Blooming on the Moor), Yakiniku Dragon (Korean Barbeque Dragon) and Parma-ya Sumire (Beauty Parlor Sumire) commissioned by the New National Theatre, Tokyo. Set in a prison in Singapore following Japan’s defeat in World War II where Japanese and Korean B, C class war criminals already sentenced to death spend their last days while still struggling to live with dignity, the play depicts the absurdity of war, human folly and the nobility of the human spirit.
Play of the Month; Cameraman no Hentai by Naoki Sugawara
This is a play by Naoki Sugawara, the leader of the theater company OiBokkeShi based in the town of Nagicho, Okayama Prefecture, whose focus as a theater-maker is on aging. Set in a home for the elderly, it is a play for three characters that deals with the imminent issues of life and death and the way they intersect with underlying eroticism in human nature. It premiered in 2017 with 91-year-old Okayama City resident Tadao Okada (known in OiBokkeShi productions as “Oka-jii”) playing the lead role.
Play of the Month; Megashira wo Osaeta by Takuya Yokoyama
Set in a community in decline due to unrelenting depopulation, this play tells a story about the conflict between the older and younger generations regarding long-standing conventions of funeral rites as seen through the eyes of two high school girls and the relentless pressures of the changing times expressed in the poignant subtleties of the local dialect. This play premiered in 2012 as a production by Osaka’s ABC Hall and was restaged in 2013 by Yokoyama’s theater unit iaku. In 2018, it was rewritten from the Kansai dialect to the Miyazaki dialect and staged with direction by Tetsuya Matsumoto.
Arts Organization of the Month
Arts Organization of the Month: DutchCulture
Based in Amsterdam, the Dutch Center for International Cultural Cooperation (DutchCulture) is an organization that stimulates and supports international cooperation in art, culture and heritage. DutchCulture works with numerous partners to organize cross-border cultural programs. With programs like “TransArtists” that provides information on more than 1,400 artist-in-residences throughout the world, the Center offers advice to cultural and diplomatic professionals operating in, or aspiring to operate in the international arena though its variety of programs.
Arts Organization of the Month: Residency Unlimited (RU)
Residency Unlimited (RU) is a non-profit art organization founded in 2009 that supports the creation, presentation and dissemination of contemporary art through its unique residency program and year-round public programs primarily for domestic and foreign artists and curators. Located within the former South Congregational Church in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, the space is multifunctional, acting as a hub and meeting place for RU’s various communal activities to support public programs, including talks, screenings, performances and exhibitions.
Arts Organization of the Month: The Ian Potter Foundation (Australia)
This Melbourne-based foundation was founded in 1964 by the late Australian financier Sir Ian Potter. Reflecting Potter’s vision of “A vibrant, healthy and fair Australia,” its programs support the arts, community wellbeing, education, environmental preservation, health and support for people with disabilities through support for activities in the fields of knowledge and learning, medical research and the sciences.
Japan Topics
Japonismes 2018: les âmes en resonance: Stage performance lineup announced   New! (May. 14, 2018)
New National Theatre, Tokyo 2018/2019 Season Lineup Announced   New! (May. 22, 2018)
Ko Murobushi’s anthology “Ko Murobushi Shusei” released (Jan. 23, 2018)   New! (May. 8, 2018)
24th OMS Prize awarded to Akira Yamazaki for Melo-Melo Tachi   Mar. 22, 2018
The 62nd (2018) Kishida Drama Award winners are Yudai Kamisato and Mitsunori Fukuhara   Mar. 12, 2018
Presenter Topics
Opening of one of Austria’s leading comprehensive arts festivals “Wiener Festwochen” (May 11 – June 18, 2018)   New! (Mar. 28, 2018)
Berlin’s “Theatertreffen” festival set to open (May 4 – 20, 2018)   New! (Mar. 28, 2018)
South Australia’s largest arts festival, the Adelaide Festival (Mar. 2 – 18, 2018)   Feb. 1, 2018
46th Hong Kong Arts Festival opens (Feb. 23 – Mar. 24, 2018)   Feb. 1, 2018
News from the Japan Foundation
News from the Japan Foundation
TPAM in Yokohama 2018: Foreign presenters for Japan Foundation and Asia Center invitation decided   Feb. 5, 2018
ART ARCHIVE published as an English-language e-book series introducing the Philippine arts scene   Nov. 30, 2017
2017 – 2018 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for North America programs finalized   Jun. 14, 2017
2017 – 2018 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for Europe programs finalized   Jun. 14, 2017
Wochi Kochi Magazine Vol. 063 “Passion and Curiosity Open Doors to Cross-Cultural Communication – The Japan Foundation Awards 2017”   New!