The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 122 Updated May. 12, 2017
We are pleased to announce that PANJ is now on Twitter. We hope you will follow us.
Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
Artist Interview: The vision of Yutaka Kuramochi   A fascination with people and the world
Yutaka KuramochiActive as a writer and director of everything from commercial theater to small-theater productions, and as leader of the theater company Penguin Pull Pale Piles, Yutaka Kuramochi writes on commission in varied styles, from cynical comedy to plays based on Kabuki, Noh, novels and manga works. This interview delves into the art of Kuramochi that creates situations full of the enjoyment fiction can offer and character development that reveals perceptive observation of our world.
Artist Interview: Motoi Miura and Chiten  New Developments from the Studio
Motoi MiuraMotoi Miura and his theater company Chiten are known for theater-making based on dissection and recomposing of texts and the unique verbalization of its actors. In 2013, they opened a new studio in Kyoto named Underthrow, from which they have worked actively to create and perform a repertoire of works. In this interview, Miura talks about his recent activities, including once-a-year joint productions with Kanagawa Arts Theatre (KAAT) and joint work with musicians.
Artist Interview: Kukangendai’s change of rhythm, Opening up a new world of performance art
Junya NoguchiThe recording label HEADZ run by critic Atsushi Sasaki has produced many experimental stage art creations and collaborations with numerous musicians, including 口ロロ (Kuchiroro), Shuta Hasunuma, Sangatsu, Yoshio Otani and others. Among them is also the analog 3-piece band Kukangendai that creates odd-meter experimental music and has become the focus of particular attention thanks to its collaborative works with artists like Chiten’s Motoi Miura. In this interview we speak with Kukangendai’s lead guitar and vocalist Junya Noguchi about the band’s unique approach to sound-making and the running of their studio and live-performance house named soto that they opened in Kyoto.
Artist Interview: Akira Takayama, expanding the “architecture of theater” as a new platform in society
Akira TakayamaIn 2010, Akira Takayama and his team of artists introduced “The Complete Manual of Evacuation,” a theatrical project that set up “evacuation points” at locations around a city where “evacuees” (project participants) could discovered various communities, from religious facilities to collective and shared housing, homeless people, and even so-called “encounter cafés” as places to evacuate from the city they know and construct new relationships. In ways like this, Takayama is using his own physical research and the theatrical approach to create projects that expand the “architecture of theater” and connect it to society, while bringing together collaborating artists from various genres. In this interview Takayama talks about his activities up until his most recent project, “European Thinkbelt.”
Presenter Interview
Presenter Interview; Manchester Age-friendly City   A new role for arts and culture
Esme Ward
In the City of Manchester, UK an Age-friendly Manchester (AFM) has been initiated as a partnership of organizations, groups and individuals playing their part in making Manchester a great place to grow older. The Strategic Lead of Culture for AFM is Esme Ward (Director of Learning and Engagement Department, The Whitworth/Manchester Museum). In this interview Ward talks about the new role of the arts and culture in AFM programs.
Presenter Interview; Théâtre de Gennevilliers  A bridge to Contemporary Japanese Theater
Daniel Jeanneteau
France’s Théâtre de Gennevilliers has a tradition of exchange with contemporary Japanese theater-makers. Its new director since January 2017, Daniel Jeanneteau, is one of the leading directors on the French contemporary theater scene, and one who has visited Japan numerous times to direct productions, such as Blind Spot using Japanese actors at the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC). In this interview Jeanneteau talks about future projects and the relationship with Japan.
Presenter Interview; Festival Temps d’Image Cluj Highlighting New Romanian Drama
Miki Braniște
A “Post Transition Period” generation of young artists emerged in Romania in the tumultuous transition period of the 1990s, following the revolution of 1989 that overthrew the country’s communist regime. The festival that highlights the work of this generation’s theater-makers known as New Romanian Drama is the Temps d’Image Cluj festival. To learn about this festival with its cross-genre program and particular prominence of political documentary type theater, we spoke with its Director, Miki Braniște.
Presenter Interview; Yamamoto Noh Theatre and its Quest to be an “Open Noh Theater”
Yoshie Yamamoto
The Yamamoto Noh Theatre (Yamamoto Nohgakudo) is the oldest Noh theater in Osaka and one conducting some of the most progressive programs. These include “Street Noh,” collaborations with various non-Noh artists, a program of evening performances called “Kyoto-Osaka Traditional Performing Arts Night for Beginners” that present beginner audiences with programs bringing together a selection of different traditional performing arts of the Kyoto-Osaka area, and even the development of digital Noh apps. The theater has also embraced international exchange programs and through them has won the “Earth Citizen Award” of the Japan Foundation in 2015. In this interview, Yamamoto Noh Theatre Administrative Director, Yoshie Yamamoto, talks about the possibilities of the “Open Noh Theater” they are working to become.
Play of the Month
Play of the Month; PORTAL by Shinichiro Hayashi
This play was produced through a collaboration, with the script written by Shinichiro Hayashi, leader of the Osaka-based theater company Kyokuto Taikutsu Dojo, and direction by the late Yukichi Matsumoto (Ishinha). The subject is the city of Toyonaka, a “satellite city” of Osaka. Taking as its motifs a computer game called “PORTAL,” which is a puzzle game that involves opening holes in walls to go to another dimension, and a territory-capturing game named “ingress” that takes realistic contemporary cityscapes as its setting, the play creates a contemporary myth. It was the last work of Matsumoto, who passed away on June 18, 2016.
Play of the Month; This New World that Had to Come by Makoto Ueda
This play is the winner of the 61st Kishida Drama Award written by Kyoto-based Makoto Ueda, a playwright known for his multiple-character comedies employing elements of video games, science fiction and fantasy. Set in Osaka’s Shinsekai shopping and business district in the near future where drones fly constantly overhead and artificial-intelligence technology is a common part of daily life, it is a new type of slapstick comedy flavored by new cyber-society possibilities and played out between the late-middle-aged men of this old downtown area and the robots around them.
Play of the Month; Fureta dake by Kengo Minamide
Winner of the 22nd Japan Playwrights Association New Playwright Prize, this play is written by Kengo Minamide (born: 1974), a writer known for his depictions of the conflict-ridden human relationships of somehow twisted men and women living and interacting beneath the thin veil of social anxiety that haunts contemporary life. The first act paints a picture of the triangle relationship between two brothers and the elder brother’s lover, while the second act introduces a middle-aged man who is buying the favors of the lover’s younger sister, and the third act explores the relationship between the middle-aged man’s ex-wife and her lover from her college days.
Arts Organization of the Month
Arts Organization of the Month: Sidney Myer Fund and The Myer Foundation
The Sydney Myer Fund and the Myer Foundation are private philanthropic organizations committed to support of programs for the arts and humanities, education, alleviating poverty and supporting the disadvantaged and the environment and sustainability. An Australian of Jewish lineage and a committed advocate of the arts, Sydney Myer founded the Fund in 1934 as a means to continue to contribute to the advancement of arts and culture in Australia. In 1952, his sons founded the Myer Foundation to further contribute to projects in science and technology and the environment.
Arts Organization of the Month: The Baring Foundation
The Baring Foundation is an independent foundation established in 1969 by the Baring Bank, a London bank that dated back to the 18th century (the bank went out of business in 1995). The Foundation’s mission is to use the power of the independent and effective civil society both nationally and internationally to improve the quality of life of people experiencing disadvantage and discrimination by giving grants in the field of the arts, for international development and for the strengthening of volunteer organizations. Since 2010 the Foundation has focused on arts for the elderly, newly establishing a grant program for participatory arts with people over 60 based on open applications.
Arts Organization of the Month: EGEAC (Empresa de Gestão de Equipamentos e Animação Cultural de Lisboa)
EGEAC (Empresa de Gestão de Equipamentos e Animação Cultural de Lisboa) is an organization responsible for overall administration of the various programs for the promotion of the arts and cultural in Portugal’s capital of Lisbon. EGEAC’s predecessor is EBAHL (Equipamentos dos Bairros Históricos de Lisboa, E.P.), a public company established in 1995 for the purpose of renovating the city’s historical quarters. Currently, EGEAC manages the numerous cultural facilities and public spaces of Lisbon and also organizes a number of arts and cultural festivals.
Japan Topics
World Theatre Festival Shizuoka under Mt. Fuji 2017 (Apr. 28 – May 7, 2017)   New! (Apr. 25, 2017)
The New National Theatre, Tokyo Announces 2017/2018 Season Schedule   New! (Apr. 25, 2017)
The 61st (2017) Kishida Drama Award winner is Makoto Ueda’s Kiteketsukarubeki Shin Sekai   Mar. 4, 2017
Presenter Topics
The 22nd Kunsten Festival des Arts in Brussels (May 5 – 27, 2017)   May. 8, 2017
Opening of the “Wiener Festwochen” one of Austria’s leading comprehensive arts festivals (May 12 – June 18, 2017)   May. 8, 2017
“Theatertreffen” to open in Berlin (May 6 – 21, 2017)   May. 8, 2017
News from the Japan Foundation
News from the Japan Foundation
2017 – 2018 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for North America programs finalized   New! (Jun. 14, 2017)
2017 – 2018 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for Europe programs finalized   New! (Jun. 14, 2017)
Wochi Kochi Magazine Vol. 059 “Evolving International Exhibitions and Their Future”   New!