The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 126 Updated Jan. 18, 2017
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Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
Artist Interview: The Power of Mitsunori Fukuhara, Changing reality with comic imagination
Mitsunori FukuharaAs co-leader, playwright and director of a number of theater companies, each different in character, including Pichichi 5, Bed & Makings and Nippon no Kasen, Mitsunori Fukuhara is engaged in a wide variety of theater-making that can’t be classified as any one type. Also writing actively for outside productions, Fukuhara has created many stories that take as their main characters common people who transcend their everyday realities with comic imagination. In this interview with Fukuhara, who claims that he wants to combat reality by creating fiction, we get a look at his life and theories about theater.
Artist Interview: OiBokkeShi’s Naoki Sugawara and his theme of “aging and theater”
Naoki SugawaraAs the leader of the theater group OiBokkeShi and also a certified care-giver, Naoki Sugawara’s activities include confront the issues of aging, senility and death in the theatrical context using elderly actors, and also holding workshops for care-givers who work with victims of senility. After a career as an actor with Seinendan, Sugawara moved to Okayama Prefecture where he started OiBokkeShi and began his newly focused activities in the town of Nagicho. In this interview with Sugawara we hear about his approach in pioneering new possibilities in theater.
Artist Interview: Traditional Kyoto Dance Artist Yasuko Inoue and her vision as a young successor of the art
Yasuko InoueTraditional Kyoto dance of the Inoue school is the style of dance long performed by the trained performing apprentice Geisha, called Maiko, of the Gion Kobu district, the traditional Geisha quarter of Kyoto. Since this style was established as a school of dance in the Edo Period (1603 to 1868) with influences from Kamigata dance, Noh and the dance of the puppets in Joruri puppet performance, etc., this style of dance has been taught by a succession of female dance artists/instructors from generation to generation. Yasuko Inoue (b. 1988) is the young successor to this line. Raised in a family where her mother, Yachiyo Inoue, is a Living National Treasure who carried on the tradition through the dramatic social changes of her time, and her father is Tetsunojou Kanze IX, successor to the Kanze school of Noh, Inoue spoke with us about her vision of the world of Inoue-school dance.
Presenter Interview
Presenter Interview; The aims of Legend Tokyo   Japan’s biggest street dance event
Mitsuaki Kudo
Legend Tokyo is a street dance competition that has been held since 2011. It is a choreography contest in which choreographers selected after preliminary rounds choreograph dance shows for groups of dancers. Until now, the competition has introduced artists who are now widely active in the general performing arts scene, such as Tatsuya Hasegawa of DAZZLE and Umebou. In this interview we talk with Legend Tokyo’s founder, Mitsuaki Kudo, about his passion for dance and the unique perspective he brings to the dance industry.
Presenter Interview; Battersea Arts Centre and its experiments as A public theatre specifically in the service of the locality
David Jubb
Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) occupies the impressive old building formerly the town hall of the south London borough of Battersea that was repurposed as a community centre and theatre. Since 2004, theatre producer David Jubb has served as its artistic director. Since then, together with his former co-artistic director Tom Morris, Jubb and BAC have pioneered a method of creating arts works it dubs Scratch, which draws local people, from adults to children, to initiate and pursue creative activities at BAC, effectively forging an entirely new type of community-oriented public theatre.
Presenter Interview; Seeking to Build Society Through Art  The Cambodian Circus, Phare
Dara Huot
The Kingdom of Cambodia was established in 1993 after years of war and unrest. One of the international non-government organizations (NGOs) that has worked for the country’s recovery is Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS), which founded a school in an impoverished area to spread art education. In 2013, PPS also established a social enterprise named Cambodian Circus, Phare to run an original, uniquely Cambodian circus that has become a very successful tourism business. In this interview we speak with the circus’ founder and CEO, Dara Huot.
Play of the Month
Play of the Month; The Day of Anne by Roba Shimori
This is a new work on the subject of women by Roba Shimori, a writer who applies an approach involving extensive research to explore the uncomfortable realities around us through subjects such as societal issues and historical incidents. Set in the product development department of a company that produces sanitary napkins (menstrual pads), this play looks at the personal and working lives of eight women involved in new product development.
Play of the Month; Kodomo no Jijo (The Kids’ World) by Koki Mitani
This is the latest play by the popular playwright Koki Mitani. It is set in the early 1960s when Mitani himself was a schoolboy, and the characters are all 4th-grade students in Class #3 of the Kusu Elementary School. They are all classmates who call each other by their nicknames. The narrator, who we can imagine to be Mitani as a child, and eight of his classmates, each with their unique character, are squabbling and maneuvering to decide who will have which duties in the class, and the machinations take on the nature of a microcosm of adult society and politics. In the play’s premiere, all of the school children were played by adult actors, and frequent songs and live piano playing added to the lively air of the play’s nostalgic depiction of the free and easy joys of childhood.
Play of the Month; Chiten no Kimi by Ken Furukawa
This play is a representative work (premiered 2013) of Ken Furukawa, the resident writer of the theater company Chocolate Cake, known for his works that take their subjects from actual historical events. It is a work in which Setsuko, the wife of the Taisho Emperor, who ruled as the 123rd Emperor of Japan for 15 years from 1912 to 1926, looks back over her husband’s life as the person he was. Through this figure of the Emperor, the play portrays this era of modern Japanese society, and its premiere production won the 21st Yomiuri Drama Awards Grand Prix. Since then, it has been restaged numerous times.
Arts Organization of the Month
Arts Organization of the Month: The Neilson Foundation
The Neilson Foundation is a foundation that supports both the arts and charities that play important roles in the encouragement and protection of diversity and social cohesion. The Foundation was established in 2007 by Mr. Keer Neilson, co-founder of the Australian investment company Platinum Asset Management. In the field of the arts, the Foundation supports excellence in artistic activities by organizations including Australia’s representative orchestras, theatre companies, art museums, arts festivals and the like.
Arts Organization of the Month: Komunitas Salihara
Komunitas Salihara is a privately run comprehensive arts center presenting programs of multidisciplinary arts from music, dance and theater to literature, film, fine arts and more in Jakarta, Indonesia. Founded in 2008 as a platform for Indonesian culture, Komunitas Salihara engages in a wide variety of programs such as Salihara International Performing Arts Festival, Salihara Theaterfest, Salihara Dancefest and Salihara Literary Biennale.
Arts Organization of the Month: Urban Heat
In Europe, the cultural and creative sectors play an important economic role. This is a four-year project launched in 2015 with funding from Creative Europe, the European Union’s program to protect diversity and stimulate creativity (the project’s office is set up in the offices of London’s LIFT festival). It is operated by a network of 12 European festivals in 11 countries and strives to support artists in their work to connect the arts to a broader social base.
Japan Topics
The 62nd (2018) Kishida Drama Award winners are Yudai Kamisato and Mitsunori Fukuhara   New! (Mar. 12, 2018)
Ryo Iwamatsu’s Usui Momoiro no Katamari wins the 21st Tsuruya Namboku Memorial Drama Award   New! (Feb. 27, 2018)
Yokohama Dance Collection 2018 competition choreography award winners chosen   New! (Feb. 21, 2018)
Yokohama Dance Collection 2018 held (Feb. 2 – 18, 2018)   Feb. 13, 2018
TPAM in Yokohama 2018 to be held (Feb. 10 – 18, 2018)   Feb. 13, 2018
Presenter Topics
South Australia’s largest arts festival, the Adelaide Festival (Mar. 2 – 18, 2018)   New! (Feb. 1, 2018)
46th Hong Kong Arts Festival opens (Feb. 23 – Mar. 24, 2018)   New! (Feb. 1, 2018)
New York’s international theater festival Under the Radar (Jan. 4 – 15, 2018)   Jan. 5, 2018
South India’s 10th International Theatre Festival of Kerala held (Jan. 20 – 28, 2018)   Jan. 5, 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   New! (Feb. 5, 2018)
ART ARCHIVE published as an English-language e-book series introducing the Philippine arts scene   New! (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. 061 “Regional Cultural Assets and International Exchange”   New!