The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 132 Updated Sep. 28, 2018
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Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
Artist Interview: Tengai Amano, an artist of the fantastic Commanding a nostalgia for the universe
Tengai AmanoWith creative activities ranging from writing, directing plays and movies to collage art and illustration, Tengai Amano is an artist of fantastical ideas. As leader of the Nagoya-based theater company Shonen-oja-kan, he is known as a master of unique word-craft in his scripts and geometric dance like to movement of robotic puppets and the ability to bring together stage art, music, lighting, video and acoustics to create a somehow nostalgic “Amano world.” In this long interview we search for the roots of Amano’s “universal nostalgia.”
Artist Interview: The World of Kaiji Moriyama Thinking with the Japanese Body
Kaiji MoriyamaActive in Japan and internationally, Kaiji Moriyama has won many fans as a “marvel dancer” known for his unique style and tough body. He has performed in the works of Israel’s Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak and actively pursued collaborative work with the Noh artist Reijiro Tsumura, and in recent years he has expanded his activities as a choreographer and director of works that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. Having started out in musical productions, Moriyama has pursued a unique sense of physicality that he talks about in this interview.
Artist Interview: The World of Kaiji Moriyama Thinking with the Japanese Body
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.
Presenter Interview
Presenter Interview; Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens Catalyst on Greece’s Contemporary Arts Scene
Katia Arfara
When the shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis passed away in 1975, the Onassis Foundation was established to honor the memory of his son Alexander who had died in an airplane crash by using money that would have been his inheritance for philanthropic purposes. It was this giant foundation that funded the construction of the Onassis Cultural Center as a comprehensive culture facility that opened in 2010. In this interview we spoke with Katia Arfara, the director of the Center’s theater and dance departments and programming director for its annual Fast Forward Festival held each May, about the Center’s programs and the festival.
Presenter Interview; Exploring the “Micro-Folie” concept spearheaded by Le Villette
As 2018 marks the 160th anniversary of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between France and Japan, Japonismes 2018: les âmes en resonance (souls in resonance) will take place from July 2018 to February 2019, introducing various aspects of Japanese culture in events at nearly 100 venues around the city of Paris, France. One of the venues will be La Villette, a multi-purpose park with numerous cultural facilities developed from the remains of the former national wholesale meat market as one of the Grand Projects of former President Mitterrand for the development of Paris. In this interview we spoke with Didier Fusillier, president of the Établissement public du Parc et de la Grande Halle de a Villette since 2015, who talks about his new projects.
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.
Play of the Month
Play of the Month; NO THEATER by Toshiki Okada
This play was created in collaboration with German actors as a repertory play for one of Germany’s leading public theaters, Munich Kammerspiele. Adopting the traditional Noh (NŌ) theater style, this is a contemporary Noh play consisting of two Noh plays with an interim Kyogen piece. It premiered in Germany in February of 2017 and was restaged in Kyoto in July of 2018. The setting is a subway train platform in Tokyo. Appearing in it are a departed spirit of the bubble [economy] and a ghost of feminism in a story that sheds light on a contemporary Japan swallowed up in the forces of capitalism.
Play of the Month; Usui Momoiro no Katamari by Ryo Iwamatsu
This play was recently written for the “Saitama Gold Theater” company for senior citizens of the SAINOKUNI Saitama Arts Theater. The play tells the story of the people of area evacuated due to radioactive contamination after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the resulting nuclear power plant accident, where wild boars came to rule after the people were gone. After a few years, the evacuation order has been lifted and people return, but only to find that the efforts of the area’s elders to reinstate the railway line that was destroyed by the earthquake are in vain. Eventually there is unrequited love reminiscent of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg.
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.
Arts Organization of the Month
Arts Organization of the Month: Taipei Artist Village/Treasure Hill Artist Village
Taipei Artist Village is a multipurpose facility opened in 2001 by the Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs for an Artist-in-Residence program. As part of the city’s program to revitalize vacant spaces, 13 rooms of a building that formerly housed the Taipei City Department of Public Maintenance and Construction were renovated to serve as studios and living accommodations and a dance studio and music room, etc. In 2010, the Treasure Hill Artist Village was newly opened in existing buildings in a historical part of the city that were renovated to serve as living spaces with studio space.
Arts Organization of the Month: Performing Lines (Australia)
From its predecessor, the Australian Content Division of the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust (AETT) established in 1982, Performing Lines became an incorporated non-profit organization in 1990 specializing in the performing arts. The main principles behind the organization’s programs are fostering uniquely Australian performing arts and supporting independent artists, and while helping in the network-building of people involved in the performing arts, Performing Lines supports new artists that express the diversity of the Australian experience in new ways.
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.
Japan Topics
Kyoto Experiment: Kyoto International Performing Arts Festival 2018 Opens (Oct. 6 – 28, 2018)   Oct. 9, 2018
ANTIBODIES Collective holds “Entoropical Paradise” event at the Seto Inland Sea island of Inujima (Oct. 5 – 8, 2018)   Oct. 9, 2018
Dance Dance Dance@YOKOHAMA 2018 (Aug. 4 – Sept 30, 2018)   Aug. 6, 2018
Tomoko Mukaiyama and Un Yamada collaboration GAKA performed in the Netherlands and Japan (June 15 – July 22)   Jul. 17, 2018
d-soko Theater “Dance ga Mitai!” 20 “With Yameru Maihime Performance” to be held (July 24 – Aug. 5, 2018)   Jul. 17, 2018
Japonismes 2018: les âmes en resonance: Stage performance lineup announced   May. 14, 2018
New National Theatre, Tokyo 2018/2019 Season Lineup Announced   May. 22, 2018
Presenter Topics
One of the World’s largest scale performing arts markets, CINARS Montreal opens (Nov. 12 – 17, 2018)   New! (Nov. 1, 2018)
Western Germany’s Grand Performing arts festival Ruhr Triennale opens (Aug. 9 – Sep. 23, 2018)   Aug. 9, 2018
The 72nd Avignon Festival in France (Jul. 6 – 24, 2018)   Aug. 9, 2018
News from the Japan Foundation
News from the Japan Foundation
Japan Foundation 2018 – 2019 (first application period) Grant Program for Dispatching Artists and Cultural Specialists grantees announced   New! (Jun. 26, 2018)
2018 – 2019 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for North America programs finalized   New! (Jun. 26, 2018)
2018 – 2019 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for Europe programs finalized   New! (Jun. 26, 2018)
ART ARCHIVE published as an English-language e-book series introducing the Philippine arts scene   Nov. 30, 2017
Wochi Kochi Magazine Vol. 064 “Japonismes 2018: Introducing the essence of Japanese arts and culture in France”   New!