The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Energizing the Performing Arts Through International Exchange
J. F. Oberlin (ôbirin) University began practical artistic education in 2005, assisted by director Hirata Oriza (currently professor at the Center for the Study of Communication-Design of Osaka University). Prunus Hall, which the university built in front of the train station, is operated by both professionals and students. The hall is actively used for performances open to the public and is contributing to local outreach. In 2006, Osaka University of Arts also opened its own theater.

In the United States, university theaters are a part of the local community art scene, but in Japan, universities have traditionally been operated as closed research institutes. With this fact in mind, it is worth noting that this series of experiments is a new effort that is changing the relationship between the universities and their local communities.

Nagata Ken’ichi, Professor of Art at Chiba University, has guided his school in sending students out into the community to do fieldwork while cooperating with local residents in planning, producing, and implementing such activities as The Art Project of Kemigawa Transmission Place, a project using an abandoned building. Increasing numbers of individual professors and their students have been carrying out different projects in the area.

New faculties and graduate schools are being founded in which arts management is treated as a field related to public administration or public policy, whether at the municipal or regional level. Shizuoka University of Art and Culture, founded in 2000 by Shizuoka Prefecture and the city of Hamamatsu, is home to Japan’s first Faculty of Cultural Policy and Management, and it includes the Department of Art Management. The university is being administered with increasing awareness of the need to be “open to the community,” and the fully staged firelight Nô performances that the students plan and produce are open to the public. In addition, Shizuoka Prefecture provides material support for recitals of entrants in the International Opera Competition in Shizuoka. In this and other ways, the projects produced in cooperation with the local government are being used as opportunities for practical learning.

Issues in Arts Management Education

As we have seen, the phrase “arts management education” can denote a variety of courses, and it is clear that the concept of arts management covers a broad area. When this kind of education first began at the university level, most courses were in lecture form, and there was criticism of them as mere education for cultural enrichment. Nowadays, however, courses include practical instruction and exercises. Recently, short-term internships have been introduced as part of these arts management programs.

Communities have begun to demand that universities operate more openly and be increasingly available to them, and many attempts have been made to contribute to the welfare of the region through arts management. These efforts are gradually beginning to bear fruit. On the other hand, the public cultural institutions that were expected to need personnel trained in arts management have not shown much awareness of this specialized occupation. Even though the personnel have received training, they have limited opportunities to make use of their skills. An imbalance between supply and demand has thus become a problem.

Academic associations that support this type of university education and research include the Japan Association for Cultural Economics, founded in 1992, the Japan Museum Management Academy, founded in 1995, and the Japan Association for Arts Management, founded in 1998.
| 1 | 2 |