The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 138 Updated Oct. 28, 2019
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Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
Artist Interview: The Experiments of Yudai Kamisato  What is Theater as Messenger?
Yudai KamisatoWith immigrant roots going back to his great-grandfather who emigrated to Peru from Okinawa and followed by three generations that immigrated back and forth between the two countries, Yudai Kamisato is a playwright and theatre director (leader of the Okazaki Art Theatre company). A constant quest to understand of his own roots has led Kamisato to travel to different parts of the world in search “hearsay that can be turned into theatre” through his intuitive approach to the art of theatre. Material he found in Peru led him to write the play The Story of Descending the Long Slopes of Valparaiso, a representative work written in his unique style which won the 62nd Kishida Drama Award and has brought him considerable acknowledgment in Japan’s theatre world.
Artist Interview: Megumi Nakamura’s Choreographic Center To be a “home port” for dancers
Masashige IidaMasashige Iida is a creator of dance video works projected on a large dome-shaped light screen like that of a planetarium. The absence of any frame gives the depictions of body motion in his works an incredible immersive quality that has won high acclaim in overseas dome video festivals as well as at home. In this interview Iida talks about recent works like HIRUKO done in collaboration with the Butoh artist Kazuko Mogami that express the unique Japanese-born world of Butoh and about the future possibilities of the dome video platform for expressing human motion.
Artist Interview: Megumi Nakamura’s Choreographic Center To be a “home port” for dancers
Megumi NakamuraMegumi Nakamura was active as a top dancer for the Netherlands Dance Theatre (NDT) for nine years beginning from 1991. Since moving her base of activities to Japan in 2007, she has performed as a dancer in collaboration with artists in a wide range of genres, from Noh to theater, as well as serving as a choreographer in collaboration with Yasuyuki Shuto and in creating new works for Tokyo’s New National Theatre Ballet company. With her wealth of experience as a dancer and her desire to contribute to society, she speaks about her message for the future.
Presenter Interview
Presenter Interview; The new realms being explored by Dancehouse Australia’s only dance-specific arts center
Po-Chieh ChenTaiwan’s city of Taichung has a popular new cultural site in the National Taichung Theater (NTT) designed by the Japanese architect Toyo Ito. Its programming associate, Po-Chieh Chen, who among other activities has also been an important figure involved in the establishment of the Performing Arts Alliance (PAA), a platform for performing arts professionals, talks with us about the cutting edge of the performing arts scene in Taiwan.
Presenter Interview; The new realms being explored by Dancehouse Australia’s only dance-specific arts center
Angela ConquetFounded in Melbourne in 1992 as the only arts facility in Australia focused exclusively on dance, Dancehouse presents performances yearround and provides choreographers with ongoing support for their creative activities, as well as organizing the biennial “Dance Massive” festival and the Keir Choreographic Award. In this interview we speak with Angela Conquet, the director of this dynamic contemporary dance base in Australia.
Presenter Interview; A Base in Southeast Asia creating the future for A spectrum of multidisciplinary performance arts
Tan E-JanToccata Studio was founded in 2012 in the city of Petaling Jaya near the capital of Kuala Lumpur as a base for experimental performance art. Since then, under the leadership of independent producer Tan E-Jan, it has worked to build an environment for the creation of multidisciplinary performance arts in Malaysia. In this interview Tan speaks about the organization’s work to form an international network based in Southeast Asia and its latest projects.
Play of the Month
Play of the Month; Nina’s Cotton by Takahiro Fujita
This play depicts the life of famed Japanese stage director Yukio Ninagawa, who passed away on May 12th of 2016 at the age of 80. It was written by playwright and director Takahiro Fujita (leader of the company Mum & Gypsy) at the request of Ninagawa himself based on interviews about his life in theater, beginning with his childhood and then his emergence on Japan’s underground theater scene in the 1960s and his ensuing career in commercial theater. Originally, Ninagawa intended to stage and direct the play himself, but that was never realized before his death. So the play remained unseen until its premiere in 2019 as a reading play for multiple characters directed by Ninagawa’s former directing assistant, Sonsho Inoue.
Play of the Month; Beautiful World by Ryuta Horai
This play was written in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the theater company Modern Swimmers, for which Ryuta Horai is the resident playwright. The story is about a stay-at-home in his mid-40s named Natsuhiko, his father’s younger brother Junji and his wife Kinuko, who is has been driven to the end of her wits by her husband’s power harassment. The play begins with the meeting of these two who are being driven to their limits.
Play of the Month; Wasureru Nihonjin (The Japanese, Who Forget) by Shuntaro Matsubara (stage script by Chiten)
This play (premiered 2017) is a representative work of Shuntaro Matsubara, who won the 63rd Kishida Drama Award for YAMAYAMA (I WOULD PREFER NOT TO) . This play takes as its subject the book Wasurerareta Nihonjin (The Japanese, Who were Forgotten) by Japanese folklorist Tsuneichi Miyamoto, who walked to every corner of Japan gathering the songs and stories of the common people of rural Japan. The voluminous text by Matsubara was adapted as a stage script by Motoi Miura, the leader of the theater company Chiten, and brought to the stage as a co-production with the Kanagawa Arts Theatre.
Arts Organization of the Month
Arts Organization of the Month: Art for Justice Fund
This grantmaking fund was created to providing funding for individuals and organizations dedicated to providing aid aimed at helping people coming out of prison after serving their terms to reenter American society positively by offering them suitable educational and employment opportunities. The fund was founded in 2017 with seed money from the well-known philanthropist and art collector, Agnes Gund, by donating the proceeds from the sale of art in her collection and encouraging other art patrons to do the same. As a result, a total of 32 million US dollars in grant money has been distributed to more than 60 post-incarceration aid projects as of 2019.
Arts Organization of the Month: SIN Culture Centre
Based in Budapest, SÍN Cultural Centre is a non-profit production house dedicated to the nurturing and supporting the creative activities of artists in Hungary’s contemporary performing arts. Having three studio facilities, the Centre supports a variety of artists, operates an artist in residence program and is active in an international arts network as it works to raise the level of Hungary’s contemporary performing arts and aims to increase awareness of them in Europe.
Arts Organization of the Month: Kinosaki International Arts Center (KIAC)
Opened in 2014 as an artist-in-residence facility in the Kinosaki hot spring spa town of Toyooka City, Hyogo prefecture, this municipal center of Toyooka City is dedicated primarily to programs for artists in the performing arts. Renovated from the former Kinosaki residence-type conference and study center with its large hall (capacity of up to 1,000), the new Center has performance hall and six studios and residence facilities for up to 22 artists. With artists able to stay for periods of up to three months free of charge, the center now serves as a base for creation of new dance and theater works and creation of international collaborative productions.
Japan Topics
Aichi Triennale opens (Aug. 1 – Oct. 14, 2019)   New! (Aug. 1, 2019)
The 63rd (2018) Kishida Drama Award winner is Shuntaro Matsubara   Mar. 26, 2019
Oriza Hirata’s Nihon Bungaku Seisui-shi (The Rise and Fall of Japanese Literature) wins the 22nd Tsuruya Namboku Memorial Drama Award   Mar. 26, 2019
Yokohama Dance Collection 2019 competition choreography award winners chosen   Mar. 26, 2019
Presenter Topics
Berlin’s “Theatertreffen” festival to open (May 3 – 20, 2019)   May. 7, 2019
Austria’s largest arts festival Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival Weeks) opens (May 10 – June 16, 2019)   Apr. 15, 2019
News from the Japan Foundation
News from the Japan Foundation
A celebration of cultural exchange between Japan and Southeast Asia, “Asia in Resonance 2019” (June 22 – July 15, 2019)   May. 30, 2019
Japan Foundation 2018 – 2019 (first application period) Grant Program for Dispatching Artists and Cultural Specialists grantees announced   Jun. 26, 2018
2018 – 2019 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for North America programs finalized   Jun. 26, 2018
2018 – 2019 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for Europe programs finalized   Jun. 26, 2018
Wochi Kochi Magazine Vol. 70 “Japan & Southeast Asia: Building Bonds through Sports”   New!