The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 136 Updated Apr. 27, 2019
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Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
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.
Artist Interview: The world of Rankoh Fujima Pioneer of the realm of Suodori
Rankoh FujimaIn addition to his role in promoting the succession and spread of Japanese traditional dance (Nihon Buyo), Rankoh Fujima is active as a choreographer, stage director and writer of new works based on stories old and new from all corners. He is known for his collaborations with other dance genres such as ballet and tap dance. In this interview he talks about his new work Nobunaga in which he performed with the Russian ballet dancer Farukh Ruzimatov, performances in India with his Goyokai group of five Nihon Buyo artists from different schools and other activities at home and abroad that seek new possibilities for traditional Japanese dance.
Artist Interview: Tengai Amano, an artist of the fantastic Commanding a nostalgia for the universe
Chikara FujiwaraChikara Fujiwara (b. 1977) is a critic and artist with a background in editing. In 2014 he published “ENGEKI QUEST” (Theater Quest), a “Adventure Book” (adventure game scenario) set in an actual town as a project that guides participants to encounters around the town. We spoke with Fujiwara about his new type of theatrical quest as a member of the home computer roll-playing game generation.
Presenter Interview
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.
Presenter Interview; Tadashi Suzuki and Theatre Olympics Exploring the state of the world through theatre
Tadashi SuzukiIt has been some 40 years since Tadashi Suzuki and the Waseda Small Theater (currently Suzuki Company of Toga, or SCOT) moved to Toga-mura in Toyama Prefecture, Japan. Today there are four theatres, two outdoor theatres, several lodging facilities, etc., renovated to create an international base for performing arts activities. This year, the 9th Theatre Olympics will be held jointly organized in Japan and Russia with Toga-mura and the national theatre of Saint Petersburg as the main venues (Japan dates: Aug. 23 – Sept. 23, 2019). In this latest interview with Tadashi Suzuki, he talks about his thoughts about the state of people in today’s world as seen through theatre.
Presenter Interview; Alkantara Festival, and its aim to build a new type of artist community
David CabecinhaAlkantara Festival is an international contemporary performing arts festival held every other year in Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon, a city that is now one of Europe’s leading tourist destinations. We spoke with the festival’s artistic co-director David Cabecinha about the festival’s history, beginning from the launch of the Portugal New Dance festival with the support of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, to the present Alkantara Festival programs.
Play of the Month
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.
Play of the Month; The Sea of Fertility by Ikue Osada (Original by Yukio Mishima)
This is an adaptation for the stage of Yukio Mishima’s last full-length novel tetralogy by the same title. The novels tell the story of the cycle of birth, death and rebirth of a handsome young aristocrat named Kiyoaki Matsugae. The first novel tells the story of Kiyoaki and his lover, and of his school friend, Shigekuni Honda. The second and third novels tell of Kiyoaki’s reincarnation as a rightist youth and the meeting of Honda and foreign princess, while the fourth novel tells of the aged Honda being made a fool of by a youth he adopts. The play takes Honda as its main character while shifting back and forth intricately between the four stories.
Play of the Month; Nihon bungaku seisui shi (The Rise and Fall History of Japanese Literature) by  Oriza Hirata
This play that won the 22nd Tsuruya Nanboku Drama Award is a bold adaptation for the stage by Oriza Hirata of Genichiro Takahashi’s book by the same title exploring the works and personal lives of leading literary figures of Japan’s Meiji Period (1868 – 1912) while also interjecting contemporary events of our day. The play depicts the wakes or post-funeral banquets for four authors of the period: Toukoku Kitamura, Shiki Masaoka, Shimei Futabatei and Soseki Natsume. The discussions that take place between the deceased’s fellow authors there to grieve and the occasional intruders of our age focuses on the questions of literary expression.
Arts Organization of the Month
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.
Arts Organization of the Month: Performing Arts Alliance (PAA)
Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) first came into existence as the performing arts league, a collective effort of performing art groups to demand an exemption from sales tax on tickets and to abolish script censorship. Today, it is Taiwan’s largest performing arts organization platform with programs for operating a performing arts database, cultivating arts professionals, conducting surveys and engaged in advocacy (defending rights and making policy recommendations) in the performing arts field.
Arts Organization of the Month: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Established in 1956 by the last will and testament of Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian (1869-1955), an Armenian-born oil baron and entrepreneur of British citizenship, the Foundation is one of the leading private foundations in Portugal. Its aim is to improve the quality of life for persons throughout the fields of the arts, science, charity and education. Working from its headquarters in Lisbon (Portugal) and its delegations in Paris (France) and London (the United Kingdom), the Foundation operates programs in tie-ups with Portuguese-speaking African countries and other communities.
Japan Topics
The 63rd (2018) Kishida Drama Award winner is Shuntaro Matsubara   New! (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   New! (Mar. 26, 2019)
Yokohama Dance Collection 2019 competition choreography award winners chosen   New! (Mar. 26, 2019)
TPAM in Yokohama 2019 opens (Feb. 9 – 17, 2019)   Feb. 6, 2019
24th Japan Playwrights Association New Playwright Prize Goes to Sakotsu ni Tenshi ga Nemutteiru   Feb. 6, 2019
18th AAF Drama Award’s Grand Prize winner is Kuchita habikoru   Feb. 7, 2019
Presenter Topics
Berlin’s “Theatertreffen” festival to open (May 3 – 20, 2019)   New! (May. 7, 2019)
Austria’s largest arts festival Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival Weeks) opens (May 10 – June 16, 2019)   New! (Apr. 15, 2019)
One of Australia’s largest international arts festivals, the Adelaide Festival, to open (Mar. 1 – 17, 2019)   Feb. 6, 2019
PuSh Performing Arts Festival opened in Vancouver (Jan. 17 – Feb. 2, 2019)   Feb. 6, 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)   New! (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. 067 “Literature and music that resonate across borders and Japanese culture handed down from the past: The Japan Foundation Awards 2018”   New!