The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Korean Cultural Center
Korean Cultural Center (in Japan)

4-4-10 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku,
Tokyo Japan 160-0004
Phone: +81-3-3357-5970
Fax: +81-3-3357-6074
Arts Organization of the Month Arts Organization of the Month
Korean Cultural Center (in Japan) 
As an affiliated organization of the South Korean Embassy in Japan, the Korean Cultural Center serves as a platform for introducing Korean culture to Japan. The Center opened in 1979 in the Sunshine 60 building in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, as the first of the Korean Cultural Centers now operating in nine countries around the world, including ones in New York and Los Angeles. The Korean culture introduced through the Center ranges from the traditional to the contemporary and from the arts to film and Taekwondo. In addition, the Center runs a variety of programs that create exchange between the people of South Korea and Japan. After moving to a new location in Miami Azabu in 1995, the Center celebrated its 30th anniversary in May of 2009 by moving to a new facility in the Yotsuya district of Tokyo complete with a gallery, a multipurpose hall and a book and film library. (Meanwhile, an Osaka Korean Cultural Center was also opened in 1999 and moved to more complete facility in 2007.) Although these centers are positioned as foreign relations facilities under South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the funding and programs fall under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. However, the Center’s decision-making is completely independent of these ministries, and in that sense it is closer to an arts council in its actual role and functioning.

Since the Center’s founding, it has continued to offer language courses, publish a monthly magazine, show movies and organize culture and arts programs and seminars. Since around 1995, there has been a boom in Korean films, TV dramas and animation in Japan that has fueled a spread in Korean media contents and tourism, which the Center actively conducts promotions and advertising for, along with a full schedule of related film showings. In a tie-up with the Tokyo Film Festival since 2001, the Center has also organized a popular “Korean Cinema Week” festival of new movies not yet released in Japan.
 With the move to its new Tokyo facility, a separate affiliated King Sejong Institute was established to run the “Korean Cultural Center Korean Language Course” independently. This institute has made major contributions to Korean language studies in Japan by offering advanced classes and a development program for Korean language teachers.

In the field of the performing arts, the Center initiates one or two of its own projects annually. Support for the performing arts is provided mainly in the forms of collaborative productions, project support, leasing of the Center’s hall and information supply. Support is provided for projects that introduce Korean culture and arts and promote international exchange in the form of sponsorship, publicity support, supply of information, non-profit level leasing of its halls (free in the case of collaborative productions with the Center), etc. One example of a large-scale collaborative project by the Center was a highly successful production of the Korean-language opera Hwang Jini at Tokyo’s New National Theatre in 2001, at a time when the Japanese ambassador to South Korea had been recalled to Japan during a controversy over the contents of Japanese history textbooks.