The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Archive Index Home
Sep. 18, 2012
Japan Topics
Festival/Tokyo 2012 opens (Oct. 27 – Nov. 25, 2012)
For the 5th holding of Festival/Tokyo, one of Tokyo’s leading performing arts festivals, the theme of the program is “Beyond Words.” As with last year, the festival will explore the question of how the realities of Japan after the 3.11 disaster (the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami) can be addressed in the arts and theater. With the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater recently reopened after renovations as the main station and utilizing a group of other venues concentrated in the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo such as Owlspot Theater, the Nishi-Sugamo Arts Factory and Theatre Green, the festival will feature 12 officially invited works and 11 works chosen from applications for the Emerging Artists program.
Highlighting the invited works program is a series of three plays by the Nobel Award-winning Austrian poet, novelist and playwright Elfriede Jelinek to be performed in succession. Swiss director Jossi Wieler presents the Japanese premiere of Jelinek’s play Rechnitz (Der Würgeengel) (the Strange Angel) about a true event of genocide that occurred under the Nazi regime. Then Motoi Miura directs the world premiere of Jelinek’s play Kein Licht (No Light) written in response to Japan’s disastrous 3.11 earthquake and tsunami with music by Masahiro Miwa. On March 12, 2012 Jelinek published a follow-up text, Kein Licht II, that Port B’s Akira Takayama directs by composing a fictional "Fukushima tour" performance using the urban space of Tokyo to stand in for Fukushima.
Works from overseas include a festival opening performance of the new work The Priestess that is the “Crisis Trilogy” of Hungarian director Arpad Schilling’s Kretakor company, a work that deals with regional social problems in Eastern Europe which was created through a series of workshops with children of the region. French company LFKs led by Jean Michel Bruyère presents Le Preau d’un Seul (An inner courtyard of one’s own), an exhibit type theater work dealing with the problems of immigrant camps in Europe in a reconstructed space utilizing the entire area of the Nishi-Sugamo Arts Factory. Iranian playwright and director Amir Reza Koohestani and his Mehr Theatre Group present Where were you on January 8th?, a new play dealing with the frustration of young people living under censorship since the 2009 Iranian presidential election. Leading director on the Republic of Korea’s contemporary theater scene, Hansol Yoon and his company greenpig use an increased number of Japanese cast to present a revised edition of Step-Memories - Return of the Oppressed, a work that takes the Korean War as its subject matter. All of these ambitious works on the program deal with pressing social issues.
Works from Japan include Saburo Teshigawara’s re-creation of his work "DAH-DAH-SKO-DAH-DAH" (premiered 1991) inspired by the Kenji Miyazawa poem "Haratai Kenbairen;" Marebito Theater Company’s Record of a Journey to Antigone, and Its Performance; Okazaki Art Theatre’s The Absence of Neighbor Jimmy; and Words by Takuya Murakawa, who was so well received on last year’s F/T Emerging Artists program that he moves up to the official invited program this year. All of these are world premieres. Also, potudo-ru comes to the festival for the first time with Castle of Dreams, which premiered in 2006.
Concurrent with these programs will be a schedule of numerous film showings and symposiums and a new “F/T Mob” program that builds on the “flash mob” trend and allows audience and passersby to join in. Jerome Bel, Shigehiro Ide, KENTARO!!, Momoko Shiraga and Shuji Onodera bring their ideas to this program, and more applications from the general public are being solicited.
Now in its third year, the F/T12 Emerging Artists Program received some 180 applications from Japan and Asia and 11 participant groups were chosen (Japan: 5; Taiwan: 2; ROK: 1, China: 1; Singapore: 1; Indonesia: 1).

Festival Information
This festival was launched in 2009 when the name of the Tokyo International Arts Festival being organized since 2002 by the non-profit organization Arts Network Japan (ANJ) was renamed Festival/Tokyo and its programs revamped. The first holding was in the spring of 2009 and since the second holding it has been held in the autumn. The festival is sponsored by the metropolitan government of Tokyo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture, Tokyo’s Toshima Ward and the Toshima Mirai Cultural Foundation, and the festival is organized by ANJ. The Program Director is Chiaki Soma of ANJ. The festival programs include creation and performance of original domestic and foreign works, performances in public spaces and active encouragement of audience participation-type theater, etc. Since the festival’s third holding the F/T Emerging Artists Program has been added to support artists of the next generation by soliciting applications for performances from a wide cross-section of the public.
+Festival/Tokyo 2012