The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 100 Updated Sep. 21, 2014
Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
Artist Interview: National Theatre Okinawa  A new Artistic Director and his Kumiodori spirit
Jo KanamoriThe dance company Noism was established as the Ryutopia Niigata City Performing Arts Center’s residential dance company when the Center appointed Jo Kanamori (age 29 at the time) artistic director of its dance department. This year the company celebrates its tenth anniversary. In 2009, the trainee company Noism 2 was established. In this interview, Kanamori talks about Noism’s decade of activities and how the company has remained a leader in Japanese contemporary dance with its professional approach to physicality and contemporary awareness.
Artist Interview: National Theatre Okinawa  A new Artistic Director and his Kumiodori spirit
Michihiko Kakazu“Kumiodori” is a traditional form of dance theater that was originally created as entertainment for emissary missions called “Sakuhoshi” that came to the Ryukyu Kingdom (present day Okinawa) regularly on behalf of the Chinese emperor. In January of 2004, the “National Theatre Okinawa” was opened in the city of Urazoe, Okinawa with the mission of preserving the unique Okinawan arts of kumiodori, traditional Ryukyu dance and Ryukyu music. In this interview we speak with Michihiko Kakazu, a young artist in his thirties who has recently assumed the post of the Theatre’s second artistic director.
Artist Interview: The strategy of Yuichi Kinoshita, taking Kabuki into the future
Yuichi KinoshitaThe Kinoshita-Kabuki company began activities in 2006, based in Kyoto. Its leader is Yuichi Kinoshita, an emerging figure in the theater world who is also a graduate student (born 1985) in the doctorate course of Kyoto University of Art & Design doing research on “Takechi Kabuki Theory – Concerning new Kabuki directing in the modern era.” His early encounter with Japanese “Rakugo” (Japanese sit-down comedy) as a 3rd grader in elementary school led to a growing interest in Japanese traditional performing arts. As adaptations of works from the traditional repertoire for direction by contemporary theater directors, he has presented new versions of classics such as “Kurozuka” and “Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan”. These efforts have produced revolutionary results. This interview seeks to reveal Kinoshita’s methodology.
Presenter Interview
Presenter Interview; The National Theatre of Scotland and its “Theatre Without Walls” vision
Laurie Sansom
The National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) is known as the pioneer of the concept of a national theatre without a permanent theatre facility. It is also a theatre with a strong local focus, as evidenced by its Five Minute Theatre series focused on the debate surrounding the Scottish independence referendum (Sept. 18, 2014) that saw performances held in 200 locations around Scotland. In this interview, the second NTS artistic director, Laurie Sansom, talks about the challenges of “Theatre Without Walls” and its accomplishments.
Presenter Interview; deSingel and its achievements as an international center for the arts in Antwerp
Myriam De Clopper
deSingel opened in Antwerp in 1980 as a comprehensive facility for the arts centered around an existing arts school (conservatoire). Under the direction of Frie Leysen, known as the founder of the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, deSingel became an arts center of international renown. In this interview we learn about the history of achievements and present activities of deSingel by speaking with Myriam De Clopper, who currently serves as director of the performing arts department.
Presenter Interview; CULTURESCAPES  Depicting the topographies of culture
Jurriaan Cooiman
In 2014, a variety of events are planned in Japan and Switzerland to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of political relations between the two countries. One of these is an event named CULTURESCAPES Tokyo 2014 to be held in Switzerland (Sept. 27 – Nov. 22). In this long interview, the founder and continuing director of CULTURESCAPES, Jurriaan Cooiman, speaks about the aims and significance of this festival as a cultural event that focuses each time on one particular country, city or region from multiple perspectives.
Play of the Month
Play of the Month; “Nineteen-year-old Jacob” by Shu Matsui (based on the novel by Kenji Nakagami)
The novelist Kenji Nakagami is known for his works that took subjects from the hard lives of people in the ghetto backstreets of his hometown of Kumano with their strong bonds and the strength with which they clung to life despite their hardships. Twenty years after his death he remains a popular and charismatic literary figure. For this play, the Kishida Drama Award-winning playwright Shu Matsui adapts Nakagami’s partly biographical novel “Nineteen-year-old” Jacob for the stage. The story is re-set in an urban setting that resembles an area near the Shinjuku district of Tokyo in the late 1960s. The main character Jacob is a young man with a troubled past who wallows in a world of drugs and sex, and hangs out at a jazz café with his friend Yuki, a young man who, despite being the son and heir of a major corporation, dreams of social revolution.
Play of the Month; “Watashi wo Hanasanaide (Never Let Me Go)” by Yutaka Kuramochi (from the original novel by Kazuo Ishiguro)
The international best-selling novel “Never Let Me Go” (Japanese translation title: Watashi wo Hanasanaide) by British writer Kazuo Ishiguro has been adapted for the stage with the setting changed to Japan. The play depicts a world where it has become common practice for people to create clones of themselves for the purpose of eventually harvesting organs for transplant. In it, we see how the clone children live out the time of their limited lives with quiet diligence in the face of their inevitable fates.
Play of the Month; “Koritsu no Yusen (Priority on efficiency)” by Kenji Yamauchi
This play is one of the short-listed works for the 58th Kishida Drama Award (2013). Its author is the playwright and director Kenji Yamauchi, who is also a popular award-winning TV commercial director. The play is set in a contemporary open-style office where the conversations of the employees are packed with marketing lingo. In the intense work pace of the Planning Department room, the rules of business come undone and love-hate dramas erupt among the employees, eventually leading to eccentric behavior.
Arts Organization of the Month
Arts Organization of the Month: Arts Council Tokyo
In line with amendments to the Tokyo Metropolitan government’s directives for the promotion of culture, the “Tokyo Council for the Arts” was established in 2007 as an agency under the jurisdiction of the Governor’s Office. Based on a proposal by this agency, the Arts Council Tokyo was established within the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture in November of 2012 as Japan’s first full-fledged organization following the internationally acknowledged template of an “arts council,” with the aim of developing and promoting arts and culture.
Arts Organization of the Month: Tanzlabor_21
Tanzlabor_21 is a dance platform that was created originally in Frankfurt in 2006 as part of a five-year funding program by Tanzplan Deutschland, an initiative of Germany’s Federal Cultural Foundation. In German, labor means a laboratory or research institute and Tanzlabor_21 has continued to work through its multiple and interrelated programs to successfully develop dance as a contemporary art form and help give it a more prominent role in public life in Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region.
Arts Organization of the Month; Kakiseni (Malaysia)
Kakiseni is a non-profit performing arts platform in Malaysia. It was originally launched in 2001 by Jenny Daneels and Kathy Rowland as a portal website where artists and arts professionals could exchange information, Then in 2009, it was re-launched under the directorship of Low Ngai Yuen and began expanding the scope and variety of its programs. Today, its main programs include international exchange projects, festivals and a comprehensive grants program.
Japan Topics
Asian Performing Arts Festival opens (Nov. 28 – 30, 2014)   New! (Nov. 27, 2014)
“TPAM in Yokohama 2015”: Open application now being accepted for the registration for the ”TPAM Showcase”   New! (Sep. 21, 2014)
The “Choreographer of the Next Generation” prize of the 9th “Toyota Choreography Awards 2014” goes to Mikiko Kawamura   Aug. 11, 2014
Lineup announced for the reorganized Festival/Tokyo 14   Aug. 11, 2014
New National Theatre 2014/2015 Season Lineup Announced   Nov. 28, 2014
English version of “THEATER IN JAPAN: An Overview of Performing Arts and Artists” published
Artist interview collection from this website, “Energizing Japanese Culture: The Performing Arts in Japan,” released!
Presenter Topics
CULTURESCAPES TOKYO 2014 opened September 27th, 2014   Nov. 28, 2014
43rd Festival d’Automne opens (Sept. 4 – Dec. 31)   Sep. 21, 2014
Romaeuropa Festival opens (Sept. 24 – Nov. 30, 2014)   Sep. 21, 2014
News from the Japan Foundation
News from the Japan Foundation
Japan Foundation 2014-15 (second application period) foreign exchange grant recipients announced   New! (Oct. 8, 2014)
Performing arts support program “Performing Arts Japan” (PAJ) accepts grant application period for 2015 – 2016   New! (Oct. 8, 2014)
Japan Foundation 2014-15 (first application period) foreign exchange grant recipients announced   Jun. 13, 2014
2014 – 2015 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for North America programs finalized   Jun. 2, 2014
2014 – 2015 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for Europe programs finalized   Jun. 2, 2014
Overview of “THEATER IN JAPAN: An Overview of Performing Arts and Artists”   Jun. 9, 2010