The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 105 Updated Apr. 28, 2015
Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
Artist Interview: Toko Nikaido and her spirit behind the “berserker” performances
Roba ShimoriToko (Toco) Nikaido (born 1986) burst onto the theater scene with a style of wild, frenzied performance called “ohagi live” that takes ota-gei (audience group performance at “idol” concerts) as its base while drawing on elements from the idol and anime worlds and other images brought together in chaotic collages. This interview explores the world of Nikaido, who says that creating “explosions” of the culture that is Japan is the only way to portray her generation’s real life in Tokyo in 2015 and to really love the wild pace of these chaotic times.
Artist Interview: The resolve of Roba Shimori Confronting reality head-on
Roba ShimoriRoba Shimori is a playwright and stage director who applies an approach involving painstaking research to confront the uncomfortable realities that surround us, from child abuse, the plight of sexual minorities and historic tragedies such as the Japan Airlines Jumbo Jet crash of 1985 to economic issues. Shimori has been active on the theater scene for more than 20 years with her company Fukin Kobo. In this interview we seek an understanding of the vision behind Shimori’s art that makes affirmative theater out of stories of people who, despite their hard-line orientations, are unable to ignore the diversity of values they see around them.
Artist Interview: “Recycling” Butoh  The artistic aesthetics of Pijin Neji
Pijin NejiAn encounter with the famed Butoh dance company Dairakudakan in his first year of university started Pijin Neji on his career as a performer. As a member of the new generation of performers born in the 1980s who calls Butoh “kosu-pure” (playing with costume outfits) and the body a form of “media,” Pijin Neji has pursued collaborations with a variety of artists from Japan and abroad and established a reputation on the dance/performance scene with his unique presence and physicality. We spoke with him about the aesthetics behind his art that he calls a “recycling” of Butoh about half a century after Tatsumi Hijikata developed the art.
Presenter Interview
Presenter Interview; One of Europe’s leading dance festivals, ImPulsTanz
Karl Regensburger
The ImPulsTanz festival is an outgrowth of the Dance Week intensive dance workshops launched in 1984 by Karl Regensburger, who serves as the festival’s director, and the Brazilian-born dancer Ismael Ivo. Having grown to become one of Europe’s largest international dance festivals, the ImPulsTanz international dance festival now presents programs of over 30 performances of works by well-known masters and young artists alike and over 200 workshops. We spoke with its director, Karl Regensburger, about the festival.
Presenter Interview; From the Indian dance community, the international festival “IGNITE!”
Mandeep Raikhy
Since 2010, the international contemporary dance festival “IGNITE!” has been held in the Indian capital of New Delhi. True to its name, this festival organized by the Gati Dance Forum is dedicated to sparking the development of an environment to support a new dance community in India. In this interview we speak with the organization’s Managing Director, Mandeep Raikhy, about their aim to nurture dance in an Indian context that also provides access to the country’s traditional dance forms.
Presenter Interview; Supporting Expressions that Go Beyond  Artsadmin
Judith Knight
Since its establishment in 1979, Artsadmin has played an important role providing intermediary support for the development of cutting-edge and unique artworks mainly in the United Kingdom. In addition to managing the Toynbee Studios in East London, Artsadmin seeks to support creative activities with a special focus on forms of expression that cross the boundaries of the conventional artistic genres. In this interview we speak with the founding director of Artsadmin, Judith Knight.
Play of the Month
Play of the Month; “Ato, Ato (Traces - On and On)” by Yuko Kuwabara
This play by Yuko Kuwabara, the playwright, director and actress of the theater company KAKUTA, is winner of the 18th (2014) Tsuruya Nanboku Drama Award. A hit-and-run accident took place on a stormy night. Ten years later, the mother of the victim has once again set out to trace the life of her son, after being told by doctors that she has a terminal illness. Relying on what she can learn from people involved in her son’s life, the search goes on in an air of suspense while revealing images of people’s lives buffeted by fate.
Play of the Month; “Sasayaki-dani Silver Dansei Gasshoudan (Sasayaki Valley Silver Male-voice Chorus)” by Hiromi Sumi
This is a play by the Okayama Prefecture-based playwright Hiromi Sumi that was nominated as a finalist for the 59th (2014) Kishida Drama Award. It is the third play produced by the Theatrical Group EN in its “New Works by Women Playwrights Series.” Set in the near future at a now-abandoned former school in a mountain village that is scheduled to be converted into a home for the elderly, the play tells the story of an elderly group of former classmates that gather for the first time in many years and— while bringing in members of their children’s generation—portrays their efforts to live their short lives to the fullest.
Play of the Month; “Sekai ha Uso de Dekiteiru (The world is made of lies)” by Takahiro Tamura
This is a play presented in 2013 by the rising playwright and director Suguru Yamamoto, leader of the acclaimed theater company Hanchu-Yuei. The play is staged in a unique style using words and text superimposed on the stage background that the actors interact with. The setting is Tokyo in 2013, at a time when a series of rape-murders of young girls has been occurring. The characters include a “sister” who lives with her rich husband and small daughter in a luxury tower apartment, her impoverished “younger brother” and others including a “man,” who is her former boyfriend and now wanders in search of an “Enemy.” Their stories express the air of anxiety that hovers over contemporary life.
Arts Organization of the Month
Arts Organization of the Month: IMAGINE 2020
IMAGINE 2020 is a network organization devoted to promoting artistic activities dealing with the global issue of climate change. Serving as the project leader is Kaaitheater of Brussels. The network’s participating members are progressive performing arts organizations based around Europe that seek to make effective use of creative expression in programs aimed at bringing about a revolution in consciousness concerning the environment.
Arts Organization of the Month: European Network of Information Centres for Performing Arts (ENICPA)
This organization was established in 1999 as a network of specialists from Europe in the field of performing arts information, documentation and collections. It is based in Brussels. The aim of the network is to disseminate information and raise the quality of professionals in the field through the sharing of expertise and knowledge. There are presently about 30 member organizations including Vlaams Theater Instituut, Dansehallerne, The Theatre Institute Brastilava, Dance Info Norway among others.
Arts Organization of the Month: Chishima Foundation for Creative Osaka
The Chishima Foundation for Creative Osaka was established in 2011 by Chishima Real Estate Co., Ltd. as part of the company’s efforts to contribute to the local society. The Foundation engages in a variety of programs aimed at providing support for artists and creators active in Osaka and improving the creative environment of the city and the greater Kansai area.
Japan Topics
TPAM in Yokohama 2015 (follow-up report): Foreign presenters for Japan Foundation and Asia Center invitation decided   Feb. 10, 2015
TPAM in Yokohama opens Feb. 7, 2015   Feb. 10, 2015
Lineup announced for Yokohama Dance Collection EX2015 in the event”s 20th holding (Jan. 31 – Feb. 15, 2015)   Jan. 29, 2015
Agency of Cultural Affairs announces its “2014 East Asia Cultural Ambassadors”   Dec. 9, 2014
Asian Performing Arts Festival opens (Nov. 28 – 30, 2014)   Nov. 27, 2014
“TPAM in Yokohama 2015”: Open application now being accepted for the registration for the ”TPAM Showcase”   Sep. 21, 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
Hong Kong Arts Festival opens (Feb. 27 – Mar. 29, 2015)   Feb. 12, 2015
New York’s international theater festival Under the Radar (Jan. 7 – 18, 2015)   Feb. 9, 2015
APAP | NYC 2015 opens (Jan. 9 – 13, 2015)   Jan. 18, 2015
News from the Japan Foundation
News from the Japan Foundation
Japan Foundation 2014-15 (second application period) foreign exchange grant recipients announced   Oct. 8, 2014
Performing arts support program “Performing Arts Japan” (PAJ) accepts grant application period for 2015 – 2016   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