The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 103 Updated Mar. 6, 2015
Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
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.
Artist Interview: A new type of e-mail/texting generation theater   Actors interact with projected words
Suguru YamamotoSuguru Yamamoto (b. 1987) is a rising playwright and director. While a student at Japan’s Oberlin University in 2007, he started a theater company named Hanchu-Yuei. In 2013, he presented the play “Yojo X” (Girl X) staged with a screen on which the words spoken by unseen characters like the voice of god appear in text superimposed on the screen and interacting with the actors. Last year, Yamamoto and his group were invited to perform in Malaysia and Thailand amidst growing attention focused on their unique style. In this interview we speak with Yamamoto about his new theatrical challenge symbolic of the e-mail/texting generation.
Artist Interview: Another key part of the Ninagawa world   The stage art of Tsukasa Nakagoshi
Tsukasa NakagoshiTsukasa Nakagoshi first met director Yukio Ninagawa and began participating in productions of the experimental small-theater oriented company NINAGAWA STUDIO (1984 – 2008) as a child actor at the age of 12, and at the age of 22 he made his debut as a set designer for the company. Ever since, Ninagawa and Nakagoshi have continued to work together in creating stage art for some 110 productions. In this interview, Nakagoshi talks about the theatrical spaces he creates, which have included stepped sets, ones full of flowers or rain projecting a sense of the energy of the common people, and sets with mirrors that reflect the times or water surfaces and more.
Presenter Interview
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.
Presenter Interview; Nurturing theater and music in Malaysia  Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac)
Joe Hasham, Dato’ Faridah Merican
Fifty years since the country’s founding, Malaysia now has a thriving performing arts scene. A central driving force in this movement is klpac, which was opened in 2005 as the country’s first full-fledged private sector theater. The Centre is managed by The Actors Studio, a groups that started out as a theater company in 1989 and went on to open its own small theater in 1995 and has continued to be a leading presence in the country’s independent theater scene ever since. To learn about the activities of klpac as a mentor for young theater people and an active presenter of foreign artists, as well as the activities in community orchestra, we spoke with Joe Hasham, the Centre’s OAM (Artistic Director) and Dato’ Faridah Merican, its Executive Producer.
Presenter Interview; Promoting “prison theater” Berlin’s aufBruch theater project
Peter Atanassow
Set in an Italian prison, the movie “Cesare deve morire” (Caesar Must Die) follows convicts in their rehearsals in preparation for a prison performance of Julius Caesar. The promoter and producer of such “prison theater” in Germany is the Berlin theater project aufBruch. Prison theater as a means to actively support convicts’ successful return to society after their prison terms is a movement that dates back to Germany’s Weimar Republic era. In this interview we speak with aufBruch’s resident playwright, Peter Atanassow, about prison theater.
Play of the Month
Play of the Month; “Sekai ha Uso de Dekiteiru (The world is made of lies)” by Takahiro Tamura
This is the play for which the resident playwright and director of the theater company ONEOR8 (One or 8), Takahiro Tamura, was selected as a finalist for the 59th (2014) Kishida Drama Award. The story is about a man named Takiguchi who works for a specialized cleaning service that cleans up the rooms and belongings of people that have died alone. But, he arrives at a job to find that the deceased is his own younger brother, Takayuki. The scenes shift between the cleaning and the relationship between the two brothers, whose past was a series of misunderstandings and unsuccessful communication that separated them.
Play of the Month; “Yojo X (Girl X)” by Suguru Yamamoto
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.
Play of the Month; “Minami no Shima ni Yuki ga Furu (Snow falls on the South Seas island)” by Mitsunori Fukuhara
This is a play adapted for the stage by playwright and director Mitsunori Fukuhara from the novel by the actor Daisuke Kato based on his experiences as a soldier in World War II. It is a story of group of highly individualistic men who survived the harsh conditions of war by turning their passion to theater. This play was staged in small theater tent that smelled of the earth by the theater unit Bed & Makings with actor Koichiro Tomioka.
Arts Organization of the Month
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.
Arts Organization of the Month: Open Network for Performing Arts Management (ON-PAM)
Established in 2013, the Open Network for Performing Arts Management (ON-PAM) is a membership-type network of performing arts makers and managers dedicated to connecting the artists, arts organizations and the audiences. It currently has approximately 150 member organizations and individuals active around Japan, including public and private-sector theaters, production companies and related professionals, free-lance producers and others. Plans call for ON-PAM to officially receive status as a non-profit organization (NPO) this year.
Arts Organization of the Month: Artsadmin
Artsadmin is an NPO committed to a vision of being an arts lab for the 21st Century for the creation of performance, site-specific and interdisciplinary work, where the innovative, experimental and unusual are nurtured. Artsadmin is receiving around £530,000 (approx. 78 million yen)—equivalent to around 50% of its annual operating budget—from Arts Council England as a regularly funded organisation.
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
The “Choreographer of the Next Generation” prize of the 9th “Toyota Choreography Awards 2014” goes to Mikiko Kawamura   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
Hong Kong Arts Festival opens (Feb. 27 – Mar. 29, 2015)   New! (Feb. 12, 2014)
New York’s international theater festival Under the Radar (Jan. 7 – 18, 2015)   Feb. 9, 2014
APAP | NYC 2015 opens (Jan. 9 – 13, 2015)   Jan. 18, 2014
CULTURESCAPES TOKYO 2014 opened September 27th, 2014   Nov. 28, 2014
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