The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 106 Updated May. 14, 2015
Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
Artist Interview: Creating performances in a live mode like a DJ, the world of Junnosuke Tada
Junnosuke TadaSince he first drew attention with a performance titled Re/Play with repeated slapstick scenes in a party-like mode, Junnosuke Tada has continued to gain momentum and become a leader among the new generation of performers with works full of live atmosphere, like a “Macbeth” performance employing a musical chairs device and citizen theater where common citizens tell episodes from their experience. In recent years, he has also devoted much energy to collaborative works with Korean artists, such as the work “Karumegi” that he directed and won South Korea’s 50th Dong-A Theatre Awards. In this interview we look for the essence Tada seeks in live performance.
Artist Interview: Toko Nikaido and her spirit behind the “berserker” performances
Toko NikaidoToko (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.
Presenter Interview
Presenter Interview; Seeking new context for communicating the multicultural contemporary Asian experience
Tang Fu Kuen
From his base in Bangkok, Tang Fu Kuen is active as a curator in festivals throughout Asia. Born and raised in Singapore, his involvement in the performing arts began as an actor in the company Theatre Works, before going on to work as a critic in London, New York and Berlin. Free from organizational affiliation and active now as an independent curator, Tang talks about his quest for new contexts for presenting the work of contemporary Asian performers.
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.
Play of the Month
Play of the Month; Choreography Concept 001 for untrained amateurs / Study in weight and movement by Yuya Tsukahara
Yuya Tsukahara, the leader of the group “contact Gonzo” known for its unique type of improvisational performance that sometimes looks like street fighting and sometimes dance, wrote this stage direction script as a form of choreographic guide to enable even amateurs to give performances. As a stage performance it premiered as a finalist work in the 2014 Toyota Choreography Awards. It is a performance (silent play) in which the four performers use movement alone and, by applying weight to each others’ bodies, experience the fetters and responsibilities, and at times the joys, of being alive.
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.
Arts Organization of the Month
Arts Organization of the Month: Gati Dance Forum
Based in New Delhi, India, Gati Dance Forum is an organization dedicated to sustainable, long-term development of an environment to support a dance community in India. Founded in 2007, the Forum is known for its pioneering role in the field of Indian contemporary dance and as organizer of the international dance festival “IGNITE!”. In addition, the Gati Dance Forum runs the GATI STUDIO and engages in a variety of programs aimed at nurturing and stimulating the dance community in India.
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.
Japan Topics
The 59th (2015) Kishida Drama Award winner is Kenji Yamauchi’s Torowaguro   New! (May. 7, 2015)
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
Seoul’s Festival Bo:m held (Mar. 27 – Apr. 19, 2015)   May. 7, 2015
Hong Kong Arts Festival opens (Feb. 27 – Mar. 29, 2015)   Feb. 12, 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