The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 110 Updated Jan. 14, 2016
Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
Artist Interview: Theater as a battle fought in words   The world of Moegi Nogi
Moegi NogiCreating characters around historical figures or the people involved in actual incidents, playwright and director Moegi Nogi (b. 1977) is known for her highly intense dialogue-based plays using only male actors. Leading the theater company Paradox Constant that she started while still at university, Nogi is known for representative works like Tokyo Saiban, portraying the Japanese team of defense lawyers battling with dignity against the Allied prosecutors in the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal after WWII. In this interview, Nogi talks about the things that stimulate her creative process and why theater for her is “a battle fought in words.”
Artist Interview: Fusing media technology and human physicality   The artistic challenge at YCAM
Takayuki ItoThe Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM) is a center dedicated to the pursuit of new artistic expression incorporating media technology, and it offers artists from Japan and abroad a base for creating experimental works while in residence. In this interview we speak with the general director of the group of research professionals known as YCAM InterLab about the center’s projects such as the “Reactor for Awareness in Motion” (RAM) being jointly developed with The Forsythe Company dancer Yoko Ando through the use of motion capture technology.
Artist Interview: MIKEY of Tokyo Gegegay   The quest for absolute release
Munetaka MakiMunetaka Maki (“MIKEY”) is attracting attention today for his pursuit of new types of stage performance expression based in street dance. As the pioneers of what he calls a “strange mental world” is his group Tokyo Gegegay present theatrical works that free the viewers from the constraints and suppression of daily life. In this interview we speak with the charismatic dancer, choreographer and director MIKEY in search the unique aesthetic sensitivity that colors his shows.
Presenter Interview
Presenter Interview; Sung Kiwoong   A bridge between the contemporary theater worlds of Korea and Japan
Sung Kiwoong
As a new-generation theater-maker, Sung Kiwoong has performed multiple and vital roles in keeping the lines of dialogue open between South Korea and Japan amid a background of conflicting views of the two countries’ history, as a playwright collaborating on bi-lingual works with Oriza Hirata, for Kings of the Road 2002 (Shin-Boken O), and Junnosuke Tada for Karumegi and Taifu Kidan, in the translation of contemporary Japanese plays and cooperation in the staging of their performances in Korea. In this interview, we explore Sung’s career as leader of the theater company 12th Tongue Theatre Studio, playwright, director, translator, coordinator and producer.
Presenter Interview; The vision of Makoto Matsuda  The producer behind the “2.5-D Musicals”
Makoto Matsuda
The booming new industry of “2.5-D Musicals” that bring to the stage stories based on popular manga comics, anime movies and video games is drawing the attention of audiences, artists and the media alike. Amidst this growing trend, last year (2014) saw the forming of the Japan 2.5-D Musical Association, and March 2015 saw the opening of a new 2.5-D musical-specific theater in Tokyo’s Shibuya district named the AiiA 2.5 Theater Tokyo. In this interview we speak with the producer behind these two recent developments and numerous hit productions, Makoto Matsuda, to learn about his vision for this new entertainment medium.
Presenter Interview; Tanec Praha   Leading the Czech contemporary dance scene
Ivona Kreuzmannova
Tanec Praha civic association is the organization that manages the Ponec Theatre, the best known theatre for dance and motion theater in Prague, Czech Republic, and the organizers of the Tanec Praha international contemporary dance festival held each year in June and July. In this interview we spoke with Tanec Praha’s director, Yvona Kreuzmannovà, who continues to be a leader of the Czech contemporary dance scene in that role and through other programs like the Czech Dance Platform held to discover and support the development of young choreographers in the Czech Republic.
Play of the Month
Play of the Month; Super Premium Soft Double Vanilla Rich By Toshiki Okada
Toshiki Okada, the playwright known for his depictions of contemporary realities of life using the contemporary colloquial language and modes of physical expression of young people today, turns his attention in this play to the convenience store as a representative symbol of today’s consumption-oriented society. Taking Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier collection as a compositional base, Okada follows the progression of Bach’s prelude and fugue pieces to compose the play of 48 scenes. With the Bach pieces arranged to play as the convenience store’s background music, the play paints a picture of contemporary life with the conversations of the progression of employees and customers that gather at the store.
Play of the Month; Shin-Boken O (Kings of the Road 2002) By Oriza Hirata and Kiwoong Sung
This play was co-written by Oriza Hirata of Seinendan and Kiwoong Sung of South Korea’s 12th Tongue Theatre Studio. It is based on Hirata’s auto-biographical play based on his travels in his late teens titled Boken O (Kings of the Road, 1996), and it changes the setting to Istanbul in 2002. Composed of a variety of simultaneous conversations occurring spontaneously between young Japanese and Korean backpackers staying at an inexpensive hospice in Istanbul, it reveals the thoughts and concerns on the minds of each of the characters.
Play of the Month; Gaikokan (The Diplomats) By Moegi Nogi
This play was written by the resident playwright and director of the theater company Paradox Teisu (Paradox Constant), Moegi Nogi, for a production by the theater company Seinen-za. It portrays the impassioned arguments of the Japanese diplomats (actual historical persons) involved in the course of events that led Japan into World War II. Taking as its initial setting the first day of their trail as accused Class A War Criminals in the Tokyo Trials following Japan’s surrender, the play goes on to tell the story of why Japan threw itself into World War II and how they, as diplomats, were involved in the processes that led to that fateful move.
Arts Organization of the Month
Arts Organization of the Month: Europe-Asia Roundtable Sessions (EARS)
Europe-Asia Roundtable Sessions (EARS) is a communication platform supporting professionals in the creative industries of Europe and Asia seeking future collaborations and business opportunities. With administrative offices within Pluto Finland in Helsinki, EARS was founded in 2012 with support from Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture and other organizations.
Arts Organization of the Month: The International Visegrad Fund
The International Visegrad Fund was established in 2000 for the purpose of promoting cooperation between the four Visegrad countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Republic of Poland and the Slovak Republic, commonly referred to as “V4”) in the areas of the arts, academics, education and tourism, etc. The Fund’s programs include scholarships for foreign students, grants to encourage multi-national research and other projects, as well as residence programs in the arts and culture.
Arts Organization of the Month: Aerowaves
Aerowaves was established in 1996 as a network to support the activities of younger choreographers. The Aerowaves network is an outgrowth of a proposal by John Ashford, who served as theatre director of the comprehensive contemporary dance institution, The Place. The network members currently consist of theatres, festivals and the like in 33 countries across Europe, which collectively provide support for the twenty promising young choreographers called the “Aerowaves Twenty” selected each year.
Japan Topics
TPAM in Yokohama 2016: Japan Foundation and Asia Center invited foreign presenters announced   New! (Feb. 5, 2016)
21st Japan Playwrights Association New Playwright Prize goes to Chisei Zo for Tatami to Junrei (Tatami mats and pilgrimage)   New! (Jan. 19, 2016)
22nd OMS Drama Prize awarded to Megumi Takahashi for Tareyueso   New! (Jan. 19, 2016)
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
The 44th Hong Kong Arts Festival to open (Feb. 19 – Mar. 20, 2016)   New! (Jan. 19, 2016)
New York’s international theater festival Under the Radar (Jan. 6 – 17, 2016)   Jan. 19, 2016
Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) opens in New York (Jan. 15 – 19, 2016)   Jan. 19, 2016
News from the Japan Foundation
News from the Japan Foundation
Japan Foundation 2015 – 2016 (second application period) foreign exchange grant recipients announced   Oct. 21, 2015
Japan Foundation 2015 – 2016 (first application period) foreign exchange grant recipients announced   Sep. 18, 2015
2015 – 2016 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for North America programs finalized   Sep. 18, 2015
2015 – 2016 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for North America programs finalized   Sep. 18, 2015
Wochi Kochi Magazine Vol. 053 “Communicate, Convey — Reasons for Learning Languages”   New!
Overview of “THEATER IN JAPAN: An Overview of Performing Arts and Artists”   Jun. 9, 2010