The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 118 Updated Jan. 18, 2017
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Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
Artist Interview: What new realms of physicality can “Floor Juggling” open up?
Hisashi WatanabeHisashi Watanabe (Company Atama to Kuchi) has emerged on the scene like a shooting star with a new type of performance that skirts the boundaries between contemporary dance and juggling, which he dubs “Floor Juggling.” His performances include ones titled Sakasa no Ki (Upside-down tree) that display a unique physicality combining amazing flexibility and control of his body and others in collaboration with the juggler Yuri Yamamura titled Whitest. In this interview we seek the philosophy behind Watanabe’s unique physicality.
Artist Interview: Tadashi Miroku’s Opera Digitalyrica, Expanding the possibilities of electone organ performance
Tadashi MirokuTadashi Miroku is a countertenor who is also active as an opera director. Since 2003, he has been in charge of planning and directing opera productions mounted in the small hall (Yokosuka Bayside Pocket) of the Yokosuka Arts Theatre. In this capacity, Miroku has been recognized for his contribution to the spread of opera with “Digitalyrica” productions making use of the electone organ as a new instrument that brings with its new possibilities of musical expression in the genre. In this interview we explore the ideas behind Miroku’s artistic activities.
Artist Interview: “I want to dance even more.” The new horizons of Saburo Teshigawara
Saburo TeshigawaraGoing beyond his career activities as a dancer and choreographer, Saburo Teshigawara applies his talents to virtually all aspects of his stages, from the design of lighting, stage art and costumes to the music he uses. He has also ventured into the directing of opera and other artistic endeavors. In 2013 he opened a new base for activities named KARAS APPARATUS and has since launched a new performance series titled Update Dance, bringing the average number of stages he presents annually to over 100, with numerous new works. In this interview, Teshigawara talks about the ideas and philosophy that drive this outflow of creativity.
Presenter Interview
Presenter Interview; A leader in the world of performing arts for people with disabilities   The quest of Jenny Sealey
Jenny Sealey
Jenny Sealey is the artistic director and CEO of the UK’s Graeae theater company for actors with disabilities, and served as co-director of the London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony. Being hearing-impaired herself, Sealey continues her own creative work along with her efforts to help provide access into the performing arts for others with disabilities. This interview explores her unique activities.
Presenter Interview; Five Arts Centre  Emergence of a new generation of artists
Mark Teh
Established in 1983 in the multiethnic, multicultural and multilingual country of Malaysia, Five Arts Centre is a collective of artists and producers (and the winner of the 2016 Praemium Imperiale Grant for Young Artists). In this interview, we talk with Mark Teh (born 1981), an artist who grew up in Malaysia’s era of high economic growth rate and is noted for such activities as leading the Baling Project that has gathered materials about the history of Malaysian independence. He talks about his activities at the forefront of this new generation of artists.
Presenter Interview; Leading the “free scene” Frankfurt’s Mousonturm
Matthias Pees
The “free scene” of artists in Germany who are not members of resident companies of the country’s many public theaters is the object of increasing attention today. The bases for these artists’ activities are theaters called “production houses” that receive support from their respective states or cities to commission and produce new works. One of these theaters that stands alongside Berlin’s HAU, Hamburg’s Kampnagel and Dusseldorf’s Tanzhaus NRW is Frankfurt’s Mousonturm. In this interview we speak with Mousonturm’s artistic director Matthias Pees about the cutting edge of today’s free scene in Germany.
Play of the Month
Play of the Month; Arakawa, God Killer Tune by Kana Yamada
Premiered in 2014 (restaged in 2016), this is a representative work of Kana Yamada, the leader of the theater company ROJI9 with an unlikely prior career as a promoter of a recording company. Set in a Karaoke room, it tells the story of Shoko Shibuya, a woman who has recently become a middle school teacher. With scenes switching between the past and present, she attempts to come to grips with the disillusionment that led her to give up her dream of becoming a manga artist and the self that she has never been able to show to her friends.
Play of the Month; San-san (Brilliance) by Ikue Osada
This is the latest play by Ikue Osada (born 1977), a playwright known for her plays about historical events or actual people in history based on thorough research. This play tells a story of youth with the actual daughter of the painter Katsushika Hokusai, whose name was O-ei and was also a painter in her own right (artist name Katsushika Ou-i), as the main character. The setting is the late Edo Period on the eve of the arrival of the “Black Ships” of American Commodore Perry that would force Japan to open itself to foreign trade and an ensuing influx of Western culture. Amid a backdrop of the vibrant lives of the common people, the story depicts the competition between O-ei and the other apprentices learning the art of painting under the master Hokusai until she, despite being a woman, is finally allowed by her father to take an artist’s name of her own.
Play of the Month; Go-n-do-la,La-do-n-go by Yoji Sakate
The play depicts the path pursued by a group of friends seeking to become theater-makers in the 1980s and the social background surrounding that quest. This group of friends seeking to become artists and actors also establish a building cleaning company. Roku is performing as an actor in small-theater productions at night, while working days cleaning the exterior windows of skyscrapers in a gondola with a married man with a family named Tora. What will this life bring….
Arts Organization of the Month
Arts Organization of the Month: Yayasan Sime Darby [Foundation]
Founded in 1982, Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD), or the Sime Darby Foundation, is the main large-scale philanthropic arm of the Malaysia-based multinational conglomerate Sime Darby Berhad. It offers support and scholarships in the five areas of Education, the Environment, Community & Health, Youth & Sports and Arts & Culture. Under its “Arts & Culture” pillar, YSD supports the preservation of Malaysia’s rich heritage of traditional arts, and since 2014 it organizes the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival with the capital’s Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre as its main venue.
Arts Organization of the Month: Artichoke Trust
Artichoke is a charitable cultural organization founded in 2005 by the co-founders of the Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival, Helen Marriage and Nicky Webb, and it specializes in the organization and financing of large-scale outdoor performances. The organization’s programs are guided by the ideal of true “art for all people” that does not “take place only behind the closed doors of theatres or art galleries… [but] in unusual places: in the streets, public spaces or in the countryside.”
Arts Organization of the Month: Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts
Established in 1992, Attakkalari is a registered, public charitable trust formed by artistes in Bangalore that has become a leading presence in Indian contemporary danceand movement arts. Among the Centre’s main activities are organizing and holding the largest contemporary dance festival in southern India, the Attakkalari India Biennale;presenting performances by the Attakkalari Repetory Dance Company led by the Centre’s Artistic Director, the choreographer Jayachandran Palazhy; outreach programs for schools conducted by Attakkalari members; supporting the choreographic development of emerging artistesthrough the Centre’s Young Choreographers Platform, and other wide-ranging programs.
Japan Topics
TPAM in Yokohama 2017 (International Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama 2017) opens (Feb. 11 – 19, 2017)   New! (Feb. 10, 2017)
Yokohama Dance Collection 2017 held (Jan. 26 – Feb. 19, 2017)   New! (Feb. 10, 2017)
23rd OMS Drama Prize is awarded to Keisuke Fukuyama for Warui Kuse   New! (Feb. 10, 2017)
Agency for Cultural Affairs announces “2016 Japan Cultural Envoys”   New! (Feb. 7, 2017)
22nd Japan Playwrights Association New Playwright Prize goes to Kengo Minamide   New! (Feb. 7, 2017)
Presenter Topics
Australia’s Adelaide Festival opens (Mar. 3 – 19, 2017)   New! (Feb. 7, 2017)
45th Hong Kong Arts Festival opens (Feb. 16 – Mar. 18, 2017)   New! (Feb. 7, 2017)
Kick-off of the new theatrical arts festival Asia TOPA (Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts) in Melbourne (Jan. - Apr., 2017)   Nov. 24, 2016
New York’s international experimental theater festival “Under the Radar Festival” to be held (Jan. 4 - 15, 2017)   Nov. 24, 2016
Festival Danza en la Ciudad contemporary dance festival in Bogota, Colombia (Nov. 2 – 14, 2016)   Nov. 24, 2016
News from the Japan Foundation
News from the Japan Foundation
Noism, RYUTOPIA’s residential company, to perform in two cities in Romania   New! (Jan. 19, 2017)
2016 – 2017 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for North America programs finalized   New! (Jan. 11, 2017)
2016 – 2017 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for Europe programs finalized   New! (Jan. 11, 2017)
Wochi Kochi Magazine Vol. 058 “The World Expanded by Japanese Language”   New!