The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 114 Updated Apr. 25, 2016
Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
Artist Interview: Driven by “playful spirit,” the dance theater of Takuro Suzuki
Takuro SuzukiChoreographer and director Takuro Suzuki (b. 1985) is the leader of the dance company CHAiroiPLIN and is also active as a dancer with the Condors unit. After first winning attention with his fantasy work Saiai – Shakespeare Recipe (2011), in which high school girls, together with vegetables, learn about love by reading lines from Shakespeare plays, Suzuki has continued to present a great variety of works combining group dance, theater, music and visuals. In this interview we get a look at the “playful spirit” behind these creations enjoyed by children and adults alike.
Artist Interview: Physical ~ Physical Shintaro Oue’s unique language of “body knowledge”
Shintaro OueSince his nationwide [Japan] “Dan-su” tour, Shintaro Oue has become the focus of growing attention in the dance world. From a ballet background, he switched to contemporary dance. Since studying in Germany from the age of 17, Oue has participated in the creations of such famed choreographers as Jiri Kylian, Mats Ek, Inbal Pinto and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. From his base in Sweden, he created the unit C/Ompany in Japan in 2008. In this interview we explore Oue’s unique language of “body knowledge.”
Artist Interview: From new Kyogen to stand-up comedy and opera, the creative power of Doji Shigeyama
Doji ShigeyamaDoji Shigeyama (born: 1983) is recognized today as one of the new emerging talents in the world of Kyogen. Influenced by his late grandfather Sennojo (died: 2010), known for his rich variety of activities outside his Kyogen profession, and by his father Akira, Shigeyama’s activities as an artist have ranged from writing and directing the stand-up comedy Hyakumanben, a new Kyogen work Marikouji and directing an opera to bilingual Kyogen. In this interview we ask him about the sources of his creativity.
Presenter Interview
Presenter Interview; SICK! Festival  Addressing the sicknesses we suffer from in today’s world
Helen Medland
Tim Harrison
SICK! Festival was established in 2013 with the aim of using the artistic perspective in addressing social taboos that impact people everyday within our society. Working in cooperation with an advisory group made up of professionals in the fields of medicine, sociology and psychology, etc., SICK! Festival presents themed programs with a rich variety of works of theatre, dance, film and installations, as well as debates and the like. In this interview we talk with the festival's Artistic Director, Helen Medland and the festival's Director of Development, Tim Harrison.
Presenter Interview; The LIFT festival that has brought innovations to London   What is its next challenge?
Mark Ball
Launched originally in 1980 as an international student theater festival in London, the following year it was officially founded under the name LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre) as the first international theater festival in the United Kingdom. Since then, it has continued to bring innovation to the London performing arts scene with programs of cutting edge and experimental performing arts from around the world and moves like using non-theater venues for performances. In this interview we speak with the festival’s artistic director since 2009, Mark Ball, about its new directions, such as projects using digital platforms.
Presenter Interview; Looking to the world’s diversity, the new direction of Theaterformen
Martine Dennewald
Festival Theaterformen is an international performing arts festival founded in 1990 based on a concept conceived during the Cold War of a festival for presenting the full variety of international performing arts in Braunschweig, a town close at that time to the border to the German Democratic Republic. For 25 years its programs have included numerous world premieres, European premieres and German premieres. In this interview we speak with the festival’s new director Martine Dennewald (born: 1980) who has brought to it a new policy of focus on audience participation.
Play of the Month
Play of the Month; Jigokudani Onsen, Mumyo no Yado (Jigokudani Hot Springs, Ignorance Inn) by Kuro Tanino
Kuro Tanino is the playwright and director of the theater company Niwa Gekidan Penino, known for productions created with stage art that creates spaces embodying human imagery and fantasies and drama that delves into the depths of the human soul. As with their play Okina Trunk no naka no Hako (2013), this play employs a revolving stage in telling the story of one night’s events involving a father-son puppeteer act invited to perform at a hot-spring spa deep in the mountains and the spa’s visitors. It is the winner of the 60th Kunio Kishida Drama Award.
Play of the Month; HEADS UP! by Yutaka Kuramochi and LaSalle Ishii
This is a musical with direction and lyrics by LaSalle Ishii and a stage script by Yutaka Kuramochi of PenguinPullPalePiles that resulted from a plan nurtured over a period of more than ten years. Set in a theater in a small regional town, it is an homage theater, depicting with a comical touch the dreams and disillusionments in the lives of the theater crew who love the plays it brings to life. The story revolves around the staging of one play, from the preparations to the performance and finally the taking down of the set.
Play of the Month; Jugun-chu no Ludwig Wittgenstein ga [abbreviated] (Ludwig Wittgenstein in Military Service) By Kenichi Tani
This is the third play that Kenichi Tani has written for the theater unit Théâtre des Annales he established for the purpose of staging dialogue plays on serious subjects. It premiered in 2013 and has been restaged in 2015 and ’16. The play depicts the philosophical thought and search for the meaning of life of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein from the time he enlisted with the Austro-Hungarian Army to fight in World War I to the publication of his main philosophical book, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. *The play has a longer official title.
Arts Organization of the Month
Arts Organization of the Month: Association of Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centres (AAPPAC)
AAPPAC is a membership-type organization with the mission of building a network of arts and culture centers in the Asia-Pacific region and promoting exchanges of programs, human resources and information in order to strengthen partnerships and advance professional specialization in the region’s performing arts. The Association was formed in 1996 through cooperative action by performing arts centers in the Asia-Pacific region. The head office is located in Singapore’s Esplanade Theatres on the Bay complex.
Arts Organization of the Month: Playwrights Foundation
The Playwrights Foundation was founded in 1976 on America’s West Coast by the theater director Robert Woodruff for the purpose of supporting playwrights by discovering, nurturing and providing performance opportunities for talented contemporary playwrights. Various forms of support are provided for searching out good plays by young and mid-career playwrights and bringing them to the stage through the good graces of producers and the like. Until now the foundation has helped support the careers of more than 500 playwrights.
Arts Organization of the Month: Japan 2.5-Dimensional Musical Association
Founded in March 2014 as a general incorporated association with the aim of promoting and developing the new genre of “2.5-D musicals” that bring to the stage stories based on popular manga comic, anime movie and video game contents (including some works that don’t include music and songs). The association’s participating members range widely, not only from entertainment industry publishing companies, TV broadcasting companies, theater production companies and the like, but also travel agencies, system development companies and others.
Japan Topics
Asia Producers Platform (APP) Camp opens (Jun. 26 – Jul. 2, 2016)   Jun. 30, 2016
Director Yukio Ninagawa Passes Away   May. 16, 2016
Kuro Tanino’s play Jigokudani Onsen Mumyo no Shuku (Jigokudani Hot Springs Ignorance Inn) winner of the 60th (2016) Kishida Drama Award   Apr. 25, 2016
Yokohama Dance Collection 2016 competition choreography award winners chosen   Mar. 8, 2016
New National Theatre, Tokyo, has announced 2016/2017 season lineup   Feb. 10, 2016
Setouchi Triennale 2016 program announced   Feb. 10, 2016
Presenter Topics
70th Avignon Festival opens (Jul. 4 – 25, 2016)   New! (Jul. 21, 2016)
ImPulsTanz – Vienna international dance festival opens (Jul. 14 – Aug. 14, 2016)   New! (Jul. 21, 2016)
Leading presenter of cutting-edge theater, the biennial London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) opens (June 2 – July 2, 2016)   Apr. 25, 2016
Austria’s leading comprehensive arts festival “Wiener Festwochen” opens (May 13 – June 19, 2016)   Apr. 25, 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. 056 “Five Years After the Great East Japan Earthquake ”   New!