The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Vol. 127 Updated Mar. 27, 2017
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Performing Arts in JapanInternationl Presenter
Artist Interview
Artist Interview: Shintaro Hirahara’s image of Theatrical dance
Shintaro HiraharaShintaro Hirahara is the double award winner for the final Toyota Choreography Awards 2016, receiving both the Next Age Choreographer Award and the Audience Award. Starting his career with the dance company Noism, he also danced as a member of C/Ompany and Condors and went on to establish his own dance company OrganWorks in 2013. In this interview, Hirahara speaks about the “theatrical” dance expression he seeks with his high trained physicality.
Artist Interview: Stage musician/sound artist Hiroko Tanagawa Interpreting Satoshi Miyagi’s theatrical world
Hiroko TanakawaFor over 20 years, Hiroko Tanakawa has created the stage music/sound for productions directed by Satoshi Miyagi. Using the performing actors in their rotations on stage and a rich variety of percussion instruments, Tanakawa has created a unique style of stage sound. For Miyagi’s 2017 New Kabuki production The War Chronicles of Mahabharata, Tanakawa worked in collaboration with Kabuki musicians. In this interview we explore the work of Tanakawa, who, with no formal music education, recognizes herself as a creative outsider in world of stage sound and music.
Artist Interview: The Power of Mitsunori Fukuhara, Changing reality with comic imagination
Mitsunori FukuharaAs co-leader, playwright and director of a number of theater companies, each different in character, including Pichichi 5, Bed & Makings and Nippon no Kasen, Mitsunori Fukuhara is engaged in a wide variety of theater-making that can’t be classified as any one type. Also writing actively for outside productions, Fukuhara has created many stories that take as their main characters common people who transcend their everyday realities with comic imagination. In this interview with Fukuhara, who claims that he wants to combat reality by creating fiction, we get a look at his life and theories about theater.
Presenter Interview
Presenter Interview; A new director takes the reins in Lyon, France’s mecca of contemporary dance
Dominique Hervieu
Known as a city flush with budget for arts and culture, Lyon, France has embraced contemporary dance as a core of its identity as a city. After establishing its Maison de la Danse as France’s first theater dedicated to dance, the city launched the Lyon Dance Biennale in 1984. In this significant interview we talk with Dominique Hervieu, the successor to the founding director of the theater and the festival, Guy Darmet.
Presenter Interview; New Theatre Institute of Latvia (NTIL) Leading the Latvia Performing Arts World since the 1990
Laura Stasane
Located on the east coast of the Baltic Sea, the Republic of Latvia became independent from the former Soviet Union in 1991. Based in the capital city of Riga, the New Theatre Institute of Latvia (NTIL) with its producer Laura Stasane is the organizer of two of the country’s representative performing arts festivals, “Home Novus” and “Dance Moves Cities.” In this interview with Stasane, we learn about Latvia’s independent performing arts scene, which until now has been little known to the Japanese audience.
Presenter Interview; The aims of Legend Tokyo   Japan’s biggest street dance event
Mitsuaki Kudo
Legend Tokyo is a street dance competition that has been held since 2011. It is a choreography contest in which choreographers selected after preliminary rounds choreograph dance shows for groups of dancers. Until now, the competition has introduced artists who are now widely active in the general performing arts scene, such as Tatsuya Hasegawa of DAZZLE and Umebou. In this interview we talk with Legend Tokyo’s founder, Mitsuaki Kudo, about his passion for dance and the unique perspective he brings to the dance industry.
Play of the Month
Play of the Month; Megashira wo Osaeta by Takuya Yokoyama
Set in a community in decline due to unrelenting depopulation, this play tells a story about the conflict between the older and younger generations regarding long-standing conventions of funeral rites as seen through the eyes of two high school girls and the relentless pressures of the changing times expressed in the poignant subtleties of the local dialect. This play premiered in 2012 as a production by Osaka’s ABC Hall and was restaged in 2013 by Yokoyama’s theater unit iaku. In 2018, it was rewritten from the Kansai dialect to the Miyazaki dialect and staged with direction by Tetsuya Matsumoto.
Play of the Month; The Day of Anne by Roba Shimori
This is a new work on the subject of women by Roba Shimori, a writer who applies an approach involving extensive research to explore the uncomfortable realities around us through subjects such as societal issues and historical incidents. Set in the product development department of a company that produces sanitary napkins (menstrual pads), this play looks at the personal and working lives of eight women involved in new product development.
Play of the Month; Kodomo no Jijo (The Kids’ World) by Koki Mitani
This is the latest play by the popular playwright Koki Mitani. It is set in the early 1960s when Mitani himself was a schoolboy, and the characters are all 4th-grade students in Class #3 of the Kusu Elementary School. They are all classmates who call each other by their nicknames. The narrator, who we can imagine to be Mitani as a child, and eight of his classmates, each with their unique character, are squabbling and maneuvering to decide who will have which duties in the class, and the machinations take on the nature of a microcosm of adult society and politics. In the play’s premiere, all of the school children were played by adult actors, and frequent songs and live piano playing added to the lively air of the play’s nostalgic depiction of the free and easy joys of childhood.
Arts Organization of the Month
Arts Organization of the Month: The Ian Potter Foundation (Australia)
This Melbourne-based foundation was founded in 1964 by the late Australian financier Sir Ian Potter. Reflecting Potter’s vision of “A vibrant, healthy and fair Australia,” its programs support the arts, community wellbeing, education, environmental preservation, health and support for people with disabilities through support for activities in the fields of knowledge and learning, medical research and the sciences.
Arts Organization of the Month: The Neilson Foundation
The Neilson Foundation is a foundation that supports both the arts and charities that play important roles in the encouragement and protection of diversity and social cohesion. The Foundation was established in 2007 by Mr. Keer Neilson, co-founder of the Australian investment company Platinum Asset Management. In the field of the arts, the Foundation supports excellence in artistic activities by organizations including Australia’s representative orchestras, theatre companies, art museums, arts festivals and the like.
Arts Organization of the Month: Komunitas Salihara
Komunitas Salihara is a privately run comprehensive arts center presenting programs of multidisciplinary arts from music, dance and theater to literature, film, fine arts and more in Jakarta, Indonesia. Founded in 2008 as a platform for Indonesian culture, Komunitas Salihara engages in a wide variety of programs such as Salihara International Performing Arts Festival, Salihara Theaterfest, Salihara Dancefest and Salihara Literary Biennale.
Japan Topics
24th OMS Prize awarded to Akira Yamazaki for Melo-Melo Tachi   New! (Mar. 22, 2018)
The 62nd (2018) Kishida Drama Award winners are Yudai Kamisato and Mitsunori Fukuhara   New! (Mar. 12, 2018)
Ryo Iwamatsu’s Usui Momoiro no Katamari wins the 21st Tsuruya Namboku Memorial Drama Award   New! (Feb. 27, 2018)
Yokohama Dance Collection 2018 competition choreography award winners chosen   New! (Feb. 21, 2018)
Presenter Topics
Opening of one of Austria’s leading comprehensive arts festivals “Wiener Festwochen” (May 11 – June 18, 2018)   New! (Mar. 28, 2018)
Berlin’s “Theatertreffen” festival set to open (May 4 – 20, 2018)   New! (Mar. 28, 2018)
South Australia’s largest arts festival, the Adelaide Festival (Mar. 2 – 18, 2018)   Feb. 1, 2018
46th Hong Kong Arts Festival opens (Feb. 23 – Mar. 24, 2018)   Feb. 1, 2018
News from the Japan Foundation
News from the Japan Foundation
TPAM in Yokohama 2018: Foreign presenters for Japan Foundation and Asia Center invitation decided   New! (Feb. 5, 2018)
ART ARCHIVE published as an English-language e-book series introducing the Philippine arts scene   New! (Nov. 30, 2017)
2017 – 2018 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for North America programs finalized   Jun. 14, 2017
2017 – 2018 schedule of the Japan Foundation supported PAJ for Europe programs finalized   Jun. 14, 2017
Wochi Kochi Magazine Vol. 063 “Passion and Curiosity Open Doors to Cross-Cultural Communication – The Japan Foundation Awards 2017”   New!