国際交流基金 The Japan Foundation Performing Arts Network Japan

Performing Arts Network Japan is a website produced by The Japan Foundation introducing Japan’s performing arts in all their rich diversity. Along with updates on the latest arts information and topics is open access to an invaluable archive of some 300 in-depth interviews of contemporary Japanese artists and international arts presenters, and to an extensive collection of about 250 synopses of contemporary Japanese theater works.

Vol. 151 Updated Nov. 24, 2021

Perfoming Arts in Japan 日本の舞台芸術

Artist Interview アーティストインタビュー

Kazutaro Nakamura

Kazutaro Nakamura, opening new horizons for traditional arts, exemplified by his first film work ART Kabuki prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Kazutaro Nakamura (born: 1990) is a young heir of the Kamigata (Kyoto and Osaka) style Kabuki tradition, who specializes in onnagata (actors performing female roles). As an actor, he has also ventured into new fields, such as acting in a contemporary play in 2016 directed by the Singapore native stage director, Ong Keng Sen. Amidst the overwhelming effects suffered by the Kabuki world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nakamura created and released a film work titled ART Kabuki that builds on the traditional Kabuki art in new ways. In this interview, we explore the ideas behind the innovative creative projects of this young star seeking to open up new frontiers for the future of the traditional arts.

Nao Yoshigai

Dancing and filming pre-verbal
emotive impulses

Nao Yoshigai (b. 1987) is a choreographer, dancer and filmmaker. In this interview we ask her about her world in which physical expression and filming are inseparable, as we see in her films such as Hottamaru days (2015), in which dancer nymphs living in an old wooden house give physical expression to its this-and-that, and her short film Grand Banquet (2018. Invited work for the 72nd Cannes Film Festival Director’s Fortnight for short films) in which a young woman disgorges flowers instead of words.


The Music of OKI’s World
Rooted in the Tonkori and the Unique Expression it Inspires

OKI is a musician active around the world, whose innovative music is based on the tonkori, a string instrument of the Karafuto Ainu people. This in-depth interview introduces the world of OKI, who is also active as a music producer and who blurs the boundaries of musical expression by interweaving music rooted around the world—including reggae, dub, R&B, jazz and world music—with Ainu traditional music.

International Presenter 世界のプレゼンター

Presenter Interview プレゼンターインタビュー

Muhammad Abe

Spreading from Indonesia into Asia,
a Platform for Theater and Playwriting

Inspired by the Asian Playwrights Meeting held in Tokyo in 2009, the following year the Indonesia Dramatic Reading Festival (IDRF) was established in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and was held annually for ten years. For the 10th anniversary of the IDRF in 2019, an Asian Playwrights Meeting (APM) 2019 with playwrights invited from Japan and countries of Southeast Asia. In this interview we speak with curator and translator Muhammad Abe, who was instrumental in the forming of a platform for theater plays in Asia, including the IDRF and APM.

Jayachandran Palazhy

Attakkalari Centre’s Aims
As a Base for Contemporary Dance in India

In India, where the presence of traditional dance is so strong, the Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts in the Bangalor state in southern India has stood as a pioneering gateway to the field of contemporary dance. The founder of this Centre and its artistic director is Jayachandran Palazhy. In this interview he speaks about how the Centre has built a network with overseas organizations, launched the Attakkalari India Biennale, while also directing efforts to creation through artist-in-residence opportunities and a broad range of other programs.


With コロナ の視点
With Corona” Perspective
Akane Nakamura (producer) Interview

As producer of the private sector production company precog Co., Ltd., Akane Nakamura (born, 1979) works with such artists as Toshiki Okada (chelfitsch), Yudai Kamisato, Mikuni Yanaihara (Nibroll), Teppei Kaneuji and Norimizu Ameya on productions in the fields of theater, dance, fine arts, literary arts and interdisciplinary works, while constantly seeking contemporary relevance and developing the potential of artistic expression. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the challenge for the company to seek new forms of online presentation of works and the establishment of the Theatre for All platform (Approved by Agency for Cultural Affairs) focusing on audience that preciously found theaters difficult to access. In this interview Nakamura talks about her beginnings in production and on to her latest projects for presenting the arts.

New Plays 日本の新作戯曲

外の道 前川知大 Soto no Michi (The Outside)
Tomohiro Maekawa

The premiere of this play was originally scheduled for 2020 but had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, after which there were work-in-progress performances and revisions made during further creative work that was introduced on a specially prepared online site, before the final premiere in May of 2021. The setting of the play is a café-like hall dimly lit as with approaching darkness and reverberating with a constant drone of ominous sound from afar, and in this atmosphere, two former classmates who have met by chance after 20 years talk about their strange daily lives that have gradually lost ant sense of order. The stories they tell soon take on new aspects as people who at first appear to be customers in the same café-like space turn out to be their family members and lovers. With no revelations about whether the stories they tell are fact or fantasy, the space is eventually consumed in darkness.

事件 村川拓也 Jiken (The Incident) Takuya Murakawa

This is an experimental work that premiered in 2021 created by Takuya Murakawa (born 1982), a director and film artist who was first influenced by the documentary film works he studied at university and went on to create stage works to be performed in front of a camera and then edited as film works. The subject of this work is a stabbing incident that occurred in a supermarket when Murakawa himself happened to be present. Actually appearing on stage are a few actors including the store’s cash register clerk and the customer involved in the incident, while speakers also convey the voices of the store’s manager and others, while depictions of elements of the stressful daily lives that lead up to the incident are also conveyed in painful detail.

バナナの花は食べられる 山本卓卓 Banana no hana wa taberareru
(You Can Eat Banana Flowers)
Suguru Yamamoto

This play premiered in 2021 as a production by theater company Hanchu-Yuei led by playwright and director Suguru Yamamoto. Due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the tetralogy Banana no hana (Banana Flowers) was released in advance in 2020 as online plays. After that, this work premiered as a stage production recorded by six cameras and distributed online as a video work. It tells the story of two men, a dating app user and a fake buyer who dresses as a woman to lure customers into a store. They hit it off well and decide to open a private detective business.

Arts Organizations 世界の支援団体

バンコク国際舞台芸術ミーティング(BIPAM) Bangkok International Performing Arts Meeting (BIPAM)
Bangkok International Performing Arts Meeting (BIPAM)

Based in Bangkok, Thailand, BIPAM is an international platform for exchange among artists, practitioners and professionals involved in the performing arts. With the ambition is to become Southeast Asia’s performing arts launchpad, BIPAM was founded as a joint project between the Bangkok Theater Network (BTN), the Thailand International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC) center and the Alliance of Performing Arts in Higher Education of Thailand (PATH) and has been held annually each autumn since 2017. BIPAM’s artistic director is Sasapin Siriwanij, who is also active as a performer, director and producer.

ヴォイセス・オブ・カルチャー Voices of Culture
Voices of Culture

Voices of Culture provides a platform for structured dialogue between the cultural sector in the European Union and the European Commission for the purpose of achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations. Representatives of solicited applicant organizations are invited to a Brainstorming Meeting to discuss a variety of topics relevant to the culture and creative sector, such as achieving gender equality and good working conditions for artists. A Brainstorming Report is then produced after each meeting and is then presented to and discussed with the European Commission for use in the policy-making process.

フリーミューズ Freemuse Freemuse

Freemuse is an independent international non-governmental organization (NGO) advocating for freedom of artistic expression and cultural diversity. The organization’s headquarters are located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Founded in 1998 in the aftermath of the first World Conference on Music and Censorship (Copenhagen), Freemuse initially dealt primarily with the issue of censorship in the field of music. However, from 2011 it has expanded its activities to promote freedom of artistic expression and creativity across all art forms.