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JFTFP17: That's a wrap!
30/03/2017


The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2017: Odd Obsessions: Desires, Hopes and Impulses in Japanese Cinema
#JFTFP17
3 February – 29 March 2017


"The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme keep(s) going from strength to strength, and make(s) real efforts to get Asian films exhibited beyond the metropolitan hub" Anton Bitel, Sight and Sound

Following 103 screenings nationwide over a two month period, the largest ever Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme drew to a close in late March. Featuring 14 titles, ranging from contemporary films, classics, documentary and anime, the programme toured to 15 venues around the country, including new venues in Stirling (Macrobert Arts Centre) and Inverness (Eden Court).

This year we also welcomed three very special guests, Naotaro Endo (director of Tsukiji Wonderland), Daishi Matsunaga (Pieta in the Toilet) and Shuichi Okita (The Mohican Home Comes), all of whom took part in post-screening discussions of their films in London and around the UK.

Below are some of this year’s highlights:


Director Daishi Matsunaga visited the UK to attend screenings of his debut feature film Pieta in the Toilet. In addition to appearing at the film’s UK premiere at ICA, Matsunaga also travelled to Watershed in Bristol, Showroom Cinema in Sheffield and Quad in Derby.


Another of the 9 UK premieres shown as part of the season was Shuichi Okita’s latest film The Mohican Comes Home. Two of Okita’s films have been released in the UK (Woodsman and the Rain and The Story of Yonosuke) and his fans turned out in numbers for the screening at the ICA!

Okita also attended screenings of The Mohican Comes Home at the Queen’s Film Theatre in Belfast and Exeter Phoenix.


And then in March, we were joined by Naotaro Endo, director of the season’s featured documentary, Tsukiji Wonderland. Following the film’s sell-out screening at ICA, London in February, Endo joined us for an exclusive ‘Filmmaker Talk’ at the Soho Hotel in London, before embarking on a tour around the UK, attending screenings in Broadway in Nottingham, Filmhouse in Edinburgh and Exeter Phoenix.



Among the titles, Naoko Yamada's anime A Silent Voice proved a huge hit, selling out screens up and down the country. The film's London premiere at ICA as part of the programme was the fatest selling film in the programme. On the day of the screening the queue was stretching out of the door - see below!



The programme was also well received and was ranked among TimeOut magazine's top 10 film events in February. Here's a few snippets of some reviews:

"We’re big fans of the way that the Japan Foundation takes a bundle of recent and classic Japanese films around the UK every year. (This year’s selection is) another fine collection." Spank the Monkey (Mostly Film)

"The Japan Foundation Touring Programme is one of those all too rare events in the world of Japanese cinema that just might demonstrate that all is not lost by promoting a renewed image of Japan, thanks to its original and varied programme." Gabriel Bernard (ZOOM Japan)

The Japan Foundation tours have always triumphed by not limiting their footprint to a single city. Since the season began in 2004, the selection has grown from a small handful of 5 titles to a staggering 14. (…A) fantastic opportunity to catch more Japanese films on the big screen in a single weekend that you’re likely to see across the whole of the rest of the year. Use it or lose it!
Jasper Sharp (All the Anime)


And here are some lovely comments from our audiences!


All events, every year, something new comes to us. It's really great!

Thank you for your efforts. Great work! Thank you so much for showing so many wonderful films.

I'd love to see more Japanese films in cinemas! There isn't enough and it is very popular!


Thank you to everyone who attended the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme this February and March! We look forward to seeing you again at the 15th edition in 2018!



Report: Japan Foundation/BAJS Japanese Studies Postgraduate Workshop 2017 – Make an Impact
28/03/2017


February 24 2017 saw the return of the annual Japanese Studies postgraduate workshop, the sixth the Japan Foundation has held in co-operation with the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS), and the second to be held outside London. This year’s workshop held at the University of Sheffield, was attended by 36 postgraduate students from 18 different universities in the UK and Europe working on Japan related research in diverse disciplines across the humanities and social sciences.


The theme of this year’s workshop focused on how emerging academics can expand the impact of their research on wider academia and society outside the Japanese Studies community.


The workshop opened with a series of inspiring case studies from senior academics at the University of Sheffield’s School of East Asian Studies.  Prof Hugo Dobson, Dr Mark Pendleton and Dr Peter Matanle discussed their own experiences of conceiving, generating and recording the impact of their research covering diverse perspectives from international relations and ‘translating’ research for the media, working with policy-makers, to creative collaboration with visual artists.


The presentations were followed by a series of hands-on workshop sessions led by Dr Thomas McAuley, Lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Sheffield, during which students worked in small groups to define their research for an audience of non-specialists, and to put together a statement on the potential impact and audience for their research.


The workshop finished with a session on ‘Funding your Research’ with presentations from representatives of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, British Association for Japanese Studies and the Japan Foundation introducing the wide range of funding programmes available to emerging researchers in Japanese Studies.


Some comments from student participants include:


‘I have heard suggestions on how to expand my research and enhance its impact in ways that I hadn’t even considered before.’


‘The research impact workshop was brilliantly designed – extremely useful and practical. One of the best events I have attended during the three years of my PhD.’


Thank you very much to the British Association for Japanese Studies, the University of Sheffield and all participants and speakers for making the workshop such a great success. We hope to see you again next year! If you are a PhD student undertaking research on Japan and would like to attend a future workshop, please do get in touch!



The Twelfth Japanese Speech Contest for University Students Finals Day
07/03/2017
 

A huge OMEDETOO GOZAIMASU (Congratulations!) to all 20 finalists who took part in the Twelfth Japanese Speech Contest for University Students, which took place at King’s College London on Saturday March 4th.


The 20 finalists had been selected from a total of 88 applications from 18 universities across the UK. The day began with the Individual Presentation category finalists, all of whom are studying Japanese at post-beginner level. The presentations were all of a very high standard and it was very difficult for the judges to decide the winner. However, the first prize eventually went to Wei Lun Toh, a 3rd year student at Imperial College London, for his very engaging and informative speech on The History and Origins of English. In second place was Polena Lilyanova, also in her 3rd year at Imperial College London, who was also a finalist in the previous year’s contest. This year, she gave a very lively presentation on The Beauty of Bulgaria, while dressed in Bulgarian national costume!


The Individual Presentation Category was followed by the Speech Category. All six finalists demonstrated not only exceptional Japanese ability, but also a great degree of insight and knowledge of their chosen subjects. After much deliberation, the first prize was awarded to Giordano Epifani,  4th year at SOAS, University of London, for demonstrating outstanding skills in delivering his speech on the topical subject of Adaptation problems of foreign expatriates in Japan .The second prize was awarded to Robin Reh, another 4th year at SOAS, for showing much insight and fresh perspectives on the theme of The opportunities of an ageing society. The third prize was awarded to Dominic Oben, still only in his 1st year at the University of Oxford, for showing real academic flare and understanding of Japanese culture in his talk on The significance of aesthetic values in contemporary Japan and their relationship with the Japanese identity


This year’s Group Presentation Category gave beginner-level students the chance to give presentations on a topic of their choice. The four outstanding groups that made it through to Saturday’s finals were chosen from an initial 17 groups that applied, and represented the University of Warwick, the University of Hertfordshire, Imperial College London and King’s College London. They gave talks on “Italy and Hong Kong,” “Songkran Festival & Tihar Festival,” “Tim Peake’s Expedition to Space” and “Culinary Customs in China and Singapore.” These groups were not placed individually, but instead received special prizes based on their chosen topics.


We would like to thank all participants, their teachers and supporters, the judges, audience members and BATJ for making the contest such a success. In addition, special thanks must go to the generous sponsors: Baker & McKenzie LLP, Bloomberg L.P., Central Japan Railway Company, Gendai Travel Limited, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Japan Airlines, Japan Centre, JP BOOKS, King’s College London, NHK World, Nikkei Europe Ltd., Oxford Brookes University, Ricoh UK Ltd, Toshiba of Europe Ltd, Wagashi Japanese Bakery and ZOOM Japan.



We would like to encourage as many undergraduate students of Japanese language as possible to apply for next year’s contest! Finally, students still at school may be interesting in applying for the Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary Schools, the deadline for which is Fri 24th March 2017.



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Japan Study Tour for Scotland’s Education Leaders in local Kamaishi News!
27/02/2017
 

The recent Japan Study Tour for Scotland’s Education Leaders, in which 20 educational professionals from Scotland visited Japan to learn about Japanese society, culture and education, was reported in Entrance, the local newspaper of Kamaishi in Iwate Prefecture. You can find the original story in Japanese here.


We have provided a basic English translation of the article below. This is an unofficial translation by the Japan Foundation London produced to the best of our knowledge. We are unable to guarantee or take responsibility for the accuracy of the content.


***


Photo 1 Caption:  Scottish education professionals visited  Kamaishi High School and strengthened their relations with the six students who visited Orkney last year.


On February 15th, 20 education professionals from Scotland, a country with a strong tradition of rugby, visitied Kamaishi City in order to deepen their understanding of Japan’s culture and education system, as well as the current disaster reconstruction  efforts. They observed an English class at Kamaishi High School (Head Teacher: Kazuya Sato, Roll: 531 pupils). They also visited the building site of a school in Unosumaicho where construction on a stadium for the Rugby World Cup in 2019 is taking place, in which Scotland has a keen interest.


This visit was part of an invitation programme by the Japan Foundation (Head office: Tokyo) in response to the increasing interest in Japanese as a second language, as part of an overall strategy of Scottish education policy to introduce two languages in addition to the mother tongue languages at primary schools . The purpose is to give young people in Scotland a more globally competitive outlook for the future. The tour aimed to enable participants to experience not only Japanese language, but also the culture and the education environment of Japan and to get a feel for the potentials Japanese has to offer. The delegation, who arrived in Japan on February 12th, visited an elementary school in Tokyo and held discussions with the school community.


Admiration for  the enthusiasm of High School students


Kamaishi High School, which has been designated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as a Super Science High School, has organised visits to the Orkney Isles in Scotland as part of overseas study tour into marine energy. This occasion was a chance for the Orkney Isles to develop the relationship further by making the trip to Kamaishi City.


The delegates observed 37 pupils in Year 1 in an English class. They heard the pupils make speeches about their future dreams in English. Among the aspiring teachers, nurses and accountants, one pupil said, “I want to do work that helps with the reconstruction effort. I want to develop leadership skills in order to guide people involved to do this.” Mr Wilf Weir, Executive Director for Education, Leisure and Housing at Orkney Islands Council, found this admirable. “I am impressed to see the incredible enthusiasm of these pupils. I would like to share Japan’s excellence in education with Scottish people,” he commented.


Picture 2 Caption: Many smiling faces as pupils make an effort to communicate


The Scottish delegates asked the pupils many questions about their study.  After putting the English vocabulary they knew to use, the pupils felt an added impetus to study English, saying, “We just about managed to communicate. I want to brush up on the parts that are still difficult.”


The delegates also got a chance to hear about the school’s educational principles and daily life, and to talk with the six 3rd Year pupils who took part in the research visit to Orkney in September last year.


After this, the delegation visited Unosumaicho. They heard about the damage situation at the building site of a school which is being rebuilt on the plateau, and learn more about the current state of the reconstruction efforts.


Picture 3 Caption: Observing the school building site at Unosumaicho


Dr Petra McLay, Curriculum Leader of Languages & International Culture at Bell Baxter High School in Fife which has already introduced Japanese language education, was impressed by Japan’s education system and the enthusiasm of its educational professionals, but explained that there is a lack of teachers in Scotland who can promote Japanese language education. “There is a possibility we can do this if we form a regional network of schools thinking of introducing Japanese. We hope to compare educational systems and adopt the best parts,” she said.


The delegation will also experience Japanese culture through temples and Zen meditation in Kyoto, and will return to Scotland on February 18th.


(Fukkou Kamaishi Newspaper, 18th February 2017, Issue 564)



The Japan Study Tour for Scotland’s Education Leaders
31/01/2017
 

As part of the Japan Foundation’s London’s support for links between Japan and Scotland, we will embark on a trip to Japan for 20 Scottish Leaders in Education. The trip will take place from 10th February – 18th February 2017 and will give participants the chance to learn more about Japan and the Japanese education system.


We hope the programme will help deepen the participants’ understanding of Japan. It involves visiting three areas, Tokyo, Kamaishi City in Iwate Prefecture as well as Kyoto. The trip will include a wide range of activities, including lectures about the relationship between Scotland and Japan, discussions to facilitate cultural exchange with Japanese educational leaders, school visits, a visit to the area struck by The Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, as well as cultural experiences in Kyoto.


The participants are listed in the file below.

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Japanese Tasters for Schools (JTS) Sessions in 2017
31/01/2017


Paralympian gold medalist Noel Thatcher MBE teaching a volunteer Japanese taster at Randal Cremer Primary School in Hackney


These are some of the Japanese taster sessions that our volunteers in the Japanese Tasters for Schools (JTS) Programme have held in schools around the UK this year so far. We would like to thank all the volunteers for their extremely hard work on the programme!


If you would like to arrange a Japanese Taster Session at your school, or if you speak good Japanese and you would like to become a JTS volunteer yourself, click here to find out more about the JTS Programme.


Fairlawn Primary School, 3 March
Community Primary School in Lewisham
Aims of taster: The children are currently studying the book “Kensuke’s Kingdom” which features Japanese language. The Japanese taster linked into this topic.
Activities in taster: Japanese greetings, introduction to Japanese writing with song, writing some basic Japanese, learning about the Japanese festivals of Hinamatsuri and Kodomo no Hi.
Feedback: "Great engagement from the children. Really well led session that engaged all learners. Children found the session really exciting and were happy to learn greetings and about the alphabet. Really engaged them in our topic and about languages in general." (Mr Evans, Class Teacher)


Boughton Monchelsea Primary School, 21 February
Community Primary School in Kent
Aims of taster: The school has a child who has family from Japan and they thought that it would be nice for the other children to learn all about their culture
Activities in taster: Introduction to Japan, greetings in Japanese, numbers 1-10 in Japanese, explanation about the Japanese festival “Kodomo no Hi” (Children’s Day) and making a Kodomo No Hi carp streamer.
Feedback: "The children thoroughly enjoyed the taster session. The volunteer ensured that her lesson had the right amount of pace, particularly for each of the different age groups. The volunteer made her sessions interactive for the children which they really loved. They have been trying out the different greetings at different opportunities during the school day.” (Mrs Rose, KS1 leader and Year 2 teacher)
Notes: The children are now looking forward to celebrating 'Children's Day' in May.


Dartford Science & Technology College, 21 February
Foundation Secondary School in Kent
Aims of taster: Hoping to lead towards staple Japanese enrichment activity.
Activities in taster: Introduction to Japan, greetings in Japanese, numbers 1-10 in Japanese, making origami hearts
Feedback: “"Students were very engaged” (Mrs Cordery,  Director of Learning for MFL)
Notes: Following the taster, the school has expressed a keen interest in launching a Japanese club


Temple Ewell Church of England Primary School, 8 February
Primary Academy in Kent
Activities in taster: Greetings, self-introductions in Japanese, colours in Japanese, making origami planes
Feedback: "The children thoroughly enjoyed working with Aiko. We had an Ofsted inspection at the time - they were very impressed and it is mentioned in the report."” (Mrs Matthews, Head of School) – You can view the school’s Ofsted report here (the taster is mentioned on Page 4)
Notes: The school has since expressed an interest in launching a Japanese club


Holtspur School, 7 February
Community Primary School in Buckinghamshire
Aims of taster: Part of term topic on Japan
Activities in taster: Looking at volcanoes in Japan, introduction to Japanese writing, introduction to Japanese seasons and culture, greetings in Japanese, trying Japanese writing
Feedback: “The volunteer was very approachable and delivered a great session."
Notes: Following the taster, the school has expressed an interest in doing more work with Japanese language and culture.


Randal Cremer Primary School, 6 February
Community Primary School in Hackney
Aims of taster: Linking to the topic of robots, with a focus of robots in Japan
Activities in taster: Introduction to Japan, greetings in Japanese and bowing, Japanese numbers
Feedback: "Noel and Kanako were fantastic volunteers. They were so enthusiastic and really engaged the children in the learning. Noel was so kind to bring resources with him and the powerpoints were really interesting and informative. Many thanks!" (Miss Ekers, Class Teacher)
Notes: The lead volunteer for this taster, Noel Thatcher MBE, is a Paralympic gold medallist and fluent Japanese speaker who has previously supported the Japan Foundation at other events such as the Language Show Live. During his taster, the pupils also got to hear about his experiences in Japan and see his gold medals! 


Japanese taster at Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, January 2017. From This Is Wiltshire.


Japanese taster at Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, January 2017. 
From 
This Is Wiltshire.


Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, 27 January
Primary Academy in Swindon
Aims of taster: Part of an International Day
Activities in taster: Introduction to Japan, greetings in Japanese and bowing, origami, names and sounds of animals in Japanese, counting in Japanese, writing in Japanese
Feedback: " The PowerPoint produced by our volunteer was excellent and child friendly. The children were inspired to repeat Japanese spoken words by listening and repeating the language... Japanese day was enjoyed by all pupils."
Notes: The visit was reported in the local press, This Is Wiltshire


Eldersfield Lawn CofE Primary School, 13 January
Voluntary Controlled Primary School in Worcestershire
Aims of taster: Part of a Japanese Day. The Headteacher had recently returned from a trip to Japan through the Japan Foundation’s Group Tour Programme for Headteachers. He had given the pupils a taste of  his visit and they are were keen to learn more about Japanese culture and its language
Activities in taster: Japanese greetings, bowing,  quiz about Japanese culture, numbers in Japanese, origami
Notes: The school has said that it is keen to start Japanese lessons



Japanese club receives praise from Ofsted
11/01/2017

Ofsted have reacted very positively to seeing a popular Japanese club at Longman's Hill Community Primary school in Selby, Yorkshire.  The school received the following comments in their Ofsted report:


“Personal development, behaviour and welfare: Outstanding
There is a wide range of after-school and lunchtime clubs, such as a computing club and a very popular Japanese club. Pupils were very keen to tell inspectors the Japanese phrases they had learned and how they study Japanese culture.”


This primary school has been running a successful Japanese club since 2015. Since introducing the club, the number of pupils wanting to be involved has doubled, so the school applied and  received a grant from the Japan Foundation’s Local Project Support Programme in 2016. You can see the full Ofsted report here



Primary Japanese Resource Sharing Workshop - 2016
15/12/2016
 

On December 5th 2016, 26 teachers of Japanese joined the Japan Foundation for a resource sharing workshop at Conway hall in London. This event brought together primary teachers of Japanese to share their ideas about what went well with their Japanese teaching over the last year.


The day started with the introduction of the fantastic Momotaro (Peach Boy) play that was written and tested by Helen Morris from Madley Primary School. Participants got to see how Helen introduced the vocabulary and how she prepared them for their performance. You can see a small clip of the play here, and a performance of a Japanese dance here.


The next presentation was from Clare Kuroishi, from the Norton Knatchbull School who showed how she has used kendo and rajio taiso to teach actions and parts of the body. Clare has been teaching Japanese though physical education and so it was really interesting to see how she integrated language learning with movement.


After this, Aya Kamura Mirto from Carden Primary school shared how she taught about the weather in Japanese. Aya encouraged her pupils to make teru teru bozu (weather charms), as well as getting them to sing lots of songs which she shared with other participants. One participant, Sarah Hart told us that she “enjoyed all the sessions, as each offered a different perspective to teaching Japanese.”


Lastly, the Japan Foundation’s Chief Language Advisor Makoto Netsu, introduced some new sections of the Japan Foundation Japanese Scheme of Work for Primary Schools, which is packed full of lesson plans, resources and exciting and fun ideas for teaching primary-level Japanese to Year 3, Year 4 and Year 5 pupils. Participants were shown the topics for the new materials and then went through the new materials for teaching about shopping (including role plays). These new materials will be available to download on our website soon.


One participant, Jacob Smith said the following: “really useful event- I never realised there were so many useful resources/ so much support available!” While Shraddha Payyappilly mentioned that “all speakers distributing materials that they have used in past was really helpful.”


You can see photos from this event on the Japan Foundation Facebook page here, and you can download some of the presentations and resources below.


We would like to thank all participants for coming, especially our guest speakers!

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Report: Japan Year Abroad Programme (J-YAP) Coordinator Conference
01/12/2016

On Saturday 5th November the Japan Foundation London held the first Japan Year Abroad Programme (J-YAP) Coordinator Conference at the Royal Asiatic Society in London. As the inaugural meeting of the new J-YAP Coordinators Network, the conference was the first opportunity for staff members involved in the administration of Year Abroad Programmes within Japanese/Japanese Studies degree courses at universities across the UK to gather to share information on how to combat common administration challenges and help enable students make the most of their unique Year Abroad programme opportunities. Participating in the discussions were 14 Year Abroad Programme Coordinators and related staff members from 11 universities which offer Japanese/Japanese studies degree courses, and members of the British Association for Japanese Studies and other key Japanese Studies related organisations.


The conference was divided into three themed sections led mainly by current Year Abroad Programme Coordinators. 


The first session opened with a lively discussion on ways to utilise returning 4th year students as resources to deliver student guidance and support before and during the Year Abroad and therefore lighten the workload of J-YAP administrators, focusing on two case studies of innovative strategies put in place by UK universities. 


Session 2 addressed challenges experienced by universities when sending students with diverse needs to Japan, such as negotiation with Japanese partner universities and student placement. Current Year Abroad Programme coordinators introduced their own experiences and led a discussion during which participants shared and developed practical and collaborative strategies  to deal with these challenges. During this session, The Japan Foundation’s own  Chief Language Advisor Makoto Netsu also  introduced the JF Standard (Japanese site/English pamphlet) as an objective measure which can be used to standardise the evaluation of student’s Japanese language proficiency before and after the Year Abroad so that students can continue their language study in Japan building on their previous achievements at their home university.


The third and final session examined ways to help students make the most of the unique opportunities during the Year Abroad to help prepare for further studies on return to the UK and their future career beyond graduation.  Dr Chris Perkins (British Association for Japanese Studies) explored how to integrate preparations for the fourth year dissertation not only into the Year Abroad itself, but also into the full four year degree programme as a whole. Ms Kiko Hill (Disco International Ltd.) introduced ways that students can use their time during the Year Abroad to prepare themselves for careers in Japan or Japanese companies. 


Some of the feedback from participants included:


“A wonderful initiative that has the potential to have a big impact on Year Abroad coordination”


「貴重な機会をありがとうございました。15年前にあったら私の人生ももっと楽だった…」


(“Thank you for this valuable opportunity. If this conference existed 15 years ago my life would have been a lot easier...”)


Following the conference the Japan Foundation has set up the Japan Year Abroad Programme (J-YAP) Network JiscMail Mailing List as a platform for university staff members to continue to share information and ideas relating to Japan Year Abroad Programmes to help each other combat common challenges and strengthen and promote Year Abroad programmes. If you are involved in administrating a Year Abroad Programme within a Japanese/Japanese Studies degree course and would be interested in joining this network please do get in touch with the Japan Foundation by emailing: j-yap-request@jiscmail.ac.uk


Thank you to all participants and speakers for making the J-YAP Coordinator Conference such a great success and we look forward to future J-YAP network activities!



Japanese Taster for Schools (JTS) Programme Volunteer Training Day November 2016
28/11/2016
 

On November 25th 2015, 32 current and prospective volunteers attended a Training Day for the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Taster for Schools (JTS) Programme, in which native and fluent Japanese speakers conduct free Japanese taster sessions in UK schools. The Training Day was held at Conway Hall in London.


After an overview for new volunteers about the Japan Foundation and the JTS programme itself, the participants heard reports from volunteers who had held Japanese tasters at schools via the JTS Programme. Aya Kamura Mirto on her visit to Westdene Primary School in Brighton; a taster which led to her being employed there as teacher of their Japanese club. Next, Ceri Edwards talked about her visit to Chaddesley Corbett Primary School in Worcestershire, which also resulted in the school starting a Japanese Club at which Ceri now works.


These reports were followed by workshops held by two of the JTS Programme’s most experienced volunteers. Mihoko Noguchi, who has been volunteering for JTS for over 2 years and has visited 12 schools, presented some of the ways to teach Japanese in Secondary Schools, with a particular focus on numbers and enjoyable ways to teach them. She was followed by Hitomi Ito-Burton, who has been a JTS volunteer for over 4 years and has visited 9 schools, and she presented on teaching activities for Primary School pupils, including song and dance.


Finally, the Training Day ended with a discussion session on ideas for teaching Japanese as a home, heritage and mother-tongue language, led by Japan Foundation London’s Chief Japanese Language Advisor, Makoto Netsu. The discussion enabled participants to exchange tips and tricks on teaching Japanese to their pupils and their own children.


Some of the feedback from participants from the training day included:


「訪問報告についてのセッションがとても勉強になりました。実際の状況の雰囲気を感じることができました。」


(“The reports on school visits by volunteers were really useful. I got a good grasp of volunteering is really like.”)


“I enjoyed the activities for teaching Japanese. By being made to join in the activities, I was able to understand clearly their effectiveness and how fun it can be for both the student and volunteers themselves.”


「色んな意見交換ができて良かったです。日本語を教えるための具体的なアクティビティーは今後役立てていきたいです。」
(“It was good to be able to exchange all sorts of ideas. I now want to put some of the practical ideas for activities for teaching Japanese to use.”)


We would like to thank all participants for coming, especially our guest speakers!


You can view more photos from the event on our Facebook page here. 


If you are interested in taking part in the JTS programme as a volunteer, please click here for more information.



Invitation to Tender 2016-2017
07/11/2016
 

The Japan Foundation London is inviting travel agents based in the UK to submit their offer for the service of coordinating an organised group study tour to Japan in February 2017. The necessarily procedures and specifications can be downloaded from here.


Because of the nature of the tour (i.e. most of the arrangements will occur within Japan), all the information as well as communication concerning this procedure is either provided or conducted only in Japanese.

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Japanese tasters, origami ninjas and “radio exercises” at Language Show Live 2016
21/10/2016


A big thank you to everyone who visited the Japan Foundation’s stand at the Language Show Live on 14th, 15th and 16th October at the Olympia, London.


Held once a year, the Language Show is the UK's biggest event for language learners, teachers, linguists and anyone with a passion for languages.  The Japan Foundation’s stand gave visitors a chance to experience Japanese language and culture, including writing their name in Japanese and making origami ninjas! Visitors also assisted by completing surveys about Japanese. 96% of those surveyed said that they were currently studying, had previously studied or were interested in studying Japanese, which is very encouraging! We also found out that a number of Japan Foundation resources, including the Marugoto textbook series, Erin's Challenge! I Can Speak Japanese and MARUGOTO+, were popular among those surveyed. Throughout the show, visitors could also have a free Japanese taster session with Japan Foundation’s Assistant Japanese Language Advisor, Kanako Ukai.


On Saturday morning, we were very lucky to be joined by Mary-Grace Browning MBE, Chair of Examiners for Edexcel GCSE Japanese. She presented a seminar on learning language through problem-solving via a case study of UK-Japan Young Scientists partnerships, which involve exchanges between school students in the UK and Japan to experience science as a cultural bridge where by working together they learn to value each other’s languages and way of life.


Later in the afternoon, we were joined in the Language Show’s Piazza by representatives of the Japan Sport Council, and Paralympian Gold Medallist (and fluent Japanese speaker) Noel Thatcher, to introduce Japanese “radio exercises” or rajio taisoo. First, Noel told us a little bit about what it means to be a Paralympian and the many ways his Japanese language skills have contributed towards his life. Next, Ukai-sensei from the Japan Foundation taught the audience how to count in Japanese and were then given opportunity to practise their new language skills together with trying rajio taisoo for themselves, led by Noel. You can try out rajio taisoo for yourself by watching the video and viewing more information at our Marugoto Life & Culture Lab website.


We would like to thank Mary-Grace Browning, Japan Sport Council, Noel Thatcher and all our Japanese Taster for Schools volunteers who generously donated their time and expertise for the show.  Domo arigato gozaimashita!


Japan Foundation will also be attending the 2017 Language Show Live in London on October 14th – 16th. We hope to see you there!



Meet the University Speech Contest Winners – Giulia Surace
18/10/2016
 

In this series of mini interviews, we’d like to introduce previous winners of the Japanese Speech Contest for University Students, and catch up on how things have been going with them since winning the contest...


Giulia Surace
Speech Category First Prize Winner, 9th Speech Contest (2014)
University: SOAS University of London
Speech Title: “Political Indifference in Japanese Youth”


What made you decide to enter the Speech Contest?


“My Japanese teacher encouraged me to apply, as I had already taken part in the Group Presentation Category during my first year. I remember watching the Speech Category participants and thinking that it would be amazing to be able to do it someday.”


You got First Prize in the contest, which means you won a free return plane ticket to Japan from JAL! What did you do in Japan?


“My trip to Japan was amazing as expected. As I'd already visited most of Honshu while studying abroad in Tokyo, I decided to visit Kyushu, since I'd never been there. Great experience! I visited Fukuoka, Nagasaki and its beautiful bay with so much history; Kagoshima and Kumamoto, with its incredible castle and Inari shrine! But the best part was definitely my onsen (hot spring) tour, travelling around the Oita prefecture and surround by beautiful natural landscapes.”


Do you have any funny stories to share from your time in Japan?


“There was the time when I accidentally walked into an empty onsen for men, realising it was the wrong one only when a group of naked middle-aged men walked in (with my consequent scream and running away naked)!”


Haha, oh dear! So what are you doing now?


“I'm currently in charge of digital sales for the Asian market at Penguin Random House UK, a book publishing house. Before that I worked as a reporter/assistant correspondent for the London bureau of the Chunichi Shimbun/Tokyo Shimbun. “


Have your Japanese language skills been useful for these jobs?


“I use my Japanese when dealing with Japanese clients and that's extremely helpful. I certainly used it more when I worked at the newspaper since the two journalists were Japanese and spoke little English. Nevertheless, being able to speak Japanese is definitely an advantage even when dealing with Asia in general.”


How has taking part in (and winning!) the Speech Contest helped you in your career?


“Winning the contest frequently came up during job interviews, as it's quite an impressive achievement. It certainly is a proof that I can speak Japanese as a lot of employers are worried that people say they speak a language without actually being able to. It also shows initiative, proactivity and the ability to research and speak in public about a topic, skills that are very valued by employers nowadays. So it definitely helped me in my career. It adds something special to the CV that others are less likely to have, and anything that sets you apart is always good!”


Finally, do you have a message for all those thinking of applying for the contest this year?


“Being able to take part in such a challenging competition was the greatest reward after studying Japanese for four years . When I took part in the contest, many classmates who definitely stood a chance of winning or getting the top prizes did not apply out of fear (and I was almost one of them), so it'd be great if in the future more students feel encouraged to try.”


We’d like to thank Giulia for taking the time to catch up with us, and we wish her the best of luck for all her future plans. 頑張ってください!


You can read a full report from the 9th University Speech Contest here.


Why not try yourself?! Applications for the Twelfth Speech Contest are now open – find out more and apply here


The return flight to Japan was generously provided by Japan Airlines.


       



Performing Arts Japan Programme for Europe 2017-2018
12/10/2016
 

The Japan Foundation is now accepting proposals for projects to receive Performing Arts Japan Programme for Europe (PAJ Europe) Touring and Collaboration grants for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. To apply for the programme, please read the information on the Performing Arts Funding page carefully and contact the relevant Japan Foundation office in Europe to discuss eligibility. The deadline for projects taking place between 1 April 2017 and 30 June 2018 is Monday, 31 October 2016.

Overview


Performing Arts Japan Programme for Europe (PAJ Europe) was started by the Japan Foundation in 2006 to revitalise and facilitate the exchange between leading artists in Europe and Japan. The main feature of this scheme is that this grant will be made available to those organisers based in Europe who are planning to organise Japan-related performing arts projects in European regions. The applications will be screened by an annually appointed panel of advisors who are specialists in the area of performing arts in Europe. Successful applicants will receive grants towards part of the cost of implementing their project.



To date, PAJ Europe has funded 128 projects (including 70 touring and 58 collaboration projects) of Japanese performing arts in both traditional and contemporary art forms. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, 12 projects (5 Touring and 7 Collaboration projects) were selected under the programme, for a total amount of €149,000.



Meet the University Speech Contest Winners - Ash Leigh Spreadbury
11/10/2016
 

In this series of mini interviews, we’d like to introduce previous winners of the Japanese Speech Contest for University Students, and catch up on how things have been going with them since winning the contest...


Ash Leigh Spreadbury
Speech Category First Prize Winner, 10th Speech Contest (2015)
University: University of Sheffield
Speech Title: “Globalisation and English Curriculum in Japan”


You got First Prize in the contest, which means you won a free return plane ticket to Japan from JAL! What did you do in Japan?


“I made good use of another prize, the Japan Rail Pass from the Japan Centre, and spent most of my time travelling around the country visiting friends. Perhaps most interesting was going to Akita prefecture where I got to go inside one of the old samurai residences (武家屋敷, bukeyashiki) in Kakunodate and visited Lake Tazawa (one of the filming locations for IRIS if you're a K-drama fan!) which was beautiful in autumn.”


 


Photos by taken by Ash Leigh during his trip


What are you doing now with your Japanese?


“I am currently enrolled on a Master's program at Keio University studying linguistics with a MEXT scholarship.


It was through studying the Japanese language (because it is so different to English) that I became interested in linguistics in general and chose to pursue it for my Master's. Furthermore, were it not for having studied Japanese, I would not have been able to enrol on this course as all of the classes and communication with professors is conducted in Japanese.”


How has taking part in (and winning!) the Speech Contest helped you in this path?


“Winning the Speech Contest is something which I made sure to mention in both my MEXT scholarship and Keio entrance applications. I like to think that the Speech Contest provided more practical evidence of my ability to live and study in Japan (in Japanese).”


We’d like to thank Ash Leigh for taking the time to catch up with us, and we wish him the best of luck with his Master’s program. 頑張ってください!


You can read a full report from the 10th University Speech Contest here.


Why not try yourself?! Applications for the Twelfth Speech Contest are now open – find out more and apply here.


The return flight to Japan was generously provided by Japan Airlines and the JR Rail Pass by the Japan Centre.


        



Meet the Japanese Speech Contest Winners – Laura Onciu
04/10/2016
 

In this series of mini interviews, we’d like to introduce previous winners of the Japanese Speech Contest for University Students, and catch up on how things have been going with them since winning the contest...


Laura Onciu
Speech Category First Prize Winner, 11th Speech Contest (2016)
University: Newcastle University
Speech Title: Norms  that create reverse discrimination - Adverse effects of conventional wisdom in Japan.


What did it feel like to take part in the contest and win First Prize?


“This was the second time I took part in the Speech Contest, the first being in 2014 when I won 2nd prize in the Individual Category, so I was much more relaxed about it. I had decided to enjoy it, rather than worry about winning, and to be honest, it never even crossed my mind that I would win First Prize! I believe it is quite easy to tell that from the face I made when my name was called. I was extremely happy when I won however, as this meant I could return to Japan sooner than I had expected.”


Your prizes included a free return plane ticket to Japan from JAL, didn’t it? Have you used it yet?


“I went to Japan in August, almost a year after my exchange there ended. It was great to be able to return and meet all my friends.”


What was it like flying with JAL?


“When I boarded the JAL plane in London, it felt as if I was already in Japan. Impeccable service, plane looked completely new and the cabin assistants were among the nicest I ever flew with. It made my flight experience so much better, and that was very important because it was a long haul flight. In addition to this, I was very excited to find out that the JAL entertainment system had loaded some of the Japanese films I wanted to watch, such as the 20th Conan movie or the 2nd Ansatsu Kyoshitsu one. Not going to the cinema most of the time means 6-8 month wait for the DVDs to be released, so being able to watch them on the plane took my mind off the long flight time. All in all, what I can say is that, if I ever have to fly to Japan again, JAL will be the obvious choice.”


So what did you do in Japan?


“I went to Tokyo and spent most of my time there, but thanks to the JR Pass I received, I was able to travel throughout Japan! When I lived in Japan, I did travel, but there were and still are many place I wanted to visit. This time, I went to Nagoya, Ise, Kanazawa, Aomori, Hakodate and Izu. I went to the Ise Jinguu, toured the Ninja Temple in Kanazawa, drank apple cider in Aomori, enjoyed Hakodate’s 1 million dollar night view and drove by the ocean in Izu! It was by far the best trip ever.”


What things did you most enjoy?


“First of all, I loved being back in Japan. The perfect service, the amazing food, the sights, but most importantly my dear friends there.


Something that got my attention this time was a small hostel in Hakodate – Oyado Aozora – which had a sky mural on the ceiling. I love the sky so it was a nice surprise. Plus, the lady in charge was also very nice so I had a great time! Hakodate is definitely at the top of my what-to-visit recommendation list.”


What are you doing now? What plans do you have for the future, and will they involve Japanese?


“Right now, I am back at Newcastle for my last year of bachelors. My plans for the future most certainly include Japan and the use of Japanese. I will hopefully be back in Japan soon, and who knows, maybe watch the Tokyo Olympics live!”


Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for students studying Japanese? And would you encourage other students to enter the contest?


“Work on your practical Japanese skills! Exams are important, but they are useless if you can’t actually use it. Do participate in the speech contest! Thanks to taking part in the Speech Contest, I can now talk in front of people without stressing out (not so much at least!). It is a very useful experience, and working hard to get there improves your Japanese more than studying for a test does. And also, you might win and get to tour Japan! There is literally nobody in the world that has never wished for that!”


We’d like to thank Laura for taking the time to catch up with us, and we wish her the best of luck in her final year at university. 頑張ってください!


You can read a full report from the 10th University Speech Contest here.


Why not try yourself?! Applications for the Twelfth Speech Contest are now open – find out more and apply here.


The return flight to Japan was generously provided by Japan Airlines and the JR Rail Pass by Central Japan Railway Company.


       



New Marugoto Textbook released in October
29/09/2016
 

We’re pleased to announce that the new Marugoto Intermediate B1 textbook will be released on October 1st 2016.


You can get a sneak preview of the contents, sample pages and audio learning materials at the Marugoto series homepage here.


About Marugoto


Marugoto: Japanese Language and Culture is a coursebook series that is based on the JF Standard for Japanese Language Education, and offers learning in both language and culture.


Marugoto is designed in such a way that Japanese language and culture can be studied together. It aims to increase communicative skill and responds to the needs of learners who desire to become able to speak in Japanese in as short a time as possible. Through useful topics, audio learning materials and full-colour photographs and illustrations that let you get a glimpse of Japanese life and culture, it is possible to rapidly deepen learners' interest in Japan and Japanese language. This book allows learners around the world to feel the joy of using Japanese and steadily increasing what they can do in the language.


Find out more about Marugoto:


  • Marugoto Official Website

  • Marugoto PLUS Supplementary website for learners

  • Information on Marugoto textbooks


  • New JF website: Hirogaru, get more of Japan and Japanese
    23/08/2016
     

    We are delighted to announce the launch of Hirogaru, get more of Japan and Japanese, a Japanese learning website where you can enjoy studying Japanese through learning all about Japan. It is aimed at Japanese language learners with a proficiency level of A1 or A2 (Starter to Elementary) in the JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education.


    Free and smartphone-responsive, Hirogaru enables Japanese learners of all kinds to:



    • Personally experience understanding and using basic Japanese

    • Engage with various aspects about Japan and the Japanese language through reading articles and watching movies related to 12 topics about Japan

    • Through user comments, learn more about not only Japan but also your own culture and the culture of places where other learners live.


    Try it now at  hirogaru-nihongo.jp



    New Resource ‘JF Japanese e-Learning Minato’ released!
    29/07/2016


    The Japan Foundation London is delighted to announce the launch of a brand new e-learning platform for Japanese!


    The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai  has released the Japanese language learning platform, JF Japanese e-Learning Minato (https://minato-jf.jp ), in order to provide an opportunity to study Japanese for all those people in the world who may wish to begin learning, but cannot attend an actual Japanese language school.


    The main course of Minato is the Marugoto Japanese Online Course, which we recommend for those who wish to comprehensively learn about the Japanese language and culture. With this course you can have an integrated learning experience by using interactive e-learning materials to study the language skills needed for communication (listening, speaking, reading, and writing).


    Currently only the A1 Marugoto Course is available, but more levels will be released in the future. There are also Hiragana and Katakana self-study courses available.


    Find out more here, and try it for yourself for free!



    Japan Foundation at Hyper Japan July 2016
    21/07/2016


    A big thank you to the 2,000 visitors who came to the Japan Foundation’s stand at Hyper Japan on the 15th, 16th and 17th July 2016.


    HYPER JAPAN is the UK's biggest celebration of Japanese culture, Japanese cuisine, and Japanese cool. The Japan Foundation London’s stand gave visitors a chance to find out more about Japanese arts and culture, and studying Japanese language. In celebration of the Tanabata “Star Festival” on July 7th, we also displayed bamboo on which visitors could make wishes by writing their wish on paper and hanging them on the branches.


    One of the highlights of our stand was our Japan Quiz, which over 1,000 people entered. Most of the entrants got the answers right – the capital of Japan is Tokyo, and the Japanese word for “cartoon” is anime!


    Out of those who answered the quiz correctly, only six people could win the Japan Foundation goody bag. Well done to our lucky winners!


    We also hope that everyone who wished on our Tanabata bamboo finds their wishes come true! Photos of some of the wishes can be viewed on our Facebook page here.


    Join the Japan Foundation when we hit the road at Japan Matsuri on September 25th at Trafalgar Square, and the Language Show Live at the Olympia on October 14th – 16th.



    Yookoso (Welcome) Ukai-san!
    13/07/2016

    Japan Foundation London are delighted to welcome the newest member of staff, Kanako Ukai, to the Japanese Language team as Assistant Japanese Language Advisor! Here is a message from Ukai-san:


    「はじめまして。国際交流基金ロンドン日本文化センターに日本語教育指導助手として参りました、鵜飼香奈子です。今までアメリカ、タイ、モルドバ、日本で日本語教育に携わってきました。特に興味のあるテーマは社会言語学、多文化共生、教師の成長です。ロンドンは昨年UCL IOEで1年間応用言語学を学んでいたこともあり、2度目となりますがまだまだ知らないことも多く、これからも色々な事を学んでいきたいと思いますので、どうぞよろしくお願いいたします。」


    "My name is Kanako Ukai and I am Assistant Japanese Language Advisor at the Japan Foundation, London. I have taught Japanese in America, Thailand, Moldova and Japan. I am particularly interested in sociolinguistics, multiculturalism and teachers development within Japanese language education. I studied MA Applied linguistics at UCL IOE last year, so I am very happy to come back and be able to work in the UK. Thank you very much." 



    The 12th Hakuho Foundation Japanese Research Fellowship
    12/07/2016


    The Hakuho Foundation is now accepting applications for the 12th Hakuho Foundation Japanese Research Fellowship.


    With the goals of further strengthening the fundamentals of international research into Japan and deepening international understanding of Japan, the Hakuho Foundation Japanese Research Fellowship invites leading international researchers of the Japanese language, Japanese language education, Japanese literature and Japanese culture to Japan to conduct residential research.


    Application period: June 10-October 31, 2016


    Research period: September 1, 2017-August 31, 2018 (6 months or 12 months)


    For further details, please visit the Hakuho Foundation’s website:


    http://www.hakuhofoundation.or.jp/english/program/tabid/196/Default.aspx



    New & improved directory of establishments teaching Japanese in the United Kingdom
    28/06/2016
     

    Japan Foundation London has launched a new directory of establishments teaching Japanese in the UK, based on the basic, public information provided by all establishments that contributed to our Japan Foundation Survey on Japanese Language Education in the UK 2015.


    This directory includes all schools, universities, colleges and other establishments that our records show are teaching Japanese language. Those looking to learn Japanese can use the list to find the right course for them, while teachers of Japanese and other members of Japanese teaching establishments can use the list to build stronger links with this network.


    You can read more about this directory and download it yourself here



    Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary School Students 2016
    20/06/2016


    The ideal school, Japanese food and Japanese literature were some of the topics explored in the outstanding speeches given by the finalists of the Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary School Students 2016, which was held on 18th June at Conway Hall in London.


    The 18 finalists, who had been selected from 147 applicants from 20 different schools across the UK, all demonstrated great creativity, thoughtfulness and incredible ability in Japanese in performing their speeches – not to mention extraordinary courage to present their ideas in a foreign language to an audience of over 100 people!


    Between each of the three categories of speeches, the audience had the opportunity to watch a performance of a Japanese story featuring music and song by some very talented school students, and have a go at “radio taisō” exercises!


    Due to the extremely high level of Japanese and the thought-provoking content of the speeches delivered by all finalists, the judges had extremely difficult decisions to make when choosing the final winners of the 2015 Nihongo Cup. In the end, Shanara Atukorala of Greenford High School came first in the Key Stage 4 and 5 Post-GCSE for her review of the Japanese story “Ooi, Detekooi ,” winning the top prize of a trip to Japan courtesy of JOBA’s Japanese Speech Awards! In the pre-GCSE category, Taranpreet Kalra (also from Greenford High School) won first prize for her speech about racial discrimination, while Krishanth Dilrukshan came first in the Key Stage 3 category.


    Many congratulations and a big thank-you to everyone who came together to make the day such a success. The full results of the contest are as follows:


    Key Stage 4 and 5 Post-GCSE Category
    Winner: 
    Shanara Atukorala (Greenford High School, Year 13) Speech title: “Ooi, Detekooi  Review”
    2nd Prize:  Amy Watson (Wolfreton School and Sixth form College, Year 12) Speech title: “Literature and Women”
    3rd Prize:  Alex Wang (Eton College, Year 12) Speech title:  “Nattō”


    Runners-up:
    Cameron Thater (Aquinas College, Year 13)  Speech title:  “The Importance of Language”
    Hei Tung Cheng   (Wolverhampton Girls' High School , Year 12) Speech title:  “Proverbs”
    Joy Chu (Wycliffe College , Year 13) Speech title: “Hidden Secrets in Films”


    Key Stage 4 and 5 Pre-GCSE Category
    Winner:
    Taranpreet Kalra (Greenford High School, Year 11 )  Speech title:  “Is There Racial Discrimination?”
    2nd Prize:  Joseph Wang (Eton College, Year 11) Speech title: “The Differences in Societies Between Japan and the West”
    3rd Prize: Joseph Barber (Whitgift School, Year 10) Speech title: “Japanese Packed Lunch”


    Runners-up:
    Tahsin Ali (Tile Hill Wood School, Year 10)  Speech title: “My Country and Religion”
    Anastaseia Talalakina (St Helen’s School, Year 11)  Speech title: “My Exchange School”
    Da-Young Kim (St Helen’s School,  Year 11) Speech title: “My Favourite Video Game”


    Key Stage 3 Category (Speech theme: “My Ideal School”)
    Winner: 
    Krishanth Dilrukshan (Dartford Grammar School, Year 9)
    2nd Prize: Alex Quinlan (Campion School, Year 9)
    3rd Prize: Oliver Tolson Boxall (Aylesbury Grammar School, Year 8)


    Runners-up: 
    Maryam Jaama (Greenford High School , Year 9)
    Theo Hall (Hockerill Anglo-European College, Year 9)  
    Olivia Boutell (Hockerill Anglo-European College, Year 8)


    The event was organised by the Japanese Language Committee of the Association for Language Learning, in association with the Japan Foundation London.


    We are very grateful to Japan Centre, JOBA, JP Books, LinguaLift, Oxford Brookes University, Ricoh UK and Toshiba of Europe Limited donating prizes, to the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Sumisho Computer Systems for their generous sponsorship, and to the Embassy of Japan for their support.


    More photos from the contest can be viewed on our Facebook page here.


    You can download the event programme with details of all the speeches and judges below.

    Download Attachment



    Sayoonara (goodbye!) and Arigatoo (thanks!) to Mio Tsunematsu
    16/06/2016


    The Japan Foundation London will be waving a tearful goodbye to our Assistant Japanese Language Advisor, Mio Tsunematsu, when she returns to Japan on July 5th after working with us for two years.


    During her time at Japan Foundation London, Tsunematsu-sensei has had great success running a number of courses and workshops, including Japanese Plus, Japanese from Scratch and Japanese for Juniors, in addition to assisting with countless other events and projects related to Japanese language education.


    Here is a message from Tsunematsu-sensei to all of her friends and colleagues that she has got to know through Japan Foundation.


    「2014年7月より2年間、たくさんの学習者、先生方にお会いできとても楽しかったです。講座に参加してくださった皆様、本当にありがとうございました。研修や教師会でお世話になった先生方、本当にありがとうございました。」


    “I’ve really enjoyed meeting so many different learners and teachers across the two years since July 2014. Thank you so much to everyone who has taken part in our courses, and to all the teachers who have helped me at seminars and workshops.”


    We all wish Tsunematsu-sensei the very best of luck with her future path and hope that she leaves with good memories of London.


    Tsunematsu-sensei will be succeeded by Kanako Ukai, who will arrive in London on July 7th. We all look forward to welcoming her.



    New Japan Foundation website: "Listen Together : The Songs of Japan" 「みんなで聞こう 日本の歌」
    02/06/2016
     

    We are very excited to announce the release of a brand new online resource for learners and teachers of Japanese!


    "Listen Together : The Songs of Japan" 「みんなで聞こう 日本の歌」 is a site where you can search for and listen to Japanese songs that suit your interests and the level of your Japanese language ability. Aimed at students of Japanese language and people from around the world who are interested in Japanese songs, language, and culture, this website features a collection of Japanese songs catalogued according to genre, theme, level of Japanese language difficulty, title, view ranking, and so forth.


    The videos include lyrics that can be displayed in hiragana, katakana, or romaji. You can also download printable lyric sheets. The site is fully compatible with smartphones and tablets as well as standard desktop browsers.


    The songs featured on “Listen Together” are traditional or independently produced.


    We hope teachers and learners alike will enjoy using this resource! If you have any feedback, or even videos of you or your students singing these songs, please do share them with us! Take a look for yourself at http://nihon-no-uta.jp/.


    A Japanese press release for “Listen Together: The Songs of Japan” can be found here.



    Japanese for Juniors – All About Japanese Dolls!
    31/05/2016
     

    On May 28th 2016, more than 40 children and grown-ups came along to the “Japanese for Juniors” workshop held at Conway Hall by the Japan Foundation London, in which they learned a little Japanese language and culture while making origami Japanese dolls!


    The workshop instructor, Mio Tsunematsu, introduced the meanings of different kinds of traditional Japanese dolls, and explained the culture associated with them. She also taught words in Japanese for describing dolls and toys, such as kawaii (cute) and kakkoii (cool), in addition to words and expressions that would help the participants when making origami, like different colours in Japanese.


    Tsunematsu-sensei then explained how to make three types of Japanese doll through origami – hina ningyou, daruma and kokeshi. She explained this in Japanese with English interpretation, allowing participants to hear native Japanese language spoken naturally. Towards the end, all participants enjoyed watching a video to see how wooden kokeshi dolls are hand-crafted in Japan.


    Although it was quite a challenge to make origami dolls, the children (and their accompanying grown-ups!) worked very hard and everyone did a fantastic job of making beautiful, kawaii dolls to take home with them. Many children were delighted with their achievements and said “yatta!” and “dekita!” (“I did it!”), Japanese words which they had just learned!


    Some of the participants’ feedback included:


    “Very well organised, staffed and resourced. Knowledgeable and kind (and patient!) staff who were excellent with the children. A lovely way to bring language and culture together.”
    “Very, very good! My boys had fun and learned some Japanese. I could practise some Japanese too!”
    “It was amazing to learn about Japanese culture through doll making!”


    We would like to thank everyone who came to our workshop – ARIGATOU GOZAIMASHITA!


    You can view photos from this event at the Japan Foundation Facebook page here.



    Natsume Soseki Japanese Essay Competition: Call for entries!
    18/05/2016


    To mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Natsume Soseki (1867-1916), the Asahi Shimbun Co., in co-operation with the Japan Foundation, Iwanami Shoten Publishers and Ferris University, is inviting entries for an international essay contest on the continuing appeal of the influential Japanese author’s works among foreigners.


    Soseki, one of Japan's most famed and popular authors, lived in Japan’s period of transition to a modern society. His works have been extensively translated overseas and his representative work, “Kokoro” (Heart), has been translated into more than 20 languages.


    Content of Essay:  Participants are required to write essays in Japanese about Soseki’s appeal, which remains strong even today. The theme of the competition is “Soseki and I”, and essays submitted should include the circumstances about when the participant read Soseki’s work for the first time (title of the work, when, where, in what language and why). Essays must be 2,000 Japanese characters or less.


    Eligibility: Entries for the essay competition will be accepted from those living overseas or in Japan whose native language is not Japanese. For those residing in Japan, their stay in the country must be less than two years. International students studying in Japan are also eligible to participate.


    Prizes: Three winners (including one first prize winner, and two runners up) will be invited to attend a symposium on Natsume Soseki which will be held at the Yurakucho Asahi Hall in Tokyo on 10th December 2016.


    Deadline for entries : Applications are now open and will close on 10 August 2016.


    For further information including details on how to apply, please visit: http://www.asahi.com/shimbun/sosekiessaye.html


    Good luck to everyone taking part!


    Note: The Japan Foundation is not responsible for receiving applications



    Report: 5th Japan Foundation / BAJS Post-graduate Workshop
    10/05/2016

    February 4th 2016 saw the return of our annual Post-Graduate Workshop, the fifth organised by the Japan Foundation in collaboration with the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS). This year’s workshop, hosted at the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury in London, was attended by a full house of 40 postgraduate students in Japan related fields representing a record number of 22 universities across the UK. The workshop was a great opportunity for these emerging researchers to receive practical advice on their research from senior academics, and to network with fellow postgraduate students.


    During the day four PhD students presented their research and received constructive comments and questions from fellow-postgraduate students and senior academics in discussion sessions chaired by BAJS President Professor Caroline Rose.  The four presentations were chosen from a number of excellent and diverse proposals, and covered topics ranging from disaster mental health in Japan (Ben Epstein, UCL), technology and Japan in the British press (Christopher Hayes, Cardiff University),  ‘Expressive’ women and Western attire in Japanese cinema (Lois Barnett, SOAS, University of London), and child guidance centres in Japan (Michael King, University of Oxford).


    The workshop also featured several practical sessions by BAJS committee members and senior academics who provided practical advice on real problems affecting emerging Japanese studies researchers. Dr Susan Townsend (University of Nottingham) gave some excellent advice on carving academic and career opportunities outside ‘East Asian studies’ departments, drawing from her own experience as a Japan specialist working in the Department of History at the University of Nottingham. Later in the afternoon, to tackle some of the challenges faced by students using Japanese language in their research careers, Dr Thomas McAuley (University of Sheffield) and Dr Luli van der Does-Ishikawa teamed up to lead a very enjoyable and practical session which explored how to use social media to promote your research and raise your profile in Japanese academia using Japanese language.


    Responding to feedback received during last year’s event which identified securing postdoctoral positions as a key challenge for emerging researchers, this year’s workshop introduced a panel session featuring three early career researchers and lecturers in Japanese studies who were able to offer career advice from recent experience. Dr Jonathan Service (University of Oxford), Dr Gitte Marianne Hansen (Newcastle University) and Dr Ruselle Meade (Cardiff University) each introduced their individual career paths, and then took questions from the audience in an interactive panel discussion. Dr Hansen and Dr Meade had participated in our very first post-graduate workshop as PhD students in 2012, and it was inspiring to have them participate four years later as established lecturers!


    Early Career Development Panel Discussion:


     


    The workshop finished with a session on ‘Funding your Research’ with presentations from Susan Meehan (Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation), Chigusa Ogaya (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science),  Rory Steele (Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation),  and Julie Anne Robb (Japan Foundation) introducing the wide range of funding programmes available to researchers in Japanese Studies.


    All sections received great feedback with one participant commenting that they ‘really enjoyed the positive, constructive and non-combative atmosphere’, and another noting that ‘all aspects of the event offered valuable insights from the PhD presentations, through to the funding options to career considerations’. Another participant commented that ‘I have just started my PhD, and I thought this workshop would help me to familiarise myself with the opportunities of funding open to PhD candidates in Japanese Studies in the UK. Moreover, I wanted to attend the workshop to listen to the presentations, which I found deeply inspiring!


    The event was followed by a networking dinner reception, generously funded by BAJS.


    Thank you to all participants and speakers for making the workshop such a great success.  We hope to see you again next year! 



    Japanese Show and Tell - Online Resource Workshop
    29/04/2016


    On the 26th and 28th of April 2016 two groups of independent learners of Japanese joined Mio Tsunematsu, the assistant Japanese language advisor at the Japan Foundation London, to find out more about online resources available for Japanese language learning.


    The event took place in King’s College London’s Language Resource Centre, so each attendee had access to a computer and the chance to try out resources for themselves. The workshop included an in-depth explanation of Marugoto Plus A2, a free website created by the Japan Foundation designed to help people study Japanese in their own time. Participants also had the chance to try out some of their new Japanese language skills in conversations with each other. The event finished with time for people to exchange ideas and tips about supporting Japanese language learning.


    One participant commented, “I was aware of the website but it was interesting to be shown how to use it effectively.” Another told us the following: “The event looked very well organised with professional, enthusiastic and warm people helping out, which is very much appreciated when you are a complete starter like myself. I felt welcomed from the moment I walked in. Arigatou.”


    We'd like to thank all the participants, and of course all the staff at King's College London, for making this event such a success!


    We hope all participants will be able to continue Japanese with the resources introduced during these events. 



    Japan Conference for Schools 2016
    07/04/2016


    On March 7th 2016 nearly 100 participants joined the Japan Conference for Schools, held at the British Council in London.  Co-organised by the British Council, the Japan Foundation and the Japan Society, the event was an opportunity for teachers to network and share practical ideas about projects for introducing Japanese into their schools or to enhance their existing Japan-related activities.


    The event started with a welcome message from Mr Mark Herbert, the Head of Schools at the British Council and Minister Motohiko Kato, Minister Plenipotentiary from the Embassy of Japan. Next Baroness Jean Coussins, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages in the House of Lords spoke about language education in the UK and how important it is to maintain less-widely taught languages like Japanese. Alan Greaves, from the Wavell School mentioned that it was “fascinating to hear insight into the workings of government by Baroness Coussins.” Participants were then transported to Japan with a performance from Hibiki Shamisen, who can visit schools to show off the beautiful sound of their Tsugaru shamisen.


    This was followed by a full day of workshops and group discussions. There were cultural-related workshops teaching sushi, origami, kamishibai (Japanese storytelling), and calligraphy. In addition to this teachers could hear from Pearson about the new Japanese GCSEs, or learn about flipped learning resources or resources for primary level Japanese. Severine Mizeret from Gunton Academy told us the “calligraphy and sushi were fantastic workshops.” Mary-Grace Browning from County Upper School said that the “flipped learning was excellent- Just what I need!”


    There were also group discussions on a wide range of topics from school linking and science exchanges to how to introduce Japanese into schools, how to prepare students for speaking exams, and an introduction to Online Resource for Japanese Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (ORJAC). There was lots of good feedback for each session.  One teacher commented , “This was a really great event. As someone who knows a little (and not a lot!) of Japanese, I feel much more confident to teach the language.”


    This year the conference had a fantastic turnout and included diverse mix of both primary and secondary schools, and was also a mix of schools that teach Japanese already, schools that are hoping to start as well as schools that run Japan related activities as clubs or as cross-curricular activities. Thank you to all the participants, speakers and the other organisers for making the conference such a success. We hope to see you again next year!

    *Handouts from the conference are available to download below.*
    **Photos supplied by the Japan Foundation London. More are available on our facebook page here

    Download Attachment



    Welcome to new Director-General Mana Takatori
    02/03/2016

    Following the departure of  Kenichi Yanagisawa  who returned  to take up a position at our Head Office in Tokyo last November, please click here to read a welcome message from our new Director-General, Ms Mana Takatori.



    The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2016
    11/12/2015

    IKIRU: The Highs and Lows of Life in Japanese Cinema: 5 February to 26 March 2016


    This year’s programme is titled ‘Ikiru: The Highs and Lows of Life in Japanese Cinema’, and taking inspiration from Akira Kurosawa’s classic Ikiru (“To Live”) will look at the way in which Japanese filmmakers have been observing and capturing people’s lives. This year’s programme is the largest yet and will feature a mixture of classics, animation and contemporary films, catering for all audiences’ tastes!


    The season will open at the ICA, London on Friday, 5 February 2016 before touring to a further 12 venues until late March 2016. We are delighted to announce that this year’s participating venues are:


    ICA, London
    Phoenix, Leicester
    mac birmingham, Birmingham
    Watershed, Bristol
    QUAD, Derby
    Showroom Cinema, Sheffield
    Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth
    Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA), Dundee
    Filmhouse, Edinburgh
    Exeter Phoenix, Exeter
    Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, Cumbria
    Broadway Cinema, Nottingham
    HOME, Manchester


    Specific information of each cinema’s line-up, screening dates and times will be added to www.jpf-film.org.uk shortly, so please keep checking back. We look forward to seeing you all at the programme soon!



    Grant Programme for Intellectual Exchange Conferences 2016-2017
    13/10/2015

    The Japan Foundation is now accepting proposals for projects to receive Grants for Intellectual Exchange Conferences for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.


    This grant provides support to non-profit making organisations (eg. institutions of higher education, research centres, think tanks, NGOs, cultural organisations etc.) wishing to carry out collaborative intellectual projects, such as international conferences, seminars and workshops, that address common challenges faced by Japan and other nations, or contribute to facilitating a greater understanding of Japan overseas.


    To apply for the programme, please read the information on the Japanese Studies page carefully and contact Julie Anne Robb at the Japan Foundation to discuss eligibility. Projects should be implemented and completed between April 1st 2016 and March 31st 2017. The deadline for applications is Friday, 1 December 2015.



    Fellowship Programme FY 2016
    29/09/2015

    The application forms for the Japanese Studies Fellowship Programme 2016 have now been released on our Tokyo website here.


    This programme provides opportunities to outstanding scholars in Japanese Studies who wish to conduct research in Japan. It is split into three categories: Long-Term Scholars and Researchers, Short-Term Scholars and Researchers, and Doctoral Candidates.


    To  learn more about the programme contact Julie Anne Robb or visit the programme list on our Tokyo site.


    Application deadline:  1st December, 2015


    Please discuss your eligibility with the Japan Foundation before applying.  



    Performing Arts Japan Programme for Europe 2016-2017
    10/08/2015

    Performing Arts Japan Programme for Europe 2016-2017


    The Japan Foundation is now accepting proposals for projects to receive Performing Arts Japan Programme for Europe (PAJ Europe) Touring and Collaboration grants for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. To apply for the programme, please read the information on the Performing Arts Funding page carefully and contact the relevant Japan Foundation office in Europe to discuss eligibility. The deadline for projects taking place between 1 April 2016 and 30 June 2017 is Friday, 30 October 2015.


    Overview


    Performing Arts Japan Programme for Europe (PAJ Europe) was started by the Japan Foundation in 2006 to revitalise and facilitate the exchange between leading artists in Europe and Japan. The main feature of this scheme is that this grant will be made available to those organisers based in Europe who are planning to organise Japan-related performing arts projects in European regions. The applications will be screened by an annually appointed panel of advisors who are specialists in the area of performing arts in Europe. Successful applicants will receive grants towards part of the cost of implementing their project.


    To date, PAJ Europe has funded 116 projects (including 65 touring and 51 collaboration projects) of Japanese performing arts in both traditional and contemporary art forms. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, 7 projects (3 Touring and 4 Collaboration projects) were selected under the programme, for a total amount of €85,000.



    Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Student Survey 2015
    16/07/2015


    The Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Student Survey is part of the Japan Foundation’s periodic assessment of the state of Japanese Studies in the UK which has been conducted once every 3-4 years since 1996.


    The Japan Foundation is Japan’s principal organisation for promoting international cultural exchange worldwide and through our funding programmes we offer support to organisations and individuals working in the field of Japanese Studies throughout the UK.


    In order for us to consider future plans for the enhancement of Japanese studies, we are eager to learn the views of Japanese Studies students in the UK, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, so that we can continue to support you and the field of Japanese Studies as effectively as possible.


    Please note that the deadline for completing the survey has been extended to 30th September 2015.


    Who can take part in the survey:


    Any students undertaking Japan-related study at a higher education institution in the UK. Whether you are at undergraduate level or postgraduate, undertaking a single or joint honours Japanese Studies degree, or simply taking a module in a Japan related subject, we would be delighted to hear from you.


    Taking the survey:


    The survey can be accessed through the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/jssurvey_students   


    We estimate that the entire survey can be completed in around 15 minutes. 


    Deadline and Publication: 


    Please fill out the survey before 30th September 2015.


    The results of the survey will be published in late 2015, and individual answers will remain anonymous.


    You can find the results of the Japanese Studies Students Survey 2010 on the Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Survey website here


    Prize draw:


    If you choose to provide us with your name and e-mail address, you will be entered into a prize draw, for a chance to win one of up to 10 Japan-related book tokens worth £20 each. 


    If you have any questions about the survey, please email Julie Anne Robb, Programme Officer for Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange, Japan Foundation London: julieanne.robb@jpf.org.uk  


    Japanese Studies Institutions Survey


    As part of our overall assessment of the state of Japanese Studies in the UK, the Japan Foundation is also conducting a survey of higher education institutions in the UK which provide opportunities for Japan related study. If you are a member of staff at a higher education institution which offers Japan related study please get in touch with Julie Anne Robb to take the survey: julieanne.robb@jpf.org.uk



    Japanese Studies Local Grant Programmes 2015-16
    13/05/2015

    As a new financial year begins, funding (up to £1,500) is once again available in the area of Japanese Studies/Intellectual Exchange for projects that help to promote a greater awareness of Japan, as well as travel grants (up to £600) for applicants who are planning to visit Japan for research. 


    :: Click here for more information about the Local Project Support Programme and Study Support Programme.



    News Archive

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    Archives of Mado

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    Click here for old issues of the Japan Foundation London newsletter, Perspectives.