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Yonkoma manga: A workshop led by Shango new
Ninja: Their Philosophies and Duties - A Talk by Prof Yuji Yamada new
How Do They Read? Voices and Practices of Japanese Literature Translators new
Free Japanese Film Streaming!
Seikatsu Kogei: Objects For Intentional Living Exhibition Organised by The Japan Foundation, Sydney new
The Japan Foundation Touring Exhibition:
The Superlative Artistry of Japan
UK-JAPAN Bridge Together Project
Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk Exhibition at the V&A

Yonkoma manga: A workshop led by Shango   org

How have you been managing your life under the lockdown? Would you like to learn how to express and share a slice of your life in a manga panel? Follow as author and manga artist Shango gives you tips on drawing yonkoma manga online!

Yonkoma manga is a Japanese comic strip format which utilises four panels generally of equal size to tell a brief story or illustrate a scene – often with humorous undertones. Originating in early 20th century Japan, the format has proliferated in many other Asian countries, and indeed the West, since.

This workshop is open to all abilities and you do not have to have any prior knowledge of manga drawing, or yonkoma manga. Whether you just want to spend an hour creatively and ease any stresses, or are an aspiring illustrator, the pace will be right for everyone.

Following the workshop, participants are welcome to share their creations with us at Japan Foundation, as well as with Shango, by tagging our social media accounts or using the hashtag #YonkomaChallenge.

Author/Artist Shangomola Edunjobi began his comics career in 2014 when his One Page Comic ‘Scarlet’ took first prize in the London Graphic Novel Network A3 comic competition 2014. Since then he has won a series of awards and also contributed to the 2019 Citi MANGA exhibition at the British Museum as its Curator of tone. He will start the session by introducing his work, explaining his methods and motivations, such as the passion for creating ethnic diversity in comics. Then, he will take the participants through a step by step tutorial, teaching you structure, technique, and style so that you can add your individual story to the project.

Date: 29 May 2020 from 12.00pm

Online Zoom Seminar

For more information, please click here.
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Ninja: Their Philosophies and Duties - A Talk by Prof Yuji Yamada   org


Telework Ninja – it’s the new term invented in response to the Covid 19 pandemic in Japan. The ‘ninja’ terminology is used here to, rather sarcastically, refer to those who have vanished from the working scene as the work from home system was introduced, but keep up the pretence of carrying out their job. This negative use of the term ‘ninja’ would likely not have been appreciated by those whose profession traditionally focused on the principle of keeping out of sight.

So, what were the true ninja’s secretive endeavours, roles and duties? What philosophy and mindset did they embrace in working as a ninja?

Based on his new research, leading expert in the field of ninja, Prof Yuji Yamada from Mie University in Japan, will explain the historical work done by real ninja while examining if any of their spirit and skills can be transferred to us in the modern age.

About Prof. Yuji Yamada

Prof. Yuji Yamada is a specialist in medieval Japanese cultural history and serves on the Faculty of Humanities, Law and Economics at Mie University, Japan. He earned his Ph.D. in history from Tsukuba University. His research focuses on the history of ‘vengeful spirits’, strange phenomena, Ise shrine, and ninja studies. His most recent publications include The Spirit of Ninja (2019).

Please note that this online event will be hosted on Zoom.

Date: 16 June 2020 from 12.00pm

For more information, please click here.
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How Do They Read? Voices and Practices of Japanese Literature Translators   org


For many years, Japanese literature has been respected by enthusiastic readers globally, providing joy and invoking a curiosity about a world they have never stepped into. This passion has recently extended to many newly released contemporary novels, with proof evident in the “Convenience Store Woman” becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Arguably, it is the heyday of contemporary Japanese authors of high calibre.

However, the efforts, influence, as well as the responsibility of literary translators should not be overlooked. Foreign readers are in effect reading the text and seeing the world that is recreated by them. Quite simply translators are authors by proxy.

What approach does a good translator take when reading the original text in order to convey the original ideas into another language?

Inviting three experienced translators of Japanese literature, Prof. Stephen Dodd, Polly Barton and Ginny Tapley Takemori, this talk aims to reveal the daily practices of translation behind the scenes and to discuss how these professionals overcome not only the difference in language but also in culture, in order to make the work as true to the original as possible while ensuring it is entertaining for an English audience.


Prof Stephen Dodd (Moderator)

Stephen Dodd is Professor Emeritus of Japanese Literature at SOAS, University of London. He has written widely on modern Japanese literature. He is author of Writing Home: Representations of the Native Place in Modern Japanese Literature (Harvard University Asia Center, 2004), and The Youth of Things: Life and Death in the Age of Kajii Motojirō (Hawai’i University Press, 2014.). His translation of Mishima Yukio’s Life for Sale (Inochi urimasu, 1968) was published through Penguin in 2019, and he is now translating Mishima’s sci-fi novel, Beautiful Star (Utsukushii hoshi, 1962).


Polly Barton

Polly Barton is a translator of Japanese literature and non-fiction, based in the UK. Recent translations include Spring Garden by Tomoka Shibasaki (Pushkin Press) and Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda (Tilted Axis/Soft Skull Press). Her translation of Kikuko Tsumura's There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job is upcoming from Bloomsbury. After being awarded the 2019 Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize, she is currently working on a non-fiction book entitled Fifty Sounds.


Ginny Tapley Takemori

Ginny Tapley Takemori is a Japan-based literary translator who has translated over a dozen Japanese authors, from Meiji greats Izumi Kyoka and Koda Rohan to contemporary bestsellers Ryu Murakami, Miyabe Miyuki, Akiyuki Nosaka, and Kyoko Nakajima. Her translation of Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman was selected Book of the Year by Foyles book shop and numerous publications including The New Yorker. Her translation of Murata’s Earthlings will be published this autumn, while Things Remembered and Things Forgotten, by Kyoko Nakajima, co-translated with Ian MacDonald, is forthcoming in Spring 2021.


Please note that this online event will be hosted on Zoom.

Date: 18 June 2020 from 12.00pm
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Free Japanese Film Streaming!   org


During this unprecedented situation we all find oursleves in, we believe it important to share the beauty of Japanese cinema through free streaming services. The below links will take you to two film sharing initiatives that the Japan Foundation has been involved in.

We hope you enjoy the complimentary access these films while they are available!

'Asian Three-Fold Mirror 2016: Reflections'

A great opportunity to watch three fantastic pieces of cinema produced by the Japan Foundation Asia Centre and Tokyo International Film Festival. A journey through space and time!

Available online until June 30, 2020

Moosic Lab X Japanese Film Festival

Thanks to Moosic Lab, our film festival in Asia has set up a free streaming service where you can watch both feature and short Japanese indie films.

No subscription needed!

Expires early June 2020

Date: 29 April 2020 - 30 June 2020
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Seikatsu Kogei: Objects For Intentional Living Exhibition Organised by The Japan Foundation, Sydney   org

Organised by The Japan Foundation, Sydney, Seikatsu Kogei: Objects for Intentional Living explores the Japanese craft movement that began in the 1990s known as Seikatsu Kogei, or lifestyle crafts. See how the works of Seikatsu Kogei artists re-examine our relationship to the objects in our lives, presented together in Australia for the first time.

Included in this exhibition are some 50 works by 22 currently-active Seikatsu Kogei artists. The objects on display are made from a variety of materials, including wood, ceramics, lacquer, glass, metal, bamboo, paper and clay.

Due to the unexpected closure of The Japan Foundation Sydney gallery as a result of COVID-19, the Seikatsu Kogei: Objects for Intentional Living exhibition is now available to view online. We invite you to enjoy the exhibition virtually by clicking here.

Please note that the end date of the exhibition may be subject to change.

Date: 21 February 2020 - 31 July 2020
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The Japan Foundation Touring Exhibition:
The Superlative Artistry of Japan


This exhibition captures Japan’s creative culture and monozukuri spirit through the theme of “superlative artistry,” which refers to the exceptional methods and techniques used. Starting with the craft works from the Meiji era, the exhibition features 38 items across a wide range of genres, including contemporary art, craft works, food samples, and shokugan (small toys sold with candy).  

This is the only chance to see this popular exhibition in the UK, don't miss it!

Date: 18 January 2020 - 19 April 2020

Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Crescent, Salford M5 4WU



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UK-JAPAN Bridge Together Project   org


UK-JAPAN Bridge Together Project: Sakubei Yamamoto Coal Mining Paintings World Tour

As part of the Beyond 2020 programme, the Bridge Together Project is exhibiting the coal mining paintings of Sakubei Yamamoto which have been registered as a UNESCO Memory of the World – the first Japanese artefacts to receive the honour. The exhibition will tour cities around the world in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games.


Date: 4 October – 15 November 2019

Venue: Embassy of Japan, 101-104 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7JT


Date: 14 September 2019 – 30 September 2020

Venue: Big Pit National Coal Museum, Pontypool NP4 9XP, Wales

Sakubei Yamamoto Coal Mining Paintings World Tour

Date: 4 October 2019 - 30 September 2020

For more information, please click here.



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Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk Exhibition at the V&A   JPsupported
Fashionable brocade patterns of the Imperial Palace, woodblock print, made by Utagawa Kunisada, 1847-1852, Japan. Museum no. Circ.636 to Circ. 638– 1962. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Fashionable brocade patterns of the Imperial Palace, woodblock print, made by Utagawa Kunisada, 1847-1852, Japan. Museum no. Circ.636 to Circ. 638– 1962. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Stunning 17th-century Japanese garments, international haute couture and costumes from Star Wars come together in a major V&A exhibition on kimono fashion.

The V&A has created Europe’s first major exhibition on kimono. The ultimate symbol of Japan, the kimono is often perceived as traditional, timeless and unchanging. Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk will counter this conception, presenting the garment as a dynamic and constantly evolving icon of fashion.

The exhibition will reveal the sartorial and social significance of the kimono from the 1660s to the present day, both in Japan and in the rest of the world. Rare 17th and 18thcentury kimono will be displayed for the first time in the UK, together with fashions by major designers and iconic film and performance costumes. The kimono’s recent reinvention on the streets of Japan will also be explored through work by an exciting new wave of contemporary designers and stylists.

Highlights of the exhibition include a kimono created by Living National Treasure Kunihiko Moriguchi, the dress designed for Björk by Alexander McQueen and worn on the album cover Homogenic, and original Star Wars costumes modelled on kimono by John Mollo and Trisha Biggar. Designs by Yves Saint Laurent, Rei Kawakubo and John Galliano will reveal the kimono’s role as a constant source of inspiration for fashion designers. Paintings, prints, film, dress accessories and other objects will feature throughout the exhibition, providing additional context to the fascinating story of the style, appeal and influence of the kimono. Over 315 works will be featured, including kimono especially made for the show, half drawn from the V&A’s superlative collections and the rest generously lent by museums and private collections in Britain, Europe, America and Japan.

Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk begins in the mid-17th century when a vibrant fashion culture emerged in Japan. The increasingly wealthy merchant classes demanded the latest styles to express their affluence, confidence and taste, while leading actors and famous courtesans were the trend-setters of the day. The simple structure of the kimono focussed attention on the surface, allowing for the creation of sumptuous patterns using sophisticated techniques. The first section of the exhibition will explore these designs and shine a light on a fashion-conscious society not dissimilar to today’s, in which desire for the latest look was fed by a cult of celebrity and encouraged by makers, sellers and publishers.

Kimono were first exported to Europe in the mid-17th century, where they had an immediate impact on clothing styles. Foreign fabrics were also brought to Japan and incorporated into kimono. Rare survivors from this early period of cultural exchange, including garments made in Japan for the Dutch and kimono tailored from French brocade and Indian chintz, will be displayed to reveal the fluid fashion relationship between East and West that resulted from the global trade network.

The late 19th century saw a world-wide craze for Japanese art and design. Kimono bought from department stores such as Liberty & Co. in London were worn by those wishing to express their artistic flair. Japan responded by making boldly embroidered ‘kimono for foreigners’, while the domestic market was transformed by the use of European textile technology and chemical dyes. The kimono’s biggest impact on western fashion came in the early 20th century, when designers such as Paul Poiret, Mariano Fortuny and Madeleine Vionnet abandoned tightly-corseted styles in favour of loose layers of fabric that draped the body.

The final section of the exhibition will show how the kimono has continued to inspire fashion designers around the world. The potential of the garment to be translated and transformed is seen in designs by Thom Browne, Duro Olowu and Yohji Yamamoto. The kimono’s timeless, universal quality has also made it the ideal costume for film and performance. The display will include the outfit worn by Toshirō Mifune in Sanjūrō, Oscar-winning costumes from Memoirs of a Geisha, and the Jean Paul Gautier ensemble worn by Madonna in her video Nothing Really Matters. Japan itself is currently witnessing a resurgence of interest in kimono. Jōtarō Saitō designs kimono couture for the catwalk, Hiroko Takahashi seeks to bridge the divide between art and fashion, and more casual styles are created by small, independent studios such as Rumi Rock and Modern Antenna.

Anna Jackson, curator of Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk at the V&A, said: ‘From the sophisticated culture of 17th -century Kyoto to the creativity of the contemporary catwalk, the kimono is unique in its aesthetic importance and cultural impact giving it a fascinating place within the story of fashion.’


Captured just before the V&A museum closed it's doors for lockdown, follow the Japan Foundation supported exhibition Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk as its curator Anna Jackson leads an intimate 5-part tour through the exhibition spaces, providing a behind the scene look at the show, star exhibits and the history of the kimono.

Take a deeper look at all five parts by following the links below:

Part 1    Part 2    Part 3    Part 4    Part 5

Date: 29 February 2020 - 21 June 2020

For more information, please click here.
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