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Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival: Bodies (In partnership with the Japan Foundation) new
[Online Talk] Japanese Sounds - Spiriting Away and Praying for Peace new
[Online Talk] Up Close and Personal: Curators' Treasures in a Castle, Palace, and Manor House new
UCL-Japan Youth Challenge new

Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival: Bodies (In partnership with the Japan Foundation)   org


JAEFF is Back in September!


The Japan Foundation is proud to be a partner for this year's Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival


JAEFF 2021: Bodies explores how we interact with other beings, spaces around us, and how expressions of the unutterable become vital means of communication and connection.

This third edition of the Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival, organised in partnership with the Japan Foundation London, considers the body and sensation, and features work from directors Kon Ichikawa, Toshio Matsumoto, Susumu Hani, Chiaki Nagano, Takahiko Iimura, Tatsumi Kumashiro, Shuji Terayama, among others.

Inspired by the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the lockdown, and a loss of "truth," JAEFF 2021: Bodies presents a line-up of features and shorts that examine the body triumphant, and the body in crisis – through dance, performance, sport, exercise, and more.


Programme line-up:




Nanami: The Inferno of First Love + A.I. Mama

Thursday, 16 September from 18:00 (BST)

Barbican Cinema


Portrait of Mr O + Anma + Rose Color Dance + In Passing


Friday, 17 September from 18:00 (BST)


Barbican Cinema and on-demand





Mr O’s Book of the Dead + Navel and A-Bomb + Dual Enframe

Saturday, 18 September from 15:00 (BST)

Barbican Cinema and on-demand



Boxer + Transparent, the world is.

Saturday, 18 September from 17:50 (BST)

Barbican Cinema and on-demand



Lovers are Wet

Saturday, 18 September from 20:30 (BST)

Barbican Cinema



Panel Discussion: Japan’s Cinematic Body

Sunday, 19 September from 11:00 (BST)

Barbican Cinema



Nippon Express Carries the Olympics to Tokyo + Record of a Marathon Runner + Tokyo Story

Sunday, 19 September from 13:20 (BST)

Barbican Cinema and on-demand



Tokyo Olympiad

Sunday, 19 September from 16:00 (BST)

Barbican Cinema and on-demand


Date: 16 September 2021 - 30 September 2021

16 – 19 September 2021 at the Barbican;
20 – 30 September 2021 (online)

For more information, please click here.

Organised by JAEFF:

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[Online Talk] Japanese Sounds - Spiriting Away and Praying for Peace   org


Japanese sounds have followed a different path in their use and development. Like the sounds of instruments from the West they play a part in the composition of melodies but, more importantly, Japanese sounds have lived along with us for a long time, existing for very specific purposes separate from music: for spiriting away and praying for peace. This use is particularly notable with many percussion instruments.


In this special talk, Prof MOTEGI Kiyoko, one of the leading specialists and researchers of Japanese sound (Oto), will introduce and demonstrate in real time some examples of Oto and the musical objects identified in Japanese life, discussing how these have evolved and have come to be associated with Japanese faith and culture.


After Prof. MOTEGI’s presentation, there will be a discussion with Dr Lucia Dolce, Numata Professor of Japanese Buddhism at SOAS University of London, and Chair of the SOAS Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions.


These traditional instruments may be replaced by advanced technology which prevents disasters and pandemics. However, it is interesting to learn what our predecessors believed in and struck to pray for a better world, and how that mindset and customs still survive in contemporary Japan.


About the speakers


MOTEGI Kiyoko is a musicologist born in Yamanashi Prefecture in 1949. She graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts and, following her work as a director assistant at the National Theatre from 1976 to 1981, she became a teacher of Japanese music. She is now professor emerita at Joetsu University of Education. MOTEGI is currently a member of the Arts Council Tokyo Evaluation Committee. She serves as an expert advisor and a selection committee member for the Japan Biwa Music Competition. MOTEGI specializes in the study of traditional Japanese music but is particularly familiar with the instruments of kuromisu music in kabuki, Buddhist music, and various instruments used in folk performing arts. Her major books include Japanese Traditional Sound Sources and Japanese Sake Brewers’ Songs.


Dr Lucia Dolce is Numata Professor of Japanese Buddhism at SOAS University of London, and Chair of the SOAS Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions. Her work combines archival research and extensive fieldwork to explore hermeneutical and ritual practices of religion in Japan. She has published extensively, in English and in Japanese, on Buddhist traditions of the Lotus Sutra and Tantric Buddhism, Shinto-Buddhist combinatory cults and the visual dimension of religion in Japan.



This online event is free to attend but registration is essential.

To reserve your space, please book your ticket here.



Date: 15 September 2021 from 1.00pm

For more information, please click here.
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[Online Talk] Up Close and Personal: Curators' Treasures in a Castle, Palace, and Manor House   org


The first places which spring to mind when wanting to see a collection of Japanese artefacts in the UK may be museums or art galleries where many treasures related to Japan have been preserved. With the aid of current digital technology, cataloguing and displaying on a digital site is gradually becoming more common, making some objects available to the public even when they might not be physically exhibited at such institutions. However, it may not be well known that these are not the only places to appreciate Japan: palaces, castles, and manor houses – historical settings where Japanese art is naturally suited – can also provide an interesting insight into the unique heritage.


Thanks to the extensive research conducted by Yoshi Miki, Curatorial Consultant and Project Researcher at the National Museum of Japanese History, Japan, it has been rediscovered that those institutes outside conventional museums also have precious treasures from Japan. In this special talk (a follow-up to last year’s Up-Close and Personal: Curators’ Treasures event with five curators from various museums in England) we have opened our doors to a ‘keeper’ of palaces and castles in the UK. In addition, we have invited a specialist at a museum created from a private library collection in the Republic of Ireland. Together they will share their favourite treasures with you and help open our horizons to the new normal. Let’s see what they cherish!



About the speakers

(Moderator) Yoshi Miki, Curatorial Consultant, and Project Researcher of the National Museum of Japanese History, Sakura, oversees the UK project “Research and Use of overseas Japanese artefacts and documents", funded by the National Institute for the Humanities since 2011. He co-curated a special exhibition "KIZUNA Japan Wales Design" at the National Museum Wales in 2018. A new special exhibition at Durham University’s Oriental Museum "Monogatari" is scheduled to open in January 2022. He worked for Museums in the US, Canada, and Japan before he became a Head of Curatorial at Kyushu National Museum in 2002-2006. He lives in San Francisco.


Susanne Gronnow is Property Curator for the National Trust at Erddig, a country house in Wales. This country house museum was once home to the Yorke family whose treasured possessions not only came from Wales and the UK, but from further afield too. In 2018, selected Japanese collections from National Trust properties were displayed in KIZUNA: Japan Wales Design exhibition at the National Museum of Wales (Amgueddfa Cymru), including a 400 year old lacquered coffer described as the first ever Japanese object known to have come to Wales. Susanne has also worked for the National Trust at Chirk Castle and Powis Castle.


Rachel Peat is Assistant Curator of Non-European Works of Art at Royal Collection Trust. She is responsible for the research and display of 13,000 world cultures objects in the British Royal Collection, which are held by The Queen in trust for the nation. These include Japanese porcelain, lacquer, metalwork, arms and armour, folding screen paintings and embroideries acquired by members of the British Royal Family since the early seventeenth century, which today furnish 13 current and former royal residences. Rachel is editor of Japan: Courts and Culture (published May 2020), the first publication dedicated to Japanese material in the Royal Collection. She is the curator of an exhibition of the same name at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, which will open in early 2022.


Mary Redfern is Curator of East Asian Collections at the Chester Beatty, Dublin. Mary previously worked with East Asian collections at the National Museum of Scotland and the Victoria and Albert Museum, completing her PhD at University of East Anglia in 2015 on the Meiji Emperor's tableware. Her publications include Art of Friendship: Japanese Surimono Prints and Tennō no dainingu hōru (Emperor's Dining Hall) written with Yamazaki Taisuke and Imaizumi Yoshiko. Most recently, she curated the exhibition Edo in Colour: Prints from Japan’s Metropolis, now open at the Chester Beatty.



This online event is free to attend but registration is essential.

To reserve your space, please book your ticket here.



Image credits for top image:
Fat tails of lucky mice, Utagawa Toyohiro, Japan, 1804. CBL J 1621.2. Chester Beatty, Dublin. CC BY-NC 4.0
The red japanned bureau bookcase found in the State Bedroom at Erddig, Wrexham, Wales. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel
Samurai armour; Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021
*The objects included in the top image will not necessarily be included in the speakers' talk


Date: 3 August 2021 from 6.30pm

For more information, please click here.
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UCL-Japan Youth Challenge   org

The UCL-Japan Youth Challenge is a prestigious annual summer school programme which has had a tremendous reputation and impact since 2015. Pre-university students from Japan and the UK attend a series of university-style lectures on a wide range of subjects by academics from leading UK universities including UCL (University College London), and engage in the UCL Grand Challenge Workshop.

In 2021, the programme will be held online due to COVID-19 guidelines.


Through the past UCL-Japan Youth Challenge programmes, young students have been provided with opportunities to look into social problems, mainly through science and technology. This year, the cultural side of the issues will be highlighted and discussions of how art and design could contribute to solving those problems and developing the sustainable future will be held.

For the full programme, please visit the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge homepage.


Non-Japanese sixth-form students residing in the UK, aged 15, 16, 17 and 18 years (Parental consent will be required prior to the event for under 18s.)


To apply, please complete the forms available here.

All participants will receive a complimentary ticket for Hyper Japan Online and two UK based participants will be selected to for a free trip to Japan in 2022. 

There is no application deadline, though please note that spaces are limited.

Date: 3 August 2021 - 24 August 2021


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