Japanese Art & Music in the UK - Autumn 2017

Jiro Takamatsu

Japan Matsuri 2017, a lantern-lit evening in a Japanese garden, and a bumper load of art and music events all await Japanese culture aficionados in the UK this autumn.

Read on to find out more about each event, from Japan Matsuri, the UK’s foremost Japanese culture festival, now an annual fixture in the capital’s cultural calendar, to Japanese jazz, prog pop and piano recitals and art exhibitions by Japanese artists of everything from artwork for anime backgrounds and modern sculpture to Japanese machine drawing and watercolours of National Trust properties.

HENRO 2017: An Exhibition by Takumasa Ono


The HENRO (meaning “pilgrimage” in Japanese) exhibition will feature a display of artworks by Takumasa Ono capturing National Trust properties, including water colours, screen prints and Japanese ink paintings.

Takumasa began making artworks of National Trust properties on a tour of the UK in 1999, with sketches of 58 properties. He continued the project as a visiting artist in 2001, developing his HENRO exhibition as an artist in residence with the Trust. Since then, he has produced hundreds of pieces of artwork featuring over 100 Trust properties. This year’s HENRO exhibition marks the 17th anniversary of the start of Takumasa’s own ‘pilgrimage’ with the National Trust.

The artist will be in residence during the exhibition, enabling visitors to find out more about his artwork and inspiration. Admission to the exhibition is free, but normal admission charges for the venue apply (£8.60 for adults, £4.30 for children, or £21.50 for a family ticket). See the artist’s website to find out more about his life and artistic creations.

When? 22 April - 3 September 2017
Where? Dyffryn Gardens, St Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan, near Cardiff CF5 6SU, South Wales 
How much? Free (normal admission charges for the venue apply - see above)

Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan

Anime Architecture

Anime Architecture is the UK’s first ever exhibition of background illustrations from classic anime sci-fi films. It will feature drawings and paintings from some of the most influential productions from the genre’s heyday in the 1990s by a collection of artists whose work has had a defining influence on what we think of as the “typical” style of anime today.
These include watercolour paintings by Hiromasa Ogura for the classic 1995 anime film Ghost in the Shell, as well as pencil drawings by Takashi Watabe for the 2008 sequel Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. Ogura’s paintings have informed pioneering sci-fi works outside of the anime world such as The Matrix and Avatar, while Watabe’s meticulously realistic style has become a hallmark of Japanese anime films. An unmissable opportunity for anime and sci-fi fans alike! For more information, see organiser House of Illustration’s website.

When? 26 May - 10 September 2017
Where? House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London N1C 4BH
How much? £7.50

Pure Land Japanese Garden (lantern-lit garden evening)

Enjoy a lantern-lit garden evening in Nottinghamshire… In Japan, “toro” (traditional lanterns) were traditional originally only used in Buddhist temples, where they lined and illuminated paths, and lit lanterns were considered an offering to Buddha. Later, during Japan’s Heian period (794-1185), they began to be used in Shinto shrines and private homes as well, and during the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1600), stone lanterns were popularised by tea masters, who used them as decoration in their gardens.
Garden lanterns are an ancient and venerable Japanese tradition, but traditional Japanese lantern-lit gardens are becoming increasingly rare even within Japan. Pure Land Japanese Garden in Nottinghamshire is the only place in Europe where you can currently take part in this beautiful experience. 
Lanterns in the garden will be lit between 7pm-10pm on eleven evenings on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September, allowing visitors to meander along the garden’s peaceful, lantern-lit pathways. For more information on Pure Land’s Japanese garden and meditation centre, see their website.
When? 4 August - 30 September 2017,
Where? Pure Land, North Clifton, Nr Newark, Nottinghamshire NG23 7AT
How much?  £7.00 adults, £6.00 concessions (OAPs, students, unemployed, disabled), £4.00 children (over 5 years). Entrance fee includes entry to the Crystal Garden.

Jiro Takamatsu: The Temperature of Sculpture

Jiro Takamatsu
Jiro Takamatsu (1936-1998) was a leading figure of post-war art, credited with bringing sculpture into people’s daily lives. The Temperature of Sculpture is the first institutional solo exhibition of Takamatsu’s work to take place outside Japan. 

For four decades, Takamatsu operated in the space between multiple schools of art - such as Dada, Surrealism and Minimalism - using multiple media - such as photography, sculpture, painting, drawing and performance - to investigate the origins of art. In 1964, he co-founded an artist collective that aimed to bring satirical and humorous actions and art directly onto the streets of Tokyo - items were dropped from high-rise buildings, commuter routes were disrupted, and streets were scrubbed clean with toothbrushs for the 1964 Olympics - and the exhibition pays particular attention to such rethinking of how art can be a part of everyday life.
Comprising over seventy sculptures, drawings and documents loaned from collections around the globe in Japan, USA and Europe, the exhibition celebrates Takamatsu’s work, tracing his artistic practice through his exhibition history and focusing on works from the early 1960s to the late 1970s. It is presented by the Henry Moore Institute and supported by the Japan Foundation.
When? 13 July - 22 October 2017
Where? The Henry Moore Institute, 74 The Headrow, Leeds LS1 3AH
How much? Free

Kumi Matsuo - Lunchtime Piano Recital in Cheltenham

Kumi Matsuo

Japanese pianist Kumi Matsuo will play a lunchtime concert at Cheltenham Town Hall from 1.05pm-2.00pm. Matsuo was born in Tokyo and moved to London in 2007 to study at the Royal College of Music. Since graduating with an MA in Performance, she has won two international piano competitions and made her debut on the New York music scene in 2014. The concert is being presented by the AJSW (Anglo-Japanese Society of Wessex), and is a 20th anniversary event.

J.S. Bach / S. Rachmaninov: Prelude from Partita for Solo Violin No.3 in E major BWV 1006 transcribed for piano
J.S. Bach / F. Busoni: Chaconne in D Minor (Bach's Violin Partita "Chaconne" arranged by Busoni)
Franz Liszt: Grand études de Paganini (6 pieces together including the famous "La Campanella")

When? 5 September 2017
Where? Cheltenham Town Hall and Pittsville Pump Room, Imperial Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1QA
How much?  £5.00 

AUTO[MA]TION: Japanese Machine Drawing Exhibition


In his work, visual artist Damien Borowik investigates the art of making as aesthetics, using either analogue or digital processes to develop his own creative tools and explore their mark-making abilities.

In this exhibition of Japanese machine drawings inspired by the Japanese concept of “ma” (間), Borowik uses hand-crafted machines to create figurative and abstract drawings through the repetition of lines with an emphasis on the space in-between. So what is “ma”?

Ma (間) is a Japanese word which can be roughly translated as gap, space, pause or the space between two structural parts. The spatial concept is experienced progressively through intervals of spatial designation. […] Ma is not something that is created by compositional elements; it is the thing that takes place in the imagination of the human who experiences these elements. Therefore, ma can be defined as [an] experiential place understood with emphasis on interval. 
– Wikipedia, Aug 2017

The exhibition is free to enter but reservations are required. Book your ticket here: http://bit.ly/2v8tOQo For more information about the artist, visit his website: www.dborowik.com.
When? September 5-29, 2017 Monday-Friday 11:00am-7:00pm (Saturday and Sunday by appointment only)
Where? Sway Gallery, 70-72 Old Street, London EC1V 9AN
How much? Free

Makiko Hirabayashi Trio: Japanese Jazz Music in Dorking and London

Makiko Hirabayashi is a Tokyo-born Japanese pianist/composer who has lived in Copenhagen since 1990. Blending elements of jazz, classical music, Far Eastern music and Nordic sound, she produces an intriguing, compelling sound all of her own.
She will perform together with her jazz trio at two venues in Dorking and London:
Watermill Jazz Club: 13 September, 8:30pm
PizzaExpress Jazz Club: 14 September, 7pm
Hirabayashi has received widespread critical acclaim as an exciting voice on the international jazz scene since the release of her first trio album in 2006, releasing six albums in total as a leader, including three with her trio of legendary Danish drummer/percussionist Marilyn Mazur and bassist Klavs Hovman. With her trio, she has established her unique sound in recent years through performances at major jazz festivals in Europe, Japan, Egypt and Malaysia. The freshness of both her compositions and the trio’s vibrant interplay has caught the ears of many listeners around the world.
Now in its second year, Sounds of Denmark is a five-day jazz festival offering a window into one of Europe’s most vibrant and sophisticated jazz scenes, and the festival, featuring eight Danish groups including the trio, will showcase the dynamism and excitement of the contemporary Danish jazz scene. 
Watch a sneak preview of the trio on Youtube here or here.

When? 13 & 14 September 2017
Where? (1) Betchworth Park Golf Club, Reigate Road, Dorking RH4 1NZ, (2) 10 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 3RW
How much? (1) £21.00, (2) £18.00

Viva Sherry at the Cowley Club, Brighton

Hailing from Kyoto, Viva Sherry offer prog pop that continuously surprises through its inclusions of unusual stylistic mixtures (jazz, metal, motown, chanson), time changes and ‘musique concrète’. In their live performances, Sato (synthesizer, vocals) and Himeco (xylophone, drums) manage to recreate their complex sound by often playing several instruments simultaneously.

They will be provided with krautrock/electronic/funky support by three bands: London legends Now, local band Alskar Nu, and the event house band MoonDrive71 in association with Brighton Freakzone.
The event will also by VJ'd by Masato Tokumar "Autodidact", who works by remixing found footage from the web of anime, international news, and documentaries with his own shooting sequences, and often uses several cameras and projectors to recreate a world  in different venues where music and video help support psychedelic experiences.

When? 16 September 2017
Where? Cowley Club, 12 London Road, Brighton, BN1 4JA
How much? £4


Japanese Films at the Raindance Film Festival

Raindance Film Festival 2017


Japanese film buffs will want to make a beeline for this year's Raindance Film Festival, which will feature an exciting and wide variety of contemporary Japanese films by both up-and-coming and well-established filmmakers in the Way Out East strand. 

This year's line-up will include a number of UK premieres, including Atsuko Hirayanagi's Cannes-screened debut Oh Lucy!, Eiji Uchida's latest Love and Other Cults, Kazuyoshi Kumakiri's kendo drama Mukoku and many more. For full details of the Japanese films being shown as part of the festival, please visit: festival.raindance.org .

When? 20 September 2017 - 1 October 2017
Where? Vue Leicester Square, 3 Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, London WC2H 7AL
How much? Individual tickets from £13 (weekday matinées before 5pm). A variety of passes and carnets are on offer; see the website for more details.


Japan Matsuri 2017

This year’s Japan Matsuri will kick off bright and early and offer non-stop action all day across two stages in front of the National Portrait Gallery. The main stage programme will feature taiko drumming, catchy songs from popular artists such as Naomi Suzuki, and the ever-popular Nodojiman karaoke singing contest, while the second stage will showcase amazing displays of martial arts.
There will also be a Japanese festival food offering mouthwatering Japanese streetfood from a host of brightly coloured stalls; traditional Japanese games, origami, and calligraphy in the family activities area; and a massive nine metre long canvas right in front of the National Gallery where festivalgoers - artistically talented or otherwise! - can add their own manga creations!
When? 10am-8pm, 24th September 2017
Where? Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
How much? The festival is free to enter!


Ryoji Ikeda - Test Pattern Live

Test Pattern

Ryoji Ikeda, Japan’s leading electronic composer and visual artist, will perform Test Pattern, an audiovisual work presenting intense flickering black and white imagery synchronised to a powerful soundtrack. Ikeda’s latest work is the result of almost twenty years of research, and explores the relationship between art and sound by orchestrating sound, images, materials, physical phenomena and mathematical notions. 

The project is being presented by The Japan Foundation in partnership with Thirty Three Thirty Three, The Barbican and Selfridges. The event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, email your name and the title of the event to event@jpf.org.uk. Performances times: Thursday, 28 September 2017: 7:30pm and 9:30pm. 
When? 28 September 2017
Where? The Selfridges Old Hotel at Selfridges Oxford Street, London
How much? £22

Reiko Fujisawa – Piano Recitals Across the UK

Reiko Fujisawa
Japanese pianist Reiko Fujisawa will be giving performances at various venues across the UK, including Newcastle, Manchester, Oxford, and Cambridge. The recital program will feature music by leading British and Japanese composers, Thomas Adès and Toru Takemitsu. See here for details of venues and prices for the concerts in the tour.

When? 30 September, 19 October, 3.4,14 & 29 November, 10 December 2017
Where? Various - see above
How much? Some performances are free! Others cost £5-£18.
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