Japanese Events in the UK Winter 2017

Rainbow Bridge ©Yasufumi Nishi

Make it your goal to become a Japanese culture vulture in 2018 - then get off to a roaring start by attending one of these upcoming Japan-related events!

If learning more about the music, food, art or pop culture of Japan is on your to-do list for 2018, then you could do worse than start with one of these Japanese events in the UK this winter. Take your pick from traditional arts and crafts such as Japanese silk dyeing and bronze boxes to a Japanese desserts cooking demonstration with an award-winning Japanese pastry chef.

Plus, fascinating specialist talks on all aspects of Japanese art and culture, from Japanese basket weaving and bridges to Sonic the Hedgehog and James Bond's little-known links with Japan...

Music, Art and Food

Serene, the world of Yuzen – a Japanese silk painting exhibition - 11-25 January 2018, London

Yuzen indigo dyeing

Yuzen is the traditional Japanese craft of silk dye-resist painting. Originally used to decorate kimono and obi (kimono sashes), it has been practised for centuries. Artists often draw on nature, the seasons and the elements for inspiration, with common combinations including water and skies and flowers and leaves.
This exhibition displays the acclaimed works of Russian-born artist Svetlana, based on the themes of nature and peace. Some designs are direct and explicit - such as koi carp resting languidly in a pond beneath an autumn tree - while others are more subtle, for example, a lone maple tree branch underneath a celestial sky. Yet in all her designs viewers will find a clear sense of time and calm that expresses the beauty of Yuzen painting, the beauty of nature expressed on silk.
Yuzen artist Svetlana spent five years studying Yuzen painting in Tokyo under her master Mrs Tada. Her first exhibition as part of a student collective in 2008 received high praise. Her two shows in Wales since moving there in 2010 have also won positive reviews. This exhibition is her first solo show outside of Wales.
Free entry
Opening Hours
Monday-Friday 11am-7pm
Saturday and Sunday by appointment only

When? 11 - 25 January 2018 (Private view: 11 January, 18:00 to 20:00)
Where? Sway Gallery, 70-72 Old Street, EC1V 9AN, London

Bronze Boxes by Koji Hatakeyama & Matthew Harris - 7 December 2017 - 12 January 2018, London

Hatakeyama bronze box

Japanese artist Koji Hatakeyama and British artist Matthew Harris have joined forces for this exhibition of 45 cast bronze lidded boxes (by Hatakeyama) and accompanying works on paper (by Harris).
Hatakeyama grew up in Takaoka, a Japanese city renowned for metal casting. His unpretentious cast bronze objects, particularly lidded boxes, are intended to be artistic rather than necessarily functional. His work has been acquired by many public collections, including the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Harris, a British artist working with paper and cloth, has exhibited widely throughout the UK, Europe, the USA and Japan. For this exhibition he has created a number of pictures that will be shown alongside Hatakeyama’s pieces.

Free entry. For more information, see Erskine, Hall & Coe Ltd.'s website.

When? 10:00-18:00 Tuesday-Saturday, 7 December 2017- 12 January 2018
Where? Erskine, Hall & Coe Ltd. 15 Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London W1S 4SP

Classical Guitar Recital by Sean Shibe: J.S. Bach and Villa-Lobos - 8 February 2018, London

Acoustic guitar Angela Quitoriano
In this concert, internationally acclaimed classical guitarist Sean Shibe will perform Lute Suite No.2 in A minor (originally in C minor) BWV 997 by J.S. Bach, and a selection of Etudes and Preludes by Villa-Lobos.
The recital will follow hot on the heels of Shibe’s debut tour of Japan in January 2018, featuring performances and masterclasses in Tokyo and Nagoya. The event is being hosted by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation.
Born in Edinburgh in 1992 of English and Japanese heritage, Sean Shibe studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. At the age of 20 he became the first guitarist to be selected for the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme, and the only solo guitarist to be awarded a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. In 2015 he was selected by the Young Classical Artists Trust. He is currently with Paolo Pegoraro in Italy. 
Admission is free but booking is essential at: 

Life is Sweet - Japanese Desserts Cooking Demonstration - 8 February 2018, London

Life is Sweet

Join pastry chef Suzue Aoyama-Curley for a very special demonstration and tasting of her wonderful Japanese inspired desserts. Award-winning pastry chef and food consultant Suzue has created afternoon teas at world-renowned London hotels, Claridges and The Savoy, creating her own unique strain of creative patisserie-making in her quest for ways to infuse the traditional cakes and pastries of the archetypal English afternoon tea with the flavours of her home country of Japan.

At the event, guests will have the opportunity to taste a selection of luxurious sweets and baked goods reinvented with Japanese flavours as well as watch a professional at work. While demonstrating patisserie skills and techniques, Suzue will speak about her passion for what she does. Learn about the art of combining flavours and pick up hints to inform your own baking, or make it a special Valentine’s Day treat for someone special.
The menu at this event will be as follows (subject to change):
1. Nibbles served with Japanese sake
• Sansho pepper biscuit with smoked salmon
• Wasabi puff topped with caviar
2. Palate cleanser
3. Served with a small shot of Amedei hot chocolate
• Miso financier served with sea salt caramel cream
• Houji-cha sable sandwiched with Amedei Gianduja cream
4. Japanese Forest Gateau served with Houji-cha
Amedei Chocolate and cherry gateau accompanied with matcha cream
Suzue Aoyama-Curley was brought up in Osaka, Japan, and moved to the UK in 1995 to study culinary art at Le Cordon Bleu. After obtaining her diploma there, she started her career at Claridges. In 1999, she became a Pastry Chef at The Savoy, in charge of tea pastry. In 2000, she won the Gold award in afternoon tea pastry, salon culinaire, London – the first Japanese chef to do so. In 2004, she opened a boutique in Richmond with her former partner, William Curley. Since 2016 she has set up her own workshop business.
The event is being held by the Japan Society in association with Kings Fine Foods at the National Bakery School, London South Bank University.
As a Japan Society event, priority is given to Japan Society members. To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996, email events@japansociety.org.uk or use the online booking form.

Interesting Talks

Game Play:- A Talk by Hirokazu Yasuhara, Sonic the Hedgehog Game-Designer - 18 January 2018, London

Sonic the Hedgehog Anthony Quintano

In this talk, influential and pioneering video game designer Hirokazu Yasuhara will speak about his career in the gaming industry from his work at Sega in the late 1990s to today, covering some of the key elements of the projects he has been involved in. Commenting on technological developments and shifts in industry trends during his career, Yasuhara will also discuss his perpetual goal of creating games that are fun and engaging for everybody.
Best known for his work in the seminal video game series Sonic the Hedgehog, featuring the popular anthropomorphic blue hedgehog Sonic, Yasuhara went on to work on a number of Sonic’s sequels and many other well-known projects, including the Jak and Daxter series and Unchartered: Drake’s Fortune by Naughty Dog. More recently he has worked on Pac-Man Party and Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move for Nintendo.
The event is being organised by the Japan Foundation. It is free to attend but booking is essential. To book your place via Eventbrite visit: https://gameplay-talk.eventbrite.co.uk
Hirokazu Yasuhara will also be attending Akumakon Anime and Manga Convention at the National University of Ireland Galway, from 1pm on 20 January 2018. To find out more visit: www.akumakon.com

When? 6.40pm, 18 January 2018
Where? London College of Communication (Lecture Room B), London, SE1 6SB 

The Extraordinary Untold Story of James Bond and Japan - 23 January 2018, London

Himeji Castle

With sliding doors and ninjas, high-tech gadgetry and interesting options for expendable henchmen, ‘exotic’ Japan fulfils the brief for a James Bond location admirably. Yet for author Ian Fleming Japan offered more than simply literary background colour.

Tokyo was a city bristling with espionage secrets - from the Soviet spy ring that turned the course of the Second World War to an Australian triple agent (a close friend of Fleming) whose secretive Sherlock Holmes society was connected to the highest echelons of power in Japan and was at the epicentre of Cold War dramatics.

In this talk, Dr Damian Flanagan will take you on a thrilling spy adventure and show you a side of Japan which you have never imagined before - revealing the extraordinary untold true story of James Bond and Japan. So put on your tuxedo, grab your Beretta and fire up the Bentley and zoom on down to this unique and unmissable talk!

This event is being hosted by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation. It is free to attend but booking is essential. To book your place visit http://dajf.org.uk/
When? 6pm, 23 January 2018

Where? Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, Outer Circle, London NW1 4QP

Grass Poets: Japanese Baskets, 1845-1953 with Joe Earle - 15 January 2018, London

Arima kago basket ©Kobe Convention & Visitors Association

For thousands of years, Japanese farmers and artisans have plaited tropical woody grasses of the bamboo family into practical containers - yet basketry as a self-conscious art form is only just over 150 years old.
In this lecture, Asian art expert Joe Earle will explore Japanese bamboo art’s origins in sencha, a supposedly Chinese manner of tea-drinking with Chinese-style utensils that became popular during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, based on knowledge and expertise gained through his recent cataloguing of a major European collection of Japanese bamboo art.
Earle will illustrate his talk with a wealth of previously unpublished works from two of Japan’s greatest bamboo dynasties, the Hayakawa Shokosai line in Kansai and the Iizuka line in Kanto. The first basket-weaver to sign his work, Hayakawa Shokosai I (1815–1897) started by making copies of Chinese baskets but gradually developed a distinctively Japanese style.
His younger son, Hayakawa Shokosai III (1864–1922), played a critical role in broadening the expressive potential of bamboo, in particular through his use of the ara-ami (‘rough weaving’) technique. His innovations helped pave the way for the extraordinary and varied achievements of Iizuka Rokansai (1890–1958), widely regarded as the greatest of all bamboo artists.
Joe Earle was Director of Japan Society Gallery in New York until 2012 and has held leadership positions in Asian art departments at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Over the past 37 years he has curated, organised, or written catalogues for numerous exhibitions of contemporary Japanese art, craft, and design. He is now based in London, where he has recently completed a catalogue of 323 works of Japanese bamboo art in the Naej Collection.

For more information, see https://www.japansociety.org.uk/event/joe-earle/. To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email events@japansociety.org.uk or submit the online booking form.

Bridge by Toshio Shibata - 12 January - 9 February 2018, London

Kobe Ohashi Bridge © Kobe Convention & Visitors Association

Bridges are one of the main subjects of the work of Toshio Shibata, one of Japan’s preeminent landscape photographers. Shibata is known for exploring the delicate balance between man-­made structures and nature. Photographing erosion control barriers, water catchments, roads, dams and bridges, he examines the unique appearance of these structures, and emphasises the abstract beauty and immensity of the Japanese landscape.
This exhibition not only displays many of Shibata’s images of bridges, but also “bridges” his forty-year career, from his first explorations as a photographer at the Royal Academy in Ghent, Belgium, with a selection of black­ and­ white photographs taken during his stay in Belgium and during his travels to the Netherlands and Scotland, to his latest project ‘Japanscapes’. 
It will also feature some of Shibata’s most widely renowned photographs of landmark constructions, such as the ‘Red Bridge’, images which through the lens of the artist have acquired an enviably timeless, abstract and painterly quality.
A Private View and Artist Talk will be held on 11 January 2018, in which the artist will be joined in conversation by Dr Phillip Prodger, Head of Photographs, National Portrait Gallery from 6:30pm. 

This exhibition is being organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation in association with Ibasho Gallery, Antwerp. It is free to attend but booking is essential. To book your place visit http://dajf.org.uk/

When? 12 January - 9 February 2018 (Private View and Artist Talk: 6pm-8pm, 11 January 2018)
Where? Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QP UK

To stay up to date with all the latest happenings in Japan follow us on Facebook or Twitter.