Japan-Related Events in the UK This Spring

Jiji and Kinako_2

There is plenty going on in the UK's Japanese cultural calendar this spring, with a slew of art exhibitions, theatre performances and interesting talks, many of which are completely free to attend.

In A Room of One’s Own: Japanese Woodblock Prints by Nana Shiomi, 9 March - 18 April 2018, Cambridge

Nana Shiomi 2018

The artist’s first solo exhibition in Cambridge, this exhibition of contemporary Japanese woodblock prints will showcase twenty-six of Nana Shiomi’s recent works, including new works and her Tea Bowl series. The exhibition draws inspiration from Virginia Woolf’s book of the same name.

Shiomi, whose prints can be found in major museum collections, lives and works in London, but the imagery used in her work often incorporates Japanese iconography. Her approach is rooted in the Japanese ukiyo-e traditional of woodblock printmaking by hand, to which she has added her own experimental techniques. 
How much? FREE
When? 9 March - 18 April 2018
Where? Clare Hall, Herschel Road, Cambridge CB3 9AL

Cyclic: Experimental Art by Rie Nakajima, 21 March - 3 June 2018, Birmingham

Rie Nakajima 2016 photograph by Marie Roux

UK-based experimental artist, Rie Nakajima fuses sculpture with sound in this new exhibition, which will consist entirely of new works. Born in Yokohama in 1976, Nakajima now lives and works in London, where she is active in the art scene, often featuring in the programme at Cafe OTO, Dalston.

Best known for her work with sound art, Nakajima typically experiments with a variety of different media, using a combination of kinetic devices, musical instruments and found objects in a direct response to architectural space, in order to spark questions among her audience about the definition of ‘art’.

Consisting entirely of new works, the exhibition will include a number of collaborative performances with other artists, featuring dance, free sculpture, and much more. These take the form of experiments with a collection of small objects spread out on the floor, which Nakajima uses to add or subtract sound by setting the objects in motion, picking them up, putting them down, and moving them around.

It will also incorporate a series of free performances, such as O Yama O, Nakajima’s collaborative project with Keiko Yamamoto, which explores music with no genre. For more information, visit: www.ikon-gallery.org/ 

How much? FREE (some events are drop-in, while for others booking is essential)
When? 21 March - 3 June 2018
Where? Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham, B1 2HS

Jiji and Kinako on Washi: Photography Exhibition by Akiko DuPont, 12-25 April 2018, London

Jiji and Kinako

Formerly a very outgoing man, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Akiko DuPont’s grandfather, Jiji, gradually lost interest in life and became grumpier than ever. But the arrival of Kinako the Cat turned that all around...

Experience the world of Jiji and Kinako through DuPont’s photographs, printed on the unusual medium of Washi, traditional Japanese paper. The heart-warming exhibition explores the permeable border between animals and humans, as well as the ephemeral moments of joy and happiness in the midst of the sadness and loneliness often caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
Part of the sales from the exhibition will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Society (www.alzheimers.org.uk/).
Akiko DuPont is a documentary photographer based in Tokyo and London. She is particularly interested in how people experience the world, and her works have appeared in The Metro (online), The Washington Post, The Huffington Post (Japan), and more. For more information about her work, visit: www.akiko-dupont.com 
For more information about the exhibition, visit Sway Gallery’s website: http://sway-gallery.com/
How much? FREE
When? Mon–Fri: 11am–7pm, Sat (21 April only): 12pm–6pm, 12-25 April 2018 (an opening reception will be held on 12 April, 2018 from 6-8pm)
Where? Sway Gallery, 70-72 Old Street, EC1V 9AN, London

Emergence of Order: Artist Talk and Exhibition by Goro Murayama, 18 April 2018, London

Self-organised painting [Excessively], 2016 © Goro Murayama

In his first UK exhibition, artist Goro Murayama presents works that gradually grow and develop in structure as he follows a process of weaving a canvas from hemp cords, painting the base, and finally adding drawings on top. 

Using a combination of woven cord, primer or paint, and pencil, Murayama seeks to express self-organising processes and patterns through painting and drawings. For Murayama, painting is a ‘mandala of emergences’ that appears when the mind, affected by forms and shapes, reiterates and amasses actions, and his works result from ‘autonomous decisions’ provoked by the properties of the materials used in the preceding stage.
As he proceeds with production, further potential developments open up as a result of the variables latent in the process and some are arbitrarily or randomly selected to proceed. As a result, the works gradually deepen their structural complexity, much like the branches of a tree, growing and unfurling. Murayama’s works attain a unique expression by introducing these self-organising processes into them.
A private view will be held on 20 March 2018, 6.00pm, and a talk with the artist, entitled System as Medium and System as Motif, will be held on 18 April 2018, 6.00pm. The talk will see Murayama joined in conversation by Dr Francis Halsall, Lecturer at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Events at Daiwa Foundation are free of charge, but booking is essential as space is limited. For more information and to book, visit the Foundation's website: http://dajf.org.uk/

How much? FREE
When? 18 April 2018, 6.00pm
Where? Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QP UK

Spring Explorers: Japan Foundation Spring Films Selection, Selected Dates in April, London

Spring - the season of new beginnings! The Japan Foundation presents a programme of Japanese films that depict their central characters entering new stages (and sometimes new worlds) in their lives - from unlikely introductions to fatherhood, to the navigation of an inverted universe by a girl on the cusp of maturity.

Patema Inverted (Directed by Yasuhiro Yoshiura, 2013, 99 mins, English subtitles, PG) 
When? 6.40pm (including 20 minute talk), Friday 20 April 2018
Where? Courthouse Cinema, 19-21 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7HL

Before the screening there will be a short talk by anime expert Helen McCarthy, author of Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation : Films, Themes, Artistry (1999), The Anime Encyclopedia (2001), 500 Essential Anime Movies: The Ultimate Guide (2008), along with many other titles.

Mameshiba (Directed by Toru Kamei, 2009, 106 mins, English subtitles, U) and Thermae Romae (Directed by Hideki Takeuchi, 2012, 108 min, English subtitles, PG)

When? 2.45pm (Mameshiba), 5.00pm (Thermae Romae), Saturday 21 April, 2018
Where? Screening Room 1, The Soho Hotel, 4 Richmond Mews, London, W1D 3DH

Twenty-Four Eyes (Directed by Keisuke Kinoshita, 1954, 156 min, English subtitles, PG)

When? 2.40pm, Sunday 22 April, 2018
Where? Courthouse Cinema, 19-21 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7HL

For synopses of each of the films, see the Events listing on the Japan Foundation’s website: www.jpf.org.uk/

Alice in Modern Japan: Talk by the Lewis Carroll Society, 27 April 2018, London

Alice in Japan

The Lewis Carroll Society will host a talk entitled, 'The Modern Alice in Japan'. This free talk by expert Amanda Kennell, will explore Japanese adaptations of the Alice books, from the beautifully illustrated work of artist Kusama Yayoi to comics, film, animation, stationery, and clothes.
The speaker, Amanda Kennell, is an expert in modern Japanese literature and visual media at the Sainsbury Institute for the study of Japanese Arts and Cultures at UEA. Her previous work has traced Japan’s reception of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland novels from their arrival in 1899 until today through adaptations in a variety of media. 
For more information, visit the Lewis Carroll Society’s website: http://lewiscarrollsociety.org.uk/

How much? FREE
When? Doors open at 6.30, 27 April 2018
Where? The Art Workers’ Guild, 6 Queens Square, London WC1N 3AT (nearest tubes Holborn and Russell Square)

Hanseatic Reflection: Baroque Trio Sonatas featuring Naomi Okuda, 27 April 2018, London

Featuring Japanese recorder player Naomi Okuda, the programme will focus on the 'Hanseatic connection' linking composers to cities along the Baltic coast in the 18th Century, with a trio of sonatas by Telemann, Handel, Linicke and others.
Naomi Okuda (recorder) 
Chris Hartland (oboe, recorder)
Jan Zahourek (viola da gamba)
Katarzyna Kowalik (harpsichord)
Drinks will be served after the programme. Tickets costs £15 (£12 for full-time students). To book tickets, call 020 7534 0710 (the Schott Music Shop) or buy them on the door. 

How much? Tickets from £12
When? 7pm, Friday 27 April 2018
Where? The Schott Music Shop, 48 Great Marlborough St., London W1F 7BB

One Green Bottle by Hideki Noda, 27 April - 19 May 2018, London


Soho Theatre and Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre present this new play, featuring music influenced by traditional Japanese Noh and Kabuki theatres, from Hideki Noda and the team behind the international hit THE BEE.
Boo, Bo and Pickle all have plans for tonight. But someone has to stay home and look after Princess. People are waiting, start times are looming, and no one’s budging. Petty bickering soon spirals into a ludicrous battle of wills and, possibly, the end of the world...
Renowned Japanese writer, performer, and Artistic Director of the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre, Hideki Noda paints a portrait of a disconnected family on a self-destructive course in this satirical comedy about consumerism and technology in a ‘selfie’ society.
Starring Hideki himself alongside Glyn Pritchard and Olivier Award-winning Kathryn Hunter, in an English translation adapted by Will Sharpe. With music and soundscape influenced by traditional Japanese Noh and Kabuki performed live by legendary Japanese Kabuki musician Denzaemon Tanaka XIII.
For more information, visit Soho Theatre’s website: https://sohotheatre.com/ 

How much? Tickets cost from £10.
When? 27 April - 19 May 2018
Where? SOHO THEATRE, 21 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 3NE

The Essence of Omotenashi: Rethinking Hospitality: Talk with Toru Machida, Head Concierge of The Savoy, 30 April 2018, London

Toru Machida

The concierge is the public face of a hotel and his or her reputation can be an important factor in choosing where to stay. Starting as a room cleaner at London’s iconic five-star Savoy hotel over 23 years ago, Toru Machida has gradually worked his way up to Head Concierge, the first Japanese person to do so.

From making restaurant reservations to getting tickets for West End shows, Mr Machida does all he can to meet requests by guests. Whether they are trying to buy the latest games console on the day of release, or trying to get in touch with an old friend with whom they have lost contact, he never says no. Mr Machida’s approach demonstrates the Japanese spirit of omotenashi, a form of hospitality, that goes above and beyond the call of duty to understand people’s desires and meet them.

In this lecture, Mr Machida will discuss the art of looking after hotel guests, illustrating his talk with anecdotes from his experience, detailing his techniques for anticipating needs and managing the expectations of hospitality.
Toru Machida was born in Tokyo in 1976 and came to the UK at the age of 19 after graduating from high school. He studied hotel management at university before starting work at the Four Seasons Hotel in Canary Wharf in 2001. Starting out in housekeeping, he has gradually worked his way up to concierge clerk, with extensive experience as concierge in renowned hotels. Since December 2014, he is Head Concierge at The Savoy, the first Japanese person to hold the position.
To reserve your place at the talk, call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email [email protected]. Spaces are limited and priority is given to Japan Society members. For more information, visit the Society's website: www.japansociety.org.uk/
How much? FREE – Booking recommended
When? 30 April 2018, 6:30pm
Where? The Swedenborg Society , 20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St), London WC1A 2TH

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