Japanese Events in the UK - Spring 2019

Prototyping in Tokyo: Illustrating design-led innovation ©Jeremie_Souteyrat

From Japanese arts, academia and horticulture to cuisine, film and sports, there's a bit of something for everyone this season across the UK.

Brave Blossoms: the History of Rugby in Japan @ World Rugby Museum, London, 18 November 2018 - 31 August 2019

Brave Blossoms: the History of Rugby in Japan

Excited for this year's Rugby World Cup? It'll be the first time the tournament is held in Asia, outside rugby's traditional heartland so it's without question that we'll be treated to a tournament like no other. But how much do you know about Japanese rugby? Japan's Brave Blossoms wowed the world with their victory over the Springboks at Rugby World Cup 2015 - a long way from where Japanese rugby first began back in 1866. 

This special exhibition, produced by Twickenham Stadium's World Rugby Museum in partnership with England Rugby Travel and Kanto District Transport Bureau, charts the evolution of rugby alongside the development of modern Japan and examines the role key members of the Japanese Royal Family and the wider society played in the sport's growth and development. Don't forget to also check out some of the historical artifacts on show, such as the first artistic depiction of rugby being played in Japan in 1874 and a 1904 jersey from Keio University, the oldest in Japan.

Tickets are £12.50 for adults with concessions also available. For more information, please visit: www.worldrugbymuseum.com/whats-on/18-exhibitions/special-exhibitions/38-brave-blossoms 

Opening Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm (last entry at 4pm); Sunday 11am-5pm (last entry at 4pm). 

Location: World Rugby Museum, Twickenham Stadium, 200 Whitton Road, Twickenham TW2 7BA

Prototyping in Tokyo: Illustrating design-led innovation @ Japan House London, 16 January - 17 March 2019

Prototyping in Tokyo: Illustrating design-led innovation ©Jeremie_Souteyrat

Following 'knock-out success' at its sister location in Los Angeles last autumn, Japan House London plays host to 'Prototyping in Tokyo: Illustrating design-led innovation', an exhibition centred around the innovative and cutting-edge designs by world-renowned design engineer and The University of Tokyo Professor Yamanaka Shunji. Prepare to meet the structures and textures of the future!

Forget Alexa, Siri and driverless cars, ‘Prototyping in Tokyo: Illustrating design-led innovation’ brings to London prototypes such as ‘Ready to Crawl’, a series of robots which are 'born' fully formed just like a living thing, with all of their parts created at the same time, fully assembled, and with form and movement closely mirroring living things. The three core exhibit themes include: 'Additive Manufacturing'; 'Bio-Likeness Robots'; and 'Prosthetics'. Visitors are invited to learn the stories behind the prototypes and are even encouraged to touch and interact with select displays! As part of the exhibition's celebration of innovative Japanese design, products exploring the possibilities of paper by Shikou Shiten (founded by past students of Professor Yamanaka) are on display at The Shop at Japan House London, as well as the exclusive range of ‘populo 1’ bicycles designed by leading Japanese car designer Yamada Atsuhiko. 

Japan House London's Akira restaurant has also introduced an exclusive cocktail and dessert for the duration of the exhibition inspired by Professor Yamanaka's native Ehime Prefecture; Ehime is renowned for its delicious mikan (satsuma mandarin). The Ehime Garden cocktail is made with Suntory Roku gin, yuzu juice and slices of mikan. The dessert is a mikan crème brûlée.

Admission to this exhibition is free. For more details on ‘Prototyping in Tokyo: Illustrating design-led innovation’, please visit: www.japanhouselondon.uk/whats-on/prototyping-in-tokyo-illustrating-design-led-innovation/

Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-8pm; Sundays & Bank Holidays 12pm-6pm

Location: Japan House London, 101-111 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme, 2 February - 28 March 2019

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme

Centred around the core theme of 'People Still Call It Love: Passion, Affection and Destruction in Japanese Cinema,' The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2019 is providing UK audiences up and down the country the opportunity to explore the wider context of love in Japanese society through this year's intriguing curative mix. 

Embracing other complicated emotions that go hand in hand with love, the Programme aims to provide a more comprehensive picture of Japanese relationships, ranging from conventional love stories, LGBT issues, familial devotion, compassion for the fellow man, transgressive attractions, to profound renderings of the devastation felt with the loss of love.

There are a total of 18 fantastic multi-genre films to watch so even the most picky film fan will be sure to find something that suits their fancy. Screenings have kicked off in London and are now making their way to 18 other cities around England, Scotland and Northern Ireland so don't forget to check for your nearest selected cinema and its screening period! 

For more information on the Programme's films and the cities they'll be shown in, as well as the attendance of two very special guest directors at select cinemas, please visit: www.jpf-film.org.uk/films

Akiko Ban: Innervisions @ Sway Gallery London, 14 February - 25 February 2019

Akiko Ban: Innervisions

Lovers of colour, behold! This February the Sway Gallery London will be hosting 'Innervisions' by Akiko Ban, a Japanese interdisciplinary artist based in London. This exhibition presents Ban’s latest sculptures and drawings that look to establish a primal, naturalistic and spiritual view of the inner world of her creation.

Using fluid materials such as water, ink, plaster and fabric, Ban creates colourful and intriguing works of art that are full of life. This unique artistic medium of hers brilliantly reflects her diverse sources of inspiration, namely contemporary culture, music, fashion and even her own daily experiences. For her new sculptures, she carefully paints, decorates and presents them along with her lively water colours and glitter drawings in order to activate her ritual environment. Admission to this exhibition is free.

For more information, please visit: www.london.sway-gallery.com/blog/2018/12/18/upcoming-exhibition-akiko-ban-innervisions/

Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 11am-7pm; Saturday 23 February 12pm-6pm; Sunday by appointment (buyers only)

Location: Sway Gallery, 70-72 Old Street, London EC1V 9AN

Yamato: The Drummers of Japan, 15 February - 31 March 2019

Yamato: The Drummers of Japan ©Eliza Wiley

Need a healthy dose of adrenaline as we pull through the final days of winter? Then make your way to one of Yamato's many exhilarating taiko performances across the country! 'Yamato: The Drummers of Japan' is the latest installment in the troupe's quest to fill the world with the sound of taiko, the musical embodiment of "the spirit of Japan". Taiko is a major feature within Shinto rituals and festivals across Japan and this is the perfect opportunity for you to experience the awe-inspiring and powerful atmosphere right in your backyard. 

From the humble village of Asuka in Nara Prefecture, the 11-strong cast of Yamato have gone on to perform in front of millions of people in more than 50 countries. You'll be blown away by the sheer passion the troupe invests in the performance and captivated by the colourful costumes, thundering booms and immaculate synchronisation of movement by every member. In what can only be described as awesome on epic proportions, some of the drummers furiously batter the largest drum, measuring over 6ft in diameter, as they lean back and straddle it! Perfect half-term material.

For more information about the Yamato troupe and where to catch one of their stunning performances, please visit: www.yamatodrummers.com/uk

Sake Symposium: Understanding the Unique Aspects of Sake @ SOAS, London, 5pm-6:30pm 20 February 2019

Sake Symposium: Understanding the Unique Aspects of Sake

'Sake Symposium: Understanding the Unique Aspects of Sake' brings together a variety of world-renowned experts to discuss sake from historical, cultural, commercial and diplomatic perspectives. Oh, and of course how good it tastes! 

Guest speakers will include the master brewer and Vice President of Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association Koichi Saura, Minister of Finance at the Embassy of Japan in the UK Yusaku Shimizu, Director of JETRO London Hirohisa Ichihachi, Director of International Wine Challenge (IWC) Chris Ashton, and finally Sake Samurai Representative and Promoter Rie Yoshitake. With an esteemed line-up such as this, 'Sake Symposium: Understanding the Unique Aspects of Sake' promises for an interesting and informative discussion about a drink that is sweeping Europe and much of the world by storm, ahead of the much-anticipated London Sake Week beginning on Friday 22nd February. Admission to this exhibition is free, however registration is required.

For more details of the seminar's speakers and to book a place, please visit: www.soas.ac.uk/jrc/events/seminar-and-events/20feb2019-sake-symposium-understanding-the-unique-aspects-of-sake.html

Location: The Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS University of London, 10 Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

London Sake Week, 22 February - 3 March 2019

London Sake Week

Pop a bottle Friday 22nd February and celebrate the debut of London Sake Week - a whole 10 days dedicated to Japan's best kept culinary secret - by heading on down to participating restaurants where you'll receive a free cup of sake when ordering from an exclusive menu. 

Not a fan of Japanese food? No worries! Sake pairs brilliantly with a variety of flavours, textures and temperatures, diversifying well beyond sushi to create a beautifully balanced palate; take cheese, prosciutto, fish & chips and calamari for example! 

For more information on participating restaurants and London Sake Week-related events, please visit: www.foodandsake.com/london/news/p00001408

Please drink responsibly. Visit drinkaware.co.uk for more information.

Films at the Embassy of Japan: NHK World Documentaries, London, 6pm 27 February 2019

Films at the Embassy of Japan: NHK World Documentaries

Coinciding with The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2019 (albeit for a single day) is the screening of two NHK World Documentaries at the Embassy of Japan in London: namely 'The Lost Hokusai' and 'Kurara: The Dazzling Life of Hokusai's Daughter'. 

'The Lost Hokusai' recounts the final years of Katsushika Hokusai, a world-renowned ukiyo-e artist of the Edo Period. Destroyed by a massive fire in 1923, 'the lost Hokusai' has now been recreated based on the single surviving image, a monochrome photo, taken in the early 20th century. Through the use of both advanced technology and traditional restoration techniques, the legendary masterpiece is brought back to life.

'Kurara: The Dazzling Life of Hokusai's Daughter' meanwhile is a docufilm charting the artistic growth and development of Hokusai's daughter, O-Ei, who since a child was captivated by painting. Having been married to a town painter, O-Ei soon chooses art over marriage and divorces him. She returns to the family home and begins assisting her father. With O-Ei sitting by his side, he completes his iconic “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” series. As Hokusai grows too old to wield his brush freely, O-Ei becomes his “brush” and paints on his behalf. 

Admission to the above screenings are free, however prior registration is essential. For admission information and to book your place, please visit: www.uk.emb-japan.go.jp/SeasonCulture/EVENT/Month/201902/27_EmbassyFilmFebruary2019.html

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

Nissan Seminar: Japan's Imperial Underworlds: Intimate Encounters at the Borders of Empire @ St Antony's College, University of Oxford, 5pm-6:30pm 1 March 2019

Nissan Seminar: Japan's Imperial Underworlds: Intimate Encounters at the Borders of Empire

David Ambaras promises to give an intriguing and thought-provoking talk about the histories of people who moved, the relationships they created, and the anxieties they provoked, in the spatial and social borderlands between Japan and China from the 1860s to the 1940s. David Ambaras' recently published 'Japan's Imperial Underworlds: Intimate Encounters at the Borders of Empire' will provide the basis of the discussion from which Professors Ian Neary and Takehiko Kariya will also assist in analysing modern Japan's relations with a region in which the historically central Chinese presence continued to loom large. 

Admission is free and registration is not required for this event. For more information, please visit: www.nissan.ox.ac.uk/event/nissan-seminar-japans-imperial-underworlds-intimate-encounters-at-the-borders-of-empire

Location: Pavilion Room, 4th Floor, Gateway Building, St Antony's College, 62 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6JF

Painted Poems - 絵詩 - by Rie Takeda @ Sway Gallery London, 1 March - 18 March 2019

Painted Poems - 絵詩 - by Rie Takeda

This March Sway Gallery London will be hosting a carefully curated selection of artworks by Japanese artist and calligrapher Rie Takeda from her stunning 'Painted Poems' series. Through 'Painted Poems', Takeda aims to paint the very essence and soul of the poems into life using rich colours and patterns as well as a variety of artistic skills, from calligraphy to traditional craftsmanship and symbolism and Haiku-inspired poetry, to name but a few. 'Painted Poems' radiates with an embrace of a unified harmony, striving to create a natsukashii feeling - a warm nostalgia paired with the momentum of here and now.

Spring is well and truly round the corner thanks to this colourful collection of works! Don't miss out! Admission is free and all artwork will be for sale.

For more information on the exhibition as well as the artist talk and demonstration, please visit: www.london.sway-gallery.com/blog/2019/01/22/upcoming-exhibition-painted-poems-%E7%B5%B5%E8%A9%A9-by-rie-takeda/

Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 11am-7pm; Saturday 9 March 12pm-6pm; Sunday by appointment (buyers only)

Location: Sway Gallery, 70-72 Old Street, London EC1V 9AN

Spring Tour of the Gardens & Japanese Garden @ Tatton Park, Knutsford, 1pm-3pm 14 May 2019

Tatton Park Japanese Garden ©David Dixon

Tour Tatton Park's award winning Gardens this Spring with one of the park's expert horticulturalists, learning about the plants, care and maintenance involved and the seasonal developments of Spring as you go. Most exciting however is the exclusive opportunity to explore the tranquil Japanese Garden - considered the 'finest example of a Japanese Garden in Europe' - normally closed to the public!

Admission to this event is £12 per person (includes park entry admission on the day) and must be pre-booked. For more information and to book your place via Eventbrite, please visit: www.tattonpark.org.uk/events_at_tatton_park/event-listings/2019/may/spring-tour-of-the-gardens-japanese-garden.aspx

Location: Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 6QN

The Citi exhibition: Manga マンガ @ British Museum, London, 23 May - 26 August 2019

The Citi exhibition: Manga ©Satoru Noda SHUEISHA

It's almost here! What are we talking about you ask? Only the largest exhibition of manga ever to take place outside of Japan! And breathe...

Whilst the British Museum's 'Citi exhibition: Manga マンガ' is an absolute must-visit for fans of the incredibly popular and diverse genre synonymous with Japan, this exhibition is as much for visitors new to the scene as it is for manga veterans: 'Citi exhibition: Manga マンガ' promises a thorough introduction and commentary to manga's many twists and turns, be it its artistic style or its range of discussed themes ranging from sexual politics to the destruction of Hiroshima and everything in between. The museum has worked with about 50 artists from across the genre and features not only an extensive collection of cross-generation manga including the 17m-long Shintomiza Kabuki Theatre Curtain painted by the painter Kawanabe Kyōsai in 1880, but also a "cosplay section" where visitors can dress up as their favourite manga characters whilst picking manga comics from the virtual shelves of Tokyo's oldest manga bookshop. There's even a special photo booth that prints your very own manga match - yes, this exhibition is also for the 'gram! 

Tickets are £19.50 for adults with concessions also available. To find out more about this very exciting and content-packed exhibition, please visit: www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/manga.aspx 

Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday 10am-5:30pm (last entry at 4:10pm)

Location: Room 30, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG

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