IHJ Art Programs/ Concerts 2012

[IHJ Artists’ Forum] Live Your Dream―The Taylor Anderson Story

  • Stories of courage and sacrifice during the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
  • -JAPAN PREMIERE- Documentary Film Screening
  • Monday, March 4, 7:00 pm, Lecture Hall
  • Director: Regge Life (1989 US-Japan Creative Artist)
  • Length: 85 min
  • Admission: Free (reservation required)
  • Language: English (with Japanese subtitles, consecutive interpretation)
  • Co-sponsored by the Japan-US Friendship Commission (JUSFC)
Like the many adventurous youth who travel the world to bridge cultures and make a difference, Taylor Anderson was an enthusiastic American who showed a lifelong interest in Japan and came to teach Japanese children on the JET Program in Ishinomaki. Taylor was living her dream when the March 11, 2011 tsunami tragically ended her young life. Through interviews with her friends and family, this film traces her life in Japan and the dedication she held toward her host culture and its people. Director Regge Life will introduce and comment on the film.

Regge Life (Producer/Director): Regge Life’s award winning ethnographic documentaries on Asian, West Africa, and the Caribbean have won him international praise. His films are part of the permanent collections at more than 800 schools and libraries worldwide. After serving as an NEA Creative Artist Fellow in Japan, he went to produce an award-winning trilogy of films; Struggle and Success: The African American Experience in Japan, Doubles: Japan and America’s Intercultural Children, After American…After Japan. In television, Mr. Life’s work, as a director and production executive, is evident on many well-known shows, including SWEET AUBURN for America’s Black Forum, THE COSBY SHOW and A DIFFERENT WORLD and SESAME STREET.


[IHJ Garden Concert] Beyond Boundaries: Min Tanaka Dances in the International House Garden

  • Date: Saturday, October 27, 2012, 3:00 pm (doors open at 2:30 pm)
  • Venue: Garden, International House of Japan
  • Admission: 3,000 yen (under 30, IHJ Members: 2,000 yen)
  • Supported by the Asian Cultural Council (ACC), Kosakusha, Research Center for the Arts and Arts Administration, Keio University
  • *Will be held rain or shine
This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the International House of Japan. Since its founding, the I-House has devoted its efforts to transcending cultural boundaries to promote intellectual exchange and true international understanding. Dancer Min Tanaka will present a dance commemorating the I-House as a crossroad of culture. The dance will take place in the famed I-House garden, designed by the legendary Kyoto gardener Ogawa Jihei VII. The I-House building, next to the gardens, was erected by three of Japan’s most representative post war modernist architects. Such a convergence of landscape and architectural magnificence creates an appropriate stage for the transcendental, worldly style of Tanaka’s dance.

Photo (C) Shiho Ishihara

Min Tanaka Born in 1945 and trained in classical ballet and modern dance, Mr. Tanaka is an avant-garde dancer and experimental choregrapher who was deeply inspired by Tatsumi Hijikata, the founder of Ankoku Butoh, Dance of Darkness. He started his own original solo work in 1966 and developed his unique style of dance performance called “Hyper Dance” in the 1970s. In 1981, he formed the Maijuku Dance Company. Later, he established the Tokason Agricultural Association Corporation and the Body Weather Farm to explore the origin of dance and essence of art through human engagement with nature and agriculture. After the phenomenal success of his international appearance at the “MA-Space/Time in Japan” Exhibition in 1978 which took place at the Louvre Museum, Paris Autumn Festival, curated by architect Arata Isozaki and composer Toru Takemitsu, for more than three decades, he has been actively involved in various collaborative works throughout the world in Europe, the United States, and former socialist and Third World regions. These activities as an acclaimed dancer have been beyond disciplinary as well as national boundaries with renowned artists, musicians, architects, photographers, writers, and philosophers including John Cage, Yoko Ono, Susan Sontag, Colin Wilson, Felix Guattari, and Cecil Taylor. Recently, he has been very active as an actor also. Among the many honors he has received is the Chevalier des arts et des lettres of France. http://www.min-tanaka.com

Photo (C) Daizaburo Harada

[IHJ Artists’ Forum] Echoes of Bar Aoyama

  • Date: Friday, October 12, 7:00 pm
  • Venue: Lecture Hall, International House of Japan
  • Performers: Jason Kahn (electronics), Akiyama Tetuzi (guitar),
  • Nakamura Toshimaru (no input mixer)
  • Admission: Free
  • Language: English (with consecutive interpretation)
  • Co-sponsored by the Japan-US Friendship Commission (JUSFC)
Jason Kahn, presently in Japan on the US-Japan Creative Artists Program, has been making recordings around Kyoto in an attempt to explore the cultural heritage of the city through its various sounds. For the IHJ Artists’ Forum concert, “Echoes of Bar Aoyama,” he will recall the sonic memories of his time spent in Tokyo during 1997, when he played at the bar Aoyama, a hole-in-the wall concrete bunker-like bar situated at the mouth of the Aoyama underpass in Tokyo. In that bar he played with both Nakamura Toshimaru and Akiyama Tetuzi, with whom he has since made several CD recordings. This concert, at the close of Jason’s fellowship, will bring these three musicians together again. Kahn’s website http://www.jasonkahn.net/


[IHJ Artists’ Forum] Island: a choreographic ode to the rhythm of the Seto Inland Sea, the sensation of space and a luminous quality of the ordinary

  • Date: Thursday August 9, 7:00 pm
  • Venue: Iwasaki Koyata Memorial Hall, International House of Japan
  • Created by David Brick and Matsushima Maiko in collaboration with performers
  • Admission: Free (reservations required)
  • Language: English with consecutive interpretation
  • Co-sponsored by the Japan-US Friendship Commission
Choreographer and director David Brick, in Japan on the US-Japan Creative Artists Program, visited islands in the Seto Inland Sea and researched architecture by Andō Tadao. Island is a collaboration with visual designer Matsushima Maiko. It is a performance study of contemplation in the architecture of Andō’s museums, land works and religious sites, as well as of the luminous quality of the everyday and ordinary that can still be found in the islands and the communities of the Seto Inland Sea.www.headlong.org

[IHJ Artists’ Forum] Destination and Departures—Three American Writers in Japan

  • Date: Monday June 25, 7:00 pm
  • Venue: Lecture Hall, International House of Japan
  • Speakers: Shay Youngblood, Greg Hrbek, Brian Turner
  • Admission: Free (reservations required)
  • Language: English with consecutive interpretation.
  • The works will be read in English with texts provided.
  • Co-sponsored by the Japan-US Friendship Commission
Three American writers, presently in Japan on the US-Japan Creative Artists’ Program, will read from their works. Although each writer maintains a distinct style and voice, they are united in their sense of Japan as a destination which provides inspiration and background for their upcoming works.
Novelist Shay Youngblood is presently in Japan working on a new novel, Add Architecture, Stir Memory, the central theme of which concerns the destruction and construction of memory through architecture. For the forum, she will read excerpts from her acclaimed novel, Black Girl in Paris.
Novelist Greg Hrbek’s first novel, The Hindenburg Crashes Nightly, is a complex story of obsessive, lifelong love. He is in Japan to research his current novel about Japanese colonists living in Micronesia during World War II and will read from a personal essay describing his recent journey to the Ogasawara Islands, where he visited as part of his research.
Poet Brian Turner is a former sergeant in the US Army whose work deals mostly about the aftermath of the Iraq war. Born into a family of soldiers, Brian traveled to Japan to bear witness, through poetry, to the history of war shared by the US and Japan and foster a deeper understanding of how nations can move forward from tragedy to prosperity. He will read selections from both his older and newer poetry.

[IHJ Artists’ Forum] The Gravity of Desire: Space and Culture Under the Cherry Trees

  • Date: Friday June 15, 7:00 pm
  • Venue: Lecture Hall, International House of Japan
  • Speaker: Ron Henderson
  • Admission: Free (reservations required)
  • Language: English and Japanese (with consecutive interpretation)
  • Co-sponsored by the Japan-US Friendship Commission

Landscape architect Ron Henderson, presently in Japan on the Japan-US Creative Artists Program, designs gardens and urban spaces. He has travelled the country to research the unique phenomena of the Japanese cherry blossoms, and interviewed scholars, garden designers and anthropologists. He also visited ancient trees and celebrated cherry blossom sites. This Artist’s Forum will introduce Ron’s research into the significance of cherry trees and sakura blossoms in Japanese design and culture. The forum will also include a small exhibition of his folding sketchbooks which he used to archive his travel throughout Japan this spring.

[IHJ Artists’ Forum] Songs on the Theme of Knowing

  • Date: Wednesday, May 23, 7:00 pm
  • Venue: Iwasaki Koyata Memorial Hall, International House of Japan
  • Composer: Michelle Nagai
  • Performers: Nagai Kenta (Guitar), Tanaka Yumiko (Futozao shamisen), Kimula Mika (Voice), Christopher Yohmei (Shakuhachi)
  • Admission: Free
  • Language: English & Japanese
  • *Co-sponsored by the Japan-US Friendship Commission (JUSFC)

Composer Michelle NAGAI presents Songs on the Theme of Knowing, a collection of new music composed for Western and Japanese traditional instruments, and voice. Performed here for the first time, Songs on the Theme of Knowing draws on Nagai’s study of rural village life in northeastern Japan (Niigata Prefecture), where she resides as a fellow of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission. Two different compositions, both premieres, explore the relationship between seasonal change, the passage of time, and cycles of human activity and rest. After Preface presents a setting of the opening work in Kenji MIYAZAWA’s 1924 volume of free-verse poems, “Spring and Asura”. The piece explores the rich imagery of MIYAZAWA’s poetry and the mercurial temperament of Japanese weather and landscapes. Performed by Mika KIMULA (voice), Christopher Yohmei BLASDEL (shakuhachi), Kenta NAGAI (guitar), and Yumiko TANAKA (futozao shamisen). Classification System for Rest and Work is a structured improvisation scored for any number of percussionists, played on this occasion as a solo by Marcos FERNANDES.

[The 60th Anniversary of the Establishment of Japan-India Diplomatic Relations] Melodies Eternally New—Songs of Tagore and the Tabla

  • Date: Friday, May 11, 2012, 7:00 pm
  • Venue: Iwasaki Koyata Memorial Hall, International House of Japan
  • Language: Bengali, Hindi and Japanese (with English translation)
  • Admission: 3,000 yen (Discounted Rate: 1,500 yen)
    *Discount rates are applicable for IHJ members.
  • *Supported by the Embassy of India and the Japan Foundation

Program Part I:
Tagore Songs from Gitanjali in Bengalese and Hindu, with narration in Japanese and accompanied with classical Indian Bharata Natyam dance.

Performers: Tannishtah Roy Chowdhaury, Keiko Chattopadhyay, Sudipta Roy Chowdhaury, Emi Mayuri, Rashmi Gupta, Samudra Duttag Gupta and others

Rabindranath Tagore

Program Part II:
A selection of improvised music for tabla and santour (hammer dulcimer), with explanations and examples of various drumming patterns.

Performers: Arif Khan (tabla), Miyashita Setsuo (santour)

To commemorate the 60th anniversary of Japan‑Indian relations, the IHJ will present an evening of Indian music in two parts: Part I featuring the songs of Rabindranath Tagore and Part II featuring Arif Khan on the tabla. Tagore was a well known poet, educator and Nobel Literature Prize laureate who set much of his own poetry to music, and his songs are still widely sung throughout India and Bangladesh. The IHJ will present local Indian and Japanese musicians singing a selection of songs fromTagore’s representative work, Gitanjali, in both Bengali and Hindi, with narration in Japanese and accompanied with classical Indian dance. The second half of the program will feature the young tabla percussionist Arif Khan from Calcutta. Khan is the 34th descendant in a line of esteemed tabla players from a lineage that stretches over 850 years. Khan will demonstrate various musical patterns on the tabla and perform with santour player Miyashita Setsuo.