A Free E-Newsletter for Friends of Japan & Teachers of Japanese
Spring has come early to LA and we are celebrating it with the display of beautiful Hina-dolls in our library. Please come and join the traditional Girls' Day celebration and receive a free annual library membership and our original tote bag.
The arrival of Spring knows no national borders. With our next door neighbor, the Goethe Institute Los Angeles, we will launch a Japanese-German Risqué Cinema Week in the middle of this month. Anybody over 18 years old who is interested in the differences (and similarities!) in sensual expressions between Germany and Japan should not miss this great opportunity to feel the spring.
As the weather encourages us to go outside, now is the best time to start taking our Japanese language classes. We are currently accepting applications for spring term so if you are still contemplating where and how to begin, just give us a call and our friendly staff will answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Last, but certainly not the least, March 11th will mark the fifth year of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the Tohoku region of Japan in 2011. Last summer, I visited the region for the first time in three years accompanying 32 American high-school students that we sent on the 2015 JET Memorial Invitation Program. There, I was struck by how much the region has revived both in terms of its aesthetics and spirit. Even though JET-MIP has completed its initial goal of sending more than 150 American students to Japan in five years, I am now determined to explore other avenues to introduce the region's rich cultural history and inspirational resilience in its people. Please stay tuned!
Hideki Hara, Director
Erotic cinema has existed in one form or another as long as the big screen itself, yet the differences in how eroticism is portrayed in film can vary greatly from country to country, and culture to culture. The contrast between Japanese and German erotic films offers intriguing insights into their country of origin’s collective sexual psyche and overall perspective on erotica.
As part of a panel discussion focusing on eroticism in film, Berlin-based Japanese writer Yoko Tawada, and German film journalist Carolin Weidner present individual lectures examining Germany and Japan’s sensual expressions through film and discuss the similarities and differences between each country’s notions of erotic cinema. This closer examination of Risqué Cinema offers a unique chance to explore, understand, and compare these two (often taboo) subgenres of film, and to see erotica through a different lens.
This presentation is part of a week-long series hosted by the Goethe-Institut and the Japan Foundation that continues with the following screenings. Please note that these events contain adult subject matter; therefore, we will not admit those who are under 18 years of age.
Tuesday, March 15 @ 7pm
Goethe-Institut Los Angeles
Eroticism in German Film
German film journalist Carolin Weidner presents a selection of a curated film excerpts that form a survey and historical overview of German erotic cinema.
Wednesday, March 16 @ 7pm
"In the Realm of the Senses" (102mins, 1976)
Directed by Nagisa Oshima
In Japanese with English subtitles
Thursday, March 17 @ 7pm
"Snakes and Earrings" (123mins, 2008)
Directed by Yukio Ninagawa
In Japanese with English subtitles
Friday, March 18 @ 7pm
"Underwater Love" (86mins, 2011)
Directed by Shinji Imaoka
In Japanese with English subtitles
In celebration of Hinamasturi, also known as Japanese Doll Festival or Girls' Day - held on March 3, we will be displaying our Hina-ningyo (Japanese doll) set in our library. This custom of displaying dolls began during the Heian period (8-10th century AD) when people believed that the dolls possessed the power to contain evil spirits. Hinamatsuri traces its origins to an ancient Japanese custom called hina-nagashi, in which straw hina dolls were set afloat on a boat and sent down river to the sea, symbolically taking evil spirits with them. In Japan, families typically start displaying their dolls in February to pray for young girl's growth and happiness and take them down immediately after the festival. Superstition says that leaving the dolls out past March 4 will result in a late marriage for the daughter.
Chromatic Passages (彩時期) is a three person exhibit of Los Angeles based painters Kaoru Mansour, Shingo Francis and Devon Tsuno each exploring color transitions through time, space, pattern and rhythm. The opulent quality of these paintings allude to a preternatural sense of place and moment beyond material boundaries . Using movement of color to evoke the ever-changing character of all landscapes, the artists exhibit their relationship to space and form inventing different ways of organizing the pictorial field, carefully constructing the field of vision into a thematic range of light and color.
A room in a fancy downtown apartment. The evening orgy kicks off with eight men and women meeting for the first time, including an unemployed guy (Sosuke Ikematsu) who pays the 20,000 yen party fee with money from his parents, and a female college student (Mugi Kadowaki) whose run-of-the-mill appearance hides a voracious sexual appetite.
Watch Trailer (For those who are 18 years of age or older)
After the forced suicide of Nobunaga Oda at the Incident at Honno-ji, powerful figures Katsuie Shibata (Koji Yakusho), Hideyoshi Toyotomi (Yo Oizumi), Nagahide Niwa (Fumiyo Kohinata) and Tsuneoki Ikeda (Koichi Sato) all meet to decide on a successor. The meeting became known as the Kiyosu Conference and Japan's first group made political decision. The leaders there become torn between two successors. Meanwhile, Hideyoshi has plans to simultaneously woo the woman (Kyoka Suzuki) he loves and gain the throne himself through proxy.
Your potential blooms this spring! We are now accepting registrations for our popular Japanese courses which will begin on April 23rd. Listen to the voices of our students. They’ll tell you the reasons why they are learning Japanese, how fun it is, and their favorite Japanese words.
We are accepting applications for the following grants:
We acquired several new books, DVDs, and CDs during the past few weeks and have included in the link below. There are also Japanese-language study materials those who are interested in learning the language. Make sure to drop by and apply to become a member if you haven't already done so. Our annual library membership fee is only $2 and you get a free cloth book bag.
On February 9, 2016, Minister Tamaki Tsukada from the Embassy of Japan presented the Japan Foundation's “Salary Assistance Grant” in the amount of $30,000 to Principal Michael Yohe of Falls Church High School in Virginia. Students, parents from community, and representatives from Fairfax County Public Schools enjoyed the presentation about Japanese culture as well. We are grateful to the Embassy of Japan for supporting our mission to advocate Japanese language education in the United States!!
Miami Junior/Senior High School in a rural part of Arizona educates fewer than 600 students from grades 7 to 12. Last year, some students discovered that their new English teacher Dan Hill is also licensed to teach Japanese. They asked him to teach it. “Obviously,” Dan Hill stated in an email, “school schedules are not determined by teachers, so I told them I would be happy to teach it if they could convince the principal to put it on the schedule.”
We are happy to announce the arrival of our new Deputy Director, Mr. Tomoki Sakuta, from Japan. He will be taking over for Rei Suzuki who has been here in Los Angeles for the past four years and returned to Japan at the end of February. This is both a happy and sad occasion as we welcome someone new to our organization, but at the same time say goodbye to an old colleague. We hope you will come out to one of our future events to meet Mr. Sakuta as he settled down to his new life here in the US.
In July of 2015, 32 US high school students participated in the final JET Memorial Invitational Program (JET-MIP). They travelled to Japan for a two week study tour of the Tohoku region, focusing on the cities of Rikuzentakata and Ishinomaki. These were the cities that Montgomery Dickson and Taylor Anderson were assigned during their tenure as JET Assistant Language Teachers. Sadly, they lost their lives during the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March, 2011 and JET-MIP was created to commemorate their work. Participants took part in exchanges with local elementary, middle and high school students as well as local community groups with the purpose of fostering friendship and goodwill between both countries. Each month, we will feature four essays written by the participants describing their experiences in Japan. Click below to read about their memorable journey.