August, 2015: Breeze Issue #94


A Free E-Newsletter for Friends of Japan & Teachers of Japanese

Greeting From The Director

August in Japan is the month of family and festivity. People take long breaks and families get together. There are festivals in local communities with Bon Odori dances in the evening and fireworks at night. The heat can be excruciating in August, but it is also the month for relaxation and having fun.

JFLA will bring Japan to LA this August, except for the heat. The 'Kyogen' and 'Daidengaku' groups will be joining this year’s Nisei Week in Little Tokyo. We are currently recruiting citizen dancers who would be willing to perform with the ‘Daiden-gaku’ group. So if you are into dancing or just want to move your body under the blue sky, here is your chance to dance with pros. For younger enthusiasts of Japanese culture, we have invited Japanese girl pop group ‘Little Glee Monster’ to perform at the J-Pop Summit in San Francisco. They are not just another ‘kawaii’ idol group, but a well-trained group of teenage singers who can sing a cappella. If you want to take a glimpse of up-and-coming J-Pop talent, this show is a must-see.

If you are thinking of finally becoming serious about learning Japanese, we have some opportunities for you to prep this summer. We will have conversation cafe 'Tea Time' where you can get a chance to communicate with native speakers of Japanese in a casual setting. We will also hold a workshop on Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) which will be held in December all over the United States.

Let me once again invite you to all of these exciting activities. My summer vacation can wait, but your fun can’t.

Hideki Hara, Director


Little Glee Monster
On Fort Mason Stage (San Francisco)!!
August 8 & 9, 2015

Japan Foundation is proud to announce that Little Glee Monster, the incredible a cappella group consisting of six Japanese teenagers, will join the J-POP SUMMIT and sing loud at the Fort Mason Center Stage on both days during the weekend! They were chosen out of a very competitive vocal audition that Japanese entertainment agencies held to find the best vocalists. Come listen to their powerful voice in harmony!


JAPANEMA: Free Japanese Cinema Screening
"Youth of the Beast" (92mins, 1963)
Directed by Seijun Suzuki
Wednesday, August 12 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)

When a mysterious stranger muscles into two rival yakuza gangs, Tokyo’s underworld explodes with violence. Youth of the Beast (Yaju no Seishun) was a breakthrough for director Seijun Suzuki, introducing the flamboyant colors, hallucinatory images, and striking compositions that would become his trademark. This film revitalized the yakuza genre and helped define the inimitable style of a legendary cinematic renegade.

*This film may include hard language, or tough violence, or nudity within sensual scenes, or drug abuse or other elements, or a combination of some of the above, so that parents are counseled, in advance, to take this advisory very seriously.

Watch Trailer


JLPT: The Basics
Saturday. August 15
N5: 10am-12pm, N4: 2-4pm (JFLA)
Register Now!

This JLPT explanatory workshop aims to provide learners of Japanese with an overview of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). It will provide learners with the opportunity to practice answering questions using sample test questions.


Conversation Cafe Tea Time
Tuesday August 18 @ 7PM (JFLA)
Register Now!

Come join our casual conversation café!  At this popular event, you’ll enjoy conversation with native Japanese speakers while having Japanese tea & snacks! Japanese language experience is not necessary—this event is open to everyone, ages 18 and up. Bring your friends with you!


Daidengaku Dance Workshop
Saturday, August 22 @ 1pm (JFLA Auditorium)
Click Here to RSVP

The Japan Foundation has invited an extraordinary group of daidengaku (traditional Japanese folk dance) dancers to Los Angeles to perform at Nisei Week in Little Tokyo this August. For this occasion, we will hold a fun workshop for those interested in learning this energetic and unique Japanese folk dance from the performers themselves.

Sunday, August 23, Daidengaku will perform at JACCC Plaza from 2pm to 3pm, and at First Street (between San Pedro St. & Central Ave. ) from 4pm to 4:30pm. Please join us to celebrate 75th anniversary of Nisei Week!


Kyogen performance by Manzo Nomura IX
JACCC (James Irvine Japanese Garden)
Tuesday, August 25, 8pm-9:30pm
Tickets Will Be Available Soon @ WWW.JACCC.ORG

From childhood, he received rigorous training from his grandfather (Manzo Nomura VI) and father (Man Nomura), both of whom are recognized Living National Treasures. At the age of 4, Manzo Nomura IX appeared on stage in his debut role as a child monkey in the play Utsubo-zaru. After that, he performed numerous roles in plays such as Nasunoyoichigatari (1985),  Sanbasou (1988), Tsurikitsune (1990), Kanaoka (1994), Hanago (1996).Manzo Nomura IX leads Yorozu Kyogen, a branch of the Manzo family school, and has held performances not only in Japan but in America, Canada, Spain, Korea, and other countries as well. One can see a dignified style in Manzo Nomura IX’s acting which he has inherited from his father, and which makes him a precious and rare performer in the modern age.


JAPANEMA: Free Japanese Cinema Screening
"Why Don’t You Play in Hell?" (130mins, 2014)
Directed by Sion Sono
Wednesday, August 26 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)

Based on a screenplay master filmmaker Sion Sono wrote nearly fifteen years ago, Why Don't You Play In Hell? is among his very best work, as his trademark excess and outrageousness is infused with an affection for the previous century of Japanese cinema. This is Sion Sono with his talent and unique vision completely unleashed.
There's a war going on, but that won't stop the inexperienced but eager wannabe film crew from following their dreams of making the ultimate action epic. Ten years ago, yakuza mid-boss Ikegami led an assault against rival don Muto. Now, on the eve of his revenge, all Muto wants to do is complete his masterpiece, a feature film with his daughter in the starring role, before his wife is released from prison. And the film crew are standing by with the chance of a lifetime: to film a real, live yakuza battle to the death...on 35mm!

Endlessly irreverent and wildly, hilariously visceral, this film is a Tarantinoesque ode to the yakuza films of yore, and features an over-the-top, blood-soaked finale for the ages.

*This film may include hard language, or tough violence, or nudity within sensual scenes, or drug abuse or other elements, or a combination of some of the above, so that parents are counseled, in advance, to take this advisory very seriously.

Official US Release Trailer


Japanese Courses Fall Term
Sep. 12 - Nov. 18
Register Now!

Our courses are designed for new Japanese-language learners, as well as those who are interested in improving their existing language skills.  Each course focuses on specific themes and learning goals, such as inviting friends or business e-mail.  Register before August 28 and get 10% discount! 

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Call for Applications
Performing Arts Japan 2016-2017
Deadline: October 20, 2015 @ 5PM EST

The Japan Foundation is now accepting project proposals for Performing Arts Japan (PAJ) touring and collaboration grants for the 2016 - 2017 fiscal year. For further details, including guidelines and application, please visit here.


Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Japanese Language Grants

We are accepting applications for the following grants:

  1. Japanese Language Learners Event Grant previously known as "Speech Contest Grant" (Deadline: 9/1/2015)
  2. Japanese Teaching Material Purchase Grant (Deadline: 9/15/2015)
  3. Japanese-Language Education Project Grant (Deadline: 2 months prior to project start date)

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JFLA Awards $30K Grant to Niji-Iro Elementary School in Livonia, MI

On July 8, 2015, Consul Eguchi from the Consulate General of Japan in Detroit visited the Niji-Iro Japanese Immersion Elementary School (Livonia, MI) and presented our grant payment check to Ms. Karen Young (Principal).

Facebook Post


Japanese Language Education Update 21:
The School Hunt Continues

The Japan Foundation is the only organization which attempts to gather data about all the schools around the world teaching Japanese language. We do this by conducting a global institutional survey, the Survey on Japanese-Language Education Abroad. The results of this survey help us decide how best to allocate funding and which support programs would be most beneficial in which regions. We also make the results public in an online database where people can search for Japanese-teaching schools around the globe.

Read More


New Library Acquisitions

We acquired several new books in English and Japanese during the past few months and below is a list of what we added. There are books in English focusing on events we have origanized such as Raku, cooking and sake as well as books in Japanese and children's books. 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. All DVDs are now available to check out!


Opera KAGUYA-HIME (JFLA Supported Event)
Princess from the Moon to make its US debut in Los Angeles
Saturday, August 22 @ 7pm (Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo)

Fans of opera and Japanese folklore alike will be thrilled to hear that an opera is coming to Los Angeles which features a unique blend of the two. Critically acclaimed conductor and composer Maestro Hideaki Hirai is bringing his opera to the US for the first time: KAGUYA-HIME: Princess from the Moon is based on the classic Japanese folktale “Princess Kaguya” in which an elderly couple discovers a glowing baby girl in a piece of bamboo and raises her as their daughter.

The cast will feature a combination of opera singers from Japan, local choirs and soloists from Los Angeles, and a local orchestra.

Tickets are between $30 and $40, with a $50 “pair ticket” for a parent with a child. A special reception will be held after the event; Those wishing to attend the reception may purchase a combination show/reception ticket for $75. For more information and to buy tickets, email or call Mr. Tanano at 310-625-4222. Some tickets are also available online at this link.