SOAS(ロンドン大学)GJO活動日誌/University of London(SOAS) GJO Activity Report

2021年11月 活動日誌 / 2021 November Monthly Report (PDF; 653KB)

2021年10月 活動日誌 / 2021 October Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The October London Report is about something I have briefly mentioned before: my post-doctoral project. It consists of 8 videos of Chinese poems composed by the Japanese novelist, Natsume Sôseki.
Each video features one of Sôseki’s Chinese poems, gives a reading in Japanese and English translation and is accompanied by visual images and sound/music which I edited.
The videos were uploaded onto YouTube this month, and I would like to share them with you.
Please have a look when you have a spare moment. I would be delighted if you find them of interest.
The link is below.
I am planning to make series 2 & 3 in the future.


2021年9月 活動日誌 / 2021 September Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The September London Report is about a boat trip down the river Thames.

People are still concerned about meeting indoors, but we had a few warm days in London in the middle of September, and many who had followed the rules and stayed inside during lockdown took the opportunity to come out en masse and enjoy some time outdoors.

Our boat trip began in the centre of town, at the Embankment. We were going east, heading for Greenwich which is famous for its historic Observatory.

Along the way, on the other side of the river from the Embankment, you can see the London Eye, a gigantic wheel with a panoramic view of London, and the Royal Festival Hall.

Once the boat started to move, one of the cabin crew spoke through a microphone and announced “I am not a professional tour guide, but I would like to explain a bit about a few of the interesting landmarks you can see from the boat” after his introductory speech, he began to give us the historical backgrounds of many of the sights on both sides of the river Thames.

It was a very pleasant boat trip indeed. And so enjoyable to listen to the sound of the waves, look at the blue sky and observe the many fascinating buildings and locations that came into view. Luckily, we were in time to see the Tower Bridge open and had plenty of opportunity to take photographs. It was a thoroughly delightful boat trip featuring lovely postcard-like scenes and vistas.

2021年8月 活動日誌 / 2021 August Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The August London Report is about how Japanese food has been absorbed into the local cuisine in Britain through Food Culture. I went to a takeaway Sushi specialist shop called Sushi Heads in North London to find out all about it.

To get there, you head north on the Victoria line tube and get off at Seven sisters tube station. You then walk about 15 to 20 minutes and find Sushi Heads right in front of you.

Sushi and Ramen culture has been popular and established in London for quite some time now. It is normal to find sushi in plastic containers at the big supermarkets. However, the reality is not as sweet as all that, and you are often disappointed by the end product. If you want to eat delicious sushi, you have to go to a restaurant and therefore need a much bigger budget.

美味しいお寿司を手頃なお値段で食べたいという思いを叶えてくれるのが、スシヘッズなのです。オーナー兼シェフのリー・岩本直美さんは、5年前に独力でスシヘッズを立ち上げました。スシヘッズの名前の由来は、大好きなバンドのイアン・デューリー&ブロックヘッズから取ったそうです。直美さんが一人でP Rから仕込み、経営、営業全て賄っています。
Sushi Heads is the place where your dreams of eating sushi at a reasonable price are realised. Owner/chef, Naomi Lee-Iwamoto opened Sushi Heads five years ago. She took the name of the shop from her favorite band, Ian Dury & The Blockheads. Naomi operates everything on her own from making sushi, purchasing materials, to managing the business and PR.

I had a chance to observe how the business is going. Sushi Heads looks popular with the local community. Customers were familiar with the range of sushi on offer, and they all seemed to have their favourites.

Naomi is from Osaka and goes by the friendly nickname of “The aunty from Osaka”. She works swiftly rolling her sushi with passion and pride and is doing a great job providing Londoners with superb Japanese food at a reasonable price.

I know a bit about sushi and I can truly say her sushi was absolutely delicious. I have no hesitation in recommending Sushi Heads. If you’re ever in London and fancy eating sumptuous Japanese food at a reasonable price, you know where to go!


Sushi Heads at Seven Sisters

The owner/chef, Naomi Lee-Iwamoto

Inside the shop, sales counter, shelves jam-packed with exciting products, graffiti

Sushi Heads sells Tableware and also has other original goods such as mugs and tea towels on sale.

2021年7月 活動日誌 / 2021 July Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The July London Report is about the sports fever which has been sweeping the UK.
 Some of the important games in the Euro soccer championship took place in London in July. After the government announced that people could gather outdoors if they were vaccinated or had a negative test, football fans couldn’t wait to once again get together in a stadium.
 The crowd that gathered at the Wembley Stadium for the final were excited well before the match started since it had been 55 years since the England team had played in a match of such importance. Unfortunately, the England team lost after a penalty shootout. The team, however, showed great spirit and supported each other throughout the competition. It seems the England team has a very organised and supportive system for their young players.
 There were some comments of a racist nature after the match. However, in present day UK, people have become very sensitive to racial discrimination and language; such racist actions are not tolerated. The reaction to these offensive remarks saw many messages of support for the black players on all media platforms.

The other annual sports event in July is the Wimbledon Tennis Championship. After a two-year break, spectators were thrilled to watch live tennis once again.
The final sports event of July was the controversial 2020 Tokyo Olympics which went ahead with a promise to the nation that “Safety and Security” would be the priority. This report will now take a look at how the BBC went about their presentation of the event.
 At first glance, you imagine that the studio broadcasting the Olympics is located in the corner of the top floor of a tall skyscraper. The view seen through the full glass windows of the studio behind the presenters corresponds exactly to a typical Japanese city skyline: the architecture, the interiors, the names of the sports advertised and illuminated on the top of the buildings. On top of that Mt. Fuji can be seen in the distance. The studio is slightly crazy with a Zen Garden feel emphasized by a pond with carp swimming beneath the main set.
 The trick to this crazy studio is that the background is constructed by computer graphics. In actual fact, the studio the show is filmed in consists of the broadcasters at their desks and a green backdrop behind. The background is totally digitally controlled. In a certain sense, it proves that a broadcasting team can take advantage of cyber space to make an Olympic programme in a local studio.

Olympic Broadcasting on TV

Olympic Broadcasting filmed in the BBC Salford studio

2021年6月 活動日誌 / 2021 June Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The June London report is about the G7 Summit held between the 11th and 13th of June in Cornwall in the south-west of England. We will be taking a look at how the media reported the meeting.

Carbis bay in Cornwall where the G7 Summit was held is usually popular with tourists who enjoy its attractive beaches and amenities. But on this occasion, it became the main stage for world politics in what is regarded as one of the most important events in the UK this year. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Prince William all welcomed the arrival of some of the world’s most high-profile politicians.

As we all know, among the important issues discussed at the G7 Summit were global warming and sustainable energy. Many environmental groups gathered near Carbis bay to express their desire to protect the earth by singing and dancing through the streets and across the beaches.

The images shown below are taken from TV coverage of the G7 Summit. The inflatable dolls of President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson were created by protesters and then floated out to sea. This is a clear example of a quintessential characteristic of British people: a love of satirising and sending-up important issues and people.

Carbis Bay, Cornwall where the G7 Summit was held

Environmentalists marching through the town expressing their opinions while entertaining local residents.

Inflatable dolls of President Joe Biden & Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Environmental groups marching on the beach

2021年5月 活動日誌 / 2021 May Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The final part of the month of May saw unstable weather in London. There were hailstones and it was so cold we still had to turn our heaters on. However, when the sun came out, we enjoyed a beautiful clear blue sky and a glorious green in the gardens, squares and streets in the SOAS area.

Horticulture in the UK is very advanced and, all the green areas around the Universities are well looked after. It’s fascinating to watch them change their looks through the course of the seasons.
The largest square near SOAS is Russell Square and it has a tube station nearby named after it. It takes 1 minutes to get to the British Museum North entrance and around 10 minutes to get to the main gate. So, you regularly see tourists passing through. Now, the fountain is active and ready for a hot summer’s day. The photo below on the right-hand side is of a book shop. It looks like a scene from Harry Potter. And it doesn’t disappoint your expectations. The inside of the building is like a maze and is very amusing. Any time you feel like it, you also have the option of sitting down and reading in a chair in the corner.

Tavistock square is situated 1 block north of Russell Square. This square has many memorials; A cherry blossom tree for world peace, a statue of Gandhi, a memorial for conscientious objectors, and a memorial for the victims of the terrorist attack in July 2005. In one corner, there are maple trees and bamboo bushes which remind me very much of a Japanese garden. It feels as if you are bathing under the trees in the middle of the city.The photo on the left hand-side is of the outside fence of the square and the vehicle in red is a bicycle taxi. The photo on the right is from inside the square.

Going 1 block along from Tavistock Square, you find Gordon Square. This square has what you might call a ‘home garden look’. There is a mini café and the square provides many a relaxing moment. Right now, it is the Rose season!

The photograph below is of a small fashionable street south-east of Russell Square. This shop seems to specialise in horse riding equipment.

The language exchange club has been going for a while now and we have a small group of interested people. I would like to start the group language exchange club when the new academic year starts in Autumn.

Here is some personal and rather uplifting news I would like to share with my readers. I am going to receive a Knowledge-Exchange Grant from SOAS for my post doc project. I have to complete it within two months. I will keep you informed of my progress in this fascinating venture.

2021年4月 活動日誌 / 2021 April Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The April London Report will cover the Language Exchange Club, a Chinese drumming course and a Qin course that the GJO co-ordinator took part in. It will also take a look at the situation in the UK as lockdown slowly comes to an end.

It has been a busy period in both Japan where the new academic year has just started and in the UK where students are preparing for their end of year exams. The language exchange club is going strong and will continue as long as there is a demand.
The SOAS Music department organised a Chinese drumming course taught by a talented percussionist, Beibei Wang. You may remember her, as I featured Ms. Wang in a past report and wrote about her upcoming tour to China in which she is collaborating with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. I also had the privilege of watching her in a rehearsal at the BBC Maida Vale studios. The course featured one two-hour class a week and was jam-packed with things to learn. Ms. Wang is a brilliant teacher, full of passion, skill and enthusiasm.

The other activity that I have been doing is joining a Qin intermediate class. The course is taught by Dr. Cheng Yu. It is a group lesson on Zoom in which the students learn assigned tunes at a fairly fast pace. We all learn from our homes which is very comfortable in many ways and saves time and energy in terms of transport etc. Personally, I find it works as a substitute for meditation; playing Qin is a marvellous way to relax.

The UK is gradually rolling back the lockdown. However, it is still not possible to go on holiday abroad. To compensate for the situation, domestic holidays are becoming popular. Right now, people are studying the progress and efficacy of the vaccination roll-out with intense interest.

2021年3月 活動日誌 / 2021 March Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

学生の皆さんに好評につき、語学交換クラブを春期も続行することになりました。アンケート調査によりますと、全員、親しみやすくお互いを助け合う雰囲気の中で 語学を学び発展させていくことが楽しみとなっている様です。
Due to popular demand from the students, we decided to continue the Language Exchange Club into the Spring period. According to our questionnaire, everyone is enjoying learning and developing their language skills in a friendly and supportive atmosphere.

Spring period in Japan is the time for a new academic year. For students in the UK, it is the period when everyone gets ready for the end of year exams which start in May and continue into June. It is a period of transition.

The lockdown in London has begun to ease. However, the government warns us that we have to be careful not to become too relaxed. Despite the times we are living in, people are still enjoying sunny days in Russell Square where they are welcomed by lovely daffodils and curious squirrels.

Russell Square just round the corner from SOAS

2021年2月 活動日誌 / 2021 February Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The February London Report features more news about the latest developments in the Language Exchange club that was set up by the GJO London office in January.

The 2nd, 3rd and 4th meetings of the club took place in February, and everything seems to have settled down nicely. Students were separated into a number of breakout rooms where they could discuss whatever topics caught their fancy. They were also provided with a list of topics which could be the base of discussion just in case they ran out of things to talk about. The groups are not fixed and their composition changes each time round.

As organiser, I set the classroom up in Zoom, let the students into the meeting, and allocated them to each classroom. I then remained in the main room in order to solve any problems that might arise. The idea is to have about one hour to practice language in a friendly situation. We have many regular students, there is a great atmosphere and everyone is beginning to get to know each other. I’m very pleased it is going so well.

If as it seems the students are keen to continue, the meetings will go on into March.

2021年1月 活動日誌 / 2021 January Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

A Happy New Year to one and all!

My January London Report concerns the first session of the new Language Exchange club that the GJO London office has set up.

The club had 12 Japanese native-speakers and 7 English native-speakers. As it was the first time, we all introduced ourselves both in Japanese and English. It was also the first time I had ever organised a zoom meeting, so I was a little nervous but fortunately everything went smoothly.

In all the session went on for 40 enjoyable minutes the normal limit for a zoom meeting. However, fortunately for some reason, we were able to carry on a little longer and had time to discuss the various ways we might develop our language exchange club.

I will be letting you know about all the latest developments.

2020年12月 活動日誌 / 2020 December Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

My December London Report features an interview with SOAS PhD student, George! I asked Georgette Nummelin to tell us about how her research studies have been developing.

1) 自己紹介をおねがいします。/ Please give a brief introduction of yourself

I’m currently a part time PhD student at SOAS, in my fifth year of study. I was lucky enough to be awarded a Great British Sasakawa Foundation Studentship for 2019-2021. When I am not studying or on fieldwork, I work as a learning support assistant at a performing arts school in south London.

2) SOASで博士号課程を専攻しようと思ったきっかけはありますか? / What made you study PhD at SOAS?

I did my undergraduate degree at SOAS, studying music and Japanese, and knew straight away that when I did my PhD, I wanted it to be at SOAS. It is such a diverse place, and I knew that there wouldn’t be any problems focusing on a more unusual topic!

3) アイヌ文化の研究に興味をもったきっかけを教えてくださいますか? / Could you tell us how you got interested in researching Ainu culture?

I was played some Ainu music in a lecture during my undergraduate degree and instantly found it really interesting and beautiful. I started listening to more Ainu music, and reading more about Ainu culture, and when I went to study in Tokyo, at Ochanomizu Women’s University for my year abroad, I went to Hokkaido a number of times and visited Ainu museums and cultural centres. After that, I quickly began to think that one day I would do a PhD on something to do with contemporary Ainu culture.

4) 現在、研究課題はどのように進展していますか? / How has your research been progressing?

So far, my research has been going very well. I have been able to visit Hokkaido a number of times since my PhD began, and have also attended Ainu events in Tokyo, such as the Charanke Matsuri, which is a joint Ainu and Okinawan festival. I have also been doing a lot of digital ethnography – communicating with Ainu people, and those interested in Ainu culture, in Japan, but also in other countries, like the USA.

Covid-19 has caused a lot of problems as I was unable to visit Japan in 2020, but thankfully I have been able to continue my digital ethnography, and have conducted a number of interviews over Skype. However, in some ways the pandemic created new opportunities as there were more online talks, seminars, and conferences taking place. Working from home also meant I could attend ones that didn’t start until the middle of the night too! Hopefully I will be able to make it back to Japan this year.

5)アイヌ文化のどういう点に興味を持っていますか? / What have you found fascinating about Ainu culture?

I find so many aspects of Ainu culture really interesting, from the language and music, to spiritual practices and Ainu embroidery! I think it is really crucial not to ignore or forget about Indigenous cultures, as their knowledge and traditions are as important as ever.

6)アイヌ語は日本語とかなり違いますか? / Is the Ainu language very different from the Japanese language?

Ainu is very different from Japanese. Ainu is a language isolate, which means that we haven’t found any links with other languages. It didn’t have its own writing system, so either romaji or katakana are used. It’s critically endangered, as very few people can speak it now. However, thankfully, more people are beginning to learn it, and you can hear Ainu in contemporary music, so hopefully the language will become stronger over time.

7)アイヌ文化を学べる出版物を紹介してくださいますか? / Are there any books to study Ainu culture that you recommend?

There are now a lot of good quality resources to help people learn about Ainu culture, but these are some of my favourites:

New to Ainu culture:

  • Sarah Strong (2011). Ainu Spirits Singing.
  • Shigeru Kayano (1980). Our Land was a Forest.

More Academic:

  • Mark Watson (2016). Japan’s Ainu Minority in Tokyo.
  • Ann-Elise Lewallen (2016). The Fabric of Indigeneity.

Ainu Language:

  • ニューエクスプレス アイヌ語 – 2013
  • Drops App – this app gives you free Ainu vocabulary
  • Sekine Maya’s YouTube channel – Sito Channel

Ainu music recordings:

  • Umeko Ando. (2011). Ihunke.
  • Marewrew. (2012). Mottoite, hissorine.
  • Oki Dub Ainu Band. (2016). Utarhythm.
  • ToyToy. (2016). Ramu.

Other resources:

Fukunaga Takeshi’s Ainu Mosir (2020) is now available, and it is a brilliant movie that gives a real understanding of being Ainu today.

8)他に何か付け加えたいメッセージをお願いします。 / Please add anything more you want to say.

It is really worth finding out more about Indigenous cultures around the world, and supporting movements to help sustain and revitalise communities, cultural practices, and languages. Once that knowledge is lost, it is lost forever, and our lives are poorer for it. For a more equitable and sustainable future for all of us, I think it is really important to not just document, but actually support our Indigenous communities. Iyayraykere! ありがとう! Thank you!

Photos provided by Georgette

Biratori Ainu Museum

Georgette in Biratori

Charanke Matsuri in Tokyo

ToyToy Paper Workshop in Sapporo

2020年11月 活動日誌 / 2020 November Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The November London report is about a lesson in Ainu folk singing, another style of Japanese music which has been added to the SOAS Minyo repertory.

The person who helped us to learn Ainu folk songs is George Numellin who has been studying at the SOAS Music Department. She is in the latter stages of her doctorate.

George introduced us to the Ainu musical instruments; Mukkuri and Tonkori. They are both made by hand. According to George, Mukkuris are relatively easy to get hold of, but Tonkoris are very rare.

次に実際に唄を歌う練習です。最初に紹介してくれた曲はピリカ ピリカというタイトルで、ジョージさんがまずお手本を示してくれ、その後全員が歌うという形で、数回練習します。通常、輪唱で謡われるという事なので、一人のマイクだけオンにして後はミュートで各自歌いますが、全員の声が聞こえなくても、やはりみんなで歌を歌うという事は非常に健康にも精神的にもよいことだと痛感しました。
Now, it was time to learn this lovely singing style. The first song we were introduced to was called Pirka Pirka. First of all, George showed us how to sing the song, and after that we all sang together. We repeated this method a few times. After mastering the singing, George taught us to sing in a circular canon, as it is meant to be sung in this style. When we sing in a canon, only one person’s microphone is on and rest of us sing in mute. Although one couldn’t hear the others’ voices, it was lovely singing together. A singing class of this nature is so beneficial for both physical and mental health.

The second tune had a strong character, and seemed a little more difficult than the previous song. It was called Itasan Kata, and was sung in a circular canon as well. I am sure it would be possible to learn the rudiments of the Ainu language from singing songs.

Even though we can’t be with each other in person, it is absolutely wonderful doing musical activities using Zoom. When I start to think about the next time we gather together and start singing the circular canon, I get very excited indeed.

Please watch out for the next update!

2020年10月 活動日誌 / 2020 October Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The main topic of the October London report is a webinar aimed at bringing the culture of Ainu people to people’s attention which was organised by Japan House (a kind of Japanese Culture Centre situated in London).

The participants in the zoom discussion came from 4 different locations around the globe. A documentary film maker, Ms. Mizoguchi Naomi was in New York; Mr. Sekine Kenji who is originally from mainland Japan and teaches Ainu language and his wife Mrs. Sekine Maki who is Ainu and teaches Ainu traditional craft were in Nibutani, Hokkaido; Mr & Mrs Sekine’s daughter, Ms Sekine Maya, who studies at Keio University and teaches Ainu language online, was from Fujisawa City, Kanagawa; and Mr Simon Wright who organised this webinar and who is a programme director at Japan House was in London.

Ainu culture is gradually getting some exposure in London, although it has always been around. Personally, I remember seeing Ainu people giving a beautiful demonstration of their songs including lullabies in the early 1990s at the Museum of Mankind which was a branch of British Museum.

There was a play of and by Ainu people in a small theatre in London last year which sold out and was very well received. Unfortunately, I was unable to catch it.

I am looking forward to having more opportunities to learn about Ainu culture. In the zoom discussion the fact that a lot of Ainu can’t speak the Ainu language including elderly people was one of the issues raised. Mizoguchi has made a documentary which shows many Ainu seriously learning the Ainu language.

From top left clockwise: Mizoguchi Naomi in New York; Sekine Maya in Fujisawa, Kanagawa; Simon Wright in London; Sekine Kenji & Maki in Nibutani, Hokkaido.

In actual fact, there is a PhD student at SOAS researching Ainu music. It also seems that we are going to learn Ainu folk music in our Minyo Class from November. I will report about this in the future.

The new academic year started in October, and Minyo class has begun online practice using Zoom. The autumn Qin class has begun as well. I would like to show some photos of these classes.

Minyo class with Dr. David Hughes and Professor Gina Barnes

Dr. Cheng Yu teaching Qin in Zoom class

Halloween was at the end of October. Usually, shops, pub and restaurants decorate their interiors with a Halloween theme which often makes you feel as if you are on a Halloween film set. This year is extremely quiet. But I found a little Halloween decoration at a shopping centre near the University area. I found a witch wearing a white gown floating in the air glaring at pedestrians outside Yo Sushi which is the UK version of Sushi-go-round; although thanks to covid, Yo Sushi has been shut for quite a while now.

Halloween decoration at shopping centre near the University area.

2020年9月 活動日誌 / 2020 September Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The topic for the September London report is Japan Matsuri UK online, an event organised by the Japan Embassy of London which took place on the 26th and 27th of September. I had the privilege of asking the organiser, Mr. Callum Forbes to write an article especially for the readers of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies GJO website.

Japan Matsuri is an annual culture festival of Japanese food, music, performance, martial arts and more, taking place on Trafalgar Square in London in the Autumn. My involvement in the festival began in 2018, when the then Cultural Attache Shinju Karasawa was recalled to Japan midway through the organisation period for Japan Matsuri. The embassy had been supporting the programming, of both the main stage performances and the martial arts stage, as part of a wider committee of organisers that has amongst it representatives from across the Japanese business and cultural world. In that year the programme was already decided and I took over alongside Akari Mochizuki to continue with the administration and to manage the stage on the day.

From the following year, I was the Head of Programming for Japan Matsuri from the beginning of the organisational window, so I would say that my first ‘proper’ year of Japan Matsuri was in 2019. Working closely with Akari, we put together a programme for 2019 that introduced new performers and restructured the performance scheduling. My usual role at the Embassy of Japan is Coordinator for Cultural Affairs, working in a team of four to put on the Embassy’s cultural events from exhibitions held in the embassy itself, to festivals and events taking place outside of the Embassy such as Tanabata in Kew Gardens or Tatton Park, and other smaller festivals like Hammersmith Park and, of course, Japan Matsuri. 

2020 was naturally an unusual year, and we knew from early on that an event on Trafalgar Square was out of the question. However, we (the Japan Matsuri Committee) remained undecided for some time as to whether or not we would attempt an online event for 2020. To me, Japan Matsuri was best placed to transfer to an online event that could be meaningful, in a way that many of the other activities conducted by the embassy cannot, so I made detailed proposals for an online Japan Matsuri which were agreed by the committee. We decided that we would take an inclusive stance, providing a platform for both regular artists who contribute to Japan Matsuri and also to artists from across the Japanese creative community who had had events cancelled in 2020. We had no idea what the situation would be in September when we began organising, so we decided it was safest to pre-record most content, but to have a live MC for the event. We also agreed early on that we wanted to minimise re-running content from previous Matsuri as far as we could, instead preferring new content where possible.

We had originally planned Japan Matsuri 2020 as the closing ceremony for the Japan UK Season of Culture, and as such we were planning on bringing Tomioka High School Dance Club over to the UK to perform. This would have been a drastic change from 2019, which saw an Iwami Kagura performance take to the Main Stage as the headline act. It was a great shame that we were unable to do this, but instead the club filmed two fantastic performances for us, both of which were very well received!

The event itself was produced to high quality with significant help from Raspberry South Studios in Dorking, who put on a very professional looking production. On the day of the event, we decided I would be joining Haruka as MC(!) so the event was also my MC debut which I thoroughly enjoyed. All in all, the event was viewed by 30,000 people across all channels, and much more importantly than that, acted as a motivator for groups across London, the UK and beyond to get creative and contribute something for the event. We couldn’t have done it without the tremendous support of an astonishing number of people, and the event itself is a tribute to the hard work and determination of people from across the Japan related creative sectors!

(From left to right) Callum Forbes, Haruka Kuroda, Akari Mochizuki on set for Japan Matsuri Presents

Instrument creator, Ichi sets up to play live from the studio

Online premiere of Hyakka Ryoran which was produced for TDC’s annual show

Online premiere of TDC new dance to Erotica Seven

The following is my translation of Callum Forbes’s article into Japanese.





It was a fantastic article written by Callum Forbes for the readers of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies website.

Now, I would also like to write a few words about the alternative Matsuri, Ura Matsuri, which because of this year’s extraordinary circumstances, was included as a part of the 2020 online Japan Matsuri.

Ura Matsuri which has been going since 2016 was set up to promote UK-based Japanese artists at a grass roots level providing entertainment to the local community. It is also keen to include culture from other Asian countries on their bill to promote an idea of Asia as one.

This year, Ura Matsuri was invited by Matsuri to have a one-hour slot of their own on their online event. The MCs were a London-based Japanese grandma and a Gaijin Grandad. Ura Matsuri featured a wide range of performances including improvisation music, an installation art performance, pop music, a singing and dancing group, tsugarushamisen & DJ collabolation, an Enka singer, a short film and much more.

Ura Matsuri presented another side of Japanese culture and entertainment. I was pleased to see Ura Matsuri presented in this year’s very special Matsuri.






Grandma & grandad in their strange garden

2020年8月 活動日誌 / 2020 August Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The topic for the August London Monthly report is a webinar talk organised by the Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation on the 6th of August.

The talk was given by Mr Michimasa Hirata who is a survivor, a hibakusha of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.

Mr. Hirata has dedicated his life to passing on his horrendous experience to younger generations, so that we will never again repeat the mistake of using nuclear weapon on other human beings.

Mr. Hirata’s message is clear and I would like to translate some of his words in this report.

Mr. Michimasa Hirata, a survivor of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima

Devastation after the bomb

Photo: Mr. Hirata as a young child.

Mr. Hirata explains, “My mother and two sisters had already been evacuated to the suburbs. I reached the suburban area where my mother and sisters were living at night on August 6th.”

“When my mother saw me, she ran out and hugged me, saying ‘So you’re still alive. Thank God! Thank God!’” 

Mr. Hirata recalls the following.

「1945年から1952年の連合国占領期には、原爆投下に関しプレスコードが出されました。(言語表現の自由に規制がかかるという事) 誰一人広島で起こったことに関して知る人はいませんでした。」
“Under the GHQ occupation from 1945 to 1952, the Press Code was issued on the atomic bomb [meaning censored.] Nobody knew what happened in Hiroshima.”

“In addition, there was certain discrimination against the hibakusha and we could not talk about our experiences.”

“In 1995, when Enola Gay, the B-29 bomber which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, was planned as the permanent exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution in America, the atomic bomb exhibit, which had been planned as a side event, was suddenly cancelled due to opposition from the veteran’s association.”

“I saw on the television news that there were demonstrations towards the White House against the cancellation, and I saw one of my work colleagues taking part in a demonstration. I asked him about it the following day and he told me that he had taken a day off work to participate in the demonstration. I realised for the first time that my colleague was also a hibakusha.”

“Then I started to think whether there was anything I could do as one of the survivors!!”

Mr. Hirata’s activities in America, Israel, New Zealand and other countries since 1995.

Michi’s message for the young generation:

“Today’s nuclear bombs are said to have 100 or 1,000 times the power of the one dropped on Hiroshima and our current political situation remains as critical as it was during the Cold War, worse than it ever has been in terms of the Doomsday Clock.”

“It is said that if one bomb were used today, 100 million people would die.”

“It may be difficult in practice to eliminate nuclear weapons from the world, but even so I think it is important that people, especially young people, learn how terrible nuclear weapons are.”

“To avoid such memories fading, we should never give up speaking out about our past mistakes, through peace education and self-education such as

  • 被爆者や戦争を目撃した人たちから直接証言を聴いたり、ネットで証言・口述歴史を聴く
    Listening to the direct testimony of Hibakusha or war witnesses or online Testimony/ oral histories.
  • 映画、ヴィデオ、芝居を観る
    Watching films, videos or plays.
  • 証言に関する本、小説、漫画を読む
    Reading books novels, or cartoons about the event.
  • 広島や長崎を訪問する
    Visit Hiroshima and / or Nagasaki”

Mr. Hirata’s message of peace education through educating ourselves is an important factor in bringing peace to the world. This webinar was very educational for me.

A slightly different type of graffiti on a wall in central London

“I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.”

It’s the end of August and leaves are falling from the trees. Autumn is in the air.

2020年7月 活動日誌 / 2020 July Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The first item in my July London report concerns my online visit to an SOAS Minyo group lesson led by Ethnomusicologist, Dr. David Hughes. I was fascinated to join in on the session and discover how musicians keep practicing during the lockdown. I would also like to discuss how the newest practice song “Senzoku Mugiuchi-Uta” was chosen.

Minyo (Traditional Japanese Folk Songs) has been created and passed on for and through the generations by ordinary people. One aspect of it is as a type of work song: the rhythm matching the working motion. After the endless wave of modernisation, Minyo which had been strongly related to work songs began to disappear from people’s life, and the Association of protection and maintenance of Minyo tradition needed to be set up.

Dr. Hughes is a long-term Japanese Minyo researcher who has been visiting Japan since he was a research student: recording, annotating, learning instrumentation and playing songs. He has in his time recorded and appeared on both Japanese TV and Radio. At the same time as writing many books and articles in journals, he has put a lot of energy into the SOAS Minyo club which is open to everyone and can be enjoyed by all. It’s important that Minyo with its profundity, emotional expressions and vitality should not be forgotten but remain popular amongst the modern generation.

Practice sessions using Zoom online have the benefit of allowing you to practice with other people while remaining at home. However. there are still some technical problems such as delay in sound transmission. To play and sing together in unison requires hard work and real skill and will really benefit from a few more advances in current technology.

最初の練習曲は先ほどお伝えした「千束麦打ち唄」という題目なのですが、どうしてこの曲が選曲されたかといいますと、ヒューズ先生が若いころに歌った「千束麦打ち唄」の入ったレコードをNHKのダイレクターが聴いてその土臭さ感の大ファンになり、8月にNHK FMラジオで流す計画なのだそうです。残念ながら、日本でしか聞けないようですが、お時間がある方はチャンネルを回してみたらどうでしょう?知らなかった日本を発見するかもしれません。
As I mentioned, the first song to be practiced by the class had the title, “Senzoku Mugiuchi-Uta” (Senzoku – Wheat beating song). The reason for the selection of this piece is that Dr. Hughes sang this song when he was young and it was recorded and put on an album at the time. Recently, a director of NHK heard the song and fell in love with it. Because in his own words, he felt “it has an Earthy feeling”. So, NHK FM Radio are going to broadcast Dr. Hughes singing the song sometime in August. Unfortunately, it is a domestic broadcast only. If you have time, please tune in to it. You may discover unknown Japan.

“Sonzoku Mugiuchi-Uta” reminds you of the Japanese people’s roots in agriculture and is a nice introduction to Japanese Blues. I am enjoying learning about this aspect of my culture.

The same couple playing in front of the guests at the Award Ceremony for The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette honour at the Embassy of Japan in the UK, London in March 2018.

Photos 2-5 are from the internet. You can hear Dr Hughes singing “Senzoku Mugiuchi-Uta” at

The second item relates to a Summer course that The London Youlan Qin Society organises every year. Allow me to explain a little about it. The instructor is Dr. Cheng Yu, who has a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from SOAS. She is a Pipa researcher, and refined player of that instrument as well as being an astonishing Qin player and teacher.

This class uses Zoom to share teaching. Everyone has a Qin of their own, and each student takes turns to practice. After playing, Dr. Cheng gives appraisal and advice in order to improve technique and feeling. The Qin is a very special instrument: it has a strong relationship with Chinese poems and a sensitive and quiet sound which inspires reflection and relaxation. I think it is a sound wave for healing. I read somewhere that the pitch of Qin in ancient China was changed each time the ruling house changed.

The practice tune is called “Wild Geese Descend on a Sandbank” and it is a quintessential Qin tune. It starts with the slow and quiet harmonic sounds of strings which makes you think that you are faced with a lonely landscape in front of you. Then the rhythm starts to pick up and become lively. After playing the tune, you really feel that you have travelled with Wild Geese. Nowadays, I strongly feel that music is an indispensable and essential element of human existence. 

Qin Summer course taught by Dr. Cheng Yu (top left)

2020年6月 活動日誌 / 2020 June Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

六月のロンドンレポートはジャパンファンデーションUKにより企画されたウェビナーに関してです。トークの課題は、「彼らの読み方の手段は? 日本文学翻訳家の声と修練」です。
For my London June Report I would like to write about a webinar organised by Japan Foundation UK. The title of the talk is “How Do They Read? – Voices and Practices of Japanese Literature Translators.”

Ms Junko Takekawa from The Japan Foundation began the session by introducing the panel. Then, Professor Stephen Dodd who is a specialist in Japanese Modern literature took over the talk as panel discussion leader.

Professor Dodd introduced two translators, Polly Barton and Ginny Tapley Takemori both of whom have been working as translators of Japanese literature into English.

Ginny studied Japanese at SOAS, and began her career by translating Catalan into English. Polly went to Sado Island to teach English after studying at Cambridge. When she returned to the UK, she took an MA in translation at SOAS.

Both of them feel that one needs to have a lot of dedication to be a translator, especially as the financial reward is not that high. They both agree that you have to enter into a special space between the two languages when translating.

Their focus is how one can bring Japanese into the English world by getting inside the novel and trying to express its essence in English. It is a translator’s work to find voices and a language which fit the novel.

Professor Dodd asked the panellists “to what extent can translation be original? Is the translation always inferior to the original text?”. Polly said that she doesn’t feel the translation is inferior. Ginny explained “A book is like a piece of music which needs the readers to perform it. The translator is making a new score and taking the novel to a wider field. Ginny feels that it is important for the translator to be visible so their role in the process can be appreciated.

They all agree that it is difficult to differentiate between the male and female languages in Japanese. It is also difficult to express local dialects in translation. In situations like this, they always think about who they are translating for. Is it for the author, or readers? They also feel that one has to get inside the characters to make a translation feel natural.

Many more interesting points were raised and it was a very exciting discussion about the inside world of translation. I hope many more Japanese novels get translated into English in the future.

Webinar Title & Ms. Junko Takekawa

Professor Stephen Dodd

Panel Discussion. Professor Dodd, Ginny, Polly

Professor Dodd, Ginny, Polly, Ms. Takekawa

2020年5月 活動日誌 / 2020 May Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

For my May London Report, I would like to write briefly about an online talk using Zoom organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation. The event was titled “The keys to combat COVID-19: vaccines, treatments, and immunity”, and it took place on Thursday the 14th of May, in the afternoon, 12pm London time. Over 130 people participated in the event.

As the talk took place over Zoom, there was the further benefit that anyone in the world could participate. Usually, talks take place in a room in the building of the Daiwa Foundation, and obviously access is restricted. However online, there is no limit to the size of the audience.

One of the speakers at the event was Dr. ONO Masahiro, who is an immunologist with expertise in T-cells (a type of lymphocyte) at Imperial College London. In his talk, Dr. Ono explained how our immune system battles the COVID-19 infection and how it can be defeated in severely affected patients.

Dr. Ono highlighted the key role of lymphocytes and their ‘memory’ function in recovery and immunity. He then reviewed current global efforts in developing treatments and vaccines and clarified the issues that need to be resolved.

I forgot completely to take any pictures of the event, as I was too busy trying to understand Dr. Ono’s fascinating talk. There was time for a Question and Answer session after the event and many important and interesting issues were raised.

One question that I remember well is “It is said that there are two types of COVID-19: the Wuhan type and the European type. Is this true?” Dr. Ono answered that there is no confirmation that COVID-19 mutates as far as current research shows. Therefore, at the moment there are no grounds for differentiating COVID-19 into a Wuhan and European type strain.

The event lasted for about an hour and a half and was highly enlightening on a subject that greatly affects us all at the moment.

In my April report, I displayed what the area around SOAS looked like during lockdown. Near the end of May, a new rule was announced that up to 6 people are allowed to gather together outdoors if they respect social distancing. Immediately after the announcement, Gordon Square which had been closed until that moment re-opened its gates. Local residents who had been patient and resisted the temptation of a picnic in the sun, came out and enjoyed a Sunday afternoon outdoors whilst still respecting social distancing.

While admiring the elegant movement of tree branches swaying in the wind and listening to the rustling sound of leaves created by the wind, I find myself entering into a trance state for a very brief moment. I feel being close to nature is a good remedy and way to escape the stressful situations caused by COVID-19. Today I re-confirmed the profound healing power of nature.


The photo for the event provided by Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
People gathering under the sun while respecting social distancing at Gordon Square

2020年4月 活動日誌 / 2020 April Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The April London report is all about how London is coping with the Covid 19 virus. The country is in lockdown and no-one is allowed to go outside except to buy food and for daily exercise. Those people who are out are mainly people working in hospitals, care homes, public services, companies delivering meals to customers, and supermarkets and shops which deal with daily products. The city is very quiet.

Below, I include some photos of Bloomsbury where many University students live and study. It is devastatingly empty.

Sadly, in the UK, the number of deaths caused by Covid 19 has become the largest in Europe. People working in hospitals and care homes are working incredibly hard under difficult circumstances which include having an insufficient supply of protective clothing in order to help them save people’s lives.

What we need most now is a way of saving people who have became critically ill before they lose their life. Let’s hope that current investigation and research soon leads to a breakthrough in tackling the problem.

There is an online event using zoom organised by Daiwa Foundation about Corvid 19 on the 14th of May. The title of the talk is “The key to Corvid: vaccines, treatments and immunity”. I will report about the talk next month. Stay safe everyone!

Empty streets to the south of Euston station, an area which contains a large amount of student accommodation

2020年3月 活動日誌 / 2020 March Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The March report concerns a journey I recently made, following in the footsteps of my research subject, Natsume Soseki, and more specifically the Kanshi (Chinese poems) he created.

Natsume Soseki was born in Shinjuku and also passed away in Shinjuku although at a different address. This fits in with one of Soseki’s main themes: return.

Soseki first wrote Kanshi during his student days. During this period, he was mentally troubled and a friend advised him to go and practice Zen at one of the Zen temples at Kamakura. The temple is called Kigenin at Enkakuji. Soseki was instructed by a Zen monk called Shaku Soen. Unfortunately, Soseki was unable to reach enlightenment on that occasion but from this time on he developed an interest in Zen teaching which lasted throughout his life. I visited Kamakura and was deeply impressed by the grounds and temples.

After finishing his post-graduate studies, Soseki worked as an English teacher at several Universities in Tokyo. He then decided to move to Matsuyama in Ehime prefecture in the Shikoku region where his close friend, Masaoka Shiki came from. Soseki devoted much of his time there to composing Haiku. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to visit Shikoku on this visit.

After spending a year in Shikoku, Soseki moved to Kumamoto where he worked as an English teacher at The Fifth High School. This period is known as Soseki’s Second Kanshi period. During this time Soseki received instruction on Kanshi composition from a friend, Nagao Uzan, and made significant progress in creating the long poem style. The two poems he composed during this period both appeared in his novel, Kusamakura.

I visited Kumamoto and the Maeda Villa which has preserved a room where Soseki stayed and the hot spring which he used. This place made me feel as if time had stopped and scenes from Kusamakura appeared as living reality in front of my eyes.

After his stay in Kumamoto, Soseki went to London. After two years in the British capital he returned to Tokyo and began to teach English literature at Tokyo University. However, he had a strong desire to be a literary artist. One of Soseki’s friends recommended he come up with something, so, he wrote “I am a cat” in a literary magazine, Hototogisu. The story became really popular and made him famous, giving Soseki the opportunity to leave his teaching position and become a literary artist in the Asahi Newspaper.

Soseki worked hard as a popular literary artist. Unfortunately, however, he began to suffer from stomach ulcers, and went to Shuzenji in Izu to rest and recover from his illness. In Shuzenji, Soseki became critically ill and very nearly died. Luckily, he survived this critical period by prolonged rest: lying down in bed until he regained strength. During his recovery, he composed a number of significant Kanshi and this time is known as his third Kanshi period.

I visited the Kikuya Inn and stayed in a room where Soseki resided at the beginning of his period in Shuzenji. Soseki wrote a series of essays called “Omoidasu Kotonado” in the Asahi Newspaper during his treatment at a hospital in Tokyo after returning from Shuzenji. In “Omoidasu Kotonado”, Soseki explains that every day as he recuperated, he lay down in his bed and composed Kanshi whilst watching the sky. Soseki inserted all the Kanshi compositions he wrote during his recovery period in “Omoidasu Kotonado”.

The bell of Shuzenji which Soseki heard during his sleepless nights as he recuperated still exists, timelessly frozen in the temple of this quiet, remote spa town.

I felt like a time traveller going back to the Meiji period. I came back to a London in total lockdown at the end of March. It was so different from the time I left to go to Japan at the beginning of March. It looked as though people had disappeared just like a scene in a science-fiction or horror film.

2020年2月 活動日誌 / 2020 February Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The February report is about an event organised by The Centre of the Study of Japanese Religion.

SOAS has departments for both Religion and Philosophy, and makes a continuous effort to study and understand the religions and philosophies currently existing in the world.

In the future I will discuss in detail the work carried out by The Centre of the Study of Japanese Religion (CSJR) with the centre’s chairwoman, Dr. Lucia Dolce. In this month’s report, I would like to write about a seminar that takes place regularly at the CSJR.

On this occasion the seminar was given by a third-year PhD. Student at SOAS, Emanuela Sala and was supervised by Dr. Dolce. It was a presentation of research in progress. Emanuela’s research is on Sannō Shintō. She has been researching on the relationship between Hie Mountain, Shindō, and Tentai Buddhism using “Yōtenki” as a core text. Emanuela carried out her field work at Waseda University where she concentrated on researching Chinese Buddhist Texts under the guidance of a Japanese supervisor.

Emanuela gave a talk on her research in progress using very difficult religious texts as a reference. It will be very interesting to hear the future development of her research.

2020年1月 活動日誌 / 2020 January Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The January London report is about the visit made to SOAS by 21 Texas A&M University students from America. The group was led by Dr. Marty Regan, who is their teacher, composer and Shakuhachi player.

The trip was made possible after Dr. Regan asked Dr. David Hughes if he could help organise lectures and workshops for U.S. students.

The music classroom filled up with students from Texas A&M. The students were excited by the prospect of taking a class at a school which forms part of the University of London.

Dr. Hughes gave a general Minyo lecture (among the subjects, the use of notation of Esasi Oiwake to explain Minyo notation) using power point for 30 to 40 minutes. After the talk, some live music was played by the SOAS Minyo group. The Tsugarushamisen player, Hibiki Ichikawa, also performed.

There was a moment in the live music when the Texas A&M students were all invited and happy to join in the proceedings.

After the live music, we moved to a different classroom to try out our dancing skills. Texas A&M students learnt Tankobushi dance routines on the spot. We danced in a circle while the Tankobushi tune was sung and played by the SOAS Minyo group.

Texas A&M students planned to visit many other places during their visit to the UK.

There have been many students from EU in UK universities up until now. However, after Brexit, the situation at UK universities might well change.

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Lecture on Minyo by Dr. David Hughes

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Dr. Hughes explaining aspects of Minyo to students

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Live demonstration by SOAS Minyo group with guest, Dr. Regan from Texas A&M University

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Students participating in Minyo demonstration

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Minyo demonstration

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Tsugarushamisen demonstration by Ichikawa Hibiki

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Students finish dancing to Tankobushi

2019年12月 活動日誌 / 2019 December Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The December London Report concerns a gathering of students who are currently studying in London.
On the eleventh of December I organised an end of the year party bringing together two TUFS BA students studying at SOAS, one Tsuda juku BA student studying at SOAS, one TUFS graduate studying MA at UCL Institute of Education and one SOAS Japanese language graduate.
Although they all met each other for the first time, they all had a thoroughly good time chatting to each other and eating home-made food.
I got the impression that they have got used to student life in London and have been enjoying their studies abroad especially during the exciting Christmas period in London.
If I have the opportunity, I would like to have another gathering next year.

Students having a great time talking to each other while enjoying home-made food.

2019年11月 活動日誌 / 2019 November Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The first topic in the November report concerns a small Japanese English bilingual theatre group called Doubtful Sound who performed some of their repertory of Japanese traditional stories and folk stories at SOAS. This theatre group was formed in Tokyo in 2012, and have performed in places such as temples, Japanese gardens and festivals.
Their members consist of both Japanese and English actors and use Japanese local dialect with English subtitles shown on a screen behind the actors. For some time now the SOAS Minyo group have been collaborating in their UK performances.
The play called “Women of Ishikawa” which they performed in a small space with limited props consists of a selection of strange, hilarious, and tragic folk tales which create their own unique environment. It will be interesting to see how they develop as a theatre group in the future.

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Doubtful Sound performing accompanied by SOAS Minyo group

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For the second topic of the November report I would like to write about a world travel industry exhibition called World Travel Market. (WTM)
WTM takes place once a year in a huge exhibition hall and is designed for travel industry professionals. There are many tourist organisations all over the world participating in this event promoting tourism in their regions on a world scale.
Many prefectures’ travel divisions in Japan participated. There was a special booth promoting Tokyo 2020 for the Tokyo Olympics. This exhibition gave the impression that 2020 would be a great year for tourism in Japan as many tourists would be coming from overseas.

Tokyo 2020 booth promoting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Mashiko Tourist Association promoting Mashiko Town, Tochigi Prefecture

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From the left the Mashiko Town tourism Coordinator, the Mashiko Town Governor, the organiser of the Japan section and the President of the Mashiko Sake brewery

2019年10月 活動日誌 / 2019 October Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The first topic of the October London Report concerns an event held at the British Museum to promote tourism in the Kansai region. This event was organised by 10 prefectures in the Kansai region and its aim was to introduce and promote tourism in their region. The event itself was not open to the general public and only accessible to people from the tourist industry and other associated organisations like those in the Olympic and Charity sectors.
There were introductory talks at the lecture theatre by each prefecture describing their locations and highlighting sightseeing spots. At the end of the presentation there was a demonstration of Japanese Classical Dance performed by Maiko and Geiko.
Later on, there was a reception upstairs in the Great Court. The Japanese Ambassador in London gave a speech to celebrate the event at the British Museum. Maiko and Geiko went around welcoming and greeting the guests. After that, there was a question and answer session for Maiko and Geiko, in which they explained the ins-and-outs of their profession. It has a long and distinguished history, and its rich tradition was exemplified by their graceful manners. Maiko and Geiko’s graceful demeanour fitted perfectly within the setting of the British Museum.

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Maiko and Geiko at the Lecture Theatre ready to perform a traditional dance

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第2件目は、大英図書館で開催された日本映画の上映会です。無声映画と弁師については以前、書きましたが、再度、古村朋子による弁師とクライブ・ベルとシルヴィア・ハレットによる効果音のコンビで小津安二郎の無声映画、「朗らかに歩め」(Walk Cheerfully)を上映しました。
The second topic in this month’s report is dedicated to a Japanese film which was shown at the British Library. I have written about silent movies in the Benshi tradition in the past. Once again, a silent film in the Benshi style was presented. It was directed by Yasujiro Ozu and titled “Walk Cheerfully”. Tomoko Komura performed and the sound effects were created and played by Clive Bell and Silvia Hallett.
There are numerous Ozu enthusiasts in the UK, and many of them attended this special screening. The theatre was full of people who couldn’t possibly miss this rare opportunity to catch Ozu’s silent film with a Benshi narration.
You get drawn into the film by a combination of Komura’s rhythmic and brilliant narration and the extremely mesmerising sound effects and accompanying music. It was a pleasant night indeed.

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Benshi: Tomoko Komura (Left), Sound Effects: Sylvia Hallett & Clive Bell

2019年9月 活動日誌 / 2019 September Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The first part of the September report is about a female Noh academic, singer and performer, Aoki Ryoko, who took a short break from her concert tour of Berlin, Cologne and Budapest to visit London and gave a talk about Noh and her project of combining Noh performance with contemporary music.
Ryoko Aoki obtained a BA and a Master of Music from the Faculty of Music at the Tokyo National University of Fine Art and Music (with a focus on the Kanze school of Noh theatre). Then, she took a PhD programme at The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and obtained her doctorate with a thesis on “Women and Noh”.
Ryoko Aoki was appointed as a “Japanese Cultural Envoy” by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Japanese government in 2015 and is an important artist in terms of introducing and transmitting Japanese culture to the world. She is also a cultural ambassador for the Minato-ku district in Tokyo.
When you try to explain Aoki as an artist, it may be more appropriate to call her a “Noh artist” rather than a “Noh practitioner”. Noh is a theatrical art form consisting of dance (Mai) and singing (Utai). Aoki is attempting to create a form of contemporary music incorporating Utai singing.
青木さんは、現代音楽の作曲家に曲づくりを委嘱して、謡の作曲をしてもらうという試みに挑戦し、この試みを「Noh×Contemporary Music」と命名し、4年間で16人の作曲家とコラボレーションをするという実績の持ち主です。これまでに50曲を超える作品が彼女のために作曲されています。ペーテル・エトヴェシュ、細川俊夫、ステファノ・ジェルヴァゾーニ、ホセ・マリア・サンチェス・ヴェルドウなど世界の主要な作曲家と共同で、能の声楽である「謡」を素材にした新しい楽曲を生み出しています。
Aoki is a pioneer in the field and creating a new artistic form combining Noh with contemporary music by asking composers of contemporary music to create music for Noh style singing. In four years she collaborated with 16 composers. More than 50 works have been written for her by various composers including Peter Eötvös, Toshio Hosokawa, Stefano Gervasoni and José María Sánchez-Verdú.
青木さんは世界的規模で、主要な現代音楽の作曲家と協力し合い、能の物語を独特の詩のリズムで伝える役目を担う「謡」を素材にした新しい作品を、国内外で精力的に発表し講演中です。またその活動は、国内外のテレビ、ラジオ、雑誌、新聞の各種メディアに多数取り上げられており、2017年春の三越伊勢丹JAPAN SENSESのメインヴィジュアルに起用されています。
Aoki continues to collaborate on a global scale with major contemporary composers, creating and performing new material using the Utai singing style which tells Noh stories in poetic form with a particular rhythm. Her activities have been picked up by domestic and international TV, radio, magazines, newspapers and various media. Aoki was used as the main visual image for Isetan Mitsukoshi JAPAN SENSES in the Spring of 2017.
また彼女のための舞台作品も作られており、馬場法子作曲《Nopera AOI葵》を2015年にフランス、パリで世界初演を行っています。青木さんは、今、世界が注目している、古典的日本文化を見事に新しいものに作り替えてくれる重要な能アーティスト、パフォーマーであり、研究者です。
A theatre piece has also been composed for her. In 2015, she premiered Noriko Baba’s “Nopera” AOI in Paris. Aoki is an important Noh artist, performer and academic who is challenging and transforming traditional Japanese culture into something new and innovative, and right now the world is paying serious attention to her.



Ryoko Aoki giving a talk at The Daiwa Foundation, London ロンドン大和基金で満員の会場でトークを行う青木涼子さん。 写真提供:ロンドン大和基金 Photographs: courtesy of The Daiwa Foundation, UK


The second part of this article is about the New Students welcoming event at SOAS organised by the Music Department.
The group performing Okinawan music consisted of Aragaki Mutsumi, MINA and Tamura Yuko. MINA who is Swiss/Japanese and lives in London, was trained as a classical violinist. She has been exploring sounds with both Oriental and Western approaches. A self-taught Sanshin player and singer, she is currently working on various projects. Aragaki is from Okinawa and still lives there. She has been working and searching out new sounds using electronics with the Okinawan traditional sound as a base. Aragaki adds soundscapes to her experimental music and expresses her art by uniting sound and visual images. Tamura Yu is a multi-disciplinary performance artist working across theatre and dance. As well as her dynamic dance, she also tells stories.
The welcoming event featured music from many different regions of the world such as India, China, The Middle East as well as Latin America, mesmerising new students with melodies and instruments from around the planet. Here are some photos of the event.



写真左から、新垣むつみさん、MINAさん、田村ゆうさん。From the left: Aragaki Mutsumi, Mina, Tanura Yu



「あさどやゆんた」の演奏で踊るのは、ロンドン沖縄三線会メンバー Sanshinkai members dancing to the tune “Sasadoya Yunta”

2019年7月 活動日誌 / 2019 July Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The first item in the July London Report concerns The British Museum Manga Exhibition Event No. 2. A big and important display of Japanese Manga. Although open to the general public, a special night was set to celebrate the exhibition. A famous designer, Kansai Yamamoto was invited from Japan and organised a fashion show reflecting many of the elements on display at the Manga Exhibition.
The musical entertainment was provided by Hibiki Ichikawa, playing Tsugarushamisen and DJ Takaki. They teamed up and performed together surrounded by Greek statues. Greek sculptures and the performers wearing Japanese traditional fabric with a touch of influence from Middle Eastern ethnic costumes designed by Kansai Yamamoto, created an exotic atmosphere in which it was hard to be sure where you were anymore.
On top of that, there was also a Sake tasting session. It was a true Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Another topic that I would like to cover is the language exchange that I organised between a student who studied Japanese language at SOAS and a member of the administrative staff who was visiting SOAS to participate in one of SOAS Summer Training courses. I asked them for feedback on their language exchange experience.
Shuling Zhu, a student in Japanese Language at SOAS was born in the UK and her parents were both of Chinese origin. Shuling graduated from her BA studies at SOAS this Summer. She studied Japanese before she began her degree course. She says her passion for learning Japanese became serious when she started to study it from the basics in a more academic way. Shuling said that she was grateful for being guided not only spiritually, but also being taught to understand more about the whole cultural background of the language.
Shuling chose to study a year abroad at Kobe University. She felt it was a very useful experience in that she was able to learn the language and apply it to her daily life, as well as helping her get a better idea of the local dialect and culture.
The valuable experience she gained through studying abroad gave her the confidence to speak Japanese. One of the main reasons she is participating in the language exchange is to maintain the skill of reacting to a change of subject quickly and smoothly whilst speaking Japanese.
Mr. Taniguchi who is a member of the administrative staff at TUFS, was visiting SOAS for one month. He said his reason for participating in the language exchange, was that he was currently attending a Summer course designed for foreign students who come to London to learn to speak English. However, the students on the course were limited to a fairly low level of English which every foreign student in the class could understand. Mr. Taniguchi felt that he would like to have the experience of speaking to a native English speaker so he could learn more colloquial expressions and hear more of the language as spoken by a native. Mr. Taniguchi felt that he did indeed learn a lot of idiomatic English which he would not have been able to learn in the class or from his fellow language students.
Shuling would like to continue taking part in language exchanges after her graduation. And I would be happy to organise more events of this kind.

2019年6月 活動日誌 / 2019 June Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The June London Report is all about the Manga Exhibition being held at the British Museum. The opening night was for members of the museum and featured an event with performances celebrating traditional music on the Koto and Shakuhachi and a Japanese traditional dance called the Nihon Buyo.
The performance took place in the Great Court. The sound of traditional Koto music played by Keiko Kitamura and Shakuhachi played by Michael Coxhill began to draw an audience to the main court. The sound of Koto and Shakuhachi expressing abstract nature resonated under the glass ceiling where a clear blue sky could be seen. It created a lovely calm atmosphere in the Great Court.
After the musical event, there was a traditional dance performance by several dancers. First came a dancer dressed as Fuji Musume, performing a beautiful elegant dance. Mamiko Sato, who is a Kimono costume specialist, and runs a company called “Kimono de Go”, prepared the dancer’s amazing costume. She was extremely busy helping out in all types of ways with the exhibition and events in addition to doing session work with a professional photographer in order to capture the event for posterity.

At the entrance of the exhibition, Alice from “Alice in Wonderland” welcomes you to enter the room. You now feel as if you are going into a rabbit hole. A cartoon character, Salah Moon also welcomes you jumping up in the air with rabbits. At the entrance, there is a note saying, “Alice in Wonderland has influenced many mangas in Japan. We invite you to the journey through the rabbit hole.”
At first, you come across a painting of rabbits jumping in various stages of motion. This style of painting reminds me of a sketch from the Edo period in which artists observed and studied the movements of animal, bird, fish, people and nature. Next to that painting is a painting of a frog and rabbit in brush and ink mounted on a hanging scroll. Beside the hanging scroll, there is another scroll. This time, it is a cartoon portrait of a newspaper novelist, Natsume Sōseki, drawn by an illustrator, Ippei Okamoto. In explanation, it is said that Sōseki discovered Ippei and introduced him to the Asahi Newspaper. Okamoto worked as an illustrator on the Asahi from the 1920s to the 30s, drawing comical illustrations. First of all, the exhibition introduces manga from a historical perspective. Later, we see a huge painting on a wall by Kawanabe Kyōsai who was an eccentric artist from the Edo period.

After that, there are plenty of Manga one after another. A recording of Tezuka Osamu, who was a legendary animator/artist, explaining about animation was on a screen. Of course, you can see a three D image of Atom Boy, who is a famous anime character created by Tezuka. There is also Joe from Ashita no Joe, as a 3D image.

Among the many treats: Kamui-Den, Golgo 13, Dragon Ball, Nyarome and Iyami two of which were created by Akatsuka Fujio and works by Hagio Moto who is popular in the world of girl comics. There are, off course, characters created by Miyazaki Hayao who was well-known as an animation artist, and Pokemon, an unforgettably popular character. It is truly an Animation Paradise.

There is an area set up for costume play where you can dress up as anime characters. Gigantic photo images of Japanese bookshops from both the old and modern period are on show and there is a space inside where you find a little manga shop and can read comics to your heart’s content. There is also a display in which the onomatopoeic sound, Gyaa is seen as a three-dimensional image.

As well as offering a lot in terms of entertainment, the exhibition also has a lot to offer from an academic point of view. It is an ideal example of that quintessential and wonderful method of British education in which learning is as fun-filled a process as possible.

The exhibition is categorised into sections, “Pictures run riot”, “Power of Manga”, “Manga: no limits”, “A Manga for everyone”, “Drawing on the past”. It explains the many important elements of manga culture: their artistic excellence, story-telling dimension, the characteristic of constantly evolving, adaptability, their global appeal, and the way they serve as a platform for artistic expression.

アニメ文化を分析したことはありませんでしたが、マンガの持つ人気の裏が垣間見れた気がしました。マンガ、アニメの持つ大衆性が、年齢や国籍を超え、広く世界の人に受け入れられた理由がわかるような気がします。小学生の時に見ていた「鉄腕アトム」がATOM BOYとして大英博物館で再開できるとは、夢にも思いませんでした。やはり、不思議の国のアリス現象です。
I had never analysed anime culture before, and I felt that I realised, through this exhibition, some of the reasons behind the popularity of anime. Now, I understand the reasons why manga is able to appeal to so many people reaching through all ages and nationalities. I had never dreamed of re-encountering the animation, “Tetsuwan Atom” “Atom Boy” in English, I used to watch it when I was an elementary school student at the British Museum. This is part of the phenomena of Alice in Wonderland.

Imaginative projects such as this exhibition have that quintessentially British characteristic of maintaining one’s childhood dreams somewhere safe in your mind and keeping the door open to return to that safe place whenever you want to go back even after you become adult. It has that characteristic of connoisseur taste which is sometimes considered to be eccentric, but it’s precisely this element of “Alice in Wonderland” which attracts, thrills and beguiles the onlooker.

2019年5月 活動日誌 / 2019 May Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The May London report is about an Enka singer, Akari Mochizuki, who organised an event in London celebrating the 10th anniversary of her career as an Enka singer. In the past, a Japanese TV company has filmed and broadcast in Japan a feature presenting her contribution to the Enka style.
Ms. Mochizuki is also active in performing as a Japanese traditional folk singer and works with the Tsugaru Shamisen player, Hibiki Ichikawa, in a Min’yo duo. The London report has written about their activities in the past. Their performances as a Min’yo duo have proved very popular and they have been invited to cultural events in many countries.
The 10th anniversary event took place in a Japanese restaurant near the British Museum. When I arrived at the venue, the place was packed with Ms. Mochizuki’s fans who were highly excited about the prospect of listening to her singing.
The event consisted of two entertaining and enjoyable sections; the first half was dedicated to Enka songs (Japanese popular ballads); the second half featured Kayōkyoku (modern Japanese popular songs). There was an interval between the 1st and 2nd performance in which snacks were served.
Ms. Mochizuki appeared wearing a Furisode Kimono costume and sang about seven popular Enka numbers including “Amagigoe” and “Tsugaru Kaikyō Fuyugeshiki”. She talked in a witty and funny way between the songs and the mood of the show was always friendly and relaxed.
During the interval, plenty of food such as Sushi, Takoyaki, Yakisoba and Agedashidōfu was served, buffet style, on a table. After being satisfied and filled up with delicious food, the second half began.
In the second half, she changed her costume from a Kimono into a dress, and sang modern popular hit songs sung by famous idols from the 80s such as Momoe Yamaguchi and Akina Nakamori. She also entertained the audience by impersonating popular singers. Ms. Mochizuki is also known as Mocchy amongst her fans who expressed their excitement and support reciting her name, Mocchy, many times.
She also sang duets with male singers, and not only Japanese male singers, an English man, also joined in, passionately singing a song in Japanese: something else which added to the excitement of the performance.
To end the fun event, for her finale, she sang an original song. In the UK, Karaoke is very popular and Karaoke nights take place at many pubs. An English version of Karaoke culture has been established and grown in popularity amongst the people. I hope Japanese Enka will become a part of British culture. Ms. Akari Mochizuki is the perfect ambassador for this musical style.
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2019年4月 活動日誌 / 2019 April Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The April London report concerns recent events at SOAS.
SOAS has a building called the Brunei Gallery named after the nation of Brunei which donated the funds for its construction. It was named the Brunei gallery to show gratitude and respect to the donor. Recently, however, the name of the building has become a big issue for the school and the students of SOAS. The reason for this is that the sultan of Brunei issued a law proclaiming that same-sex couples would be punished with a death sentence.
The Brunei gallery has spaces for lectures, concerts and conferences, as well as a small gallery and Japanese style roof top garden. Some of its facilities are open to the general public. It is a very useful and functional building for SOAS.
In the past Brunei has been a great donor and contributor to SOAS. However, the attitude and decision taken by Brunei of violating human rights and discriminating against same-sex couples is for SOAS an unforgivable and intolerable action, as the school believes in the equality of all ethnicities, religions, beliefs and sexualities, and aims to create a society which encourages mutual understanding between different groups of people.
Some people are calling for the Brunei gallery to be renamed. You can also see the rainbow flag instead of the school flag flying from one of its buildings in order to express support for the gay community and respect for human rights. It’s the sort of gesture that is typical of SOAS.



Close up view

2019年3月 活動日誌 / 2019 March Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The March London Report will be featuring 3 different events.
The first event was a Koto concert staged at a SOAS lecture theatre. Dr. David Hughes, who planned and organised this event, invited a Koto Master, Yonekawa Toshiko II who, according to Dr. Hughes’ notes, “comes from a family lineage of koto and shamisen masters (her mother, Yonekawa Toshiko I, was a Living National Treasure)”, to give a performance.
Yonekawa Toshiko II played solo, then accompanied by her pupil, Mari Kamegawa who played Shamisen & sang. After that Yonekawa Toshiko II played with the Shakuhachi player, Clive Bell, then played Koto and sang. She ended her performance by playing with the viola player, Wenhan Jiang. This piece featured one of Yonekawa Toshiko II’s own compositions, incorporating different techniques into the performance which created new possibilities for the Koto. It was a great opportunity to see Koto playing which while maintaining the tradition also introduced us to contemporary innovations; it was an utterly fantastic performance.

The next report is about Ura Matsuri which was part of the 2019 Season of Japanese Culture endorsed by the Japanese Embassy in the UK. The event was planned and organised by the Ura Matsuri Committee which was set up by members of the Frank Chickens, a local performance group consisting mainly of Japanese people living in the UK.
The audience was a heartening mix of different generations and types of people. The main aim of the event was to attract local people to come and celebrate and get a taste of Japanese popular culture, pop culture, ethnic music, Japanese culture as a part of East Asian culture, English culture influenced by Japanese culture, and local overseas Japanese culture. The Ura Matsuri committee carefully chose a selection of inspiring acts.
Ura Matsuri, an annual event, is now in its third year. The event took place at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club which has a capacity of around 300 people. The venue was full to the brim for the opening of this exciting cultural event. Ms. Toshiko Kurata, an Origami artist and member of Frank Chickens was compere for the night; and dressed up as an edgy granny for the occasion!
The event started with Akari Mochizuki performing Enka, that was followed by Hibiki Ichikawa playing Tsugaru Shamisen with his students, then there was a Butoh performance with improvising musicians by Mai Nguyen Tri. Next came a short film by Aya, after that, Beibei Wang performed powerful Chinese percussion with her students. The event ended with the Frank Chickens singing and dancing in their own inimitable style.



Frank Chickens

写真提供 (photos courtesy of David X Green;

As spring has now come to London, the third event is all about Hanami.
You can see cherry trees in many places in the UK and British people are passionate about gardening and horticulture as shown in events like The Chelsea Flower Show. Strangely enough, however, despite their passion for nature, there is no custom of going out to celebrate the Cherry blossom.
So, some Japanese women decided to get together and plan an excursion to admire the cherry blossoms in one of London’s Royal parks: Regent Park. The participants were all career women; a retired entrepreneur; a lecturer in Music at University; an improvisational singer; a beauty and fashion industry coordinator; and a theatre business coordinator. All of us brought amazing homemade Japanese food along to a celebration which consisted in spending an enjoyable and luxurious time sitting under a lovely cherry tree. It made us realise how important it is to take some time out and appreciate nature while eating homemade food, enjoying each other’s company and discussing interesting topics. It is both relaxing and re-invigorating. Hanami is definitely a great tradition.

I would like to end the March report with a picture of a cherry blossom display made in a very British style. It is a picture of an Indian elephant made entirely of cherry blossom petals, which I saw at a shopping centre situated close to SOAS. This flower elephant was made to promote an Indian cultural event taking place at the centre over the weekend. The plaque at the side of the elephant says, “Please name me!”



Cherry blossom Indian Elephant

2019年2月 活動日誌 / 2019 February Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The February London report will deal with three topics. With the issue of Brexit hanging over them the British people were devastated by the news that Honda UK Manufacturing Company would be leaving the UK. Meanwhile Japanese culture is still going strong and continuing to make its presence felt in many different areas.
My first report concerns a music event which was held at the Brunei Lecture theatre, SOAS, and organised by the Department of Music. The event was a fundraising concert to collect money to buy musical instruments for the Music Department. The lecture theatre was absolutely full and there were seven different performances presenting music from different regions. It was an extremely fruitful evening which fitted a large number of performances into a tight two-hour schedule.
The event started with a group of three musicians and a singer presenting a fusion of Central Asian and Irish folk music. It was followed by a performance featuring an Indian string instrument and tabla. The third act was a singing performance accompanied by a special Southeast Asian string instrument. Then, there was a jazz fusion of Middle eastern and African Kora with singing. The fifth performance was Japanese folk music (Mainland and Okinawan) led by Dr. David Hughes. After that, there was music, singing and dancing from the Silk road. The last but by no means the least enjoyable group presented African Kora music and featured five Kora players. It was a luxurious two hours presenting high quality performances from different parts of the world. It was a truly multi-cultural event and one which is characteristic of SOAS.

The second report is about the Tsugaru Shamisen students’ concert. I wrote about last year’s concert on these pages. It is an annual event organised by the Tsugaru Shamisen instructor, Mr. Hibiki Ichikawa. The event was held in a north London district where there’s a large Japanese community, it was the fifth time the concert had taken place.
The event included many advanced students who had come all the way from Berlin. There was also a special guest for this year, Mrs. Yoshie Campbell, a specialist in singing and dancing Japanese traditional folk music. She joined in on a number of occasions and closed the event. It was a happy night, listening, in London, to the sound of powerful Tsugaru Shamisen and the singing of Japanese folk tunes.

The third report is about an event presented by the SOAS Centre of Buddhist Studies and The Department of Religions and Philosophy. The main organiser of the event was Dr. Lucia Dolce who has been a chair of both The Centre of Buddhist Studies and The Centre for the study of Japanese Religions. Dr. Dolce had invited Mr. Akinobu Tatsumi a 17th generation monk from Jodo Shin shu, the Honganji sect Seiryusan, Shosanji temple, Japan, to the event. The aim of the occasion was to experience a new method of spreading the teaching of Buddha.
In the first half, Chief Priest Tatsumi, presented new Buddhist music to the audience. It consisted of self-produced pieces which mixed hip-hop with dance music and Buddhist chanting. His aim is to propagate Buddhism to the modern generation by combining contemporary sounds and Buddhist teaching. In the second half, Chief Priest Tatsumi talked about his experience of participating in the Goma ritual (fire-offering ritual) at a temple in Kikuchi city, Kumamoto prefecture where all the members were female mountain ascetics. He also explained, using photographs, the purification practices involved in preparing himself for the Goma ritual.
Mr. Nick Cantwell followed Chief Priest Tatsumi with a talk. He is a musician, writer and film maker who has produced a film called Kanzeon and been on a pilgrimage to Shikoku. He discussed how sound affects one’s perception of the visual and spiritual from a religious view point
After these fascinating talks, there was a session of questions and answers featuring a panel which included Dr. Lucia Dolce, Dr. David Hughes, Chief Priest Takumi and Mr. Nick Cantwell. It was an innovative event which taught us about a novel and new approach to religion.

2019年1月 活動日誌 / 2019 January Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi


2019年、年始めロンドンレポートは、「Industry – Academia Partnership: Collaborations between UK Universities and Japanese enterprises」(産業―学術研究機関の提携:英国の大学と日系企業の共同事業)というタイトルで行われた大和基金でのトークを取材しました。

Happy New Year.

The first London report of 2019 concerns a talk held at the Daiwa Foundation titled “Industry – Academia Partnership: Collaborations between UK Universities and Japanese enterprises”.

スピーカーは堂島酒醸造所社長の橋本清美さんとケンブリッジ大学経団連日本学博士の Mikael Adolphson博士でした。
The speakers were the CEO of Dojima Sake Brewery UK & Co. . Ms. Kiyomi Hasimoto and Keidanren Professor of Japanese Studies at Cambridge University, Professor Mikael Adolphson.

The first speaker was Ms. Kiyomi Hashimoto who introduced the Dojima Sake Brewery. The company set up its business in a little historical town called Fordham Abbey outside Cambridge in 2018, from where it began to operate its business in the UK and the world. The Dojima Sake Brewery has its origin in the Dojima Beer brewery in Osaka set up in 1996 by Ms. Hashimoto’s father, Mr. Yoshihide Hashimoto who was the second son of the fifth generation of the Kotobuki Shuzo family brewery from the Settsu Toda region in Kansai. They are the first Japanese enterprise to set up a Sake brewery in Europe.

The Dojima Sake Brewery mainly produces two types of Sake, “Dojima” and “Cambridge”, both sakes are branded as high-quality and cost £1,000 per bottle.

Ms. Shimizu explained that in order to energise the Sake market it was necessary to educate and promote the pure taste of Sake to wine enthusiasts around the world who enjoy fine products. Taking into account the raw materials, environment and skills involved, they have come up with the current price.

The Dojima Sake Brewery is planning to offer lectures on the history of Sake and Sake making process so as to enable local people and people from Europe to appreciate Sake. The company also has plans to set up a café and restaurant next to the brewery. Local sake brewing in the UK has been born. It will be exciting to see how it develops in the future.



CEO of Dojima Sake Brewery UK, Ms Kiyomi Hashimoto

The institution supporting the development of the Dojima Sake brewery in the UK is Cambridge University.
二番目のスピーカー、Mikael Adolphson博士のスピーチでは、現在ケンブリッジ大学の日本学が危機に面しているとのお話から始まりました。原因として、ファンディングが減少している現状で、人文、言語学部が援助削減の攻撃の的になり、国からの援助が受けにくくなっている反面、科学、技術、エンジニアと数学には力を入れています。結果として、大学が批判的思考や革新的思考が可能な信頼できる市民の育成のかわりに、職業訓練所となっている状態ですと説明されます。以下はアドルフソン博士による問題と対策の解説です。
The second speaker of the evening was Professor Mikael Adolphson, who began his talk explaining that the Cambridge University’s Japan Studies department was in a critical condition and on the verge of closing down. The reason for this is that funding in certain sections of academia is decreasing. On one hand, the Art, Humanities and Language faculties are having their financial support curtailed, on the other hand, the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Departments are strongly supported financially. As a result, institutions have become places primarily aimed at training for jobs rather than nurturing students to become reliable citizens who are capable of critical thinking and innovative ideas. The following problems and solutions were presented by Professor Adolphson.
企業が新卒に求めるものとしての統計の結果によると、批判的思考・分析的推論, 複雑な問題の分析し解決する能力、効果的口頭伝達力、文書による伝達能力、のこの4つが上位をしめていて、現実社会での能力・技術の応用力はその後の5位です。
According to the statistics, what companies are looking for from graduates are; 1 critical thinking/ analytical reasoning; 2 ability to analyse/ solve complex problems; 3 effective oral communication; 4 effective written communication and in 5th position, the ability to apply their knowledge/skills to a real-world setting.
As far as Japanese Studies are concerned, the graduation certificate in Japanese Studies doesn’t directly connect with a career after graduation. The main reason for this is a lack of research collaboration. The first point is that there is no Cambridge Research on Japan engaging with or in Japan. The second point is that it is a challenge for Japanese Industries to get involved in research at Cambridge. As a result, there is currently no Japanese research and innovation taking place at Cambridge University.
The Japanese Studies graduates at Cambridge have a high level of using and understanding Japanese and they spend one year on their third year of study in Japan. They are fast learners, capable of taking leadership and have a broad level of knowledge. Currently more than 80% of graduates get jobs with no connection to Japan. There is little reason for Japanese Studies to exist, if students can’t get a job related to Japan. Therefore, there has been a decrease in demand for learning Japanese. One of the reasons that they can’t get a job connected to Japan is that there is a lack of graduates gaining work experience in Japan.
In order to find a solution to this situation, Cambridge University has formed partnerships with some Japanese enterprises. One of them is the Mitsubishi Corporation.
Japanese Studies at Cambridge University has shifted its focus from Area to Multi-Disciplinary Studies. This is because there is a need to produce new knowledge and new scholars. In order to create this background, we need to have established scholars with a superb understanding of Japan. To be able to offer this, there should be a central axis providing understanding of Japan in a constructive way. However, there is hardly any interest from industry and government.
There is a need to train the next generation of scholars and innovators. Currently, there is no financial model for training graduate students at UK Universities. There is no future for Japanese Studies without new scholars. It is important for graduate programmes to get support from external sources however it is difficult to form partnerships due to the cost. We need to evaluate common interests, a way to ensure partnerships and value for support.
Regarding Research Collaboration: in the case of Europe and North America a lot of R & D happens in the Universities therefore it is common to have collaboration between Industry and Academia. However, in Japan, much of the R & D takes place within companies.
The long-term solution, is to have a venue which facilitates collaboration, support of scholarship, innovation and research activities. The idea is to set up an academic centre for global research which takes advantage of Japanese initiative. Through this process, there is an opportunity for Japan to take the lead in addressing environmental, social and international issues. The Centre for Global Research at Cambridge Japanese Studies is ready to commit to this enterprise.

2018年12月 活動日誌 / 2018 December Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

For my December London Report, I am going to write about an artist, Ms. Kawai Ricca, who is based in London and who puts a lot of energy and thought into creating her fascinating works.
Ms. Kawai exhibited her works along with two other artists in a gallery in an area called Angel which is well known as being a fashionable district and is popular with Londoners who enjoy eating out and shopping.
Ms. Kawai graduated from The Musashino Art University. Moved to London in 1987. Ms. Kawai then studied advanced life drawing course at St. Martin’s School of Art. From 1989 to 1991 she worked at Pentagram Design whilst continuing to work as an artist creating her pieces. She has put on many exhibitions over the years.
1995年に五島記念文化財団の五島記念文化賞美術新人賞を受賞され、2017年には美術新人賞研修帰国記念展覧会の開催のため、横浜・黄金町エリアマネジメントセンタにてアーティストインレジデンスプログラムで滞在制作をされていました。滞在制作で作られた最新作を、成果発表展「Weight of Light」として2018年1月から2月にかけて千代田3331内の nap galleryにて展示なさいました。今回の作品群のテーマに関して、河合さんは次のようにコメントなさっています。
In 1995, Ms. Kawai was awarded the Goto Memorial Foundation Culture Award. In 2017, she received a grant to take part in an achievement after training abroad exhibition and visited Japan as an artist in residence in Yokohama where she produced art works for this special show. The result of her stay was a display of her work at the Nap Gallery from January to February 2018, entitled “Weight of Light”. Ms. Kawai talked to me about the theme of the work she created for this show.
「この展覧会では、地球での生命継続の危機に伴い、宇宙移住/瞑想を提案しています。子供の頃より、自然から感じる目に見えない不思議な存在感や規則性に興味を抱いておりました。近年の作品は、膨大な宇宙に充満する、不可視領域の世界の可視化をテーマにしています。それに伴い、透明な描画材・支持体に光を与えることで、光と影という両極の性質が共存し相互作用する、フォトスキアグラフィアを生み出しました。この言葉はギリシャ語由来の造語で、photo (光) 、skia (影)、grafia (絵)から来ています。透明の素材と鏡面で形状を造り、それに投射することにより形成される光と影の相互作用より、新たな視覚作用から瞑想状態が促されるのではないかという実験的な作業を試みています。」
“The exhibition is about migrating to another planet as the earth is in danger of no longer being able to sustain life.
Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by the mysterious sense of existence and those regular movements created by nature which you can’t see with your eyes. The theme of my recent works has been a visualisation of the vast area of the invisible world existing in the universe. In order to achieve this, I used transparent pictorial material/support, which was then reflected through light. The effect is the co-existence and interaction of two opposite elements, light and shadow, I named this Photoskiagrafia. This word is derived from Greek words, Photo (light), Skia (shadow) and Grafia (picture). I am also exploring the possibility for the meditative state lead by having optical complex made by casting light to the image created by transparent material and the mirror. “
Ms. Kawai only exhibited two pieces so I am looking forward to seeing her creations in a larger space and enjoying seeing her in action as she produces these thought-provoking pieces.



ロンドンの展覧会でご自分の作品の前で in front of her art works “Portal” in her London exhibition. 同心円は、ボーテの法則に則る太陽系の惑星の位置を示しています。The Portal is based on Titius-Bode law, the sequence corresponding to the distances of the planets’ orbit from to the Sun



アートインレジデンスで作品制作中の河合さん Ms. Kawai in the act of producing her art work 素材が劇薬のため、防毒マスクが必須です。Air respirator needed for the toxic material she use.



Title: Weight of Light  撮影:仲道淳 ©Atsushi Nakamichi



Title: Space Ship-9 撮影:広川泰士 ©Taishi Hirokawa

2018年11月 活動日誌 / 2018 November Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

For my November London report, I would like to write about the talk Dr. Daisuke Shinagawa presented at the SOAS-BFSU Joint Conference organised by the London Confucian Institute SOAS. Dr. Shinagawa works at AA-Ken (The Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa). Dr. Shinagawa visited London for a short period of time this Autumn furthering his research.
コンフェレンスはSOAS新館のポール・ウェブリー館のアルムナイ・レクチャーシアターで行われ、品川先生の発表は午前2部の2番目でした。トークのタイトルは ‘Linguistic diversity and unity in Swahili contact varieties: a shared element not attested in “Swahili”’でした。スワヒリ語に関する研究発表は英語で行われ、スライドを交えた30弱の発表は非常に興味深いトークでした。トークの後の質問も、色んな角度からの質問があり、幅の広い分野からのオーディエンスが参加しているという印象を受けました。
The Conference took place at the Alumni lecture theatre in the new building of SOAS, Paul Webley Wing. Dr. Shinagawa’s talk was the second of the second half of the morning talks. The title of the talk was ‘Linguistic diversity and unity in Swahili contact varieties: a shared element not attested in “Swahili”’. Dr. Shinagawa’s speech was given in English and using slides as a visual aid concerned his research on the Swahili language. It was a really fascinating talk. After the talk, there was time for questions and answers. There were many interesting questions from different viewpoints which gave the impression that the audience consisted of people from many different academic disciplines.
Dr. Shinagawa was only in London for two weeks. However, he was active all the time organising meetings, presenting a talk on his research, and receiving a visitor from Germany with whom he arranged the materials for their joint research to be published in a journal. It seems his short visit to London was very fruitful.



Dr. Shinagawa presenting his paper 研究発表中の品川先生



Dr. Shinagawa answering questions 質問に答える品川先生

11月のもう一件は、アジア・アフリカ研究コンソーシアム(CAAS)のメンバーで、東京外国語大学に2016年10月から2017年春まで滞在なさり、講義も担当なさっていたDr. Christopher GerteisのSOASオフィスにお邪魔し、色々とアドバイスを頂いてきました。
For my second topic, I would like to write about my visit to Dr. Christopher Gerteis’s office at SOAS to get some opinion and advice about the relationship between TUFS and SOAS. As many of you may already know, Dr Gerteis is a member of The Consortium for Asian and African Studies (CAAS). He stayed and taught at TUFS from October 2016 to Spring 2017.
Dr. Christopher Gerteisは近代代日本史が専門で、東アジア史入門コースや現代史がステージ1と2に分けてあり、学生が望めば深く追求できる設定のようです。博士号論文に取り組む学生も数人担当なさっています。来年は、再び東京外国語大学を訪問なさる予定という事です。
Dr. Christopher Gerteis is a Historian of Modern and Contemporary Japan, and he teaches an introductory course for East Asian history as well as Modern Japanese history which is divided into two levels giving an option for students who want to study the subject in more depth. Dr. Gerteis also supervises PhD students. He will be visiting TUFS next spring.
Dr. Christopher GerteisからSOASのTUFSコオーディネーターへのロンドン報告記に関するアドバイスは、東京外国語大学で言語学を学ぶ学生は、他国の学生がどのような言語を学んでいるか興味があるはずですから、SOASにある色んな言語学のコースに関して紹介して欲しいとのことでした。とても良いアイデアだと思います。
One piece of advice that I received from Dr. Gerteis is that in my London report I write about the many language courses on offer from SOAS, as TUFS students who are learning foreign languages are keen to know what kind of languages are taught in universities in other countries. It is a very good idea indeed.
Next year I will do my best to write about the many language courses SOAS has on offer.
Britain is preparing for the Christmas fever. It is getting colder day by day, but the people and the streets are gleaming despite the endless problems associated with Brexit.



Dr. Gerteis at his office Dr. Gerteisのオフィスにて

2018年10月 活動日誌 / 2018 October Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

10月のロンドンレポートは、“The Art of Gaman” (我慢芸)という、第二次世界大戦中のアメリカに暮らす日本人女性を題材にしたお芝居が、こじんまりとしたシアタースペース、Theatre 503で上演中でしたので、行ってきました。
The first item in the October London report is about a play titled “The Art of Gaman” which tells the story of a Japanese woman who lived in America during the Second World War. It was staged at a small theatre called ‘Theatre 503’.
This production was put on by a freelance producer/director, Helen Milne, and was supported by the Art Council, England, The Daiwa Foundation and The Unity Theatre Trust.
Theatre 503 is passionate about developing new writers. They offer the opportunity to convert potential scripts into theatre plays. They focus on finding new talents and developing them to become the leaders of the next generation.
印度で生まれ、イギリスとロシアで育った劇作家、Dipika Guhaさんは、エールドラマ学院(Yale School of Drama) で芸術マスター課程(Master of Fine Art)を学び、現在はプリンストン大学(Princeton University)のHodder Fellowの保持者です。 “The Art of Gaman” はアメリカン劇作家基金(the American Playwriting Foundation)が設けているリレントレス賞(Relentless Award)にノミネートされた最後の6名の一人です。Dipikaさんは才能豊かで、次々と文化的に影響力のあるお芝居を生み出しています。
The playwright, Dipika Guha who was born in India and raised in England and Russia, has a Master in Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama, and is currently a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University. “The Art of Gaman” was one of six shortlisted for the American Playwriting Foundation’s prestigious Relentless Award. Dipika Guha is an individual who is producing many culturally influential plays.
The story begins with the protagonist Tomomi (performed brilliantly by Tomoko Komura) returning to America to live with her parents who are both Japanese. As a background, Tomomi was brought up in America, but was sent to Japan to be educated in the Japanese system. The war breaks out whilst she is staying in Japan.

Tomomi’s dream is to become an actress. However, when she arrives in America, she finds out that her parents have been sent to a prisoner of war camp. Tomomi works as a cleaner while dreaming to one day become an actress. But, due to immigration issues, she ends up getting married to the son of an old acquaintance.
The play tells how Tomomi has to be patient in order to survive in America. In the end she finally discovers what sort of person she really is.
説明には、「“The Art of Gaman” (我慢芸)は、敵対視される国に居住しているときに体験する、ここにいるべきでないという違和感と、自分が誰であるのかという文化的アイデンティティーを痛いほど模索しています。過去を忘却することは恥であるけど、思い出すという行為がそれ以上の痛みを伴うという状況で、ともみは苦闘の中に美しさを見出す強さを生み出し、自分の新しい人生を築き、真の自分に忠実でなければなりません。」というのが、このお芝居のメッセージのようです。
The play’s programme summarises the story as, “The Art of Gaman is an aching exploration of displacement and loss of cultural identity when you find yourself in a country that considers you an enemy. When forgetting your past is shameful, but remembering brings even greater pain, Tomomi must harness the strength to find beauty in the struggle and carve out a new life for herself and be true to who she really is.”



主人公、ともみ(古村朋子)と夫(マーク太田たけし) Tomomi played by Tomoko Komura, and her husband, Shun, played by Mark Ota Takeshi



ともみ(古村朋子)と友達(Alice Dillon) Tomomi (Tomoko Komura) and her Friend played by Alice Dillon

The second part of the report is about a rehearsal of the BBC Concert Orchestra which features the talented and talked about percussionist, Beibei Wang, who I wrote about in the June London report concerning the SOAS world music day. Beibei Wang was preparing for a tour of China. Luckily, I had a chance to witness the final rehearsal before she and the musicians departed.
The BBC recording studio is situated in the midst of the up-market residential area of Maida Vale, which due to regional development by property developers, is soon going to move elsewhere after being in its current location for a long period of time recording music by many talented musicians.
The picture below shows the home of the BBC Orchestra, where both recordings and rehearsals take place. Being a recording studio, the sound was magnificent. As the picture shows, there were many flightcases for the instuments lying around in preparation for the travel logistics after the final rehearsal.



BBC スタジオ BBC Studio



リハーサル前の打ち合わせ中のベイベイ・ワングさんとBBC交響楽団コンダクターのBarry Wordsworth氏 Ms. Beibei Wang and BBC Orchestra’s conductor, Mr. Barry Wordsworth, in discussion before the final rehearsal

The rehearsal began with the BBC Orchestra playing pieces from their repertoire. Despite just being a rehearsal, it was an emotional experience listening, at such close quarters, to a live performance from top professional musicians.
After that, it was time for Beibei Wang to play her pieces. Beibei Wang graduated from both the Central Conservatory of Music (China) and the Royal Academy of Music (UK). She has done many workshops in the UK, Europe, America and China, and played and collaborated with many musicians from all over the world.
As far as Japan is concerned, she has collaborated with the New Japan Philharmonic as well as touring with Aragumi Daiko who have their base in Belgium. Beibei is keen on incorporating many different musical genres such as Chinese traditional music, ethnic music from all over the world, Western classical music, jazz and pop, all of which contribute to making her musical activities dynamic and diverse. Lately, she has worked with a Chinese fashion designer providing music for the catwalk at London Fashion Week. She is a truly energetic lady.
BBC交響楽団との共演で披露してくれたのは、 “The Tears of Nature” (自然が流す涙)というタイトルで、中国の地震災害、東北の地震と津波の災害、アメリカの竜巻の3つの自然災害をテーマにした作品を披露してくれました。自然の持つ、美しさと不気味さを素晴らしく良く表現してある演奏でした。ベイベイ・ワングさんが日本で演奏する日も近いかもしれません。そうなることを期待しています。
The piece she played with the BBC Philharmonic is titled “The Tears of Nature” and consists of three movements based on three devastating natural disasters: an earthquake in China, the Tohoku disaster and an American tornado. It was a moving performance expressing the beauty and eerie character of nature. With a bit of luck Beibei Wang will soon be giving a performance in Japan. I sincerely hope so.



ベイベイ・ワングさんとBBC交響楽団のリハーサル風景 Beibei Wang & BBC Concert Orchestra rehearsing

2018年9月 活動日誌 / 2018 September Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

For my September London report, Dr. Nathan Hill who is head of the East Asian Department has agreed to my request for an interview. Dr. Hill is very keen on participating in TUFS activities at SOAS, and has attended all of the TUFS-SOAS friendship meetings over the last two years.
Dr. Nathan Hill has worked at SOAS for the last ten years. He spent his first three years teaching the Tibetan language. After that, he became a researcher as a post-doctoral fellow for three years. Then, he became head of the department of East Asian language and culture.
東アジア言語文化学部は一年前までは、Japan & Koreaと China に分かれていましたが、やはり東アジアを一つにまとめた方が良いという見解から、今はジャパン、コリア、チャイナそしてチベットが一つの学部として統合されました。4つの国を一つのまとまった文化圏としてとらえるためだそうです。ヒル教授が理想とする東アジア言語文化の在り方は、漢文学を基礎として学べる環境を作ることだそうです。
Until one year ago, the department of East Asian language and culture was divided into two sections: Japan & Korea, and China. But there was a view that it would be better to put all the East Asian studies into one. Hence, China, Tibet, Korea, and Japan came under one umbrella. The idea is that the four different nations are considered as one cultural entity. The ideal environment for the study of East Asian culture and language according to Dr. Hill is one in which Chinese Classical literature is one of the starting points for understanding the region’s cultural and linguistic heritage.
SOAS was the first educational institution in the UK to implement a system of sending students abroad to study their selected subjects; an innovative idea for its time. Over the years, many universities took up this system and it has now become the normal thing to do. According to Dr. Hill, it is time to change the current SOAS system of studying a year abroad for a new one, as the original system is dated and needs to be renewed.
Currently, SOAS students only have a choice of studying abroad for a year. The ideal for Dr. Hill would be as well as this to set up a system of SOAS students studying a shorter time abroad. He believes that each student should have the opportunity to learn and experience cultures of their choosing directly, this would lead to a deeper understanding of their field of studies.
The following statement is the introduction to the Department of East Asian Language and Culture by Dr. Nathan Hill:
“Demand for specialists with advanced proficiency in the languages of this region has significantly increased in recent years. We offer more or less intensive study of East Asian languages, both at SOAS and at our many prestigious partner universities.
The cultures of China, Japan & Korea have become increasingly familiar to Western audiences over the course of the twentieth century. TV shows and film, food, fashion and computer games, Manga and anime, K- and J-pop, have become an important part of global popular culture. Many also continue to be drawn to the rich diversity and dynamism of East Asia’s pre-modern literary, religious, artistic and philosophical traditions.
Our expertise allows you to gain specialist knowledge in the regions of your interest, in their classical traditions as well as their contemporary developments.”
London is a city which embraces multi-culturalism and diversity. In this open environment, where the differences between people are appreciated and valued, East Asian culture has no trouble in thriving.



ネイサン・ヒル教授 Dr. Nathan Hill

2018年8月 活動日誌 / 2018 August Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

For my August London report, I am going to talk about some of the societies managed by the SOAS student union.
As regards club activities, they are categorised into two major groups: Sports Clubs and Societies. Amongst the many kinds of societies existing, I will talk about societies related to Japanese culture.
There are four different Martial Art societies. One of them is the Airenjuku Aikido Society. This society was established twenty-one years ago and has been going strong at SOAS ever since. The second Martial Arts society is the Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido. It aims to practice developing Ki and teaches breathing techniques using Ki.
Both of these Aikido societies respect harmony. They practice developing mental and physical strength and spirituality using the concept of harmony as a base. At the same time, they practice self-defence. The important concept behind Aikido is not that of fighting with an opponent but that of co-working with an opponent and developing together through practice. It is not an aggressive or competitive sport, and is open to any age group and physical size to join and practice. It is ideal for maintaining health, flexibility, core strength, body coordination, and reaction.
The third martial arts group is the Japan Kenpo Society. This society is little known at the moment. It is dedicated to a modern physical fighting sport developed through scientific research. Protective armour is worn to avoid injuries. The fourth group is the Shorinji Kenpo Society. This martial art aims both to develop self-defence and self-development. It is a self-defence technique using Eastern philosophy and meditation, which at the same time, teaches self-discipline and awareness by co-operating with people and helping each other.
Japanese Animation is well established and popular in the UK. SOAS has its own Anime Society. Their main activity is to get people who are big fans of Animation and Manga to meet up every week and watch Anime together.
The next society to introduce is the Studio Ghibli appreciation society. The society aims “To invite and unite students together in the appreciation of the world-renowned animation studio, Studio Ghibli”. There are many Miyazaki fans all over the world now. The society furthers the appreciation of the stories, animation art works and concepts of the fantasy collections created by Studio Ghibli.

Surprisingly, there is also a society called In-Yo: Kissaten by day, Izakaya by night. As the title says it is a café (Kissaten) in the afternoon and changes to a bar at night. A selection of Matcha, Japanese green tea, Sencha, Hojicha, Genmaicha and others is available at the Café. They also serve delicious smoothies. There are choices of traditional Japanese Sweets (Wagashi) as well. In the evening, it changes to a bar (Izakaya) and there is a selection of drinks such as Japanese Sake, Japanese whisky, Shōchū and Sake cocktails on offer, as well as tasty snacks. There are some interesting activities as well. They offer Sake tasting and talks, board games, live performances, film, an Onigiri making workshop and Karaoke if requested. In-Yo Kissaten and Izakaya seem to be bursting with ideas.
The reason for calling themselves Yin-Yang Kissaten/Izakaya is explained by them as “We chose the name In-Yo (Yin-Yang), because we would like our members to feel free to be active or passive, according to where they are in their work-rest-play cycle. In practical terms this means you can either simply be entertained and enjoy our high-value, high-quality refreshments, or you can devise and deliver your own idea/ mini-project, or volunteer to wo/man the bar or cafe. In this way the offering can be co-created and co-delivered by and for the group. “It sounds a real ‘chill out’ place, as Londoners say.
Another classic association is the Origami society. Origami culture has been firmly established in the UK for some time now. The SOAS Origami society has its own uniqueness and aims to develop skills including “imagination, creativity, memory, dexterity, patience and geometry.” They encourage the development of Origami art and have a number of projects on offer which are available to all levels of skill from beginners to advanced.
Next, we have the Japan Society. The SOAS Japan Society meet regularly and are currently planning to have language exchanges and put on film screenings and various cultural events.
There is also a society called the J-Pop Karaoke Society. Unfortunately, there is no information available on this group.
There is a SOAS Minyō Group as well. As you may already know, this group is formed and managed by Dr. David Hughes. This society is open to anyone (including non-SOAS members) who is interested in Japanese traditional folk music. They practice every Saturday. They are a very popular group and participate in many cultural events related to Japan all over the UK. Recently, they have started to perform accompanying plays. It is a very energetic and musically excellent group.
SOAS has its own radio station as well.
The societies mentioned here are the ones related to Japan. As you can see, there are many unique societies at SOAS. The nature of a society is that students plan, start up, and manage the society by themselves. In order to form a society, you need to have six like-minded people prepared to get ideas together. It is an ideal place to learn how to develop ideas and practice sharing and cooperating with other people before entering the professional world.

2018年7月 活動日誌 / 2018 July Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

七月のロンドンレポートは、ヴィジターズ特集です。ロンドンの大学は長い夏休みに入り、9月末まで4か月、大学生及びほとんどの教授陣は休暇でそれぞれ大学を離れます。(大学院生は、これから個人の特別課題の執筆にかかります。) しかし大学が閉まるわけではなく、短期間の様々なサマーコースが始まります。先月ご紹介したミュージックサマーコースもその一つです。多くの学生が世界中のいたるところから、夏休みを使って学びに来ます。東京外国語大学の学生も毎年、冬と夏、短期留学でロンドンに訪れます。
For the July London Report, I am going to write about the visitors from TUFS to SOAS. Universities in London go on a break in June for the summer holidays which last for four months until September. The students and most of the teaching staff are having a holiday and have left the campus (except MA students who begin writing their individual dissertation). Although the university has broken up for the summer, it doesn’t mean the university is closed. On the contrary, it is the beginning of various summer courses which are open to external students who visit SOAS from all over the world. One example is the music summer course which I talked about in my June report. Many students from TUFS visit SOAS in the winter and the summer every year for a short study visit.
Every year one member of the administrative staff who works at TUFS attends the Staff Learning and Development programme. This year, we had Ms. Tomomi Kikuchi from the Academic Affairs Division. The programme consists of three- weeks intensive English learning and one-week work shadowing. I saw her a few days after she began the English course. According to her, it sounded like it was a very demanding course with a tight schedule and a lot of homework. She had to give a presentation in front of the class at the end of her stay, and because of the demands of the programme there was little time for sightseeing. However, it was a very satisfactory course. Work shadowing aims to give the participant experience in different departments of the SOAS administrative system. Ms. Kikuchi said she enjoyed the programme and learnt a lot from the experience.



Kimberly, Tomomi and Becky at the office of Staff Learning & Development



At the front entrance of SOAS



Along the canal near the dormitory

The second visitor was Assoc. Prof. Kenji Okano whom I introduced in the March report. He is a researcher in the Burmese language and teaches at TUFS. Assoc. Prof. Okano stayed for six months in his previous visit and this time he will be researching at SOAS for two months. He was involved in setting up the TUFS office at Yangon University in the past and is currently involved in creating the Burmese language database. Assoc. Prof. Okano is very passionate about his work in the development of the Burmese language.



Assoc. Prof. Okano at the TUFS office at SOAS

The third visitor was Assoc. Prof. Shintaro Arakawa. Assoc. Prof. Arakawa researches the Tangut language at The Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. He has visited SOAS as a visiting scholar in the past and when he was here last time he kindly joined our TUFS-SOAS friendly event. It was on a short visit of just a week this time in which he was extremely busy with research. Assoc. Prof. Arakawa is a good friend of Assoc. Prof. Okano and I had an opportunity to join them at a Greek restaurant to celebrate their reunion in London. I had a very enjoyable time in their company.



Gathering at Greek restaurant. Assoc. Prof. Okano, Mrs. Okano, myself and Professor Arakawa

July is the graduation season. Recently the SOAS graduation gown has been renewed and become exclusive to SOAS with its own colour. Many students wearing the grey gown with yellow hood passed by with a big smile on their faces.



BA and MA students wearing a grey gown with yellow hood, PhD student wearing orange gown with yellow hem in the centre of photo.

2018年6月 活動日誌 / 2018 June Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The examinations at the end of academic year have finished, and a relaxed and energetic atmosphere has returned to the campus once again. This year, we have had continuous hot summer days in London. The summer in the UK, unlike the hot and humid Japanese summer, is not humid, so you can cool down when you go under the shade and feel dry. For this month’s report, I am writing about the Japan’s ethnical minority cultures (Korean, Chinese and Okinawan) in London.
On the first Saturday after the end of examinations an event was organized by various Korean societies in which students were able to learn about different types of musical instruments and singing and dancing. I wrote about it last year, so some of the readers are already familiar with this event. I managed to find time to rejoin the Korean drumming society. It was a very enjoyable evening.
Korean societies are very active and feature Taegum (bamboo flute), Gayageun (zither), Pansori (singing and storytelling), Korean traditional dance and Samur nori (Korean drumming). There is a choice of beginners’ class and advanced class. All the students from the society were involved in making the event successful, and it was a very professional presentation.



最後のグループ写真Group photo at the end of the evening

The Wednesday in the second week of June was SOAS music day. During the day, music from all over the world was played on the campus. It is an event that signals the end of the year at the same time advertises the beginning of the SOAS music summer courses. For two weeks, there are music summer courses organised every year open to the general public as well as students.
Unfortunately, it was my work day, so I can not give a full report of the event. I did however see some performances of Chinese music while I was passing by. One of the performances was given by the SOAS Chinese Traditional Folk ensemble led by Dr. Hwee San Tan who received a PhD in music from SOAS. It is an ensemble consisting of Pipa, Urhu, Sanshen, Gujen, percussive instruments and flute. There was also a performance of accompanying music in the style of the Beijing Opera. It was followed by Ms. Beibei Wang who is a graduate of RSM and teaching Chinese percussion at the SOAS music summer course, who performed powerful drumming with her students.
When I was leaving the building, I saw a big band orchestra playing Cuban style Latin music (although I am not certain) with singers, creating a carnival-like atmosphere. I thought music from all over the world was played throughout the day. It was just like a Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The third report is about Okinawa day which is associated with Okinawa Memorial Day, something I wrote about last year as well. It is the tenth anniversary, so there was a special program in which musicians from Japan were invited. The event started with the most well-known and important classical tune, Kajadefu, with singing and dance, and was then followed by folk music from Amami Oshima, various styles of Okinawan folk songs, music mixing Okinawan and Reggae by Kanako Horiuchi, Tsugaru Shamisen by Hibiki Ichikawa, folk music from Miyakojima, Okinawan Tea Ceremony-Bukubuku cha, and Eisaa performance. Dr. David Hughes was there of course busily participating: playing drum, Sanshin, sanba and singing.

Local Karate groups participate every year demonstrating various Karate forms and exercises. The young Karate masters’ movements are very cool. I am grateful to the members of London Sanshinkai who organise the event every year and many volunteers who help provide such a pleasant time and ensure the event runs smoothly. When I closed my eyes and listened to the sound of Sanshin, even in the middle of the busy Banking district, I felt I was close to the sea. I am looking forward to next year’s event already!

2018年5月 活動日誌/2018 May Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

Final exams take place between early May and early June in UK Universities; the campus is very quiet and one can feel the tension in the air. The usual format an examination is that you have to choose four questions and answer them within three hours (language courses are an exception) in essay form. It obviously requires a lot of concentration. It is also physically exhausting, as one has to write by hand continuously for three hours. When you are under stress, it can cause a huge strain to your mind. So, the Student Advice and Wellbeing Service operated by the Student Service Department offers classes such as hypnotherapy, yoga and relaxation classes for the students to cope with the pressure.
It is the end of the academic year in the UK universities. In contrast, the new academic year started in April in Japan and I am sure that students have by now settled in to the classes and lectures. I heard that Dr. Philip Seaton who started teaching at TUFS from this April was visiting SOAS. Despite his busy schedule in the UK, Dr. Seaton kindly agreed to talk to me for a short time.
Dr. Seaton has lived in Japan for more than twenty years, and taught at Hokkaido University for fourteen years before he moved to TUFS. He is affiliated with the Institute of Japanese Studies at TUFS. Dr. Seaton’s special areas of research are Media, Culture and Tourism Studies, focusing on War Memories.
Dr. Seaton’s main reason for visiting SOAS this time was to explore the possibility of setting up a dual degree program between SOAS and TUFS. Dr. Seaton said that it was only the starting point and it was difficult to say at this point in time how the project would develop in the future.
Currently, students from TUFS come to study at SOAS either for a short-term study abroad in winter or summer or for a year-long study abroad. We look forward to the future development of this program.



Dr. Philip Seaton in the Staff Common Room at SOAS フィリップ・シートン教授、SOAS職員休憩室にて

2018年4月 活動日誌/2018 April Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

For this month’s report, I would like to introduce the SOAS Centre of Translation Studies which features the translation of Japanese among the courses it offers, something which directly relates to my report of play reading in March.
There is a course called MA Translation in the School of Language, Culture and Linguistics. MA Translation are also a part of the activities of the Centre of Translation Studies (CTS).
翻訳学研究所主任でいらっしゃる、佐藤=ロスベアグ ナナ教授(以下、佐藤先生)に、翻訳学のコースと内容に関してお話を伺ってきました。
I visited Dr. Nana Sato-Rossberg (Sato Sensei hereafter), who is the Chair of the SOAS Centre for Translation Studies.
Sato Sensei has been teaching at SOAS for the last four years. She previously taught at the University of East Anglia (where Mr. Kazuo Ishiguro who won a Nobel Literary prize did his MA in creative writing) for three and half years.
Sato Sensei explained that Translation Studies was begun in the Europa in the 70s and advanced rapidly in the 90’s in the UK. The SOAS Centre for Translation Studies was established in 2008 aiming to promote translation studies of non-European languages and cultures. Currently, there are MA and PhD courses available at SOAS.
The compulsory subjects for the MA in Translation are Translation theory, Translation study and methodology, and a dissertation which is a translation project or translation theory.
According to Sato Sensei, one immediately thinks that translation means that there is a source text and then a translation. However, Translation Studies are more complex and involve much more than practical translations. In academic terms, for example, it means becoming aware of the translation process taking place in one’s brain during translation. Students learn translation processes through theory and method.
When translating, there is always a choice of words and style. To be able to choose suitable words and style for the text, an understanding of different cultural backgrounds is required.
Currently, there are 24 students learning Translation Studies. Students are free to choose their desired language/s. There is a choice of 7 languages pairs; Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, Swahili, Turkish and Persian (from/into English). The students who are currently taking the course are not necessarily native speakers of the language. There is a case of students learning the Japanese language in BA choosing to go on to study Translation Studies in MA, for example. There are also students who studied English literature or English, some working in the literary profession, some working in business who wish to become translators in their chosen specialities.
One of the purposes of Translation Studies is to provide opportunities for students who have skills in language/s to move on to the next level in their careers. Among the specialities available after gaining an MA degree are: business translation, researching as a PhD student, teaching or teaching related occupations and literature. The areas of translation feature literature, business, film and journalism among the options.
Sato Sensei’s future plans are firstly to increase the awareness and understanding of Translation Studies by developing Translation Studies academically especially the field of area-based translations studies in order to expand the Centre of Translation Studies. The Second objective is to connect Asia and Africa through Translation Studies.



Sato Sensei at her office. 佐藤先生のSOASオフィス



MA Classroom 大学院授業風景 Camila França Photography

2018年3月 活動日誌/2018 March Monthly Report

GJOコーディネーター 田口和美/GJO Coordinator Taguchi Kazumi

The first item in the March London Report concerns the TUFS-SOAS friendship meeting.
The event is comprised of a presentation by Okano sensei and Shinagawa sensei, both of whom had been at SOAS as visiting scholars from last Autumn. After the academic presentation, Dr. Hughes, Professor Barnes and two SOAS students from the SOAS Minyo group joined us singing and playing music to celebrate the TUFS-SOAS friendship event.
As a coordinator, it was my responsibility to organise the event. I started preparing food to take to the event from 9 o’clock in the morning. I thought hard about a menu which would consist of cooked dishes that could be eaten when they are cold. I came up with the following menu: Inarizushi, cucumber rolls, eel & cucumber rolls, seasoned and boiled Daikon and carrot, Kinpira style sautéed burdock, salmon fishcake, and Taiwanese style deep fried pork.
After 8 hours of hard work, I managed to finish all the cooking by five o’clock and then headed to SOAS. On my arrival at SOAS, I received a phone call from one of the TUFS students who has been studying at the University of Westminster saying she got lost. We communicated with each other and arranged to meet up near the main building.
When we arrived at the venue, Okano sensei and Shinagawa sensei were finishing their preparations for the talk. They helped me to set up the table and lay out the food and drinks.
We waited for people to arrive and started the event around 5:45 p.m.
In attendance were three TUFS students studying at SOAS, one of two students studying at Westminster University (the other student wanted to come, but couldn’t attend as she had a busy schedule due to the fact she was leaving the UK the following week), one of two SOAS students who are going to study at TUFS from this Autumn, Dr. Nathan Hill (Head of the Japan Korea section of the Department of East Asian Languages and Culture) and Professor Screech (Professor of the History of Art) who has stayed and taught at TUFS in the past and had been invited by Okano sensei for this event as they were taking the same Burmese language class. Dr. Hughes, Professor Barnes and two SOAS students also joined us after their performance.
The event started off with Okano sensei giving a talk about his research on old Burmese language texts, their structure and how information was created in the archive using visual images.
His talk was followed by Shinagawa sensei presenting his research on the Bantu language. He explained the complicated relationship between regions and languages in Africa using language distribution maps, so that beginners could easily understand the topic.
After a short break, the SOAS Minyo group consisting of Dr. Hughes, Professor Barnes, a Japanese language fourth year student, and a music student, played some excellent Minyo music further adding to the excitement of the event.
Dr. Hughes and Professor Barnes also played some fantastic Okinawan music in the folk tradition. I also sang two tunes from the Okinawan classical tradition.
To close the event, we played a celebratory tune called Iwai-bushi, in the hope that academic and cultural exchange between TUFS & SOAS keep growing in the future. It was a splendid way to end the friendship event for 2018, I am so grateful to the people who collaborated and the people who attended the event. Thank you so much everyone.



Okano sensei giving his talk on the Burmese language



Shinagawa sensei giving his talk on the Bantu language バントゥー語を紹介する品川先生