Our thanks to everyone who came to this year’s Japan Society Christmas Party on December 10 and special thanks to our hosts the Embassy of Japan.

Please browse our photos, and if you would like any of them in high-res, contact the Japan Society office with the photo numbers.


Visitors to Japan Society’s Japan Matsuri stall last month were invited to take part in our Uchiwa Fan Design Contest. We were very happy to receive some amazing entries (a selection is posted below), and to see all the effort and hard work that was put into the design and colouring.

We are delighted to announce the winner of the Japan Matsuri 2019 Uchiwa Fan Design Contest is Kasumi! A special mention goes out to the three runners up: Lorna, Maya and Sadie!

Thank you to everyone who took part, we hope you all enjoyed taking part as much as we enjoyed receiving your entries!

First Prize (click on the image to enlarge)
A suprise package full of Japanese snacks and sweets is on its way together with an exclusive uchiwa design by manga artist Chie Kutsuwada!

Our winning entry by Kasumi!


Kasumi with her prize

Runners up (click on the image to enlarge)
They all will receive a special uchiwa design by manga artist Chie Kutsuwada

By Lorna

By Maya

By Sadie

Some of our favourite designs (click on the image to enlarge)

By ‘anime.otaku’

By Emiliano

By Amanda

By Silvia


By Noa


Gamba’re! The Japanese Way of the Rugby Fan, written by Angus Turvill and Etsuko Okahisa and illustrated by Harry Venning, is the ultimate guide to Japan and Japanese for rugby supporters. With six months to go until the World Cup, the Japan Society is delighted to be running a competition in which THREE entrants will each win a copy of the book.

Gamba’re! will help you hit the ground running at rugby’s first ever World Cup in Asia.

  • Japanese for the rugby fan – buy a snack, find your seat, forecast the result, comment on play, cheer your team on… even question the judgement of the referee – everything you want to say in the stadium, in Japanese!
  • Food and drink – finding places to eat and drink, illustrated A-Z of Japanese food, essential language for restaurants and bars.
  • Accommodation – what to expect, what to say and how not to miss breakfast.
  • Venues – getting there, hints on local tourism and where to go next, as well as suggestions for omiya’ge (Japanese souvenirs).
  • Transport – the great world of the Japanese train, and the refined arts of getting off a bus and out of a taxi.
  • Etiquette – avoid a diplomatic incident in the street, on the tatami and in the bath.
  • Deciphering Japanese words – let’s face it, it’s good to be able to read at least part of a menu.
  • AND plenty more…

Angus Turvill and Etsuko Okahisa are both highly experienced language teachers and prize-winning translators. They teach translation at Durham University. Harry Venning is an award-winning cartoonist, illustrator and comedy writer.

To enter, simply email your name to info@japansociety.org.uk, with “Gamba’re!” in the subject line, by midnight 22 April 2019. The winners will be chosen at random and notified on Tuesday 23 April 2019. Prizes will be sent by post to winners’ addresses worldwide.

For more information on the book and to buy it visit: www.gambare.co.uk/

*10% on all book sales goes to leading charities supporting adults and children affected by armed conflict.


Our thanks to everyone who came to this year’s Japan Society Christmas Party on December 14 and special thanks to our hosts the Embassy of Japan and to the Japan Centre, which generously provided a delicious selection of party food.

Please browse our photos, and if you would like any of them in high-res, contact the Japan Society office with the photo numbers.


The younger visitors to Japan Society’s Japan Matsuri stall last month were invited to take part in our Japan Society Colouring Competition. We were very happy to receive some beautiful entries (a selection is posted below), and to see all the effort and hard work that was put into the colouring.

We are delighted to announce the winner of the Japan Matsuri 2018 Colouring Competition is Koko!

Thank you to everyone who took part, we hope you all enjoyed taking part as much as we enjoyed receiving your entries!

Our winning entry by Koko

Our winning entry by Koko


Koko with her prize

Other entries (please click on the image to enlarge)

By Angela

By Angela

By Chie (1)

By Chie (2)

By Chie (2)

By Come

By Come

By Hanako

By Irfan

By Irfan

By Izyan

By Izyan

By Maya

By Maya

By Thibaud

By Thibaud

By Zoe

By Zoe


Edited by Antony Best and Hugh Cortazzi
Renaissance Books and the Japan Society, 2018
ISBN 978-1-898823-73-5

Beginning with Lord John Russell (Foreign Secretary 1859-1865) and concluding with Geoffrey Howe (Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs, 1983-1989), the volume also examines the critical roles of two British Prime Ministers in the latter part of the twentieth century, Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher, who ensured that Britain recognized both the reality and the opportunities for Britain resulting from the Japanese economic and industrial phenomenon. Heath’s main emphasis was on opening the Japanese market to British exports. Thatcher’s was on Japanese investment. This volume is a valuable addition to the Japan Society’s series devoted to aspects of Anglo-Japanese relations which includes ten volumes of Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits as well as British Envoys in Japan .

Member’s Price: FREE (first copy only – £12.00 thereafter) plus P & P or pick-up directly from Japan Society offices.

Email info@japansociety.org.uk to reserve your free first copy.

Member’s Discount Price: £12.00 plus P & P

Non-member’s Price: £60.00 plus P & P



Heaven’s Wind
A dual language anthology of contemporary Japanese writing

Edited and translated by Angus Turvill
Published by the Japan Society, 2018
ISBN-13: 978-0-9559977-2-3

Heaven’s Wind is a collection of short stories by five of Japan’s leading contemporary authors: Kuniko Mukoda – The Otter; Natsuko Kuroda – Ball, Kaori Ekuni – Summer Blanket; Mitsuyo Kakuta – The Child over There; and Aoko Matsuda – Planting. Taking its name from one of Japan’s best known classical poems, Heaven’s Wind (Amatsukaze) is the world’s first dual language anthology of Japanese women’s writing, including four Naoki and Akutagawa Prize winners. The English versions are by award-winning translator Angus Turvill.

The authors were born over fifty years from 1929 to 1979, and their stories were written over the past five decades. These gently written tales of deceit, loss and self-affirmation are set against pre-war to post-tsunami backdrops, ranging over town, countryside, suburb and coast. One thousand years since a Japanese woman wrote the world’s first novel, this wonderful anthology gives a unique perspective on the power of women writers in Japan today.

Aimed at readers of either or both languages, the book seeks to bring people from different cultures together in the shared experience of reading the same stories from the same book. Often translations are presented to the world as quite different products from the originals – the cover, size and marketing content taking the two versions in different directions. Having both texts in the same book gives the stories, and their readers, the same starting point.

Like all great work, this anthology effortlessly spans the divides of gender and generation. It has great appeal too for language learners, the stories being presented in a parallel-text format. The major hurdle for learners of Japanese – how to read the kanji characters – is cleared through the provision of comprehensive rubi reading guides throughout.

For those who wonder how similar the translations are to their originals in terms of text, Turvill’s afterword (Spot the Difference!) highlights ways in which the translation process can or must change meaning and structure.


To celebrate the release of Heaven’s Wind we are offering a 25% introductory discount for a limited period. Order your copy today!

Member’s Price: £8.00 £6.00 plus P & P or pick-up directly from Japan Society offices (one copy per person).

Non-member’s Price: £12.00 £9.00 plus P & P .

Postage Rates:

£2.50 to UK addresses (second class)
£4.00 to Europe (standard delivery)
£7.00 Worldwide e.g. Japan, USA, Australia (standard delivery)

Member’s Discount Price:  £6.00 plus P & P for the first copy, full price for subsequent purchases.

Japan Society members wishing to pick up their copy from the office should email info@japansociety.org.uk rather than using the form above.

Non-member’s Price: £9.00 plus P & P.

For book sellers/bulk orders (of 3 or more copies), please contact the Japan Society office (info@japansociety.org.uk), or call us on +44 (0)20 7935 0475.


The Japan Society is delighted to announce the results of its Essay Competition in partnership with Dalkey Archive Press.

Many thanks to everyone who submitted an essay on the subject ‘Why is the Translation of Japanese literature important today?’ The level of the entries was very strong and our panel of judges had their work cut out in choosing a winner. They did, however, feel that one essay in particular stood out, and congratulations must go to competition-winner Leda Roodbaraky, who will receive a mini-Japanese library containing eleven titles (listed below) with a total value of over £200. The panel found her essay to be well-written, lively, and focused, and that her passion for Japanese literature shone through.

Congratulations also to runner-up Alice French, whose fictitious ‘Diary of a Japanese-English translator’ received praise for its creative approach to the subject, and for the manner in which it tackled the essay question from a broad range of perspectives.

To view the winning essays, please click here.

We would also like to thank our judging panel, which consisted of editors at Dalkey Archive Press alongside Angus Turvill, award-winning translator of Japanese fiction, and Kenichi Yanagisawa, Director General of the Japan Foundation’s London office.

Dalkey Archive Press, founded by John O’Brien in 1984, is an international nonprofit literary publisher dedicated to expanding the readership for world literature by publishing challenging modern and contemporary writers, developing new audiences for these works, and placing them in historical, international, and cross-cultural contexts. Dalkey Archive Press has published over 700 literary works, all of which are kept permanently in print.

For a full listing of Dalkey titles please visit their website here

Click the image above to supersize the book covers



The Japan Society Awards are presented each year to mark significant contributions in the field of UK Japan relations which have not otherwise been recognized. All members are encouraged to nominate those who they feel are deserving of such an Award, at any time during the year. Please do not tell the nominee that you have put his or her name forward for an Award.

If you would like to nominate someone for an award, please contact us with the person’s name and details of their contribution to UK-Japanese relations. All nominations will be considered on merit.

Nominations should be made by post to Heidi Potter at the Japan Society offices, or by email

Please provide the following information:

*    The name and address of the person you are nominating
*    Your name, address and telephone number or email address
*    The name of another person who will support this nomination
*    A statement describing why you are nominating this person

The criteria for qualifying for an award can be read in detail here



We had a wonderful day at Southbank Centre on 22 June.

Thank you to everyone who came along to help make decorations for the Tanabata fukinagashi streamers which will take pride of place on the balcony at Southbank Centre all summer as part of Festival of Love.

Kinetika Design have been busy making ten brightly coloured fukinagashi which were nearly ready and just needed a few final touches. Cue a host of eager makers who folded origami stars and hearts (and lots more besides) and wrote tanabata message strings. New skills were learned and much fun had.

Don’t forget to come back to the Southbank Centre to view the results of all our labours and to join in Tanabata festival activities with the Japan Soceity and Japanese Embassy on Sunday 13 July. There will be plenty of crafting activities, taiko, story telling and much more!

There are 12 phrases on the fukinagashi. They relate to the themes of Tanabata and the Southbank Centre Festival of Love.

  • 七夕: 愛は世界を変える – Tanabata: love can change the world (tanabata: ai wa sekai o kaeru)
  • 七夕に願いを込めて – Make a wish at Tanabata (tanabata ni negai o komete)
  • 家族みんなで七夕祭り – Celebrating the Tanabata festival with the whole family (kazoku minna de tanabata matsuri)
  • 天の川でめぐり会う – A happy meeting on the Milky Way (ama no kawa de meguri au)
  • 織姫彦星★私とあなた – Orihime, the Weaver princess and Hikoboshi (the cowherd prince) ★ me and you (orihime hikoboshi ★ watashi to anata)
  • お星さまきらきら – The stars are shining (o-hoshisama kirakira)
  • 七夕で深める家族の絆 – Deepening family ties at Tanabata festival tanabata de fukameru kazoku no kizuna)
  • 星の光で躍りましょう – Let’s dance in the starlight (hoshi no hikari de odorimasho)
  • 星空の下であなたと – Together with you beneath the stars (hoshizora no shita de anata to)
  • 天空より愛を込めて – From the heavens with love (tenku yori ai o komete)
  • 夏の宵 キラキラ光る – A summer evening: shining stars (natsu no yoi kirakira hikaru)
  • and
  • フェスティバルオブラヴ – Festival of Love
  • [but we ran out of squares, so it actually says ラヴフェスティバル Love Festival!]

Thanks to Kinetika for running the workshop and to the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation which is supporting this summer’s tanabata activities at Southbank Centre.

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