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.



Wednesday 18 June 2014          6.00pm

Embassy of Japan
101-104 Piccadilly
London  W1J 7JT

Registration essential
Registration deadline – Tuesday 17 June

The Japan Society Annual General Meeting 2014 will be held on Wednesday 18 June 2013 at 6.00pm at the Embassy of Japan, London.

We hope to see many members at this year’s AGM. Please remember that the Embassy of Japan’s security policy means that you need to let us know in advance if you are planning to attend – please call the Japan Society office on 020 7935 0475 or email or submit the online booking form.

Please also bring with you to the meeting a form of photographic ID.

Following the formal business of the AGM there will be a drinks reception to which all members are most welcome.

All documentation concerning the AGM, including the formal Notice of AGM and Proxy Voting Form, and the Trustees Report / Japan Society Accounts (ending 31 December 2013), is available to download using the links below.


Notice of AGM and Proxy Voting Form

Trustees Report / Japan Society Accounts 2013


The Japan Society is delighted to announce an essay competition in partnership with the Dalkey Archive Press.

In a time of great upheaval for the publishing industry, translations of literary fiction are increasingly at risk. On the premise that English translations are a key component of cultural exchange and artistic interaction, entrants are asked to answer the following question:

‘Why is the translation of Japanese literature important today?’

The prize for the winning essay is a mini-Japanese library, containing eleven titles with a total value in excess of £200.

The collection includes a set of five novels from the Dalkey Archive Press back catalogue alongside a range of non-fiction titles; A Guide to Japanese Art Collections in the UK, A Companion to Japanese Britain and Ireland and Britain & Japan: Biographical Portrait Series, Volumes V – VIII. Links to the individual titles are listed below:

The Word Book by Mieko Kanai

The Temple of the Wild Geese and Bamboo Dolls of Echizen by Tsutomu Mizukami

The Shadow of a Blue Cat by Naoyuki Ii

A Day in the Life by Senji Kuroi

The Glass Slipper and Other Stories by Shotaro Yasuoka

Companion to Japanese Britain and Ireland by Bowen Pearse (rare and out of print title)

A Guide to Japanese Art Collections in the UK by Gregory Irvine

Britain & Japan Biographical Portraits, Volumes V, VI, VIII & VIII, edited by Sir Hugh Cortazzi

Entrants can be of any age but must be resident in the UK. Entrants’ names will be removed before essays are forwarded to the competition judges. All submissions remain the property of the entrant but the Japan Society and Dalkey Archive Press retain the right to re-publish the essays, online and in print.

Possible topics might include (but are not limited to):

– The current state of the publishing industry in the UK and Japan

– Individual works of translated fiction

– The difficulties and rewards of translating Japanese

Here’s some further inspiration from the great Japan scholar and translator, Louis Allen:

‘In order to know a nation fully you have to go beyond knowing the way it expresses itself in its laws, its military behaviour, and its political systems. You have to know the way it talks about itself unconciously and through its fiction. In other words, the fiction of a nation is as important as the facts of a nation if we want to know it properly.’

Submissions must be no longer than 1000 words in length. The deadline for entry is 12 noon (GMT) on Friday 1 August 2014.

Please send finished essays as word.doc, PDF or plain text attachments to, including your full name in the subject line. Alternatively, please send printed versions to: Jack Cooke, The Japan Society, 13 / 14 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QP.

The judging panel will consist 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


Since the devastating events of March 2011, the Japan Society’s Tohoku Earthquake Relief Fund (The Rose Fund) has been helping local reconstruction efforts in the region. Through our partnership with the Sanaburi Foundation we continue to support this vital work.

Applications for the fifth round of our Rose Fund Grants are now open. NPOs operating in the worst-affected prefectures – Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima – are eligible to apply. The Rose Fund’s particular focus is on community-led projects with long-term goals.

Members are encouraged to spread this news as widely as possible to ensure that deserving projects receive essential funds.

The deadline for grant applications is Friday 30 May 2014

More information can be found here


【ローズファンド 第五期助成プログラム募集中】

ジャパンソサエティ東日本大震災復興基金 (ローズファンド) は、東日本大震災で甚大な被害を受けた岩手県・宮城県・福島県の三県を対象に復興支援活動を行っている非営利団体に助成を行っています。



Win a pair of tickets to see The Prince of the Pagodas at the London Coliseum!

The Japan Society is delighted to offer members a chance to attend the London premiere of The Prince of Pagodas on Wednesday 26 March. To enter, simply email your name and membership details to

The competition closes on Friday 21 March and the winners will be notified shortly thereafter.

Birmingham Royal Ballet presents the London Premiere of David Bintley’s The Prince of the Pagodas. Based on Japanese fairy tales and the ukiyo-e paintings of Kuniyoshi, with choreography inspired by the alluring gestural language of Noh theatre, this oriental Beauty and the Beast by David Bintley marries British and Japanese cultures against a background of Benjamin Britten’s captivating score.The Prince of the Pagodas is composer Benjamin Britten’s only commissioned full-length ballet score, and will be one of the closing highlights of the Britten 100 celebrations, a year-long, world-wide dedication to the British composer. Past choreographic versions include John Cranko’s for The Royal Ballet in 1957 and Kenneth MacMillan’s for the same company in 1989.   When Bintley considered the story he revisited Cranko’s 1957 version.  He said: “In the original there’s a Beauty and the Beast-type premise where a Princess falls in love with a Salamander, but there really isn’t a struggle towards love; there are very few romantic moments in the action. I thought it was far better to make it a different type of love, that of sister for brother and of father for son.”

Music by Benjamin Britten, choreography by David Bintley and spectacular and imaginative costumes from War Horse designer Rae Smith.

The ballet tells the story of Princess Sakura. Mourning her beloved brother and determined to disobey her evil stepmother’s bidding, Sakura refuses her wealthy suitors and follows the fascinating yet repelling Salamander Prince on a magical journey to the Land of the Pagodas. Once there, the Salamander shares the story of his life, and Sakura realises he is her long-lost brother, transformed by their stepmother’s evil curse. Together, brother and sister travel home, hoping to restore peace in their father’s kingdom.

For further details visit the website



Application Deadline: Thursday 27 February 2014 Fellowships must be started between 1 September to the 30 November 2014

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) is the leading research funding agency in Japan, established by the Japanese Government for the purpose of contributing to the advancement of science. Their Postdoctoral Fellowship for Foreign Researchers (LongTerm) provides the opportunity for researchers based outside of Japan to conduct collaborative research activities with leading research groups at Japanese universities and research institutions for visits of between 12 to 24 months.

Eligible applicants should be citizens of the UK or EU and need to have finished their PhD at a UK university or research institution at the time of applying to start their fellowship in Japan or have obtained their PhD after 1 April 2008. Eligible research fields are limited to natural sciences, including physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, engineering science, agricultural and medical research (non-clinical only).

Applications for this fellowship should be submitted to The Royal Society as JSPS’s nominating authority. Please visit this web page for further information:



In February 2014 the Japan Society will publish The art lover’s guide to Japanese Museums by Sophie Richard. Advance orders can be placed by contacting the office on 020 7935 0475 or emailing

The museums of Japan feature rich collections and excellent exhibitions in world-class galleries. Yet they can be difficult to navigate without first-hand knowledge. The art lover’s guide to Japanese Museums acts as a personal guide, introducing readers to some of the most distinctive and inspiring museums in the country. In depth information is given about each listed venue, including the story behind their creation. From magnificent traditional arts to fascinating artist’s houses and from sleek contemporary museums to idiosyncratic galleries, museums are the perfect gateway to discover Japan’s culture both past and present.

The book is 176 pages in full colour and costs £18.99


Congratulations to Marc Evans, Michael Offer and Geanina Spinu – all winners in our competition celebrating the British Museum’s award-winning exhibition Shunga: sex and pleasure in Japanese art.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit it, the exhibition runs until Sunday 5 January 2014. Find out more here

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