Monday 1 April 2019

Queen Elizabeth Hall
Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road
London SE1 8XX

Japan Society members and friends can receive 25% off £30 tickets by quoting ‘JSOC’ when booking online or by phone.

The Fukushima Youth Sinfonietta is one of the most positive things to emerge from the devastation of the 11 March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in north-eastern Japan. The young musicians of this extraordinary orchestra are thrilled to return to London for a performance full of emotional intensity, with a programme including Tchaikovsky’s captivating Fifth Symphony.

The Fukushima Youth Sinfonietta has become a beacon of hope for a region devastated by loss, personal pain and suffering. Set up by UK charity Keys of Change in partnership with schools in Fukushima, initially to bring hope to the young people in the area, the orchestra has made rapid musical strides and has already performed in the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Tokyo Opera City, and in Boston Symphony Hall, where the determination of the young people to create something truly excellent in the face of all kinds of adversity has had the power to inspire other young people and adults.

For more information and to book tickets visit

*Supported by Japan Society Small Grants


Tuesday 5 March saw the opening of 2 Years After: The Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition at the Gallery@Oxo on Southbank.

The exhibition serves as a poignant reminder of the tragedy of 2011 and its enduring consequences. Images on display, from a variety of photographers, chronicle the immediate aftermath of the disaster, efforts toward recovery, and the work that remains to be done. The intention of the display is to raise awareness. The curators have attempted to highlight the legacy of the earthquake and tsunami and to prevent its continuing effects from being forgotten. Visitors to the exhibition will hopefully once again turn their thoughts to those continuing to suffer in Tohoku today.

The opening ceremony was attended by representatives of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper and Mitsubishi Corporation, who co-hosted the exhibition, alongside His Excellency Mr Keiichi Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan to the UK. Some short introductory speeches were made, drawing attention to the exhibition’s aims and encouraging all those attending to examine the displays in detail.

Full of poignant images of the aftermath of disaster and the personal stories of those most affected, the exhibition is a stark reminder of the power of nature and the scope of the devastation cause by a natural disaster.

Hopefully the coming weeks will see many visitors to the Gallery@Oxo. The exhibition is both an important memorial and a cry for renewed support.

For more details of the exhibition opening times, click here.














Christopher Purvis, former chairman of the Japan Society, recently visited Tohoku with the Sanaburi foundation to chart the progress of reconstruction projects in the area, and report on the huge challenge that remains.

Read the full text of Christopher Purvis’s speech here


Kabuki Prints for sale from Frederic Aranda’s hit exhibition!

Thanks to Shochiku Co. Ltd and photographer, Frederic Aranda, a series of  stunning limited edition prints of some of kabuki’s best loved actors in performance and back stage have been donated to the Japan Society for sale on behalf of its Tohoku Earthquake Relief Fund. They were first shown at an exhibition at the Hospital Club, London in March 2012 and feature actors such as Ichikawa Ebizo XI, Ichikawa Kamejiro II, Nakamura Tokizo V and Onoe Kikunosuke V, offering a glimpse into a closed and rarefied world.

Each of the 28 images is available in editions of 100 at 16 x 20 ins (£350 each) and 100 at 20 x 24 ins (£750 each) prints. All proceeds go directly to support projects for the long term recovery of communities in Tohoku.

For details of all images available please follow this link.


Friday 23
& Saturday 24 March 2012
Fri: 10.30am until 7.00pm
Sat: 9.30am until 2pm
Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies
University of Oxford
27 Winchester Road
Oxford OX2 6NA

Booking deadline – 9 March

The gigantic earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 devastated a huge area of Tohoku and resulted in 15,845 confirmed deaths and over 3,000 people reported missing. This unprecedented natural disaster triggered an explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant spreading radiation in the immediate aftermath. As the initial impact of this world-wide media event fades there has been speculation as to its longer term significance. Some social critics have even labelled this event the ‘second defeat of the war,’  implying it could be an epoch changing event from which Japan will have to resurrect itself. The Japanese media have begun to use the phrase ‘post 3.11’ to describe a society under transformation in imitation of post 9.11 New York.

What can the world learn from Japan’s experiences of this unprecedented disaster? Reactions have revealed many hidden aspects of Japanese society, raising enormously important questions regarding society, economy, politics, people, culture, science, technology and media. We have invited specialists from Japan and the UK in diverse fields to a two-day conference to be held on March 23 & 24 in 2012 – just over a year on from the disaster.

The conference at The Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies is intended to provoke academic debate among social scientists from both countries to contribute to our mutual understanding of how an industrialised society like Japan can confront and overcome such a traumatic natural disaster, accompanied by a still continuing nuclear crisis in Fukushima. We invite you to join us.

A full event schedule can be found here.

The workshop is free and open to the public but space is limited. All those who wish to attend the workshop and reception (5.30pm on Friday, 23 March) must register with Miss Jane Baker (; Tel: 01865 274570) For more information visit the website.



At a lecture to the Japan Society on 11 October 2011, Christopher and Phillida Purvis reported on their visit to the Tohoku region six months after the earthquake and tsunami.

During this trip, they visited towns and villages in all three prefectures and spoke with many of those who were involved in recovery projects.

Some 130 people attended the event, including members of the Japan Society, donors to the Tohoku Earthquake Relief Fund and members of the general public. It was a clear demonstration that the situation in Tohoku is still very much on people’s minds. As Christopher and Phillida found during their visit, support shown by people all over the world, including the UK, has been of some comfort and encouragement to those whose lives have been so devastated by this disaster.

Full text of their talk may be read online or downloaded as Word documents here.


The Japan Society  is delighted to announce its partnership with the Sanaburi Foundation to distribute money donated to the  Tohoku Earthquake Relief Fund to NPOs and voluntary organizations throughout Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima in support of local recovery projects.

Christopher Purvis, Chairman of the Japan Society, commented “We were all shocked and saddened to see the devastation in Tohoku. It quickly became clear that once the emergency relief work of the Japanese government and major NGOs had finished, and the basic physical needs of the victims of the disaster had been met, there would be an immense amount of work to be done to rebuild lives and livelihoods. It is our hope that projects facilitated through this Fund will provide support for the emotional and physical needs of those in the affected areas in the process of recovery.”

Full details of the grant fund and the application process are


Tuesday 11 October, 6.45pm

This Event is now Fully Booked

The London Institute For Contemporary Christianity
St Peter’s
Vere Street

Free – Booking Essential
Drinks will be served after the lecture. Sake kindly provided by International Wine Challenge (IWC) and Sake Samurai Association.


Seven months after The Great East Japan Earthquake, Christopher and Phillida Purvis will report on a recent visit to Tohoku. During this trip they visited towns and villages throughout the region from Soma in the south to Kamaishi in the north. They spoke at length with government officials, staff from charitable and voluntary agencies, people running local businesses and other survivors of the disaster.

In this talk, they will share their impressions of life in the different places visited; report on the state of recovery and the task that still lies ahead; as well as present film footage and photographs taken during the trip. In particular, they will discuss the role of NPOs and local voluntary organizations in the recovery process and the way in which donations to the Japan Society Tohoku Relief Fund are being used to support them.

Christopher Purvis CBE has been chairman of the Japan Society since 2006 and has spent the last 13 years of his career in the not-for-profit sector. His main interests are in the arts, Japan, the social sector and education. He holds a number of positions in this field, including chairman of the Barbican Centre Trust, and founding trustee of IntoUniversity. He also had a close connection with Japan during his business career and spent over 10 years there, having established the Tokyo branch of SG Warburg.

Phillida Purvis MBE serves on the Japan Society Tohoku Earthquake Relief Fund Management Committee liaising with voluntary organizations in Japan on its establishment. She is Founder and Director of Links Japan which was established in 1998 to promote sharing between civil society organizations in the EU and Japan. She has run exchange programmes between NPOs, NGOs and community organizations on a range of social sector issues, such as community regeneration, social inclusion, social enterprise and international development cooperation. As a member of HM Diplomatic Service she undertook Japanese language training and served at the British Embassy in Tokyo during the 1980s.

Booking Information

Please contact the Japan Society office on tel: 020 7828 6330 or email: or submit the online booking form to book a place for any of our events. When emailing, please include the event title.

In association with:


Embassy of Japan
101-104 Piccadilly

Admission free, Open 09.30 – 17.30,  Monday – Friday
(Closed Weekends)

Visitors are requested to provide a form of photographic identification when entering the Embassy

Schools throughout the UK responded quickly and generously to news of The Great East Japan Earthquake, which struck on the 11th March 2011. They delivered thousands of messages of support, organised fundraising events and sought ways to find and share information. While some had no previous connection with Japan, others have been working for many years with Japanese partners to create an educational community which crosses physical and linguistic boundaries.

Beyond Words – Beyond Borders celebrates the activities of school students in response to this disaster. It demonstrates their imagination and creativity as they reach out in many different ways. The exhibition also features some of the ongoing work by schools in creating partnerships and developing friendships on the other side of the world.

The Japan Society’s schools education programme provides educational resources, school visits, grants and workshop based training, as well as school links, partner-finding services and other forms of assistance. It directly supports over 100 British school links with Japan through various means, including translation services for teachers and a bilingual website for students, Japan-UK live! Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, it has forwarded letters from British schools to over 300 schools in Tohoku: all were first translated by Japan Society members and volunteers on the Japan in Your Classrom programme.

The Earthquake Letter Project is an effort by the Japan Society and its membership to educate and involve children in relief effort projects such as the Japan Society Tohoku Earthquake Relief Fund, which was formed to provide long-term support to NPO’s and voluntary organisations in the affected areas on locally agreed projects which contribute to the rebuilding of affected communities.

Click here for a link to a NHK news item on the Beyond Words – Beyond Borders Exhibition.

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