External Events

Awaken your Zen Retreat Day


1 February 2020
Chiddingstone Castle and grounds
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Welcome the New Year with a retreat day inspired by Japanese Zen Buddhism. Zen is a school of Buddhism which focuses on meditation and the inner world and has influenced practices and art forms in Japan such as the tea ceremony, flower arranging, ink painting, and traditional architecture. Beginning with an introduction to the Japanese art collection at the Castle, the day is a collaboration of four different approaches to mindfulness; Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing), Kanga Yoga (Wild Yoga), a demonstration of Toyohari acupuncture, and food and drink wellness advice. The day also includes a delicious locally-sourced lunch with a Japanese twist.
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Sir Peter Parker Awards for Spoken Business Japanese


12 February 2020
SOAS University of London
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The 30th Sir Peter Parker Awards for Spoken Business Japanese, will take place on Wednesday 12 February 2020. The purpose of the Awards is to deepen the understanding of Japanese business culture by businessmen and women of the countries of the European Union through study of the Japanese language, and to contribute to goodwill and mutual understanding with the people of Japan through better communication. The competition proceedings are open to the public and are free to attend. Everyone is welcome!
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Madam Butterfly


18 February 2020
Stratford Circus Arts Centre
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Olivier Award-winning OperaUpClose in association with the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry presents a new English version of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly. A young woman abandoned by the man for whom she sacrificed everything. But she is stronger than anyone imagined…Retold from a female, East-Asian perspective, this Madam Butterfly is transposed to 1980s Japan, where traditional culture collides with a new digital age, and the intimate exploration into the heart and mind of a young woman, is all the more poignant.
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Buddhism Exhibition


25 October 2019 – 23 February 2020
The British Library
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How did Buddhism grow from its beginnings in 6th-century BCE India to having over 500 million international followers today? How did the life of the Buddha unfold? What inspires Buddhist practice? Encounter the outstanding beauty of Buddhist manuscripts and artworks in the largest exhibition of its kind ever held at the British Library. Explore rare treasures from the Library’s collection including colourful scrolls, precious artefacts and stunning illuminated books spanning 2,000 years and 20 countries.
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NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo European Tour


24 February 2020
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre
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The NHK Symphony Orchestra will be making a European concert tour from late February to early March of 2020, led by Chief Conductor Paavo Järvi. Indulge yourself with Rachmaninov’s lush, lyrical symphony, and Schumann’s Concerto for Cello. When Paavo Järvi and the NHK Symphony first performed together in London in 2017, the reviews said it all: ‘a swashbuckling performance’ (The Guardian), ‘stunningly dramatic’ (The Times) and ‘magnificent’ (Bachtrack). Join Järvi and the renowned Japanese orchestra for their highly anticipated return visit to London with a programme to indulge the senses.
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Ikebana Demonstration


5 April 2020
Chiddingstone Castle
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A drop – in demonstration of ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, by masters of the Ohara School of Ikebana, England Chapter. Visitors will be able to view the preparation of the ikebana display in the setting of the Castle and ask questions about the art form. The arrangements will include spring flowers from the Castle’s grounds as well as other carefully selected flowers and plants. The Castle will be open for visitors, including the Japanese Room which contains the fascinating collection of the last private owner of the Castle, Denys Eyre Bower (1905 – 1977).
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Drawing on Nature


4 October 2019 – 13 April 2020
World Museum, Liverpool
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Once a celebrated artist in Tokyo, Taki Katei’s paintings were displayed in the Imperial court and his impressive works travelled to international exhibitions. After his death the demand for delicate paintings of flowers and birds fell out of fashion and his work was slowly forgotten. World Museum will display the first-ever exhibition of Taki Katei’s work outside Japan Separated into five themes and will look at the hidden meanings and the symbolism in his works, the techniques he used, and his practice towards perfection.
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Chiddingstone Castle Japanese Room Tours


8 & 26 April 2020
Chiddingstone Castle
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Chiddingstone Castle’s curator will give tours of the Castle’s Japanese Room focused on the collection which includes samurai arms and armour, lacquerware, ancient tomb figures, and articulated animals or jizai okimono. The collection belonged to the last private owner of the Castle, Denys Eyre Bower (1905 – 1977). The tours on the 8th of April will be aimed at families – fun, interactive, and perfect for the Easter holidays. The 26th of April tours will be aimed at visitors interested in Japanese art, history and culture, and will explore the story of the collection and its original context in the history of Japan.
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Turning Points: Takemitsu


26 April 2020
Kings Place, London
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An official event of the Japan-UK Season of Culture, as part of its 2019/20 concert season, the London Sinfonietta will stage a specially-curated, exhibition-style concert, Turning Points: Takemitsu, exploring the life and work of celebrated Japanese composer Tōru Takemitsu. Through a combination of musical performances, film and discussion, the event will examine the composer’s extraordinary output and explore its impact on the direction of contemporary classical music in the 20th century.
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Koinobori Workshop


3 May 2020
Chiddingstone Castle
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Join in with a Japanese Children’s Day holiday tradition and make your own colourful koi carp flags, or koinobori. Koinobori flags are usually hung up outside homes and around towns and villages for Children’s Day. There are different sizes and colours of flag which represent mothers, fathers and the number of children in a household. Visitors of all ages will be able to make their own koinobori flag in the Castle’s Activity Room to take home.
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Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk


29 February – 21 June 2020
V&A, South Kensington
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This exhibition will present the kimono as a dynamic and constantly evolving icon of fashion, revealing the sartorial, aesthetic and social significance of the garment from the 1660s to the present day, both in Japan and the rest of the world.
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Sumida River in Sign Language


27 June 2020
Kings Place, London
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Sumida River in Sign Language brings the natural and human worlds together in a drama of physical gesture and facial expression. Performed by deaf, unmasked actors, the play is suffused with the life of the river: pines bending in the wind, flocks of Miyako birds and mist swirling in from the bay. This poignant tale was reimagined by Benjamin Britten in his chamber opera Curlew River. It is spring, a time of growth; a ferryman waits for customers when a mother arrives in search of her lost son.
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Yama – The Mining Art of Sakubei Yamamoto


15 September 2019 – 20 September 2020
Big Pit National Coal Museum
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At the age of seven years old, Sakubei Yamamoto (1892-1984) moved with his family to the coal mines of the Chikuho region in Kyushu. He was apprenticed to a colliery blacksmith at the age of twelve, and later worked as a mine blacksmith and coalminer until the age of 63 in 1955. He then became a colliery security guard when he started painting his memories of the mining industry. This exhibition focuses on a small selection of the 2000 drawings and paintings by the artist.
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    Wed 29

    Bilingual Public Speaking Club

    29 January — 7:00 pm
  • Contact

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    Tel: 020 7935 0475

    The Japan Society
    13/14 Cornwall Terrace
    London NW1 4QP