Small Grants 2018
In 2018, the Japan Society Small Grants scheme gave £20,000 of funding in support of 25 projects taking place in various parts of the UK. In particular, our Small Grants Scheme focuses its support on education and community projects, where a small amount of additional funding can make a big difference and in many cases, where our grant will enable event organisers to reach a wider audience or provide opportunities for the public to engage directly with performances or exhibitions.
Twelve of the grants awarded were for projects taking place in schools or for activity involving young people. This included Taiko drumming workshops for children at a primary school in Brighton, complementing the activities of the school’s Japan Club, and the third annual ‘Fuji Festival’ which took place in Edinburgh this April, inviting Scottish school children to participate in karate, sushi making, origami workshops, music and other Japan related activities. Whitley Academy presented its students with a unique insight into life in Tokyo through a performance by Tokyo based theatre company, Tarinainanika specialising in corporeal mime. The performance was followed by workshops, which gave the students the opportunity to try out corporeal mime for themselves, as well as a Q&A session and interviews with the group.
During one project in rural Northern Ireland, local traditional Irish musicians collaborated with experienced shinobue and taiko drum facilitators to learn a traditional Japanese piece of music, through which they were able to discover both the similarities and differences between their cultural traditions. The piece was in turn taught to local children and young people who went on to perform on the showcase stage at the 2018 Foyle O-bon Festival.
The Society once again supported the Kotatsu Japanese animation festival in South Wales. Children attending the festival were given a rare chance to attend a workshop on how to design their own original character, taught by ‘Domo-kun’ creator, Tsuneo Goda. Other projects supported by the Small Grants scheme include ‘Scored in Silence’, a digital artwork and performance piece by deaf concept artist, Chisato Minamimura, through which over 50 deaf and hearing young people took place in workshops in a vibrotactile setting, to learn of the experience of deaf hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bomb). A project by Clod Ensemble shared learning about Noh with artists and the general public through events, workshops and online resources; and ‘Flight Paths’, a collaborative production between Extant and Yellow Earth which, inspired by the traditions of Biwa Hoshi players, tells the stories of three visually impaired artists and their migration to the UK, used Japan Society small grant funding to create an online digital resource to provide background and context. The show can be seen throughout the UK in early 2019.
Small grants were also given in support of a series of workshops including tenugui screen printing, wood block printing and haiku run by the West Yorkshire Print Workshop in conjunction with its Japanese summer exhibition; a Japanese translation workshop at the School of Modern Languages in Cardiff; the 2018 Japanese Avant-Garde and Experimental Film Festival, and Japan Now 2018, a festival exploring contemporary Japanese literature, film and culture.
An Exploration of Noh Theatre
Following a research trip to Japan, London based performance company, Clod Ensemble, held events sharing their learning of the traditional Japanese practice of Noh theatre with artists and the general public.
Arashi No Ie/Stormy House
A series of creative workshops for young people in Yorkshire, working with two Japanese artists to create content for a cross-cultural installation/performance exploring the ghosts of Wuthering Heights through traditional stories from Japan.
A play inspired by the Biwa Hôshi of medieval Japan – blind itinerant storytellers who journeyed around the country making a living from their performances of epic tales. Based on verbatim interviews, the play tells the personal stories of three visually impaired performers migrating to the UK.
Japan Society North West: Japan Day 2018
Organised by the Japan Society North West, through a large range of stalls and demonstrations, this free to attend event helped to introduce Japanese culture to people in the North West of England.
Japanese Summer Festival 2018
A family friendly summer festival held in Brighton with activities including Japanese language lessons, Japanese folk music, a tea ceremony, martial arts demonstration, calligraphy and origami workshops plus Japanese food and drinks.
Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival 2018
Stop motion and animation workshops as part of the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival for local children with demonstrations from an animation director and a senior stop-motion animator.
Lincoln Japan Festival
An annual celebration of Japanese Culture, aimed at all ages taking place in venues across Lincoln City Centre, the festival includes cultural workshops and events, performances, art exhibitions and a Japanese film festival.
The Court of the Shogun
A key event in the Royal Armouries’ Summer programme inviting visitors to sixteenth century Japan and the court of the Shogun Tokugawa leyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate with activities for all ages and live demonstrations.
The Universal Language of the Body
Whitley Academy in Coventry invited Tokyo based theatre company 'Tarinainanika' to perform a bilingual physical theatre piece set in Tokyo, offering students an insight into life in Japan.