Small Grants 2019
In 2019, the Japan Society Small Grants scheme gave £20,286 of funding in support of 33 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.
Eighteen of the grants awarded were for projects taking place in schools or for activity involving young people. This included a Japanese tea bowl making workshop at the Skip Garden where local children from schools in Islington and Camden were invited to create their own tea bowl and learn about the tradition of the tea ceremony. Support for Coventry Young Ambassadors enables children from 75 local primary schools to take part in art and culture workshops over a two year period to learn about Japan in preparation for a city centre exhibition in summer 2020.
The 14th Andover (Stockbridge) Scout Group enjoyed a Japan themed summer camp, crafting their own samurai armour out of cardboard and trying their hand at taiko drumming in the open air, and Newport Girls’ High School invited a class of Year 5 students to a ‘Taste of High School’ session with the school’s own Japanese Society, who taught the students some Japanese and provided a little insight into Japanese life, as well as allowing them to try their hand at sushi making and origami workshops.
Once again the Society supported Ohisama Ahaha Brighton’s Japanese Cultural Festival which saw local people come together to enjoy Japanese food, music and crafts in a warm, family friendly setting. The week-long Lincoln Japan Festival offered opportunities to participate in workshops, performances and other immersive experiences, celebrating traditional and modern Japanese art and culture.
In August, Tara Arts presented Ainu Othello, a stage adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy Othello, set in Hokkaido in 1860. Support from the Japan Society allowed the project to broaden its reach by including subtitles during the performances, giving the audience a greater insight into the story and the diversity of both modern and historical Japanese culture.
Charlotte Linton and craftspeople from the Kanai Kougei workshop of Amami Oshima gave a series of lectures and mud-dyeing (dorozome) workshops at South London’s Horniman Museum, Oxford University and the Royal College of Arts offering a unique insight into the traditional craft technique of mud dyeing. Workshop participants were given the rare opportunity to try first hand dyeing a cloth using mud brought over to the UK especially from the island.
In Glasgow, the exhibition ‘The Kimono: A Portrait of a Japanese Family’ presented a personal collection of kimono dating back from the 1950s to more recent pieces, including day-wear as well as traditional ceremonial wear. Support for ‘Court of the Shogun’ at the Royal Armouries, enabled organisers to offer crafts for younger visitors, a Samurai School for under 14s and an opportunity to ‘meet’ Shogun Tokuwaga leyasu and hear stories from his life.
A Celebration of Pontypool and Japan
A week of events introducing the local community to aspects of Japan and Japanese culture, celebrating the unique relationship between Japan and the town of Pontypool and the world-famous Pontypool Japan tinware.
Tara Arts invited Professor Kazumi Shimodate of Tohoku Gakuin University and his theatre production ‘Ainu Othello’, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, to London to present the cultural diversity in Japan by using Shakespeare Plays.
Between The Stones – Getting to Noh from Page to Stage
The Between the Stones Project comprised the development of a new English language noh drama by Jannette Cheong and Richard Emmert, plus a programme of education and outreach activities providing an up-close understanding of noh ‘from page to stage’.
Dorozome of Amami Oshima: Mud Dyeing Lecture and Workshop
Three craftspeople from the workshop Kanai Kougei, Amami Oshima, Japan, a company specialising in dorozome (mud dyeing) were invited to the UK to take part in a short programme of lectures and workshops for both academics and the general public.
Exploring Japanese Calligraphy
Students at Chase Bridge Primary School created calligraphy inspired artwork to be put on display, as part of a broader project to embed learning of Japanese language, art and culture into a revised curriculum.
Foyle O-Bon Festival
The fourth edition of the family O-Bon festival held in Derry, Northern Ireland. The festival included taiko drumming, bon odori, lantern processions, Japanese arts and crafts and food demonstrations.
Japanese Avant-Garde and Experimental Film Festival 2019
A programme of classic Japanese Avant-Garde cinema and contemporary experimental short form film screenings complemented by introductions from experts, Q&As, a free panel discussion and a filmmaker’s workshop.
Japanese Tea Bowl Making Workshops at Skip Garden
In a series of workshops a group of young people (aged 14-18) were given the opportunity to make a Japanese tea bowl and to learn about the Japanese tradition of the tea ceremony.
Kimonos: A Personal Collection of a Japanese Family
An exhibition presenting a personal collection of kimono in the context of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s House for an Art Lover, complimented by a study day engaging art fashion and textile students in the techniques and materials of the kimono.
Leicestershire Young Ambassadors’ Japan Conference
An event with a wide range of cultural and sport workshops for Year 5 pupils from Leicestershire primary schools launching a one year project in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020.