JFNY & CGP NEWSLETTER | March 19, 2021
Pop Culture
2.5-Dimensional (2.5D) musicals are stage adaptations from two-dimensional media such as anime, manga and video games. This new genre of Japanese pop culture has gained remarkable popularity in Japan since the debut of Musical The Prince of Tennis in 2003. In this panel discussion, Dr. Akiko Sugawa-Shimada, Dr. Zihui Amethy Lu, and Dr. Mayuko Fujiwara will introduce the uniqueness of 2.5D musicals using examples such as The Prince of Tennis, Sailor Moon, Naruto, and Touken Ranbu. They will be comparing it with other conventional musicals, history of Japanese theatre, as well as discussing where 2.5D musicals fit in the larger scheme of the 2.5D culture and why they are expanding.

The discussion will be followed by a live Q&A. If you have any questions about the adaptation of anime and manga to the stage, please submit them through Eventbrite when you register.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival’s signature Opening Ceremony, an artistic celebration of the 1912 gift of trees from Tokyo to Washington, D.C., and an annual tribute to the longstanding friendship between Japan and the United States, will be livestreamed on Saturday, March 20 at 6pm.

The lineup for this year’s Opening Ceremony includes 2.5-Dimensional Musicals, LA-based taiko group TAIKOPROJECT, award-winning tap dancer Kazunori Kumagai, and the Matsumoto Arigasaki Senior High School Japanese Calligraphy Club with members of Alexandria, VA’s Hayfield Secondary School.

This event is co-organized by the National Cherry Blossom Festival and The Japan Foundation.

Japanese Studies
Join us for the latest installment of Illuminating Japanese Studies: Lecture Series with Former JF Fellows. Our third session is titled “Reading Kimonos in Modern Japanese Literature: The Case of Kōda Aya” with JF Former Fellow Dr. Michiko Suzuki, Associate Professor of Modern Japanese Literature and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Davis. This talk will explore depictions of kimonos in modern Japanese literature. Focusing on the writer Kōda Aya (1904-90), it covers the ways kimonos serve critical roles in literary interpretation, as a unique means of communication between author and reader. The following discussion and live Q&A session will be moderated by Dr. Kimberly Kono, Professor of Japanese in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Smith College, where she is also affiliated with the Program for the Study of Women and Gender and the Translation Studies Concentration.

Pre-registration is encouraged but not required, and a recording will be available on YouTube after the event.

March 22 - 26,10am - 12pm & 1:30pm - 3pm EDT
The Japan Foundation, New York is a proud participant of the annual conference of Association for Asian Studies (AAS), the largest association open to all persons interested in Asia and the study of Asia. Every year, we host an information booth to share our grant programs with hundreds of Japanese Studies scholars.

Visit our first-ever Virtual Booth at this year's online conference! Japan Foundation staff are available for live video chats to discuss your project ideas and suggest funding opportunities.

The third installment of JFNY Literary Series will feature Kanako Nishi and her translator Allison Markin Powell, moderated by writer Kyoko Nakajima. Nishi is an award-winning writer who has published more than two dozen books in Japan. Several of her writings are available in English online, all of which were translated by Powell. We invite questions for the guests to be submitted via the online form by Monday, April 5, 5pm EDT. Further details of this session will be announced soon.

The previous session, JFNY Literary Series: Sayaka Murata x Ginny Tapley Takemori, is now online. Watch here.
Dr. Takeo Hoshi (University of Tokyo) and Dr. Phillip Lipscy (University of Toronto) will draw on their recently published co-edited book The Political Economy of the Abe Government and Abenomics Reforms in a talk on Abe era economic reforms (2012-2020), as well as implications in the post-Abe era. The presentation is in English, but questions in Japanese will also be accepted. Dr. Lipscy is an Abe Fellow and a member of the U.S.-Japan Network for the Future. This event is co-organized by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Tokyo Office and CGP.

Dallas Contemporary’s career survey of Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara will bring together a large selection of paintings, drawings, and sculptures from 2006 to the present, many of which are being exhibited for the first time. The survey will explore how Nara’s art conjures a realm rich in feeling while referencing the artist’s autobiography as well as broader cultural issues. This exhibition is supported through the Exhibitions Abroad Support Program. 

The World Kamishibai Forum celebrates the diversity of kamishibai (a Japanese storytelling form using illustrated boards) performance styles, venues, and applications around the world today. In this webinar, Bob and Margaret Eisenstadt (Kamishibai for Kids) will join Tara McGowan and Donna Tamaki to interview featured guests Hazuki Kataoka and David Battino (Storycard Theater), Erica Siskind (Oakland Public Library), and Elizabeth Overmyer (The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco). There will be live Q&A. To sign up or watch previous webinars, click here. This event is supported by CGP.
Cultural Event
March 25, 6pm EDT
The Japan Society of Boston launches a new podcast series titled My Japan Journey - The Untold Stories behind the Cultural Encounters That Transform Our Lives. This podcast series shows how exploring a new culture not only enriches one's life but alters them in deep and meaningful ways, which often leads to lifelong involvement in bridging the two beautiful cultures of the United States and Japan. The first podcast features an interview with anime expert Dr. Susan NapierWatch the podcast launch event on the Japan Society of Boston's YouTube channel. This event is supported through the CGP Relief Grant for U.S.-Japan Grassroots Exchange under Covid-19 Challenges.
JFNY Recommends
March 20
As part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Blues Alley hosts the Japanese Jazz Series featuring three talented musicians, Miki Yamanaka (6pm), Eri Yamamoto (8pm), and Yoko Miwa (10pm), co-presented with the Embassy of Japan and the Japan-America Society. Get a free streaming pass here.
For inquiries, please contact: info@jfny.org
Image credits:

(Clockwise from top left):
Live Spectacle NARUTO
©Masashi Kishimoto, Scott/SHUEISHA/Live Spectacle “NARUTO” Production Committee 2019
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Musical
©Naoko Takeuchi・PNP / Musical“Sailor Moon”Production Committee 2017
Kazunori Kumagai. Photo by Makoto Ebi.
TAIKOPROJECT. Photo courtesy of the artists.

(From left to right) Dr. Takeo Hoshi, Dr. Phillip Lipscy, the cover of The Political Economy of the Abe Government and Abenomics Reforms.

Yoshitomo Nara, NO WAR, 2019. Acrylic on wood. 117 x 103.5 x 7 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Photo courtesy of World Kamishibai Forum.

(From left to right) Miki Yamanaka, Eri Yamamoto, Yoko Miwa. Photos courtesy of the artists.