The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles Newsletter
New President's Greeting
It was my great pleasure to have assumed the position of president of the Japan Foundation on October 1, 2020.

During my term as ambassador to Switzerland for one year and to Italy for three years, I had the chance to be directly involved in various cultural and artistic events, such as the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries and Japan, as well as the Milan Expo 2015. I witnessed that the outstanding works of Japanese art and culture that were presented gave many people great joy and excitement, and it brought home to me that their respect for Japan and its culture would eventually help to build a solid foundation for favorable relations between Japan and the world.

In Italy, in particular, the Japanese Embassy and the Japan Foundation's Cultural Institute in Rome carried out various cultural projects together, and it made me deeply convinced that the Japan Foundation plays a major role in promoting Japan's soft-power diplomacy.
It is, therefore, a great pleasure and honor for me to be able to be involved in the operation of the Japan Foundation, and I am determined to exert every effort to fulfill my responsibility.

Since its establishment in 1972, the Japan Foundation has comprehensively implemented international cultural-exchange projects around the world, with a focus on three major fields: arts and cultural exchange, Japanese-language education overseas, and Japanese studies and intellectual exchange, to cultivate friendship and ties between Japan and the world.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the situation. Many cities around the world are locked down, and many people are restricted from moving across borders, both of which have made the holding of mass-participation events extremely difficult. This has had a tremendous impact upon the activities of the Japan Foundation.
Although the pandemic seems to have subsided to a certain extent in Japan, the prospects are still unclear, as the number of Coronavirus cases is still surging in many countries.

Under the current circumstances where the international society is inclined to become more divided and inward-looking, with international exchanges dwindling and stagnant, it is all the more important to maintain and further develop the ties between Japan and the world through culture. The Japan Foundation will make more active efforts to expand its online programs in the fields of Japanese-language education, Japanese culture, and intellectual dialogue.

At the same time, the value of face-to-face interaction between people and of the performing arts created by live performers before a live audience is still irreplaceable. Taking sufficient measures to prevent the spread of contagion, we will continue to carry out cultural projects wherever possible, and we will actively explore the possibility of new types of international exchange, combining “virtual” and “real” forms.
The Japan Foundation will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022. With this major milestone in mind, I will do my utmost to promote and develop international cultural-exchange activities that meet the needs of the new era. I would much appreciate your continued assistance for our endeavors.

UMEMOTO Kazuyoshi
The Japan Foundation
New Director's Greeting

My name is Yasuko Uchida. I am very much delighted and relieved to finally arrive here in Los Angeles to assume the position of Director at The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, after many months of delays due to COVID-19.

The world has changed dramatically during that time and especially in the United States where people are feeling a sense of uncertainty, anger, and despair due to the virus, protests for equality, and fires that have clouded our skies.

Due to the pandemic, many of our events and activities have been cancelled or moved online. But despite these limitations, we have continued to pursue our goal of bringing people together through the enjoyment of our programs.

We have learned from our friends all across the country that Japanese language education has been seriously impacted by the pandemic, even worse than what we experienced during the financial crisis a decade earlier. We are tapping into all our resources to support as many of these programs as possible. For cultural events, we are also looking into different opportunities with our partners to create online events that we hope will bring the community together and provide a bit of relief during these turbulent times.

When the time comes, we plan to safely reopen our event space to the public and I look forward to meeting you all in person at that time. Until then, I hope everyone will continue to stay safe.
In spite of the difficult times, we are determined to continue fostering friendships, trust, and mutual understanding through our inspiring language and cultural programs! 

Yasuko Uchida
October 5 - October 26
(Except October 12 - Holiday)
12:30PM PT
Our virtual concert series Music Mondays in September will present more amazing musicians! Bringing some cheer to your lives through music, we will be presenting LIVE performances via Facebook every Monday at 12:30pm.

This month, we will feature the following Artists:

October 5 - Priscilla Ahn: Since her 2008 debut LP, A Good Day, for EMI's Blue Note Records, and its heart-resonant breakout hit, “Dream,” Ahn’s lyrical, original worlds of innocence and melancholy have had a delicate, but profound impact. In 2014, this gifted artist released her electro-pop-infused album, This is Where We Are.
Ahn has made her international presence through Oscar-nominated 2014 Studio Ghibli film, “When Marnie Was There,” which led to her album, Just Know That I Love You, written and recorded at the Ghibli producers’ request and based on the film and its children’s book inspiration. (“That was a joy to work on,” says Ahn. “I was almost writing songs about myself again.”)
Ahn’s latest project, La La La is an album for young children. Long in the planning, the spark that brought La La La to fruition came when Ahn and her husband, actor Michael Weston, welcomed the birth of their son in November 2015.

October 19 - Yumi Torimatsu: Yumi Torimaru is a "Japanese cultural 'Edutainer' with Music" of Kotori Japanese Music ( She has been living in Japan and the States half and half of her life. She founded a Portland-based Taiko group, Takohachi ( in 2007, and performed hundreds of shows locally and internationally. In 2019 she has obtained 'natori' from Tsugaru Shamisen Oyama Kai, and given a stage name, Kotori Oyama. She is also a Bachido ( member. She won a special award and 1st place from the Internet Shinobue Contest 2018 and 2019, which culminated in performing at Shinobue Festa Tokyo 2018 and 2019.

October 26 - Ark Sano: Ark Sano has appeared as a jazz pianist in numerous albums including his two leader albums and four CDs with legendary group Black/Note from prestigious labels such as Columbia and Impulse. While he has appeared on live TV, radio and online broadcasting shows internationally, Ark's abundant performing experience also extends to major Jazz festivals such as North Sea, JVC, Montreal, Monterey and Victoria. 
He graduated from Berklee College of Music with the honor of Summa Cum Laude and is the finalist of Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in 1989. His musical activity expands to performing with his group, as well as in the style of solo piano, both classical and jazz music in live shows and concerts. He is also composing/arranging for various group and ensemble including Japan America Chamber Ensemble, for which he serves as the music director. Besides being the conductor of the ensemble, he is the assistant conductor of Palisades Symphony and Symphony 47 Orchestra.

To participate, please visit JFLA's Facebook page (

Wednesday, October 7 & 21
12:30PM PT (15 Minute Session)
Bilingual Yoga will be offered via JFLA Facebook LIVE!

No need to change clothes or use a yoga mat; you will be seated in a chair at home and receive an instruction from our instructor in bilingual (English and Japanese). Easy and relaxed!

There will be one session starting at 12:30pm. Just go to JFLA's Facebook page ( Refresh and recharge yourself with us at home!

Wednesday, October 14 & 28
12:30PM PT (15 Min Session)
We would like to help during these trying times. Meditation with Japanese Singing Bowl will be offered via JFLA Facebook LIVE!

The singing bowl used for this program harmoniously combines the healing qualities of the Tibetan singing bowl and its Japanese traditional singing bowl. Relax and feel your stress dissipate into thin air as the sounds of the singing bowl lead you into a meditative state.

There will be one session starting at 12:30pm. Just go to JFLA's Facebook page ( Stretch and refresh yourself with us at home!

October 1 - October 31
Our good friend, TABLE FOR TWO USA (TFT) invites everyone to participate in their 6th ONIGIRI ACTION campaign from Oct. 1st (Thu) to Oct 31st (Sat). This campaign aims to provide 1 million school meals to children around the world. During the campaign, every rice-ball-related post on the campaign website or social media with #OnigiriAction will provide five school meals to children in need. Read More

In the month of October, JFLA will host an Onigiri Action event in collaboration with TFT. Stay tuned for upcoming information.
Performing Arts Japan 2021-2022
Call For Applications
Deadline: November 2, 2020
Application for Performing Arts Japan (PAJ) touring and collaboratrion grants for the 2021 – 2022 fiscal year is now open.

Online Events Are Eligible For
Mini Grant for Japanese Arts & Culture
Since COVID-19 has struck the U.S., many all events have been canceled. Many organizations and institutions are shifting from live events to virtual events held online. JFLA’s mini grant will also change to support such events. Examples of eligible online events include lectures, workshops, performing art concerts, exhibitions, and screenings, related to Japanese arts & culture. Expenses such as video recording & editing fees, AV equipment rentals, and studio rentals are covered by this grant. Successful candidates may be granted up to $5,000. Application and guidelines are available to download HERE.
If you have question regarding this grant, please contact
JFLA Support in Response to COVID-19
Advocacy Support Letter 
If your Japanese language program is in danger of being cut due to COVID-19, we will send a support letter to stakeholders (Superintendent, Principal, Dean, etc.).

Please contact for details.

We are also accepting applications for the following grant programs.
Grants for Nationwide/Statewide/Regional-level Events and Projects
(NOT for individual single institutional project)
Non-profit online/virtual events are eligible!
Deadline:  Two months prior to the project start date
Japanese Language Education Update 83
I hope everyone has been getting the hang of their fall semester so far! I cannot believe it’s already October and there is only two more months until the end of 2020. During the month of October, AATJ will be resuming their popular webinar series for the fall. We will be also participating in the webinars and continue to work with AATJ in regards to providing space for Japanese language teachers to grow their skills during these transitional periods brought upon by COVID-19. Even for students, as last semester was in between in-person classes and online classes, I’m sure there were new challenges brought upon this semester. I hope everyone was able to communicate and have some ways of connecting with their classmates virtually. Having conversation practice partners and teammates while taking Japanese is important as receiving feedback is a great motivator to grow your Japanese skills. Next month, we will be participating in ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) virtually, instead of being directly at the convention. It will be a completely new experience for us as we loved meeting everyone face-to-face but we want to remind teachers and students that we are always here and ready to help you out with any Japanese language education question. We are always an email away at !