Made in Tokyo: Architecture and Living 1964/2020
Tokyo, the transforming metropolis, has experienced a variety of social, economic and political shifts. The 1964 Summer Games, hosted by Tokyo, was the trigger to facilitate the rapid improvement of infrastructure. And the city is still changing—in advance of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games. Following a period of strong economic growth up to the 1970s, Japan's bubble economy of the 1980s greatly reduced property values. In the new century, the population ratio shifted to elderly-dominant, and the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake critically altered the population's sense of values for living. In response to these significant changes, how does architecture embody the city's transition? What role has architecture played in developing Tokyo? With Japanese architectural firm Atelier Bow-Wow taking on a double role as curator and exhibition designer, this exhibition explores the development of socio-architectural facilities and compares landscapes with art and performance generated from Tokyo between the two seminal worldwide games, in 1964 and 2020.
Next event10/17/2019 12:00 PM
[Session 2] Japan Goes Global: October 19, 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
[Educator Program] Individually Priced Session #2 - Medieval and Early Modern Japan: Encounter with Mongol Empire and Europe
Kamakura Period (1192-1333) and Pre Modern Periods
In this morning session, participants will examine the political rise of warrior (samurai) class with particular focus on how two attempted invasions by the Mongol Empire influenced Japan’s domestic policies. The course also includes how Japan responded to the early contacts with Europeans (Portugal and Spain) and how the introduction of Christianity influenced Japan’s domestic politics, arts and culture.
Age of Global Explorations and Isolation in Tokugawa Period (1603-1868)
The afternoon session will introduce participants to Japan’s seclusion during the Age of Exploration and examine reasons for restricting contact with foreign countries during the early Tokugawa Period. Participants will then examine how global pressures and increased contact in the 19th century helped open Japan to the world through the lens of surging imperialism.
Next event10/19/2019 9:30 AM
Embrace Rural: Why it Matters
[Innovators] October 22, 6:30 PM
From Nebraska to Niigata, rural communities are being neglected out of existence. Rural life is giving way to the muscular expansion of the megacity. And yet, those of us who inhabit places like New York and Tokyo are dependent on rural areas for the energy we consume and the food we eat, and crave a little green corner of the planet to breathe clean air and enjoy the natural environment. Are we dismissing rural communities at our peril? With more than 50 years of experience between them, two key leaders in rural reinvention, Tsuyoshi Sekihara, founder, Kamiechigo Yamazato Fan Club in Joetsu, Niigata and Janet Topolsky, Executive Director, Community Strategies Group, Aspen Institute in Washington, DC, share their experience and insights. They are joined by Richard McCarthy, Slow Food International, and the evening's moderator, New Food Economy editor Kate Cox.
Next event10/22/2019 6:30 PM
Forest Bathing: Seeking Wellness Through Nature
[Lecture] October 23, 6:30 PM
In Japan, the practice of shinrin-yoku, or "forest bathing" is hailed for its therapeutic effects. Proponents believe that by simply immersing ourselves in the atmosphere of a forest, we can soak in the healing power of trees. In a fast-paced world, forest bathing is a chance to be mindful of our surroundings, and to connect with nature through our senses. At this talk, Dr. Yoshifumi Miyazaki, former deputy director of Chiba University's Center for Environment, Health, and Field Sciences and author of Shinrin Yoku: The Japanese Art of Forest Bathing, examines the scientific evidence behind the concept of forest bathing and its potential to enhance wellness and happiness. Discover how you can connect with nature through this Japanese tradition, wherever you live.
Next event10/23/2019 6:30 PM
Kwaidan - Call of Salvation Heard from the Depths of Fear
[Theater] October, 24, 7:30 PM
Japan's scariest ghost stories are brought to life by acclaimed actor Shiro Sano through his dynamic reading of Kwaidan, a collection of Japanese folktales from writer Lafcadio Hearn ( 1850-1904). Also known as Yakumo Koizumi, Hearn was attracted to the beauty of Japan and Shintoism, which incorporates worship of nature, spirits and ancestors. Sano's reading, accompanied by powerful and exquisite live music by distinguished guitarist Kyoji Yamamoto, illustrates Hearn's open-minded view of Japan and the world. Preceding the live performance, folklorist Bon Koizumi, the great-grandson of Hearn and Director of the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum in the city of Matsue, will give a short lecture.
Next event10/24/2019 7:30 PM
Creative Play: Yokai (Creepy Creature) Mask
[Creative Play] October 27, 1 PM
Children will meet some of Japan’s favorite spirits (yokai) like tengu and kappa, and create their own hybrid creature masks in the spirit of Halloween.
Next event10/27/2019 1:00 PM
Family Workshop: Kowai/Kawaii (Spooky/Cute) Basket Making
[Family Workshop] October 27, 2:30 PM
From spooky ghosts to funny goblins, families will learn about Japan’s strange and unusual monsters and design their very own handmade trick-or-treat basket complete with one of Japan’s unique supernatural creatures.
Next event10/27/2019 2:30 PM
[Film] November 1, 7 PM
Tora-san travels to Hokkaido to visit a former oyabun (yakuza boss) whose deathbed wish is to meet his estranged son, a train stoker in the city of Otaru whom he abandoned at birth. Affected by the situation, Tora-san renounces the yakuza lifestyle and seeks to earn an honest living as a laborer in Shibamata. He ends up downriver working at a tofu shop where he falls in love with the shop owner’s daughter Setsuko (Aiko Nagayama) and loses track of his original noble intentions.
Next event11/1/2019 7:00 PM
[Session 3] Japan Goes Global: November 2, 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
[Educator Program] Individually Priced Sessions #3 - Modern Japan: Beginning of US-Japan Relationship to WWII
Beginning of the US-Japan Relationship - Meiji Period (1868-1912)
Participants will examine the rise of Japan on the international stage during the Meiji period with particular focus on the relationship between the United States and Japan. Key topics include the rise of Japanese imperialism, Japan’s connections to other Asian neighbors, and the economic rise and prosperity of Japan within the global economy.
Showa Japan: Foreign Relations and World War II:
Participants will explore the topic of the early Showa period in Japan, with a particular focus on political and foreign policy leading into WWII. Participants will consider and compare different perspectives of imperialism, Japan-U.S political negotiations during this period, and the events of the Asia-Pacific War.
Next event11/2/2019 9:30 AM
Composing for the Sun: A Conversation with Philip Glass
[Performing Arts Talk] November 6, 6:30 PM
In conjunction with the Metropolitan Opera’s presentation of a new production of Akhnaten, Japan Society hosts a conversation with the opera’s celebrated composer Philip Glass. The opera’s title character, an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, moved his society toward the worship of a single god and considered himself the only son of the sun. His sun-god focused religion suggests interesting comparisons and contrasts with Japanese imperial mythology that described the emperor of Japan as a descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu. Glass sits down with Professor Tom Hare of Princeton University—a specialist in Japanese and ancient Egyptian literature and arts—to talk about how he was inspired by and drawn to the Egyptian pharaoh’s story, his strong interest in Japan, and more. Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, who will sing the title role in the production, performs an excerpt from the opera.
Next event11/6/2019 6:30 PM
Family Romance, LLC
[Film] November 8, 7 PM
The latest by Werner Herzog—a self-financed micro budget meta-narrative feature about Japan’s unique “rent-a-family” industry—finds the German director shooting primarily in Tokyo with non-professional Japanese actors. Playing a version of himself, Family Romance’s actual founder Yuichi Ishii stars as a man hired out to play the missing father of a 12-year-old girl.
Next event11/8/2019 7:00 PM
[Session 4] Japan Goes Global: November 9, 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
[Educator Program] Individually Priced Session #4 - Post War Japan
Post-war Japan: Occupation and Recovery
Participants will examine Japan at the end of the war. The session also prepares participants to teach the occupation of Japan, its democratization under the guidance of the US, and how Japanese society was impacted. Key topics to be covered include US impact on the Japanese Constitution, Occupation policies designed to create “democratization,” and the rebuilding of the US-Japan relationship.
Rapid Economic Growth and Decline
Participants will examine Japan’s post-war economic boom and the impact of foreign relations on its economy during the Cold War, Vietnam and Korean Wars as well as the Olympics in 1964. The session will also explore Japan’s period of economic stagnation, known as the “Lost Decade” (1991-2000) in which economic growth abruptly ended and whose consequences Japanese policymakers continue to grapple with.
Next event11/9/2019 9:30 AM
[Film] November 9, 2:30 PM
In this personal documentary by Wim Wenders, the German director travels to Tokyo in 1983 to see if he can find remnants of Yasujiro Ozu, whose work he considers a “holy treasure of cinema,” and reflects on the sights and sounds of the sprawling metropolis he had previously only encountered through the Japanese master’s films.
Next event11/9/2019 2:30 PM
Cherry Blossoms (Kirschblüten - Hanami)
[Film] November 9, 4:30 PM
Following the death of his longtime wife, a grief-stricken grandfather travels to Tokyo and meets a young butoh dancer who helps him tap into his spouse’s lifelong love for the Japanese dance form. A profoundly moving film about loss, love and the possibilities of cross-cultural transcendence by German director and Japanophile Doris Dörrie.
Next event11/9/2019 4:30 PM
Like Someone in Love
[Film] November 9, 7 PM
This Japanese-French co-production directed by Abbas Kiarostami and largely set in Tokyo finds the Iranian auteur continuing his exploration of the complex tension between simulation and reality through this deceptively straightforward story of an escort with a highly volatile and jealous boyfriend who unwittingly enters an ambiguous relationship with an elderly client.
Next event11/9/2019 7:00 PM
Creative Play: Autumn Foliage (Momijigari)
[Creative Play] November 10, 1 PM
Students will learn about the changing of the seasons and explore the colors of autumn through story, song, and a hands-on project!
Next event11/10/2019 1:00 PM
Family Workshop: Japanese Architecture
[Family Workshop] November 10, 2:30 PM
Participants will collaboratively create a bustling metropolis inspired by the development of Tokyo from 1964 to 2020. Families will use a wide range of recyclable and sustainable art materials to explore the ideas of transportation, sporting arenas, and housing with architects from Koko Architecture + Design.
Next event11/10/2019 2:30 PM
Kengo Kuma: Vision of Architecture beyond 2020
[Gallery Talk] November 12, 3 PM
World-renowned architect Kengo Kuma takes inspiration from nature and natural materials in a modernistic approach that explores the recovery and revitalization of the traditional aesthetics of Japanese architecture. The New National Stadium in Tokyo, on which he is working jointly with Taisei Corporation and Azusa Sekkei Co., Ltd., is unveiled in our current exhibition, Made in Tokyo: Architecture and Living, 1964/2020. Kuma will share his recent projects and dynamic vision beyond 2020 through his holistic approach in creating architecture in harmony with the environment towards a new quality of living.
Next event11/12/2019 3:00 PM
Taiten: Noh & Kyogen PERFORMANCE ONLY
[Traditional Theater] November 14, 7:30 PM
November 15, 7:30 PM
November 16, 7:30 PM
Rarely performed in the last century, Taiten is a modern noh play that was created to celebrate the Taisho emperor's enthronement in 1912. In recognition of the arrival of the Reiwa era under Emperor Naruhito, Kuroemon Katayama X, a renowned noh actor and scion of the Kyoto Kanze Association, remounts this historic noh play. Per tradition, the noh play is paired with a comedic kyogen piece. Noritoshi Yamamoto from the prestigious Yamamoto Tojiro Family performs Kagyu (The Snail), one of the most popular pieces from the traditional kyogen repertoire.
Next event11/14/2019 7:30 PM
Taiten: Noh & Kyogen PERFORMANCE & SOIREE
[Traditional Theater] November 14, 7:30 PM
November 15, 7:30 PM
November 16, 7:30 PM
Rarely performed in the last century, Taiten is a modern noh play that was created to celebrate the Taisho emperor's enthronement in 1912. In recognition of the arrival of the Reiwa era under Emperor Naruhito,
Kuroemon Katayama X , a renowned noh actor and scion of the Kyoto Kanze Association, remounts this historic noh play. Per tradition, the noh play is paired with a comedic kyogen piece. Noritoshi Yamamoto from the prestigious Yamamoto Tojiro Family performs Kagyu (The Snail), one of the most popular pieces from the traditional kyogen repertoire.
Next event11/14/2019 7:30 PM
The Basics of Noh
[1-DAY Performing Arts Workshop] November 15, 1 PM
Learn basic movements from one of Japan’s most distinguished theatrical traditions that has been passed down for over 600 years. Led by noh actors from the renowned Kyoto Kanze Association, the workshop will focus on noh’s stylized movements. Enjoy a rare chance to view noh masks and costumes up close as the actors share their expertise and knowledge on this centuries old tradition.
Next event11/15/2019 1:00 PM
[2-DAY] The Basics of Noh and Kyogen
[2-DAY Performing Arts Workshop] November 15, 1 PM
November 16, 1 PM
Learn basic movements from two of Japan’s most distinguished theatrical traditions that have been passed down for over 600 years. The first day will be led by noh actors from the renowned Kyoto Kanze Association, focusing on noh’s physicality and stylized movements. On the second day, members of the Yamamoto Tojiro Family will teach the exaggerated gestures and voice work needed to perform kyogen, noh’s comedic cousin.
Next event11/15/2019 1:00 PM
The Basics of Kyogen
[1-DAY Performing Arts Workshop] November 16, 1 PM
Known for their rigid preservation of this art form’s dignified style, members of the prestigious Yamamoto Tojiro Family of the Okura School of Kyogen will teach the exaggerated gestures and voice work needed to perform kyogen—noh’s comedic cousin. Participants will learn the school’s disciplined sense of physicality as well as hallmark phrases that are spoken by feudal lords and their vassals.
Next event11/16/2019 1:00 PM
Lost in Translation
[Film] November 19, 7 PM
Nearly two decades on, Sofia Coppola’s early aughts classic starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson—about an aging movie star who develops an unexpectedly intimate bond with a young newlywed while they are both staying at the Park Hyatt Tokyo in Shinjuku—continues to be a touchstone of 21st century Western representations of Tokyo on film.
Next event11/19/2019 7:00 PM
Get to Know Nagano: The Home of Nature, History, & Sports
[Lecture] November 20, 6:30 PM
Nestled in the mountains of central Japan, Nagano Prefecture is admired for its many beautiful natural and historical landmarks. A striking black-and-white structure, and the oldest of its kind, Matsumoto Castle is considered a National Treasure. Even long after the 1998 Winter Games, Nagano remains the go-to destination for winter sports in Japan. The region is recognized for its unique cuisine and pristine waters, including rich Shinshu soba, flavorful oyaki dumplings and succulent fruit. At this talk, discover the unique characteristics and rich history of this unforgettable region with Nagano Governor Shuichi Abe.
Next event11/20/2019 6:30 PM
Shichimi Making: Spice of Japan
[Workshop] November 21, 6:30 PM
Spicy, earthy, and a little sweet, shichimi togarashi is a common spice mixture that will add flavor to a wide variety of dishes. This versatile seasoning gained popularity in the Edo period for its medicinal properties, but quickly became a staple in Japanese cuisine. Though found all over Japan, shichimi's flavor profile varies from region to region. At this workshop, Yuki Muroga from Yawataya Isogoro in Nagano will explain the history, preparation and variety of shichimi, and participants will measure and mix their own unique shichimi blend using authentic and high quality ingredients.
Next event11/21/2019 6:30 PM
[Film] November 22, 7 PM
A largely forgotten gem of ’80s American independent cinema by Fran Rubel Kuzui, Tokyo Pop takes us on a breezy tour through bubble era Tokyo, replete with tongue-in-cheek nods to the city’s American-influenced pop culture, with the story of a New York rock ‘n’ roll singer who dreams of making it big in Japan.
Next event11/22/2019 7:00 PM
[Film] November 23, 2 PM
Of the several works French filmmaker Chris Marker made in Japan, this singular essay film that ruminates on memory and time remains the late director’s greatest achievement. An unnamed woman narrates the poetic letters and philosophical reflections of an invisible world traveler whose richest observations are inspired by the people, streets, malls and temples of Tokyo.
Next event11/23/2019 2:00 PM
[Film] November 23, 4:30 PM
December 7, 2 PM
A distinguished trio of non-Japanese filmmakers converge to offer wildly varying and accomplished short films that take inspiration from Tokyo. Includes a whimsical fable of metamorphosis (Interior Design, Michel Gondry), a reimagined “Godzilla” story (Merde, Leos Carax) and a surreal romance between a hikikomori and pizza delivery girl (Shaking Tokyo, Bong Joon-ho).
Next event11/23/2019 4:30 PM
Fear and Trembling (Stupeur et tremblements)
[Film] November 23, 7 PM
Adapted from Amélie Nothomb’s semi-autobiographical novel by French director Alain Corneau, Fear and Trembling is a sardonic depiction of Japanese corporate culture and gender relations told from a Western perspective that comically (and unbelievably) imagines modern Japan as a closed country still operating under a severe bushido code.
Next event11/23/2019 7:00 PM
Tora-san Meets His Lordship
[Film] December 6, 7 PM
After feeling insulted by his family yet again, Tora-san leaves Shibamata for the city of Ozu in Shikoku where he has a chance meeting with the descendent of a local daimyo (feudal lord). Lonely and in the last years of his life, the Lord seeks to reconcile with his deceased son’s wife Mariko (Kyoko Maya) whom he has never met and is living somewhere in Tokyo. Moved, Tora-san takes on the near-impossible task of finding Mariko and benefits from a previous act of kindness.
Next event12/6/2019 7:00 PM
[Session 5] Japan Goes Global: December 7, 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
[Educator Program] Individually Priced Session #5 - Contemporary Japan and Global Relations
Contemporary Japan and its Foreign policy
Participants will explore key developments in Japanese international relations from 1989 (the end of the Cold War) to the present. Key topics will include the use of Japanese defense forces in overseas conflicts, continuation of Article 9 of the Constitution, and the influence of energy policies on Japanese international relations during this era.
US-Japan Alliance – a Case study: “Operation Tomodachi”
Operation Tomodachi was a United States Armed Forces (especially U.S. Forces Japan) assistance operation to support Japan in disaster relief following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. In this afternoon session, Matthew Freely, PhD., a former Navy captain who engaged in the operation, will share his case study as well as a personal story from the devastation and the US-Japan coordinated relief efforts.
Next event12/7/2019 9:30 AM
House of Bamboo
[Film] December 7, 4:30 PM
A hard-boiled and entertaining crime thriller from the great Samuel Fuller—the first Hollywood director to shoot full color CinemaScope on location in postwar Japan—that offers a fascinating glimpse of Tokyo immediately after the American occupation and a decade before it opened its doors to the rest of the world with the 1964 Olympics.
Next event12/7/2019 4:30 PM
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
[Film] December 7, 7 PM
Directed by Justin Lin, the divisive third entry in the immensely popular Fast & Furious franchise restarts the film series by shifting the four-wheel action to Tokyo where an outsider teen sets out to become top gaijin and unseat the local “Drift King” in the underground world of illegal drift racing.
Next event12/7/2019 7:00 PM
Creative Play: Nengajo Postcards
[Creative Play] December 8, 1 PM
Families will explore Japanese New Year’s traditions and print their own cards for the holidays! Similar to the Western custom of sending holiday cards, in Japan there is a tradition of sending New Year’s postcards, called nengajo.
Next event12/8/2019 1:00 PM
Family Workshop: Woodblock Printing
[Family Workshop] December 8, 2:30 PM
Families will explore Japanese woodblock printmaking techniques practiced by hanga masters, and create their own woodblock prints using authentic Japanese materials with a contemporary twist.
Next event12/8/2019 2:30 PM
Stitch & Design: Watoji Bookbinding
[Workshop] December 12, 6:30 PM
Experience the ancient craft of watoji, or Japanese bookbinding, a traditional method that has long been used to stitch and bind literary works together. At this workshop, mixed media artist Amanda Hu will instruct participants on how to create their very own hand-bound book using beautiful washi paper—perfect for notes, journals, or scrapbooks! Participants of all skill levels will leave this workshop with a greater appreciation for traditional bookbinding as well as a charming memento of their experience.
Next event12/12/2019 6:30 PM
The Unknown Dancer in the Neighborhood
[Contemporary Theater] January 10, 7 PM
January 11, 7 PM
January 12, 1 PM
January 14, 7 PM
Back by popular demand after his North American debut of Girl X in 2017 at Japan Society, Suguru Yamamoto, one of Japan's hottest young playwright-directors and founder of theater company HANCHU-YUEI, returns with his latest one-man dance theater piece. The Unknown Dancer in the Neighborhood features Yamamoto's signature directing style, in which characters’ thoughts are conveyed through projected words, alluding to the millennial generation's preferred mode of communication—texting. Blending movement, photography and colorful lighting,Yamamoto reveals the indifference and tenderness of a metropolis where the lives of complete strangers continuously interact and coalesce.
Next event1/10/2020 7:00 PM
Fruits borne out of rust
[Contemporary Dance] March 6, 7:30 PM
March 7, 7:30 PM
Isolation, contagion and instability: Fruits borne out of rust, conceived of and directed by internationally known Japanese visual artist Tabaimo, uses drawings, video installations and live music to probe these unsettling themes that lurk beneath daily existence. Her intricate animations transform the stage into a wood floor apartment, a large birdcage that traps the dancer with a dove, and a line of tatami mats that swallows the dancer whole. Tabaimo's collaborator, award-winning choreographer Maki Morishita, mischievously blends the subtle movements of the dancer's fingers and toes with the dynamic drive of her limbs and torso, enhancing Tabaimo's peculiar and introspective world.
Next event3/6/2020 7:30 PM
Play Reading Series: Cooking Up
[Play Reading] March 30, 7:30 PM
The real and the surreal come together at a small French restaurant in Japan in Cooking Up, written by emerging playwright and director Shoko Matsumura. One of the finalists for the prestigious Kishida Kunio Drama Award, the play takes an unusual turn when the head chef’s wife asks her husband’s mistress to take the place of their missing house cat. Jordana De La Cruz, Co-Director of the OBIE Award-winning performance venue JACK in Brooklyn, directs this absurd sojourn into the private lives of the restaurant’s employees.
Next event3/30/2020 7:30 PM
[Contemporary Theater] May 8, 7:30 PM
May 9, 7:30 PM
May 10, 2:30 PM
What's going on behind the scenes in the lead-up to the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics? One of Japan's most influential theater makers, Oriza Hirata, offers a comedic answer to this question through two one-act plays. Control Officers recounts a single scene in which the top male Olympic hopefuls in swimming undergo a routine doping test. Hilarity ensues when the control officers try to remain neutral as the ongoing interpersonal drama between the swimmers unfolds before them. In addition, Hirata will also write a new companion piece about the Paralympics especially for this New York engagement. Hirata's theater company Seinendan, in its fourth North American tour, performs both pieces.
Next event5/8/2020 7:30 PM