Radicalism in the Wilderness
Delve into the radical experiments of artists from 1960s Japan who made groundbreaking contributions to the development of international postwar art in defiance of existing conventions. Little known in the U.S., artist Yutaka Matsuzawa and the two collectives The Play and GUN challenged established norms to expand the definition of visual art through language, performance, mail art, land art, and political art. Radicalism in the Wilderness surveys the range of their projects, at times colorful, imaginative, and playful, but also inextricably linked to complex social, political, and cultural issues of the turbulent and innovative 1960s.
Notes on Ticketing:
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Next event4/20/2019 11:00 AM
The Age of Our Own
[Globus Film Series] April 20, 4:30 PM
This controversial film by director Koreyoshi Kurahara is based on a story by Nobel Prize-winning author Kenzaburo Oe, adapted by Yoshio Shirasaka, a prolific writer who scripted masterpieces under every major Japanese production company (including Yasuzo Masumura’s 1958 film Giants and Toys at Daiei studios). A college student seeks to study abroad in France to escape his daily troubles in Japan only to be met with endless frustration and ultimately forced to live an aimless life of disillusionment. Among Nikkatsu's most political films, The Age of Our Own reveals a complex, multi-faceted reaction to the anti-Anpo struggle and its contexts.
Next event4/20/2019 4:30 PM
The Warped Ones
[Globus Film Series] April 20, 7 PM
The game-changing experimentation of Nikkatsu taiyozoku
(“Sun Tribe”) films like Ko Nakahira’s Crazed Fruit
(1956) and Toshio Masuda’s Perfect Game
(1958) paved the way for this representative work of the studio’s New Wave by Koreyoshi Kurahara
. A jazz-obsessed delinquent and a reckless sex worker are released from juvenile detention and wreak havoc on everyone in their paths, including the newspaper reporter who got them arrested and his bourgeois artist fiancée. Kurahara’s indelible portrait of amoral youth features striking high-contrast black and white compositions, bold camera movements and a propulsive jazz score, anchored by Tamio Kawachi
’s mesmerizingly feral performance.
Next event4/20/2019 7:00 PM
Blood is Dry
[Globus Film Series] April 23, 7 PM
Kiju Yoshida's second film for Shochiku is a fierce critique of mass media, advertising and capitalist consumerism. When his employers announce massive layoffs, a salaryman takes a gun to his head in a plea for mercy on behalf of his colleagues only to unwittingly become the center of an insurance company’s advertising campaign that exploits his desperate gesture for profit and markets him as a hero. Paired with Nagisa Oshima’s Night and Fog in Japan (1960) as a double bill, both films were pulled from theaters days after opening due to the politically motivated censorship of Oshima’s allegedly inflammatory film.
Next event4/23/2019 7:00 PM
The Samurai Vagabonds
[Globus Film Series] April 26, 7 PM
Virtually unknown outside of (and even within) Japan, this Shochiku New Wave gem is set in a mining bunkhouse wherein a woman who survives a double suicide becomes entwined in a peculiar relationship with her dead lover's brother, a killer on the run. Another significant yet overlooked progenitor of the New Wave’s theoretical and formal ideals, Tsutomu Tamura only made this one film as a director before leaving Shochiku to create an independent production company with Nagisa Oshima and write scripts for many of the renown director’s films, including The Catch (1961), Violence at Noon (1966) and Boy (1969).
Next event4/26/2019 7:00 PM
The Tragedy of Bushido
[Globus Film Series] April 27, 5 PM
Written and directed by newcomer Eitaro Morikawa for Shochiku’s Kyoto studio, The Tragedy of Bushido is the first jidaigeki period drama produced by the New Wave. After a clan lord dies, a young samurai in 17th century Japan is forced to follow him in death through ritual suicide in accordance with an archaic bushido custom. Drawing a connection between the oppressive values of absolute fealty within the samurai moral code and the bureaucratic political systems of postwar Japan that continued to place priority on obedience and obligation over individual freedoms, Morikawa gave birth to a new kind of post-Anpo jidaigeki.
Next event4/27/2019 5:00 PM
Only She Knows
[Globus Film Series] April 27, 7 PM
The debut film by Osamu Takahashi, assistant director on Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story (1953) and a Shochiku New Wave leading figure who launched the film journal Shichinin (The Seven) with his circle of fellow assistant directors (including Nagisa Oshima and Kiju Yoshida). A young woman is attacked by a serial rapist and murderer whom her detective father (played by Ozu regular Chishu Ryu) is investigating. Though she survives, the impact of the event creates increasing discord and agony for her and her loved ones. After this auspicious debut, Takahashi went on to make a couple more films for Shochiku before going independent and eventually becoming well-known as a novelist.
Next event4/27/2019 7:00 PM
Toshiko Mori: Transforming Communities Through Architecture
[Lecture] May 1, 6:30 PM
Good design can have a profound impact on local art and communities, as exemplified by the Setouchi region of Japan. In the post-World War II period, there was significant patronage of modern art and architecture in this region. In 1958, Kenzo Tange, whose work combines modern architecture with traditional Japanese techniques and symbolism, designed Kagawa Prefecture's governmental office building. This sparked an artistic renaissance, and the area has become an internationally acclaimed creative hub centered around the Setouchi Art Triennale. At this talk, Prof. Toshiko Mori, founder of Toshiko Mori Architect PLLC and Professor of Architecture at Harvard University, examines this unique artistic and architectural phenomenon. She will also touch on her two projects in villages in Senegal that share a similar ambition to create peace and stability by integrating contemporary architecture with vernacular buildings and local culture.
Next event5/1/2019 6:30 PM
Children's Day 2019
[Family Event] May 5, 11 AM - 4 PM (festival hours)
Momotaro Theater Performance: 12 PM, 1:30 PM, & 3 PM
Hang the koinobori (carp streamers) and don your kabuto (samurai helmet)—Children's Day is on its way! Come join us for Japan’s national holiday where all children are stars and their happiness is celebrated. Enjoy a performance of Peach Boy (Momotaro) featuring storytelling, music, dance, taiko drumming and lots of audience participation. Continue the adventure with other authentic Kodomo no Hi activities!
Next event5/5/2019 12:00 PM
Mixing it Up: Summer Sake Cocktails
[Lecture] May 7, 6:30 PM
Get an early start to summer with a sake cocktail workshop highlighting the tastes of the season! Certified sake sommelier Chris Johnson teaches you how to select the right mixers for your sake of choice, determine the correct proportions, and finish it all off with the perfect garnish. Each participant will mix and enjoy several sake cocktails and receive a cocktail-making kit to take home after the workshop.
Next event5/7/2019 6:30 PM
Afraid to Die
[Film] May 10, 7 PM
Clad in a black leather jacket, renowned Japanese writer Yukio Mishima struts and preens as a small-time yakuza underboss in this oddity of postwar Japanese cinema directed by Yasuzo Masumura. Fresh out of jail and hiding out above a rundown Tokyo movie theater, the unsympathetic tough is hounded by a rival gang and an asthmatic killer-for-hire as he struggles to reconcile his criminal life with a newfound love interest (Ayako Wakao). Afraid to Die screens in celebration of a brand new English translation of Mishima's 1961 novella Star (New Directions Publishing, 2019), a fictionalized account of his experience working on Masumura's film.
Next event5/10/2019 7:00 PM
Creative Play May 12
[Creative Play] May 12, 1 PM
Experience the Japanese legend of carp fish who used their bravery to swim to the top of a waterfall to eventually become dragons. Play with carp and dragon puppets and an imaginary waterfall, and make your own carp to take home! Koinobori (carp streamers) are commonly flown above the roofs of kids’ houses for Children’s Day in May.
Next event5/12/2019 1:00 PM
Family Workshops May 12
[Family Workshop] May 12, 2:30 PM
Learn about The Way of Tea as you participate in an authentic Japanese tea ceremony.
Next event5/12/2019 2:30 PM
Ashita no Ma-Joe: Rocky Macbeth
[Theater] May 15, 7:30 PM
May 16, 7:30 PM
May 17, 7:30 PM
May 18, 2:30 PM
May 18, 8:30 PM
Yu Murai, founder of the Theater Company Kaimaku Pennant Race, cleverly retells Macbeth through the 1960s mega-hit manga Ashita no Joe, providing insight into how the tale of one young man's rise from delinquent to professional boxer parallels that of the Scottish king. Littered with reimaginings of famous scenes from both works, this production is sure to titillate Shakespeare and manga lovers alike. Murai uses the mythos surrounding the boxer Joe to create a nonsensical theatrical production that cheekily smashes together two worlds fraught with angst and ambition.
Next event5/15/2019 7:30 PM
Invisible Mending: The Magic of Kimono Restoration
[Lecture] May 21, 6:30 PM
Some might see a tear or stain on a beautiful kimono and think the garment can never be restored to its former glory. But Japan's kimono restoration artisans aim to do just that. These master craftsmen can make small holes seem to disappear as though they never existed, and completely transform discolored garments. High-end apparel makers around the world have taken note, and are now applying these techniques to conserving Western fashions like suits and gowns. At this talk, Koshiro Tatematsu of kimono restoration service Chojiya unravels some of the mysteries behind these fascinating mending techniques, and reveals how they're being used in the fashion world today.
Next event5/21/2019 6:30 PM
Exploring the Global 1960s and Its Impact
[Gallery Event] May 31, 6:30 PM
During the 1960s, imaginative and innovative artistic practices figuratively and literally explored the concept of “wilderness.” Far away from Tokyo, artists executed radical experimentalism in remote settings, placing the foundation of their work outside of conventional art making. In this discussion, postwar art historian and critic Michio Hayashi (Professor, Sophia University, Tokyo), Radicalism guest curator Reiko Tomii and another expert illuminate the vanguard movement of the 1960s and after. Moderated by Japan Society Gallery Director Yukie Kamiya.
Next event5/31/2019 6:30 PM
Annual Sake Lecture & Tasting: Drinking Vessels
[Lecture & Tasting] June 4, 6:30 PM
Throughout Japanese history, great care has gone into the creation of sake drinking and serving vessels. From brilliantly lacquered flasks to sedate wabi-sabi cups, many of these vessels are true works of art. Your choice of sake vessel can even affect your drinking experience, with size, shape, material and other aspects impacting the temperature, taste and even manner of consuming. At Japan Society's 22nd Annual Sake Lecture and Tasting, sake expert Timothy Sullivan explores the traditions and variety of sake vessels, from practical to playful, to help up your sake game.
Next event6/4/2019 6:30 PM
Japan Boom, 1954, New York
[Gallery Event] June 8, 4 PM
In 1954, Japan had an enormous cultural impact on New York City through artists Ruth Asawa, Saburo Hasegawa, Isamu Noguchi, Kenzo Okada, ceramicist/calligrapher Rosanjin and architect Junzo Yoshimura. Specialists explore the sensational Japan Boom that occurred before the global 1960s.
Next event6/8/2019 4:00 PM
Creative Play June 9
[Creative Play] June 9, 1 PM
Listen to a story about Sports Day and play some unique Japanese sports day games like tamaire, and the silly pan-kui kyoso to win prizes! Communities and schools across Japan celebrate Sports Day with a sports festival which is similar to a mini Olympics.
Next event6/9/2019 1:00 PM
Family Workshops June 9
[Family Workshop] June 9, 2:30 PM
Learn how to fold your own origami creations and watch a giant origami folding demo!
Next event6/9/2019 2:30 PM
Born Bone Born
[Film] June 14, 7 PM
Winner of the JAPAN CUTS 2018 Audience Award, this moving, comedic family drama returns to Japan Society for an encore screening in anticipation of the upcoming 13th edition of JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film (July 18—28). A visibly pregnant woman returns home to the remote Okinawan island of Aguni four years after her mother's death to find that her alcoholic father is still in mourning. As the gathered family works through lingering resentments and village gossip, they make preparations for the island's ancient senkotsu ritual in which the remains of the deceased are exhumed and the bones are washed clean.
Next event6/14/2019 7:00 PM