[Lecture & Book Signing] April 4, 6:30 PM
A growing movement in Japan is choosing to part with their possessions and appreciate the beauty of less. These extreme minimalists may limit their wardrobe to only 20 items of clothing or choose to forgo a bed, paring their home down to the bare essentials. Inspired by the aesthetics and principles of traditional Zen Buddhism, Japan’s new minimalists say their transformation to simple living has freed them to spend time on other pursuits. Fumio Sasaki, minimalist and author of Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism, joins us at Japan Society to discuss how he opted for minimalism over materialism and share his insight on this life-altering philosophy. Followed by a book signing and reception.
This program will be presented in Japanese with consecutive interpretation in English.
[Monthly Classics] April 7, 7 PM
The fourth episode in the immensely popular 25-film action series features iconic blind swordsman Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) going up against a legion of local yakuza henchmen who target him after he defeats them in a wrestling tournament and then kills one of their own in self-defense. To complicate things, a former romantic interest reenters Zatoichi's life and a hot-tempered ronin, to whom she is married, seeks to end it for a reward. Composer Akira Ifukube, most famous for his work on the Godzilla film series, provides a characteristically spare and artful score.
[Concert] April 28th at 7:30 PM
Calling all monster movie enthusiasts for an evening filled with your favorite marches, melodies, vibes and reverbs from the Japanese cult classic Godzilla! Performed by Japan’s forever-young techno-pop band Hikashu and special guest musicians including the spunky sister duo Charan-Po-Rantan, this concert showcases the remarkable range of music composed by Akira Ifukube (1914—2006), who was known for creating some of the most memorable aural moments in cinematic history. A not-to-be-missed event that brings these menacing monsters to life through music!
[Lecture] May 1, 6:30 PM
“What Safecast proves is that all the preparation in the world-all the money in the world-still fails if you don’t have a rapid, agile, resilient system.” —Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab
When the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant experienced a meltdown after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, people scrambled to get accurate data on radiation. Geiger counters were suddenly a hot commodity. In that moment of crisis, a group of global citizens rose to the occasion to launch Safecast, an open data platform to track, monitor and share data on the radiation levels in Fukushima and throughout Japan. Safecast enlisted the help of volunteers who collected the data from all over Japan, and even built its own DIY Geiger counter kit. Pieter Franken, the Co-Founder of Safecast, will look back Safecast’s evolution—a prime example of citizen science embracing open data and open source—in the last six years and the challenges that they face today as they expand their data gathering efforts beyond radiation levels.
[Talk] May 10, 6:30 PM
Japan's hand-crafted wooden boats, admired for their timeless beauty and precise construction, have a rich history in the island nation. Fearing that the techniques, designs and secrets of this trade might disappear within one or two generations, craftsman and Japanese boat specialist Douglas Brooks embarked on a quest to preserve and document these time-honored traditions. Brooks, author of the comprehensive survey Japanese Wooden Boatbuilding, joins us to share what he discovered on his journey to fishing villages around Japan, where he interviewed elderly master boat builders and, in six cases, became their last apprentice. Moderated by Dane Owen, founder and owner of Shibui Japanese Antiques and Furniture.
[Talk] May 17, 6:30 PM
The transformation of a manga from Japanese original to English edition is an art that goes far beyond translation alone. At this panel discussion, editors from top manga publishers Kodansha Comics (The Ghost in the Shell, Sailor Moon), Vertical, Inc. (Nichijou, Chi's Sweet Home) and Yen Press (Black Butler, Akame ga Kill!) illuminate the creative process of localizing Japanese content for the American reader. Panelists include Ed Chavez, Marketing Director at Vertical, Inc., Tania Biswas, editor at Yen Press and Ben Applegate, Director of Publishing at Penguin Random House for Kodansha Comics.
The talk will include a live demonstration of the translation, editing and lettering process by Deron Bennett, Letterer at AndWorld Design and Ajani Oloye, Manga Editor and Translator at Penguin Random House for Kodansha Comics.
[Workshop] June 4, 2 PM
Elevate your palate as you discover an appreciation for the subtle flavors of sake and the cheeses that complement it best. At this intimate seated session, learn how to craft the perfect sake and cheese pairings, as experts lead guests through a selection of fine sake and artisanal cheeses.
[Lecture & Tasting] June 5, 6:30 PM
As we mark Japan Society's 20th Annual Sake Lecture & Tasting, we look back on how sake trends have changed over the past two decades and what we've learned in that time. Sake expert John Gauntner re-examines the past 19 lectures, spanning topics as diverse as brewing techniques, the role of women in the world of sake and pairing sake with food. Gaunter will also look ahead at what's new in the sake market in America and what we can expect to see in the years to come.