Japan comes calling
Around 60 years ago, Japan and India signed an agreement to develop and deepen cultural ties between the two nations. To celebrate this anniversary, the Japan Foundation, which promotes the island nation’s cultural exchanges with other countries, and the embassy of Japan are organizing a Japan Festival, starting today, in Delhi.
The festival, which will run till 8 December, begins with a performance by pianist Makoto Kuriya’s Creative Jazz Ensemble. This will be followed by a concert by Wasabi, a group renowned for making traditional Japanese instruments appealing to youngsters in that country.
“We chose the Japanese artists based on how we felt an Indian audience would connect with the performances, since we believe that cultural exchange should happen at the individual level, not just the national,” says Misako Futsuki, director of arts and cultural exchange of the Japan Foundation.
Interestingly, Gennoshin Yasui of the Makoto Kuriya Jazz Ensemble, one of Japan’s most well-known percussionists, works for a Gurugram-based insurance company. Another Japanese artist with an Indian link is Hiromu Motonaga, the shakuhachi (a Japanese bamboo flute) player in Wasabi, who came to the country last year to collaborate with Indian artists.
“I don’t just perform my music, I always try to have a dialogue with the members, the atmosphere of the venue, the audience and the city we perform in. It’s also a feature of jazz—this interaction which produces a sound that is made only for the moment of that interaction. It’s a rare treasure when the music makes everything connect,” says Kuriya.
There will be film screenings too. On 31 October, Yoshinori Sato’s Her Mother will be shown. “I made this film after learning about how people who have lost their loved ones to murder oppose the death penalty for the perpetrator,” says the director. “Many oppose the death penalty because of religious values, but some opposed it irrespective of religion. I wanted to think deeply about what it is like for the bereaved to have a dialogue with the murderer,” adds Sato.
From 2-5 November, there will be a retrospective of Akira Kurosawa, with movies being screened every evening at the India Habitat Centre. From 10-15 November, there will be a Japanese Film Festival at the PVR Sangam Theatre Complex in R K Puram.
The festival will conclude with Goyokai, a traditional Japanese dance, Kathak and Indian classical music on 8 December.
The Japan Festival is being held from 27 October-8 December at different venues in Delhi. Seating on first-come, first-served basis. For details, contact 9418718839 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.