Classifieds | Archives | Jobs | About TGT | Contact | Subscribe
 | 
Last updated 6 hours, 39 minutes ago
Printer Friendly Version | TGT@Twitter | RSS Feed |
HOME LOCAL MIDEAST ASIA WORLD BUSINESS SPORT OPINION WRITERS
France goes big on Japan with multi-million cultural programme
July 12, 2018
 Print    Send to Friend

PARIS: Since Impressionist artists first clapped eyes on woodblock prints, Japan has been a source of both inspiration and fascination for many in France, which Tokyo has picked for a mammoth cultural offensive.

“There were other candidates, like Moscow or Spain, but it’s the French, more than any other nation, who know Japanese culture the best,” said Korehito Masuda, director of the “Japonismes 2018” programme.

From Gagaku imperial military music to the disconcerting works of contemporary artist Kohei Nawa, the cycle of 67 exhibits and performances aims to highlight Japan’s cultural vibrancy on a scale rarely seen outside the country.

The season kicks off Thursday at La Villette exhibition complex in Paris, where the Teamlab artist collective has installed an immersive digital experience covering two square kilometres (0.8 square miles).

“We wanted to show the continuity of Japanese traditions up to the current day, with the integration of traditional art and technology,” Masuda said.

Tokyo, which has invested more than 30 million euros ($35 million) in the project, also has a more prosaic ambition: Keeping up with a concerted push by longtime rival China to promote its artistic heritage.

Yet specialists say in France at least, Japan’s place in the popular imagination remains secure.

In a sign of the French fascination with the Land of the Rising Sun, this year’s edition of the annual Japan Expo in Paris received 250,000 visitors.

French youths, meanwhile, have long been avid manga readers and star Japanese chefs are the toast of the French gastronomic scene.

“It might have seemed that with the huge cultural investments by China that interest in Japan would suffer, but that hasn’t been the case,” said Michael Lucken, director of France’s National Institute for Eastern Languages and Civilisations.

Love story

Underscoring the importance given to the French shows by Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was to attend Thursday’s inauguration alongside President Emmanuel Macron, before cancelling because of the recent deadly flooding in Japan.

“There’s a love story between France and Japan” which began shortly after the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1858, said Beatrice Quette, curator of the Asian collections at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris.


From the composer Debussy to the poet Baudelaire to painters including Van Gogh and Monet, 19th-century artists were enthralled with “Japanism” and the possibilities it offered their work.

More recently, former president Jacques Chirac was an ardent fan of Japanese art — as well as sumo wrestling — and travelled to the country dozens of times.

Japanese influence also set the standard in France for design, Quette said: “It has to be both beautiful and useful.”

One highlight of the events being planned for “Japonismes 2018” is the first European concert by Hatsune Miku, the computer-generated Japanese pop star who performs as a hologram and has already filled venues in Asia and North America.

Also on deck is a retrospective of films by Naomi Kawase, the first Japanese woman to sit on a Cannes Film Festival jury and a previous winner of one of the festival’s top prizes.

Performances of classical Japanese Kabuki and No theatre are planned, as are electronic music and hip-hop concerts and exhibitions of ancient and modern creations, ranging from 11,000-year-old pottery to dresses from the cutting-edge label Anrealage.

To cap it all, the Eiffel Tower will be bathed in the red and white of the Japanese flag for two nights in September.

Agence France-Presse

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Comments
 
Post a comment
 
Name:
Country:
City:
Email:
Comment:
 
    
    
Other Latest News
Michael Jansen: Fruit of their labour
Palestine’s Al-Haq and Israel’s B’Tselem were among five human rights organisations to receive the 2018 prize awarded by the French government at a ceremony last Monday, ..
Shaadaab S Bakht: No joy in the city
I was born and raised and educated in Calcutta. That’s why my pain is deeper than anybody else’s. Pain at what it has become. The capital of the British empire and home t..
Sensex rises as RBI chief meets bank heads
MUMBAI: The key Indian equity indices traded higher on Thursday with the Sensex gaining over 150 points and Nifty50 ending just short of 10,800 points mark. Almost all th..
Google unveils new shopping search features in India
NEW DELHI: Google on Thursday said it launched shopping search features to make the experience more personal and allow users to easily filter through offers, review price..
Ericsson opens global facility in Bengaluru for AI research
BENGALURU: Swedish networking and telecom major Ericsson on Thursday said it had opened a global Artificial Intelligence (AI) accelerator in this tech hub for research an..
FRONTPAGE
 
GALLERY
 
PANORAMA
 
TIME OUT
 
SPORT
 
 
Advertise | Copyright