Polish Cultural Programme in Japan 2019
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Exhibitions in the Imperial Castle in Kyoto and in a museum in the very heart of Tokyo, performances in Japan’s most prestigious concert halls, encounters with Polish design and cuisine – these are just some of the events organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in 2019 to celebrate the centenary of establishing diplomatic relations between Poland and Japan.
The year 2019, marking the centenary of establishing diplomatic relations between Poland and Japan, was a perfect opportunity to exploit the creative potential of meetings between Polish and Japanese artists. In accordance with the concept of ichi-go ichi-e, which became the motto of our programme, we celebrated the joyful energy released during our joint activities. Both Japanese and Poles, while experiencing each other's cultures, were also able to discover something new about themselves. The programme offered something for everyone: a dose of both classics and modernity, tradition and electronics, events ranging from solemn and formal to free and easy.
Contemporary Art & Design: Let’s Celebrate!
The highlight of our programme was a unique exhibition titled Celebration – the first Polish-Japanese joint project in the field of contemporary art on such a large scale. Celebration was a group exhibition of 21 recognised Polish and Japanese artists, which was shown in three instalments: the first one in Kyoto, Japan, followed by shows in Poznań and Szczecin in Poland.
The exhibition was first presented in mid-May 2019 in the historic Nijo Castle, Kyoto Art Center and satellite spaces in Kyoto. The successive presentations took place in two Polish cities: Poznań (as the main show of Poznań Art Week) and Szczecin (at TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art). The exhibition was accompanied by an extensive programme of events: performances, concerts, workshops, lectures and screenings of Polish animated films.
Celebration: Polish-Japanese Contemporary Art Exhibition
Earlier, 2019 Kyotographie International Photography Festival hosted an individual exhibition of Polish artist Weronika Gęsicka titled What a Wonderful World. In June, the residents of Kyoto had the opportunity to learn about the history of Polish poster and design at the exhibition held in the Museum of the Kyoto Institute of Technology.
Another high point of our presentation of contemporary art was the exhibition Her Own Way held in August in the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, featuring the achievements of Polish video artists. The event was an opportunity to get acquainted with the history of the Polish video art through works of such artists as Ewa Partum or Natalia LL, and with the most interesting representatives of the younger generation: Agnieszka Polska, Karolina Breguła and Honorata Martin.
Weronika Gęsicka's Exhibition at Kyotographie 2019
Chopin & Co: Music Events
The celebration of the centenary of establishing Polish-Japanese diplomatic relations would not have ben complete without the series of music events. The first of them took place in early 2019 at TPAM – Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama, where the duo of Gerard Lebik and Ryoko Akama presented their sound performance.
The Polish programme organised by Japan Arts proved to be truly spectacular with the tour of the Warsaw Philharmonic, including two concerts with pianist Rafał Blechacz, and recitals of the winners of the International Chopin Piano Competition: Krystian Zimerman, Yukio Yokoyama and Seong-Jin Cho. All of them were presented in the largest and most prestigious concert halls in Japan.
Rafał Blechacz & Warsaw Philharmonic Toured Japan
The fascination of the Japanese audience with Fryderyk Chopin and his music was reflected in our cultural programme in the form of a traveling exhibition which will opened in October 2019 in Kobe.
Additionally, in June world music lovers had a chance to enjoy the tour of the Janusz Prusinowski Kompania. Not only did the musicians play concerts, but also held Polish mazurka workshops for the Japanese audience.
Mazurka Rhythms in Japan
Theatre for Adults & Kids
The Polish theatre season in Japan opened in May with Janek Turkowski’s worldwide successful show Margarete which was staged at the Rohm Theatre in Kyoto. The end of July saw presentations of performances for the youngest viewers: the International Theater Festival Okinawa for Young Audiences (ricca ricca*festa) showcased a Polish Focus and a series of special events introducing Poland to younger audiences.
Turkowski’s Margarete Opens Polish Cultural Programme in Kyoto
Autumn was definitely a theatre-rich season with two Polish-Japanese performances. The main event was a joint production of Festival / Tokyo and TR Warszawa Theatre Always Coming Home. This theatrical interpretation of Ursula K. Le Guin’s novel draws the viewers’ attention to the problem of identity. The show opened 2019 Festival / Tokyo, and eventually was included in the TR Warszawa’s permanent repertoire.
Focus on Poland at Theatre Festival for Young Audiences in Okinawa
Film & Club Events
The event most eagerly anticipated by the Japanese filmgoers was another edition of the Poland Film Festival, held annually in November in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and other cities since 2012. Every year the festival presents both classics of Polish cinema and the latest productions from Poland.
8th Poland Film Festival in Japan
polish culture in asia
janusz prusinowski kompania
polish film festival
Also in autumn, residents of Tokyo had the opportunity to get to know the hottest trends in Polish culture, design and lifestyle at the Poland! Poland! Poland! Festival, which was held in the heart of the famous Shibuya district.
The programme celebrating the 100th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Poland and Japan also included several other events. The complete list can be found on the website of the Polish Institute in Tokyo:
Events organized by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Poland and Japan were supported by:
LOT Polish Airlines
KGHM Polska Miedź
Source: press materials, originally written in Polish, translated by AW, 20 Apr 2019