• Noh Master
    Naohiko Umewaka
  • Voice Actor
    Masakazu Morita

  • Evangelion

  • Lafcadio Hearn

  • Ukiyo-e

  • Sustainability in Japan
Interview: Noh Master Naohiko Umewaka x JPF Sydney
4 August, 2014

Noh master and university professor Naohiko Umewaka was in Sydney recently to appear in The Japan Foundation, Sydney's "Noh to Now" talk series at the Art Gallery of NSW.

We caught up with Umewaka-sensei while he was here to find out his thoughts on Noh theatre and the challenges of keeping traditions alive.
Videography by Rudge Hollis.
Interview: Voice Actor Masakazu Morita x JPF Sydney
9 August, 2013

Voice actor Masakazu Morita is probably best known as the voice of Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach. Other titles include Tiger & Bunny, One Piece, Final Fantasy X, and most recently, Dragonball Z: Battle of Gods, which premieres in Australia this year at the Japanese Film Festival.

Back in August, we caught up with Morita-san when he was in Sydney for the SMASH anime & manga convention. Hear Morita-san share his thoughts on voice acting, his career, the difference between Japanese and Australian cosplayers, Cool Japan, and vegemite ;)
Meet the Voice of Asuka: Q+A with Yuko Miyamura
11 May, 2013

Neon Genesis Evangelion was first broadcast in Japan on 4 October 1995. Almost 20 years later, it still ignites the imaginations of people around the world.

What happens when a self-confessed Evangelion geek sits down with Evangelion royalty? Find out in this talk as Ryan Huff, creator of GeekofOz.com, sits down with Yuko Miyamura, voice of Asuka, for a one hour question and answer session.

In lieu of a podcast, we hope you’ll enjoy this transcript of the event. Thanks to Capsule Computers for scribing.

Q+A with Yuko Miyamura

In addition to being a very talented voice actress, Yuko Miyamura is an actress, J-pop singer and director of audiography. Her acting roles include the presenter in Battle Royale, voice roles in gaming include Chun Li and Rose in the Street Fighter Alpha and EX series, Larxene in the Kingdom Hearts series, and many more. She has provided the voices for so many characters in anime series, such as Kazuha Toyama in Detective Conan, Alyssa Searrs in My-Hime and Casca in Berserk, and she is incredibly popular for her role as being the voice of Asuka in the Evangelion series.
From a very young age, Ryan Huff has had an interest in pop culture, specifically Japanese pop culture. His earliest memories are of watching Astro Boy, Marine Boy and Monkey on TV. While as a young geekling he may not have realised that these things were Japanese, he always knew that they had something in common—they were awesome. As he grew, so did his love of all things Japanese until, as a young and impressionable teen, he was exposed to Neon Genesis Evangelion through SBS. After recording each episode on VHS (kids, ask your parents), he would break his brain trying to understand Evangelion's religious and philosophical allusions as well as its abundance of Freudian psychoanalysis. Nowadays Ryan is the geek behind GeekOfOz.com and is the resident anime guy for JB Hi-Fi's STACK magazine.
The Dream of Lafcadio Hearn
- A Life Lived in Defiance of the Season -
2 November, 2012

Orphan of Europe, chronicler of the eerie and the grotesque, journalist and ethnographer of subcultures, Greek-Irish author Lafcadio Hearn arrived in Yokohama from the United States in 1890. During his 14-year stay in Japan he wrote 14 books about the country, becoming known as the foremost interpreter of things Japanese in the West.

Who was this wanderer who chose to live his life “in defiance of the season”?

This talk by writer Roger Pulvers draws on work for his most recent novel, The Dream of Lafcadio Hearn, and features readings from Hearn’s journalism and prose by acclaimed actor Elaine Hudson.

The Dream of Lafcadio Hearn
By Roger Pulvers, with readings by Elaine Hudson

download this mp3 file (Zip: 74MB)

About Roger Pulvers:
Roger Pulvers is a widely published author, playwright, theatre director and translator who divides his time between Sydney and Tokyo. He has twice directed at the Adelaide Festival of Arts, and was assistant director to Nagisa Oshima on “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence”. His most recent novel, The Dream of Lafcadio Hearn, was published in 2011.
About Elaine Hudson:
Elaine Hudson is a NIDA-trained actor, director and teacher who has worked extensively in theatre, film and television. Her stage credits include roles for Sydney Theatre Company, Company B, Griffin Theatre and Cumulus Productions, which she formed in 2001. Film and television credits include “Cross-Life”, “Dying Breed”, “All Saints”, “Heartbreak High” and "Rake”.
About Lafcadio Hearn
Lafcadio Hearn was born in Greece in 1850, and spent his youth in Ireland. At age 19, he travelled to the US, where he worked as a freelance writer and journalist in Cincinnati and New Orleans. He moved from the US to Japan in 1890, where he lived until his death in 1904. Books by Hearn include In Ghostly Japan and Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things.
Utagawa Hiroshige’s ‘Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido’
14 July 2012

Ukiyo-e master Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) was known for his bold compositional style, and his intricately detailed portraits of the landscape and people of his time. The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido contains many of Hiroshige’s most famous prints, and was the key to his artistic success. Hiroshige’s works greatly influenced many Western artists including Whistler, Cezanne and Van Gogh.

Utagawa Hiroshige’s ‘Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido’
Dr. Gary Hickey
Honorary Research Fellow, University of Queensland & University of Melbourne
Japan Fellow, National Library of Australia
Directorial Board member, International Ukiyo-e Society

download this mp3 file (Zip: 30MB)
Talk Overview

Australian ukiyo-e expert Dr. Gary Hickey sheds light on how ukiyo-e master Utagawa Hiroshige revitalised traditional modes of artistic expression through his work.

Dr Gary Hickey lived and worked in Asia for seven years, and during this time studied traditional Japanese printmaking in Japan. He worked for 15 years in the National Gallery of Victoria and the National Gallery of Australia, in the latter as a senior curator of Asian art. In 1998 he curated Beauty & Desire in Edo-period Japan, the first major exhibition of Edo-period Japanese art held in Australia. In 2001, he curated the Japanese component of the 2001 exhibition, Monet & Japan. Dr Hickey lectures and has published in both Australia and internationally. He is a director of the Tokyo-based prestigious arts organisation, the International Ukiyo-e Society and was a contributing author to the recent Hotei Encyclopedia of Japanese Woodblock Prints.
Sustainability in Japan Talk series
May – June, 2012

This talk series introduces recent trends and traditional practices in Japan concerned with sustainable living and responsible use of resources.

Speakers discuss Japan's approaches to sustainable architecture, links between permaculture and Japanese tea ceremony, successful conservation policies from Japan’s history, and recent developments in sustainable tuna fishing for the Japanese market.


Sustaining Culture in Japanese Architecture: Preservation, Relocation and Adaptive Re-Use
Dr Eugenie Keefer Bell, University of Canberra

download this mp3 file (Zip: 45MB)
Talk Overview

Since the mid-1980s, the architectural and economic renewal of Naoshima, an island located in the Seto Inland Sea, the Edo Tokyo Tatemono-en (Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum), and the UNESCO World Heritage listed buildings at Nara, including the temple complex of Tôdai-ji, demonstrates several approaches to sustaining architectural and intangible culture in Japan. In these and other examples, sustainability is in part addressed through strategies of preservation and continual rebuilding or re-making, through relocation, or through adaptive re-use coupled with new architectural projects.

Dr Eugenie Keefer Bell FRAIA is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Canberra. She completed a PhD at the University of Western Australia, investigating the influences of Japan in Australian architecture and design. Her research interests include the architecture and design of Japan, Australia, Europe and the United States. Recent publications include Sustaining Architectural Heritage: Japan and Finland, Utopian Visions: Post-WWII Japanese Olympic and Exhibition Architecture, and Messengers of Modernism: Japan and Scandinavia. In her parallel practice as an artist, she has completed several residencies and exhibitions in Japan.

Permaculture & Japanese Tea Culture: Design for a Connected and Creative Urban Home Life
Ms Cecilia Macaulay

download this mp3 file (Zip: 58MB)
Talk Overview

"Pick up a heavy thing as if it is light, and a light thing as if it is heavy." With colorful stories and images from her cross-cultural international homes, Cecilia shows the twin design systems of Japanese traditional culture and Australian permaculture in fresh, useful action. Home life can be a work of art in progress, as well as the laboratory of working out how to craft a new, ‘sustainable’ culture that is so attractive, everyone just copies. Tricks you will learn range from how to declutter, to how to let your mates know they are bugging you, lightly, so you can just enjoy each other. It’s all just a design challenge.

For 19 years, Cecilia Macaulay has been introducing Australian permaculture to urban and corporate Japan. Using ‘permanent agriculture’ as a metaphor, she shows how to use ‘design power’, rather than willpower, to trick ourselves into getting things done, caring for ourselves properly, and as a side effect, creating a cared-for world. She is the author of the long-running blog 'Balcony Garden Dreaming', and for four years wrote and illustrated 'Cecilia's Permaculture Slow Life' in the Japanese monthly magazine Dengon Net.

Green Archipelago: Forestry Policy in Japan during the Early Modern Era
– Introducing the Research of Conrad Totman

Dr Matthew Stavros, University of Sydney

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Talk Overview

In this talk, Dr Stavros – a historian of early Japan – will outline the work of Conrad Totman, Emeritus Professor at Yale University, whose several books about forestry during the Edo period (17th – mid-19th century) demonstrate how good the Japanese of the day were at creating policies to enhance sustainability.

Matthew Stavros is an historian of early Japan at the University of Sydney and editor of PMJS: Premodern Japanese Studies (pmjs.org). His research focuses primarily on the history of cities and architecture before 1800, combined with other interests including comparative urban history, religion, material culture, and art. He was trained in architectural and urban history at Kyoto University and completed his PhD in East Asian Studies at Princeton University. Publications include: “The Sanjō-bōmon Temple-Palace Complex” (Japan Review, 2010), “Locational Pedigree and Warrior Status in Medieval Kyoto” (Japanese Studies, 2009); and two co-authored chapters in UNESCO’s Atlas Historique de Kyoto (2008). He has also recently completed a book manuscript on Kyoto’s urban history from 794 to circa 1600 entitled Kyoto: An Urban History of Japan’s Premodern Capital.

Green Sashimi?
Dr Kate Barclay, University of Technology, Sydney

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Talk Overview

The decline in stocks of the main sashimi tunas, such as bluefin and bigeye, have focussed international attention on the measures taken to protect these fish from overfishing, and on Japan as the main consumer of sashimi tunas. The conventional way to manage fisheries has involved the governments of fishing countries regulating their fleets. With globalization, however, this becomes complicated as fishing companies are operating outside their home waters, and export to third-party countries. Governments and intergovernmental institutions have thus become innovative in working out ways to regulate fisheries all the way along the supply chain. In addition to government measures, however, with Corporate Social Responsibility there are also various new private forms of regulation for sustainability being applied to fisheries. This talk will consider recent developments in both government-based and private measures to improve the sustainability of tuna fisheries supplying the Japanese sashimi market.

Kate Barclay researches the international political economy of food, focusing particularly on tuna fisheries in the Asia Pacific Region. The main themes of her work include the socially embedded aspects of global tuna commodity chains affecting the governance of these industries, as well as histories of tuna fisheries development, particularly in Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, and Pacific Island countries. Her recent work looks at tuna supply chains for canned and smoked tuna as well as for sashimi markets, considering the role of culturally and historically shaped practices as they affect international attempts to regulate fishing. Kate has acted as researcher for several reports for governments and international organizations. Her major publications have included a book on modernization and ethnic identity issues surrounding the Japanese fishing industry in A Japanese Joint Venture in the Pacific (Routledge 2008), a survey of economic development from tuna industries in six Pacific Island countries in Capturing Wealth From Tuna (ANU ePress 2007), and a feature-length documentary on the southern bluefin tuna industries in Australia and Japan, titled Rich Fish (self-published 2004).