EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee Chairman Visits Riga
During the visit, Masayuki Oku will attend events organised as part of the EU-Japan Fest, meet with the highest officials of Latvia, participate in the World Choir Games events and visit the “Riga 2014” partner town of Sigulda.
“I am very pleased that the preparatory period, that had continued for several years, has resulted in very successful co-operation between “Riga 2014” and the EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee, which has supported several Japanese-Latvian artistic collaborations. Some of these events have already concluded, including at the contemporary dance festival “Time to Dance” and a photography exhibition at “Ziemeļblāzma”. Other events are yet to take place later this year. Such co-operation makes it possible for the Latvian public to learn about the views of Japanese artists, their homeland, and Japan’s relations with the world,” says Diāna Čivle, the Head of the “Riga 2014” foundation.
“Japan’s affinity for the Western civilisation has brought about new trends in Japanese society. On the other hand, people in various European countries are becoming increasingly interested in the Japanese culture.
As the Chairman of the Committee, I wish to say that I am very happy at new co-operation projects with Japan emerging in Europe,” says Masayuki Oku.
Already this Saturday, a series of events dedicated to Japan will begin in the Botanical Garden of the University of Latvia at 10 a.m., including a bonsai exhibition and master classes, a concert by the Japanese children’s choir “Feny” and Riga Chamber Choir, and a Friendship Concert of the World Choir Games.
The traditional Japanese art of origami is on show at the Paper Object Festival in Kalnciema Quarter until the 20th of July.
The project presents nine innovative works of art in Pārdaugava. Besides the creation of these artworks, Kalnciema Quarter also hosts paper folding workshops, lectures, performances and film nights. These events are run by several Japanese and Latvian artists.
Percussion ensemble “Yamato” represents Japan at the World Choir Games with performances in the Stars of the World Choir Games Concert at the “Arena Riga” on the 10th of July and the Great Celebration Concert on Mežaparks Open-Air Stage on the 13th of July.
For three weeks in August, the Japanese choreographers’ group “Contact Gonzo” will be working with Latvian dancers in Grīziņkalns. The Japanese choreographers’ visit to Riga is part of the “Riga 2014” project “Dance Goes Out Into Town” that will close with several premieres in Riga neighbourhoods.
Come September, Japanese artists will participate in the international contemporary art festival “Survival Kit”, presenting their vision of a utopian city.
In October, the interactive installation “Onsen”, created by the Japanese artist Hayashi Yasuhiko and Latvian artist Aigars Bikše, will be unveiled in Riga.
The Onsen public bathing tradition in Japan has a long history but is still very popular to this day. Presenting this tradition, a log house will be built at the Esplanade in October, where any visitor will have the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Japanese bath in the centre of the autumnal Riga.
The EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee has been co-operating with European capitals since 1993 to support and promote the cultural exchange between the European Union and Japan.
The European Capital of Culture Programme of Riga is prepared and run by the foundation “Riga 2014” in collaboration with state, municipal and non-governmental cultural organisations and creative associations. The Programme is financed by the Riga City Council, Ministry of Culture and the European Commission, and offered to the public in partnership with “Lattelecom”, which also provides technical support for the Programme.