Special Performance and Lecture on the Koto in Traditional and Modern Music

In our continuing series of special lectures for students in the IE Program, we are pleased to announce a performance/ lecture by Masumi Timson Sensei, a master koto player who has helped to bring the koto into Western musical compositions. She will be accompanied in some of her performances by Kazuhiko Shindo (Shakuhachi), Nozimi Tokita (piano), and Takamori Fujima (Dance).

EVENT: Lecture and performance by Ms. Masumi Timson and collaborators
TITLE: Rediscovering Japanese Traditional Performing Arts
WHERE: Aoyama Gakuin University (Aoyama Campus): Room 620
WHEN: Thur 24th November  2016; from 3rd period (13:20)

Speaker’s profile: Masumi Timson holds a Master’s Degree (師範) in Koto from Seiha Conservatory of Japanese traditional music. She participated in the recording of the world-renowned band Pink Martini‘s several albums, including 2011 Japan Record Award Winner and iTunes No. 1 Jazz Chart Hit “1969,” with Japanese legendary singer Saori Yuki. Masumi has performed with the band at venues including Carnegie Hall (NY), the Hollywood Bowl (LA), Grand Rex Theatre (Paris), Tokyo Kokusai Forum, and Billboard Live Tokyo etc. She has also released her own CDs, Picture Dreams (Koto/Violin Duo), a collaboration album with Fumino Ando (Oregon Symphony), and Pacific Bridge, with Richard Crandell featuring the koto and mbira, a traditional African instrument.

Here are some materials that can be used to help prepare for the talk:

Overview of the talk

Article on Koto Music JAPAN DIGEST

Worksheet on Japanese Koto Music

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Talk by Linda Ohama on TOHOKU NO SHINGETSU

Speaker: Ms. Linda Ohama
Topic: A talk on a new documentary: TOHOKU NO SHINGETSU
Location: Aoyama Campus, 本多記念国際会議場 Building 17, 6th Floor, Honda Auditorium

Date: Friday, November 18, 2016
Time: 1:20 PM to 2:50 PM (3rd period)

Ms. Linda Ohama is an award-winning Japanese-Canadian filmmaker who produced and directed the film Obachan’s Garden. She will speak about the creation of her latest documentary film “Tohoku no Shingetsu” (“New Moon Over Tohoku”), which concerns the experiences of people in Tohoku who were affected by the earthquake/ tsunami/ nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011 and its aftermath.

The speaker has just returned from film festivals in Vancouver, Calgary, and Honolulu where her film was shown to critical acclaim and sold-out auditoriums. After her talk at AGU she will be heading to the Rome Independent Film festival in Italy and speak at the University of Rome.

You may view one of Linda Ohama’s previous films, Obachan’s Garden, in its entirety at the website of the National Film Board of Canada.

It would useful for students and teachers who plan to attend the lecture to do some background reading on the film the speaker will mainly be talking about, “Tohoku no Shingetsu,” by exploring this posting: カナダ人が追った東日本大震災 ドキュメンタリー映画『東北の新月』今秋完成に向け編集進む and viewing the excellent official page for the film.. Also, follow the Facebook page associated with the film at: https://www.facebook.com/TohokuNoShingetsu.

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Screening of “The Hunting Ground”

TELL and IamJane are co-hosting a free screening of the documentary “The Hunting Ground.” This powerful, award-winning film documents the personal stories of students who have been sexually assaulted on American university campuses. It follows survivors who attempt to pursue both their education and justice in the face of institutional failures to effectively respond to their reports.

The documentary confronts the reality of sexual assault and explores the impact of violence on survivors. It has helped to raise awareness of the meaning of “consent,” the process of reporting crime, and also the laws surrounding sexual assault on campus.

This special screening will be followed by a panel discussion highlighting the issues relevant to Japan from a wide range of perspectives, including legal issues, reporting, accessing services, and support for foreigners in Japan.

EVENT: Film screening of “The Hunting Ground”, followed by a panel discussion
WHERE: Azabu Kumin Center: 5-16-45, Roppongi, Minato-Ku
WHEN: Monday 21st November  2016; Doors open at 18:30 – movie starts at 18:45
RSVP: Seating is limited, so reserve your free seat by emailing [email protected] or calling 03-4550-1191.

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UNHCR Film Festival

EVENT: The 11th UNHCR Refugee Film Festival/ 第11回UNHCR難民映画祭
WHEN: October 8, 2016 – October 16, 2016 CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL SCHEDULE
WHERE: At two venues in Tokyo.
COST: FREE (donations gratefully accepted)


The 10th UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) Refugee Film Festival will take place from the 8th-16th of October at the Spiral Building in Aoyama and at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Tokyo. With the advance of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the various conflicts in Africa, and the troubles in the Ukraine all contributing to the problem, the world now has more than 60 million people who were forcefully displaced from their homes.

Due to these dire circumstances, the UNHCR Refugee Film Festival, which is held in Japan each autumn, is more relevant than ever. The films on the festival’s program include dramas and documentaries dealing with refugees from such diverse countries as Afghanistan, (South) Sudan, the Philippines, Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Serbia. Some of the films focus on how the refugees adjust to their places of refuge and cope with day to day challenges.

All the films are completely free. This year 13 films will be screened in total. Click HERE for a PDF of the program.

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“The Cats of Mirikitani” Screening & Talk

EVENT: Film screening of documentary “The Cats of Mirikitani” and discussion afterwards
WHERE: Aoyama Gakuin University; Bulding 17, 6th Floor, Honda Memorial Auditorium
GUEST SPEAKER: Mr. Masa Yoshikawa (Producer of the film)
WHEN: June 28, 2016 — Periods 5 & 6: 16:50 to 20:00

The documentary film, “The Cats of Mirikitani,” will be screened and its producer, Masa Yoshikawa, will give a brief talk and answer questions about it. The film tells the remarkable story of a Japanese American man, who was born in California, brought up in Hiroshima, and returned to America to study art just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The story describes his internment in a relocation camp for Japanese, and his release to an America that he felt had betrayed him.


Finding himself living on the street in New York City, he sold his beautiful drawings (mostly of cats) in order to survive. When the terrorist attacks struck New York on 9/11 he was taken in by a woman who would later direct the documentary about his fascinating life. The film tells a story that is tragic, humorous, inspirational, charming, and thought-provoking.

Here is a flyer that promotes the event in Japanese: Announcement in Japanese


Awards won by the film:

  • Audience Award at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival
  • Best Picture Award in the Japanese Eyes section of the 2006 Tokyo International Film Festival
  • Audience award at the 2007 Lyon Film festival (Lyfe / Hors-Ecran)
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Film and Talk on Japanese War Brides

EVENT: Film screening of documentary “Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight” and discussion
WHERE: Aoyama Gakuin University; Room 910 (first floor of Building 9)
WHEN: June 23, 2016; 3rd period (13:20~14:50)

Lucy Craft, a freelance reporter and producer based in Tokyo, has contributed news items and feature stories to America’s CBS and NPR. She will speak to us about a film that she co-directed with two colleagues who shared her background of having Japanese mothers who were “war brides,” that is, who married American soldiers after the Second World War ended and moved to the United States to start a new life in a strange, unfamiliar land.

The short documentary film about the experiences of their mothers, “Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides,” will be shown in its entirety and Lucy Craft will speak about the making of the film and why she felt that it was important for the story to be told. There will be some opportunities for group discussion and the talk will be followed by Q & A.

Originally from Washington, D.C., Lucy Craft’s curiosity about how her Japanese mother ended up with a Jewish man from the Bronx, led her to retrace her roots to Tokyo, where she eventually settled in her mother’s old neighborhood of Suginami.

Here are some materials that will be useful in preparing for the film and lecture:

Read this excellent article that’s on the BBC News Website: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33857059

WORK SHEET: Info on Moms & Daughters

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Lecture on Sociolinguistics

On Thursday, April 28th–from 6:30 PM at Ibuki Hall in Ichigaya–the Regents Professor of Linguistics, Dennis R. Preston, will speak about the development of linguistic competences (or “interlanguage states”) of learners and the systematic language variability that arises from input, transfer, and universal linguistic factors. This is a free talk that will be followed by a facilitated discussion and Q & A.

EVENT: Lecture on the history of sociolinguistics and its relevance to language teaching and learning
SPEAKER: Dr. Dennis R. Preston
WHEN: Thursday, April 28, 2016; From 6:30 PM
WHERE: Arcadia Ichigaya, Ibuki Hall (6th floor) Click
HERE for directions

RSVP: Not Necessary; This is a free event.
LANGUAGE: Lecture is in English without Japanese interpretation
TARGET AUDIENCE: Graduate students in TESOL or applied linguistics; scholars; undergraduates interested in linguistics or language education; present or in-service language teachers

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English Presentation Contest

EVENT: All Japan Student English Presentation Contest
WHEN: December 3, 2016
WHERE: Iino Hall and Conference Center
PARTICIPANTS: University and high school students

The Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS — or 神田外語大学 in Japanese) will hold its “All Japan Student English Presentation Contest” in December this year. You can find out details about it at their Web site: http://www.kandagaigo.ac.jp/contest/.

Unlike usual speech contests, this presentation contest is more like a Ted talk in that it can be supported by slides and delivered more like a business presentation than a conventional, formal speech. There is even an option to present as a team. This is an exciting opportunity for you!!!

Find useful advice for preparing your presentation at:

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Performance of the play “Seven”

The Black Stripe Threater Company invites you to enjoy their production of the play “Seven,” to be performed from April 14th – 17th at Trance Mission Theatre 「参宮橋トランスミッション」. There will be six performances in total. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here.

This is a timely play as International Women’s Day is due to be held in 5 days’ time, on March 8th. The play tells the true stories of seven women who fought for the well-being of other women, families, and children around the globe: in Russia, protecting women from domestic violence; in Cambodia, rescuing girls from human trafficking; in Guatemala, giving voice to the poor; in Afghanistan, empowering rural women; in Nigeria and Pakistan, fighting for women’s education and rights; and in Northern Ireland, promoting peace and equality.

EVENT: Seven, A play written by Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deavere Smith and Susan Yankowitz
WHEN: April 14th – 17th
WHERE: Trance Mission Theatre 「参宮橋トランスミッション」(Click HERE for a map)

The Black Stripe Theater is a group of directors, actors, designers, and theater artists producing and performing English language theater in Tokyo. The company aims to present theater of high standard using material by contemporary playwrights. The company includes one of our distinguished faculty members, Rachel Walzer.

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Talk by author Danzy Senna

On March 3rd—from 6:30 PM at the American Center in Tokyo—the distinguished author, Danzy Senna, will speak about her life and work. This is a free talk. I recently read Danzy Senna’s novel, Caucasia, and found it riveting and insightful. It looks at race in America from the perspective of a child (and, later in the novel, teenager) who is being raised by an African American father (a scholar) and a quirky, blue-blooded white activist mother in the racially tense Boston of the 1970s. There’s still room for more audience members at Danzy Senna’s talk. One of our colleagues who specializes in African American literature, Prof. Azusa Nishimoto, has invited her and the American Embassy is sponsoring the event.

— Joseph Dias

EVENT: Lecture on bi/multi-racial identity issues
SPEAKER: Danzy Senna
WHEN: Thursday, March 3, 2016; From 6:30 PM
WHERE: American Center 「アメリカンセンターJAPAN」(Click
HERE for a map

RSVP: http://americancenterjapan.com/event/201603033789/
LANGUAGE: Lecture is in English
TARGET AUDIENCE: For anyone interested in literature and racial identity issues.

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