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  • 17 Oct 2018 2:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For the first time since being founded 23 years ago, the Japanese theater group CALL will come to Boston to make its American performance debut. The group consists of working Japanese mothers, 20 altogether. From November 6th to 10th the group will conduct performances of the play "Three Lucky Charms," an adaptation of a Japanese folktale written by Julia Yermakov. In Boston, CALL will perform at BB&N, Boys and Girls Club of Boston, Arlington Public School and Boston Japanese Language School.

    The play "Three Lucky Charms" will be presented using colorful and humorous puppets, some standing over 3 feet in height. The voices for the puppets, as well as sound effects, are all produced in front of the audience, allowing the audience members to enjoy the raw emotions and expressions of the voice actors. Plus, audience members will get an inside glimpse into how such voices and sound effects are produced. The play is accompanied by live keyboard music, which helps create the atmosphere of Japan. Throughout the show, audience members will be invited to sing along with the characters and will be guided in chanting Japanese expressions. The Boston production will include a special prologue, introducing the Japanese folding fan and its use in traditional Japanese performance arts like kabuki. 

    Julia Yermakov, Writer 

    “Three Lucky Charms” is an original adaptation of a Japanese folktale written by Julia Yermakov who was born in San Francisco, brought up in Tokyo, and educated at the International School of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo. Her acting career began at Tokyo Disneyland as opening cast, and since then she has starred in plays and musicals in the Tokyo area. In 1984 she was a bilingual reporter for NTV Japanese TV network reporting the summer Olympics from LA, and subsequently reported from around the world with different TV programs using her bilingual skills. She became a freelance narrator and voice actor in 1992. Since 2003 she has become a member of Theater Group CALL, writing, directing, designing props and acting in their plays. 

    Jun Takahashi, Producer 

    The producer is Junichi Takahashi, born and raised in Osaka and China. Studied Kabuki, Shakespeare and Comedia del Arte at Waseda and attended UCLA Film School on Fulbright scholarship. Produced over 200 theatrical and television movies in 10 yearsat Daiei Movie Studio as a line producer.  Then he became an independent produce-casting director to work for foreign films shot in Japan and for domestic movies and TV films as well as casting, directing and producing for domestic/International films for over three decades. In the past 10 years he’s enjoyed acting for children as an amateur.

  • 02 May 2018 12:52 PM | Jessie (Administrator)

    The postcards are in for the 2017-2018 World Children's Haiku Contest! This year's theme was "Living Things."

    Luka Sato, age 15Imogen Nagle, age 15

    This contest, open to children around the world ages 15 and under, is organized by the JAL Foundation as one of the ways that they encourage international exchange. Every two years, children are invited to submit a haiku and a drawing, and the grand-prize winning works are published in the picture book anthology "Haiku by World Children." So far over 680,000 poems have been submitted from 52 countries and regions around the world. "It is our wish," says a statement from JAL Foundation, "to spread the joy of creating haiku to children around the world, nurture their sensitivity, deepen their understanding of Japan and Japanese culture, which gave birth to haiku, and promote international exchanges."

    Ryoma Yoshida, age 14Valery Ochoa, age 15Felicity Zhang, age 11

    The Haiku form of poetry is marked by "short descriptive verse, [which] captures a moment in the poet's life, or simply expresses the beauty of nature." (JAL Foundation)

    The contest is sponsored by Japan Airlines, in cooperation with Haiku International Association, Pentel, Gakken, and with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan, Japan Foundation, and Japan Committee for UNICEF.

    Maureen Shea, age 14Tamaki Izawa, age 8Sora Kikuchi, age 13

  • 12 Mar 2018 2:30 PM | Jessie (Administrator)
    “Cherry Blossoms, cherry blossoms.
    Across March skies
    As far as you can see.

    Mists or clouds?

    Their fragrance is floating.

    Let us go, let us go

                               It’s a must to see!”

    Hello Japan Society Boston members!  My name is Angelica Sincavage, I am a graduate of Stonehill College, and this past year I completed a year of National Service with AmerCorps teaching English and Math in an afterschool program in South Boston.  I am very interested in the Japanese system of education and recently obtained my Teaching English as a Foreign Language certification.  I hope to travel to Japan someday to teach English there.  I am interested in all things educational and cultural involving Japan.  Next month I will be representing Massachusetts at the “2018 Cherry Blossom Princess Program” in Washington, D.C.

    Sponsored by the National Conference of State Societies, this annual event welcomes young women between the ages of 19 and 24 “selected for their leadership, academic achievements, and interest in social, civic, community and world affairs” who travel to Washington to participate in Japanese-American cultural, educational, philanthropic, and leadership activities.  Highlights of the week include the Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony, the Cherry Blossom Congressional Reception, the Delegates’ Celebration of States, the National Cherry Blossom Parade down Constitution Avenue, the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival, and of course the Official Cherry Blossom Grand Ball and Sushi Reception where a spin of the wheel of fortune will determine which Princess will be crowned “2018 United States National Cherry Blossom Queen.”  It is the chance of  a lifetime for a young woman who as an American ambassador will have the opportunity to travel to Japan to meet with dignitaries and others to help pave the way renewing ongoing relationships between our two countries and fostering connections with a new generation. 

    I am reaching out to Japan Society of Boston friends and members to see if anyone might be willing to help me raise funds towards the $500 registration fee required to participate in the event.  Every donation no matter how modest will be cherished and appreciated.  Thank you in advance for your consideration.   –Angelica
    Click here to support Angelica's journey

  • 20 Dec 2017 1:18 PM | Jessie (Administrator)

    On November 28th, I wore Juunihitoe for the first time in my life. Juunihitoe is a Japanese traditional kimono for imperial people. In English, Juunihitoe means 'twelve kimonos for one person.'

    Putting on the wigBefore I wore Juunihitoe, I only knew that it was worn by people of high rank in the Heian era. And I just felt I am so lucky because I am sure I can’t wear or see Juunihitoe in Japan. But once I started wearing Juunihitoe, I was so surprised by its weight. It was about 40 pounds, including a wig. The wig alone was about 6 pounds and longer than me, so I got a headache. It was heavier than I expected, and I thought I couldn't keep standing. I couldn't even raise my hands after the third layer because of kimono's weight. While wearing Juunihitoe, honestly speaking, I regretted accepting the offer to model it a little bit because it was so hard.  

    But when I finished dressing, I was really glad and proud of myself. Guests at the event looked so excited and interested in Juunihitoe, so I was so happy. Through this event, I was able to learn a lot more about Juunihitoe than I learnt in Japanese class in Japan. Like each layer’s colors have different meanings, people of high rank in the Heian era put it on daily and wore it even when they were sleeping, and they walked with their knees because Juunihitoe is very heavy.

    Before I dressed in Juunihitoe, I just thought I was so lucky and excited. But after that, I feel I love Japan more than before. I didn't imagine that I could wear Juunihitoe in the US. It was one of the most precious experience in my life, so it's going to be a good memory even though I caught a cold after the Juunihitoe event. Thank you Japan Society of Boston and Kyoto Costume Museum for giving me such a wonderful experience. And thank you all who attended this event.

    Wearing all layers of the Juunihitoe

    Women who wore Juunihitoe often covered their faces with fans

    -Honoka Kitaura, Japan Society of Boston Intern

  • 18 Oct 2017 10:32 AM | JSB (Administrator)

    We are sad to announce the passing of distinguished sculptor and Japan Society of Boston board member, Ikuko Burns. Ikuko had been battling cancer and serious illness for the past several months and passed away Sunday, October 8 at her home in Brookline, surrounded by her loving family. 

    It is difficult to find the words to express how beloved she was, to all of us at the Japan Society of Boston and throughout the wider community. Her efforts to strengthen the ties between Boston and Japan are the stuff of legends, and there are few that we have known with the passion, dedication, and kindness of Ikuko Burns. She loved creating and building bonds of friendship between the people of New England and Japan, and she was truly exceptional at doing so. Her many years of bridging the two cultures had given her a special sensitivity and understanding which we were able to witness first hand on many occasions, as she delicately applied her guidance, wisdom, and boundless energy to often challenging situations and circumstances. She was a mentor to many, a wonderful friend to all, and will be deeply and sorely missed.

    The Memorial Service Celebration of Life for Ikuko Burns will be held at Showa's Rainbow Hall at 420 Pond Street in Boston on Saturday the 6th of January, 2018 at 12PM.

  • 01 Aug 2017 4:36 PM | Jessie (Administrator)

    On August 20, The Japan Society of Boston welcomes Boston's own 1st dan karuta player and instructor: Kyoko Hiromoto. Ms. Hiromoto will instruct and help us try our hand at this ancient game that is surging in popularity. This article is to give you a brief overview - before you go. 

    Karuta, the Japanese card-playing game, has a long history dating back to the mid-16th century. The basic idea is to grab the correct card as quickly as possible before an opponent does. There are various ways of playing karuta, and one type of commonly used card set is called uta-garuta. In uta-garuta, players need to find the Uta-garuta cardssecond half of a Japanese poem (“waka”) when the first half is given. Competitive karuta is an official game that uses uta-garuta to play. There are one hundred poems from Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, a classical Japanese waka collection by one hundred different poets. The rules vary by region, but it is generally a one-on-one game facilitated by a poem reader and a judge. People of all ages can enjoy this game, and it recently started to attract international players as well.

    Karuta mixes the excitement of pitting lightning reflexes in one-on-one contest, with the challenge of memorizing beautiful poems of ancient Japan. When the poem reader begins to read a poem, the best players win by swiping the matching card in milliseconds, often before the first syllable is complete. 

    In Japan, karuta is usually played on New Year’s Day, and the game is a symbol of the Japanese New Year. Since the 1950s, the All Japan Karuta Association has held official tournaments for players to reach higher ranking groups and classes. Although professional karuta players are rare, Japanese people regard karuta playing as a tradition. Many Japanese children start to play at young ages, and the game gifts them with better memory and reaction speed. In addition, karuta has made appearances in pop culture. Several dramas, anime and manga depict stories about competitive karuta. Chihayafuru is one such manga series that follows a group of high school players, and is credited as increasing the popularity of competitive karuta.

    click here to view the women's championship match from 2017

    Written by Yechen Xu, JSB Intern 2017

  • 31 Jul 2017 12:28 PM | Jessie (Administrator)

    The Japan Society of Boston is growing, and looking for a skilled membership manager to join our staff. If you would like to join our team and help us expand our network of Boston/Japan connections, friendships, and projects, please introduce yourself to us! 

    Full details here.

    Submit your resume and cover letter, describing your background and what you think you can contribute to our JSB member community, by email to:​


    The application deadline is August 30, 2017. The position is expected to begin by September 18, 2017.

    The Japan Society of Boston is an equal opportunity employer.

  • 26 Jun 2017 4:33 PM | Jessie (Administrator)

    From June 15 to July 7, 2017, the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination is being held in New York, NY. The purpose of the conference is to reflect “the overwhelming interest of the international community in advancing progress toward nuclear disarmament [and] to contribute further to nuclear disarmament by strengthening, reinforcing and consolidating international norms against nuclear weapons, as an interim step pending their total elimination.” (Source)


    As part of this conference, there was a special screening of Paper Lanterns, a documentary directed by Barry Frechette and produced by the Japan Society of Boston's President Emeritus Peter Grilli. Paper Lanterns is the true story of Shigeaki Mori, a survivor of the atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima, who spent over 35 years documenting the stories and tracking down the families of the 12 American POWs killed by the same bomb.

    On the day of the screening, many events took place relating to the 1945 atomic bombing in Japan, some with Hibakusha, survivors or the atomic bombs, in attendance. Through the presence of the Hibakusha, and the screening of the film, the people with the ability to change the nuclear weapons policy could feel a personal connection to what they were discussing, and in this way the topic became real and tangible.

    photos by Yukako Ibuki

  • 16 May 2017 10:54 AM | Jessie (Administrator)

    Last week Ray Matsumiya visited the Japan Society of Boston to lead a Brown Bag discussion about how the University of the Middle East Project has been engaging global audiences in dialogue about Mid-East Peace. It was especially interesting to hear about the little-discussed impact that Japan has in contributing to peace in the Middle East.

    Ray spoke about how UME brought teachers from the United States over to Japan, where they learned from one of the last living Hibakusha (Atomic Bomb Survivors) who speaks fluent English. They met with mayors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and with high school students to discuss how Japan's experience recovering from nuclear attacks can help people work for peace in the Middle East. We learned that in Middle Eastern countries, Japan has a reputation for being a first-rate example of pursuing peace after conflict.

    You can learn more about the University of the Middle East Project at  http://www.ume.org

    Each month on the 2nd Tuesday, our Brown Bag series invites you to have lunch and talk about Japan.

  • 28 Apr 2017 10:28 AM | Matt (Administrator)

    Tips for Enjoying the Japan Festival Boston

    This Sunday, April 30, tens of thousands of people will gather to enjoy Japanese food, music, and activities on the Boston Common from 11am - 6pm. The weather forecast is lovely: partly cloudy, low 60s. 

    To help you make the most of your seven hours, we put together some helpful tips. You can find full details at the Japan Festival's own website. Festival admission is free, thanks to sponsors and hundreds of volunteers. 

    1. Make sure you stop by our Japan Society Boston booth marked on this map in spots 10 and 11.

    At our booth, you can: 

    • Have your name written in Japanese on a fan to take home as a souvenir (while supplies last). 
    • Try on a yukata and have your picture taken. 
    • Attend a free incense class taught by Kiyoko Morita between 2:30 - 3:00pm. Sign up here.
    • Taste some Japanese snacks.
    • Buy our new JSB T-shirt for $15 or join JSB and get one for free. Join anytime before or during the Festival and pick up the T-shirt at our booth. 
    • Also, win a top-grade futon with a cover (by J-Life International) if you join JSB before Sunday at midnight (over $300 value). We will do a raffle drawing and notify the winner by email on Monday, May 1. 
    • Additionally, win a yukata or a JSB membership by filling out our four-question survey (enters you in a raffle). We want to hear what you love about Japan and what more you think JSB can do to connect you with Japan in Boston. Drawing May 1.
    For those of you who want to contribute by volunteering, we have some spots left. Sign up here for a two-hour shift and your free T-shirt.  

    2. Plan, then wander. 

    Everyone approaches the booths and activities differently. With just seven hours at the Japan Festival and more than 50,000 people expected to attend, however, we recommend that you plan your top choice foods, booth activities, or stage shows. Spending even five minutes at the Japan Festival website will help you to be sure you don't miss out. But beware over-planning. Be sure you leave time to just wander. And print this Festival Guide and Map. 

    3. Eat. Donate. 

    The Festival has 36 food booths this year, from curry to crepe cakes, to ramen, to coffee from Kyoto! That should help with the length of the lines. Make sure you bring cash because booths are cash only. 

    As anyone who has been to the Festival can tell you, food lines can be long. While the virtue of patient line-waiting is admirable, don't overlook the Fast Pass that you can buy if you make a donation in advance. Donate $30 (minimum) to the Festival and get three passes, each of which lets one person skip to the front of up to three food lines. You still pay full price for the food but you get good feelings for donating and save time on the line-waiting. Full details here. 

    4. Enjoy the Show(s). 

    This year there are two stages, each featuring 15 or more separate performances. Review the schedule here for both traditional and contemporary entertainment, including taiko drumming, j-pop dancing, lots of live music, and a kimono show. Oh, and if our booth is understaffed during the cosplay deathmatch, don't judge us. There is still time to join that contest, incidentally. 

    5. Play, Learn, and Explore at the Booths. 

    A record 76 booths are ready to share information, activities, and workshops with you. You could spend much more than your seven hours stopping by each booth to get the full story. Workshops include Bon Odori dance, ceramics, paper airplane making, and much more. Full booth list here. 

    We hope this list helps. We will see you on Sunday! 


    Your friends at the Japan Society of Boston


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