Friday, April 8, 2011

Concert For Japan: More Than The Music

All ages enjoy making origami. Photo by George Hirose.

Earlier this week we detailed 12 hours of music highlights, but Japan Society’s April 9 CONCERT FOR JAPAN is so much more: origami instruction, washi lantern-making, shodō calligraphy, basic language instruction with the theme “Reach out to Japan,” kamishibai storytelling for children, a scavenger hunt, food and drinks, and unlimited access to the exhibit Bye Bye Kitty!!!

Admission for the day is $5, with all proceeds going to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.

Designed for people with no previous knowledge of Japanese, the language classes teach how to reach out to Japan through basic Japanese phrases to show support and offer help in 30 minute sessions led by teachers from the Society’s language center.

Master calligrapher Masako Inkyo introduces the basics of shodō – traditional Japanese calligraphy art using a brush and charcoal ink on paper. Participants are invited to create messages of peace and hope to take home, and also enjoy Brush, an exhibit of Inkyo’s latest work displayed near the language center.

From easy yet beautiful flowers to challenging cranes, everyone visiting the Society has the chance to make origami paper art, in workshops led by volunteers form Origami USA.

Original work from the language classes, shodo workshops and origami instruction with messages of support for children affected by the earthquake will be shared digitally with children through the Kids4Japan Facebook page, facilitated by Japan Society’s Education Program.

Inspired by traditional rice paper lanterns typically found at Japanese festivals, participants transform Japan Society’s atrium into a giant washi lantern and send well wishes for earthquake relief in Japan. Designed by architect Aki Ishida's students at Rhode Island School of Design, who run a paper-folding workshop for visitors, the collective sculpture grows over the course of the day.

Kamishibai storytelling transports children and families to a world of mythical creatures and folktale heroes. Lively stories in both English and Japanese combine visuals, song and movement and promote themes of cooperation and generosity. Stories are told by Teri Gindi, Keiko Sawaguchi and Kumiko Yamakado.

CONCERT admission includes unlimited access to the Society popular exhibit Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven & Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art, highlighting some of the most incredible and darkly breathtaking contemporary art from Japan. The gallery will be open an extra three hours on this special occasion.

Throughout the day, visitors are invited to explore Japan Society’s recently landmarked building, from top to bottom, capturing digital images to redeem a gift from Gifu Prefecture or MUJI.

Finally, people can grab specialty beverages from Japan, such as beer, sake, plum wine, green tea, canned coffee, juices and sodas. Soft drinks are $2 and alcoholic beverages are $4. There will also be food to purchase from area vendors ranging from $3-$8.

The full CONCERT FOR JAPAN schedule of performances and activities can be found at

Language classes, shodō lessons, and kamishibai storytelling take place over several small group sessions; ticketing opens at 11:00 am for sessions between 11:45 am-2:15 pm and at 2:15 pm for sessions scheduled 2:30-5:30 pm. Reservations are on a first come, first served basis.

The origami and washi latern workshops are continuous 11:00-6:00. Reservations are not required and participation is on space-available basis.

Those wishing to donate to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund can go to or mail a check to Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, New York, New York 10017; Attn: Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Checks should be made payable to Japan Society and indicate “Japan Earthquake Relief Fund” on the check. One hundred percent of tax-deductible contributions to the fund go to these organizations. For additional information, email

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Joseph Nye, The Power Guy

Joseph Nye. Image via.

"Power is one's ability to affect the behavior of others to get what one wants. There are three basic ways to do this: coercion, payment, and attraction. Hard power is the use of coercion and payment. Soft power is the ability to obtain preferred outcomes through attraction. If a state can set the agenda for others or shape their preferences, it can save a lot on carrots and sticks. But rarely can it totally replace either. Thus the need for smart strategies that combine the tools of both hard and soft power." --Joseph Nye, Foreign Affairs, Jul/Aug 2009
A survey conducted amongst international relations experts placed Joseph S. Nye Jr. amongst the top of the list of those who had most shaped U.S. foreign policy in the last 20 years. It was Nye, a leading theorist of power, Dean Emeritus of the Kennedy School of Government and Harvard University Distinguished Professor of International Relations who coined the term “soft power” in the late 1980s. He later also went on to develop the idea of “smart power”.

In an article in The Atlantic, Nye wrote: “In an information age, success is not merely the result of whose army wins, but also of whose story wins. Hard military power is not enough. We need the soft power of attraction as well. Their successful combination is smart power.” Similarly, in an op-ed article in Foreign Affairs, Nye referred to the many official instruments of soft power such as public diplomacy, broadcasting, exchange programs, development assistance, disaster relief, military-to-military contacts and wrote that they were scattered across the U.S. government with “no overarching policy that even tries to integrate them with hard power into a comprehensive national security strategy.”

In addition to holding academic positions, Nye’s experience combines several positions serving for the government. He has held numerous senior positions in the U.S. State Department, the Pentagon, and the National Security Council including serving as Assistant Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1995. As an Assistant Secretary of Defense, Nye played an instrumental role in developing Pentagon’s East Asian Strategy Report issued in February 1995, officially called United States Security Strategy for the East Asia-Pacific Region. It was in the context of implementation of the strategy that Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan and President Bill Clinton reaffirmed in 1996 that the “U.S.-Japan security treaty was no longer related to the cold war but was now a reassurance for stability in the region” (An Alliance Larger Than One Issue, op-ed, The New York Times, January 10, 2010). In 2010, Mr. Nye was conferred an honorary doctorate from Keio University, the oldest institute of higher education in Japan "in appreciation of his significant contributions to the advancement of Japan-U.S. relations, and his outstanding achievements in academics and education."

Putting power in context and shedding light on the complexity of the environment in which power operates today, Nye notes in Foreign Affairs:

The United States can influence, but not control, other parts of the world. World politics today is like a three-dimensional chess game. At the top level, military power among states is unipolar; but at the middle level, of interstate economic relations, the world is multipolar and has been so for more than a decade. At the bottom level, of transnational relations (involving such issues as climate change, illegal drugs, pandemics, and terrorism), power is chaotically distributed and diffuses to nonstate actors.
In his latest book, The Future of Power, Nye addresses fundamental questions including “what will it mean to wield power in the cyber world of the twenty-first century?” and “[w]hat resources will produce power?,” questions that have become ever more pertinent today in the context of evolving foreign policy challenges in an information age. ….In a note for the book, Nye says:
Most current projections of a shift in the global balance of power are based primarily on one factor- projections of growth in the gross national product of different countries. They ignore the other dimensions of power that are discussed in this book
Today Joseph Nye takes the stage at Japan Society to discuss world power dynamics emerging from changing relationship, innovation and global challenges and what this means for U.S.-Japan relations and the world at large. Joseph Nye on the Future of Power is moderated by Fred Katayama, Anchor, Thomson Reuters, and a member of Japan Society's Board of Directors.

Registration: 6:00 pm, lecture and Q&A; 6:30 pm, reception: 7:30-8:15 pm. General admission is $15. Half of Japan Society’s admission sales through June 30 go to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.  To register or for more information, please  visit

The event is part of the Japan Society’s Corporate Program’s Yoko Makino Policy Series.

--Anu Tulachan

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Concert For Japan: Music Heard Around The World

Me & Mars performs at Japan Society in 2010. Photo by Naomi Ramirez.

As Japan copes with the devastating aftermath of the earthquake and tsunamis of March 11, voices of solidarity and acts of generosity have helped  bring a glimmer of hope to many who have been affected.

In New York, a chorus of deep concern and willingness to help expressed by performers, volunteer organizers and many well-wishers, inspired Japan Society’s CONCERT FOR JAPAN on Saturday, April 9--a 12 hour long series of live performances and special events offering a wide range of music and fun for people of all ages.

John Zorn helped put together two ‘gala’ blocks: at 1:00 pm Philip Glass & Hal Willner, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and Zorn perform; and at 6:00 pm Ryuichi Sakamoto performs with special guests followed by M.O.D. Technologies, Bill Laswell, Gigi, Bernie Worrell, Hideo Yamaki and many others.

Though these two blocks of the concert are sold out, people at Japan Society will be able to watch and listen via screens and speakers throughout the building, and everyone around the world can watch live courtesy of Ustream:

In addition to the gala are 10 hours of open concerts, culminating at 8:00 pm with rock, punk and electro music by female-led J-rock bands from the U.S. and Japan, including riff-heavy, post-punk, crowd-rousing, all-Japanese girl band Hard Nips; the punk pop rock of all-girl band The Suzan; the groovy rock of Me & Mars; and the smooth, chilling, electro-rock groove of Echostream, with members from both the U.S. and Japan. Traveling all the way from Japan, SALMÉ unleashes their wild “Ozashiki Revue”—a unique revue-style performance based on geisha entertainment infused with an urban Tokyo vibe.

With the help of guests organizers James Nyoraku Schlefer and Hayden Brereton (Superglorious), other CONCERT FOR JAPAN participating artists, ranging from Japanese traditional to Western classical and contemporary musicians, include: James Schlefer (shakuhachi), Masayo Ishigure and koto/shamisen ensemble “MIYABI” (koto and shamisen),Yumi Kurosawa (koto), Taikoza (taiko), New York Suwa Taiko Association led by Hiro Kurashima, Mutsumi and Masumi Takamizu (koto duo), Sadahiro Kakitani (ryuteki), Mari Kimura (violin), Lisa Bielawa (soprano), Makoto Nakura (marimba), Taka Kigawa (piano), and Cocolo Japanese Gospel Choir. Plus DJ Aki spins in the j-Lounge where people can sip drinks, snack treats and move their feet.

The full schedule performances can be found at A range of activities will be available throughout the day that we will detail in a future post. Admission for the open concert blocks and full day of activities is $5.

All proceeds from CONCERT FOR JAPAN go to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, established by Japan Society on March 12 to support organizations on the frontlines of disaster relief and recovery in Japan. In addition, Japan Society will give half of all ticket and admission sales made March 14-June 30, 2011, from all Society events to the fund. To date, $1,000,000 has gone to four Japanese nonprofits: the Tokyo Volunteer Network for Disaster Relief, JEN, Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC), and the Japan NPO Center.

Those wishing to donate to the fund can go to or mail a check to Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, New York, New York 10017; Attn: Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Checks should be made payable to Japan Society and indicate “Japan Earthquake Relief Fund” on the check. One hundred percent of tax-deductible contributions to the fund go to these organizations.

For additional information, email

--Anu Tulachan

SALMÉ unleashes their wild “Ozashiki Revue”.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What Comes Next For Japan, Panel And Webcast

The scale and power of Japan's devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear catastrophe are horrific, and the news coming out of Japan is heart-breaking. As the country grapples with the aftermath of the crisis, the world community is exploring what it can best do to help. Inside Japan, questions are only beginning to be asked about what comes next.

Japan Society and Asia Society co-present Japan Town Hall Meeting: Looking Ahead to Recovery  tonight at Asia Society. Free tickets can be reserved here, or tune in to the live webcast, 6:30-8:00pm ET at

This town hall dialogue explores the crises in Japan, the national and international response, and the short and longer-term political, socio-economic and cultural implications for Japan's future.

Speakers include three members of the Society's Board of Directors: Gerald Curtis of Columbia University, Carol Gluck of Columbia University, and Fred Katayama of Reuters Television.

In addition, participants include: Gary S. Moriwaki, President of The Japanese American Association of NY; Mitsuru Claire Chino, General Manager fo the Legal Department of ITOCHU Corporation (via teleconference); Toyoo Gyohten, President of the Institute for International Monetary Affairs, Japan and Senior Advisor, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. (via teleconference); James Kondo a co-founder of Japan Healthcare Policy Institute (via teleconference); and Yukio Satoh, the Vice Chairman of The Japan Institute of International Affairs (via teleconference).

Questions for the panelists can be submitted via email: moderator [at] asiasociety [dot] org.

--Devin Stewart