Archive for July 2016

JUSFC Commissioners T.J. Pempel and Sheila A. Smith Awarded the Government of Japan Foreign Minister’s Commendation

July 18, 2016 – 

The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission is delighted to announce that Commissioners T.J. Pempel and Sheila Smith have been awarded the Government of Japan Foreign Minister’s Commendation for FY 2016. The Foreign Minister’s Commendations are awarded to individuals and groups with outstanding achievements in international fields, in order to acknowledge their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries.

T.J. Pempel serves as a Commissioner on the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. He is currently Jack M. Forcey Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to Berkeley, Prof. Pempel was the Boeing Professor of International Studies at the University of Washington. He has also served on the faculty at Cornell University, the University of Colorado and the University of Wisconsin. Prof. Pempel’s research and teaching focus on comparative politics, political economy, contemporary Japan, and Asian regional ties. His recent books include Remapping East Asia: The Construction of a Region; Regime Shift: Comparative Dynamics of the Japanese Political Economy; Security Cooperation in Northeast Asia and The Economic-Security Nexus in Northeast Asia. In addition, he has published over one hundred twenty scholarly articles and chapters in books. Prof. Pempel received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from Columbia University. His current research involves Asian adjustments to the rise in global finance and the decline in security bipolarity. He is active in the Northeast Asian Cooperation Dialogue.

Sheila A. Smith serves as vice-chair of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. She is the Senior Fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR),… » READ MORE

JUSFC Institutional Grants Update

July 14, 2016 – 

The next deadline for submitting institutional grants to the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission is July 1, 2017.

2016 Applicants may expect to hear from JUSFC in early October 2016.

JUSFC Meet Our Grantees Series: Shinichi Iova-Koga – Dancer

July 13, 2016 – 

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission is having conversations with a number of grantees.

“The three month journey to Japan strengthened my interests in the traditional arts and I am incorporating some basic principles of tradition into how I think about making work now. I continue to investigate the experience and the forms. It all feels raw and just barely in my grasp. I am still unpacking what those experiences mean to me moving forward.”

Dancer, choreographer and director Shinichi Iova-Koga was awarded a Creative Artist Exchange Fellowship in 2012. The Fellowship is funded by the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and administered in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

While in Japan, Iova-Koga focused on traditional dance, examining the roots of both the Tadashi Suzuki Method and Butoh dance, which he had trained in extensively in the 1990’s. “In Japan, I practiced a basic Kagura dance, “Tori Mai,” with a history of over a thousand years. Suzuki Hiroshi currently keeps Kagura alive in the Tono community (Iwate prefecture)” explains Iova-Koga, adding that the music and dance of Kagura is connected to the agricultural cycle, dedicated to Kami-sama (Shinto gods).

“The strongest experience I had was performing Kagura in the context of community,” he says. “There’s no sense of classroom. There’s no sense of studying. Only practice and do!” Very few people spoke English in Tono, lova-Koga tells us.  “The experience of being in this rural, farming community made the greatest impact on me personally.”

He also spent a week studying Noh… » READ MORE