Director's greeting message

JCC Director Ms Akiko Kawabe, left, volunteering for a demonstration during the Iwasaki Onikenbai event.

Dear Friends of JCC,


April saw its share of excitement with the fifth installation of JCCfs 15th Anniversary Talk Series, which featured Iwasaki Onikenbai. The troupe first performed at JCC in 2012, and it was wonderful to welcome them back after more than 10 years. From the talk, I learnt plenty of new and insightful information about this traditional performing art, which has been handed down through 1,300 years and is now a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. I was amazed by the energetic and vibrant demonstration and I believe that it was the same for the rest of the audience that evening.

Certainly, I was also among the audience when they performed at Esplanadefs Tapestry of Sacred Music festival in the weekend right after. Once again, it was heartwarming to witness enthusiastic cheers and applause from people in Singapore in response to Japanfs traditional performing art.

As JCC Director, I often have the privilege to unexpected pleasures. One such occasion in April was a meeting with professional shogi player Mr Shohei Takada, who visited JCC during his brief stopover in Singapore. During our meeting, Mr Takada shared about the attraction of shogi, a traditional Japanese board game, as well as his efforts to spread it to people in Japan and abroad. His souvenir to JCC, sets of shogi pieces and boards as well as an information sheet on the game, is now on display in JCC. So please come and have a look, or even try the game if you wish.

Personally, I became acquainted with the world of shogi through the manga and anime gMarch Comes In like a Lionh iR̃CIjby cartoonist Ms Chika Umino. A 2-part live-action film based on it was also produced in 2017. There is also a non-fiction novel on a legendary but unfortunate shogi genius, Mr Satoshi Murayama, titled gSatoshi no Seishunh iu̐tvj, by Mr Yoshio Osaki, which was also made into a film under the same title. While most of the above seem to be available only in Japanese, if you understand some of the language, you may enjoy the tension and thrill of the game, which challenges the playersf intelligence and focus.

As you may be aware, we are currently accepting entries for our Scenery of Japan Photo Contest. If you have taken any attractive photos that showcase the unique charms of Japan during your travels, please do submit them by 30 June 2024! We look forward to receiving your photos, and rediscovering the beauty of Japan in all four seasons through them.

To find out what other JCC15 events we have in store for you, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram! You may also follow the Embassy of Japan in Singapore on their Facebook page for the latest news and updates from Japan.

Akiko Kawabe
Director, Japan Creative Centre (JCC)

6th May 2024

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