Chairman, Association Amicale des Ressortissants Japonais en France / Chairman, Comite de Soutien aux Japonismes 2018
I first lived in Paris in 1978 while working for a trading company. I subsequently moved on to London and Hamburg but frequently returned to Paris on business, so I count this year as my 40th in the city. I consider myself extremely lucky that this anniversary coincides with the historical undertaking that is “Japonismes 2018: les âmes en resonance.” I have always held a strong belief that Japanese culture affects the spirit, and that it cannot be understood in visual terms alone. I have been running Kinotayo (The Kinotayo Contemporary Japanese Cinema Festival) in Paris for 12 years and have discovered that if one identifies too much with the characters or becomes too deeply involved with the stories, it can lead to a sense of loss that bears witness to the emotions that have been ignited. For the exhibitions and cultural events taking place at over 20 venues in Paris, it will be important to secure emotional engagement with the audience. We need to use a variety of methods to convey information about the events and communicate their significance, ensuring that people have the prior knowledge necessary for each individual event to have its full intended impact. For this reason, at the board meeting of the Association Amicale des Ressortissants Japonais en France in January, we set up the Japonismes 2018 Support Committee, which I myself decided to chair.
The committee gathers ideas of ways to ensure audience engagement, supporting the initiative’s efforts to truly resonate with people’s souls. As of February 2018, including both corporate and individual members, the committee involves a total 2,000 entities, or around 6,000 members. It is my hope that all our members will spread the news about Japonismes 2018, to engage their colleagues, neighbors, friends, and anyone else in France with whom they share their lives, and inspire as many people as possible to set foot inside the world of Japonisme. To this end, we will be featuring introductions to the events on our website, in our newsletter, and in our members’ bulletin. Last year, more than 400 visitors participated in the Festival of Hope, an annual charity bazaar in May which we started in the wake of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, making it the ideal opportunity to publicize Japonismes 2018. We are planning to have a Japonismes 2018 booth, with printed happi coats and T-shirts to advertise the event as much as possible. We are also considering how to take advantage of the Association’s 60 activities to further promote the event. I am ever so grateful to be able to contribute to this wonderful event, and I truly hope that we can engage as many people as possible, and that the event will boost French-Japanese relations.
Then, let’s make most of this historical period of 8 months.
Paris, February 28, 2018