Monthly Archives: March 2017

Conversation Cafe at Nippon Club (organized by Japan Foundation)

ConvCafe_flyer_Spring 2017

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Manga/Comics and Translation Symposium at Baruch College (April 6th, 2017)

Manga/Comics and Translation Symposium

This symposium invites scholars, translators, and professionals to discuss various processes and challenges of translating Japanese-language comics (manga) into English. It will illuminate the relatively invisible “work” of manga/comics translators, including their skills and challenges. In addition, the symposium will also highlight the specific nature of comics/manga medium. Unlike translation of text-based literary works, the translation of comics (manga) involved its media specific elements, including comics publishing conventions, reading orders, its formal nature (i.e. the image-word hybrid form), etc.






*The photos above are the covers of the manga titles translated by the invited guest lecturers/translators.

The invited guest lecturers/translators are:
– Dr. Mari Morimoto (DVM), a NYC-based translator of Japanese comics
– Dr. Ryan Holmberg, an art historian/translator (Duke University)
– Professor George Touris, an instructor (CUNY)
– Dr. Shige (CJ) Suzuki, Baruch College (Baruch College, CUNY)

Date: April 6th, 2017
Time: 12:40 to 2:05 pm (club hours)
Place: VC7-150 (Vertical Campus 7th floor #150)

The Vertical Campus is the “B” building of the map on the following website. Enter from the door located at the corner of East 24th and Lexington Avenue.

Please go to the following page and complete the registration. *Due to the limited availability of the seats, all attendees must register.

The event is open to all. Individuals who are not affiliated with Baruch College needs to present your ID to the security officer at the entrance.

Main Guest Speakers:

(1) Dr. Mari Morimoto

Osaka-born and Manhattan-raised, Mari never strayed far from urbanity until she spent nine years at Cornell. Actually, it’s Dr. Morimoto, whose “real job” as a big city veterinarian often wars with her “moonlighting” as a freelance manga translator. She got her foot in the door with VIZ Media through luck and circumstance, and since then has expanded her resume to include panelist, panel leader, Guest of Honor personal assistant and interpreter, and Guest of Honor at several northeast conventions. She has also contributed several articles to the English edition of SHONEN JUMP. A highlight of her translating career was meeting and rubbing elbows with Dragonball creator Akira Toriyama. As a child, she had the honor of meeting the late Osamu Tezuka. Her current titles are Naruto, Inuyasha, and Dragon Eye, but she has also previously translated Dragonball, Maison Ikkoku, One Pound Gospel, Knights of the Zodiac, and the DiGi Charat anthology.

(2) Dr. Ryan Holmberg
Dr. Ryan Holmberg is a Visiting Lecturer at Duke University, and an Academic Associate of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures. As a freelance art historian and critic, he is a frequent contributor to The Comics Journal, Artforum International, and Art in America. As an editor and translator of manga, he has worked with Breakdown Press, Drawn & Quarterly, Retrofit Comics, and PictureBox Inc. His edition of Tezuka Osamu’s The Mysterious Underground Men (PictureBox) won the 2014 Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material: Asia. He is also the author of Garo Manga: The First Decade, 1964–1973 (Center for Book Arts, 2010).

The symposium is organized by the Japanese program with assistance of Baruch Japan Club. It is sponsored by the Center for Global Partnership, the Globus Lecture Series and the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature, and Baruch Japan Club.

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KABUKI:KUMADORI-MAKEUP Apr 3, 17 Mon 11:30am-12:50pm

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Made in Japan Inc. is back with Syan, a balloon artist, and Ace-K, a ninja style acrobat, and Japan’s fan favorite clown/juggler duo, Taratta Latta to showcase their talent in New York City at Baruch College Performing Art Center!

Time: Mar 25, 17 10:30am/2:00pm/5:30pm

Location: The Engelman Recital Hall at Baruch Performing Art Center

(Entrance on E. 25th St. bet. Lexington & 3rd Ave.)

For more details, please visit

To apply and get a student discount, please visit



All rights are reserved by Made in Japan Inc.

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Oshima X Godard (Film Series) at BAM

Oshima X Godard


Mar 3—Mar 16, 2017

Commonly referred to as “the Japanese Godard,” Nagisa Oshima said he preferred that Jean-Luc Godard be called “the French Oshima.” However one chooses to regard these renegade auteurs, both were leaders of their respective countries’ New Wave movements, creating some of the most stylistically rule-breaking, politically incendiary films of the 1960s and 70s. BAMcinématek screens their explosive works side by side for a double dose of truly revolutionary cinema.

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After the Storm, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Latest Masterwork, Is Indispensable

After the Storm, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Latest Masterwork, Is Indispensable

After the Storm, Hirokazu Kore-eda's Latest Masterwork, Is Indispensable

Courtesy of Film Movement

If civilization were to end tomorrow — and who the hell knows, it just might — we could learn a lot about building the next one from the films of Hirokazu Kore-eda. Back in 1998, the Japanese director had his U.S. breakthrough with the wildly acclaimed After Life. Since then, he’s been a regular on the international festival circuit, building an impressively humanistic body of work. 2004’s Nobody Knows may have been his first true masterpiece, but there have been other standouts: Last year’s Our Little Sister, 2013’s Like Father, Like Son and 2008’s Still Walking were all critically adored. Even so, Kore-eda deserves to be better known — his name shouted from rooftops and his films made required viewing.

That may sound like an odd claim to make about a writer-director whose work is never insistent but rather understated, almost demure. Still, these gentle, observational dramas hide deep reserves of passion and pain; they sneak up on you and then refuse to let go. And After the Storm might be his most devastating work yet. The film follows divorced dad Ryota (played by a movingly mopey Hiroshi Abe), a failed novelist and gambling addict looking to put his life back together.

When we first meet him, he’s raiding his mom’s apartment and searching the possessions of his recently deceased father for anything he might be able to sell. (The mother, by the way, is played by the great Japanese actress Kirin Kiki, who has worked with Kore-eda several times before.) Unfortunately, dad too was a gambling addict and had already pawned just about everything. And the family is wise to Ryota; his mom has sold off everything dad left behind, and his sister has taken anything else of value that could be hocked.

Ryota wants to clean up his life, but he is somehow both too proud and too defeatist to do so. That might seem like a contradiction, but Kore-eda, who draws from life and not from simplistic loglines, understands that those impulses often go hand-in-hand. Ryota spends part of his time on buses and trains with a notepad, presumably gathering ideas for a new book, and the rest working for a private-investigation firm to make ends meet.

Sometimes, he confronts the people he’s investigating, shows them what he’s found, then takes their money in exchange for covering up their misdeeds and infidelities. He also can’t stop gambling, nor can he resist using his job to spy on his ex-wife and his son, who are moving on to a better life with a wealthy alpha male who cheers the boy on at his baseball games and takes the pair out to fancy dinners. Meanwhile, Ryota turns down more lucrative writing opportunities, using as his excuse the novel he may never actually write.

It would be easy to shape such material into a tragedy, a judgmental look at a man’s agonizing downfall. It could also be turned into a simplistic tale of redemption. But for Kore-eda, it’s just a glimpse of ordinary people living their ordinary lives. Ryota’s setbacks aren’t all that different from the infidelities and failures he documents at his private-eye job. “For better or worse, it’s all part of my life,” says one woman who’s just discovered her husband is cheating on her. That respect for human fallibility shines throughout After the Storm, as Kore-eda patiently charts the process by which his protagonist comes to understand that he might never become the man he wants to be — and starts to reconcile aspiration and acceptance.

In an early scene, Ryota’s mother points to a small tangerine tree on her balcony, one he had planted as a young boy. “It doesn’t flower or bear fruit, but I water it every day like it’s you,” she tells him. Then she notes that this fruitless fruit tree has become a home for caterpillars, one of which she recently saw turn into a butterfly. “So it’s useful for something,” she declares. Ryota repeats her words — “I’m useful for something” — not with relief or obstinacy but with a hushed desperation. It may as well be a question, asked by a downcast young child to his mother.

Ryota asks many questions over the course of After the Storm. The most prominent, perhaps, is “Why did my life turn out like this?” He writes it on a small piece of paper and pins it to a wall filled with other notes — maybe a plan for his novel, and a sign that he’s finally starting to look at his own life? Who knows? Kore-eda isn’t in the business of providing answers. He prefers to explore the paradoxes of human behavior. Ryota, we learn, wasn’t a particularly attentive father or husband before his marriage fell apart, and only now, after the fall, does he realize the value of what he’s lost.

“I wonder why it is that men can’t love the present,” his mom observes. “Either they just keep chasing whatever it is they’ve lost or they keep dreaming beyond their reach.” His father, she says, was just like him. And Ryota’s son may well be on his way, too; we see Ryota buy the boy his first lottery ticket, and we wonder if the child will one day inherit his father’s and grandfather’s gambling compulsions.

Kore-eda’s stories, such as they are, unfold in unlikely ways. He doesn’t play so much with structure but with focus: He’ll allow a scene to go on and on before slipping in a crucial bit of narrative information that sends the story off in a new direction. That could result in chaos, but his absorption in these lives, his ability to imbue the slightest exchange or glance with warmth and humor, transfixes us. We can lose ourselves in these films — wondering what’s around every corner and what’s going on in the mind of even the most minor of characters. This love for people reflects back on the viewer. I walked out of After the Storm wanting to be a better person — and further convinced that Hirokazu Kore-eda isn’t just one of the world’s best filmmakers but one of its most indispensable artists.

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March 24—April 8, 2017

While Godzilla undoubtedly ranks among Japanese cinema’s most well-known and beloved exports, the series of films in which he stars is only one of the many remarkable entries within the rich and varied universe of Japanese tokusatsu (“special effects”) films. This seven-film series, a modified version of the program organized for the 2016 Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy by film critic and writer Mark Schilling, goes beyond Toho’s superstar monster to introduce a selection of titles that display the wide-ranging imagination of the Japanese sci-fi/fantasy genre, including innovative B-movies, kaiju eiga (“monster movies”) and non-Godzilla classics involving director Ishiro Honda and effects maestro Eiji Tsuburaya.

$13/$10 seniors & students/$9 Japan Society members

EXCEPT screening of The H-Man + Opening Night Party:
$16/$13 seniors & students/$12 Japan Society members

Special Offer: Buy tickets to at least 3 different films in the same transaction and receive $2 off each ticket.

Related Program: Godzilla Legend—Music of Akira Ifukube (Friday, April 28, 7:30 PM)

From the Curator’s Note:

“’Ever since Ishiro Honda’s 1954 Godzilla first rampaged across screens around the world, its title monster has become both Japan’s best-known pop culture export and a universal symbol of mass destruction. But Godzilla has also cast a long, scaly shadow obscuring Japan’s other live-action contributions to the sci-fi/fantasy genre…”

Read more . . .


TENUGUI Workshop Hunter College Mar.23 2:45PM-4:00PM

The Japanese Division at Hunter College would like to invite you advanced-level students to a unique workshop about Tenugui.

This workshop is only to Japanese students in an advanced level since the workshop is going to mostly be in Japanese. 

Date: March 23

Time: 2:45-4:00pm

Place: Hunter College, Hunter West B126

RSVP to Akiyo Furukawa:

Please see the attached poster. 


Maayan Barkan

Acting Head

Japanese Division

Department of Classical&Oriental Studies

Hunter College

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THREE 2017 summer interns to support current initiatives of CULCON, JUSFC and U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation


We are seeking up to THREE 2017 summer interns to support current initiatives of CULCON, JUSFC and U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation, which include activities promoting U.S.-Japan cultural, educational and people-to-people exchange. Interns will be working from a small office in a team-oriented and fast-paced environment and will be expected to be both proactive and flexible in completing assignments. Duties include disseminating information via social media, and supporting TeamUp and other campaigns, among other research- and program-related activities.
Applicants should be undergraduate or graduate students and are expected to have excellent research, internet, communication and organizational skills and some knowledge of Japan and/or Japanese language(translation skills a plus). For summer interns, minimum 30 hours/week for 6 weeks, 9 am-4 pm. Washington, DC office, flexible schedule. JUSFC/CULCON/USJBF will reimburse local transportation costs. Please see our website for further information about our activities: and
Please send a resume and cover letter to: Please include preferred start and end dates as well as contact information for up to two references.
APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR SUMMER 2017 INTERNSHIPS: March 15, 2017 . Our goal is to make decisions by April 3. (This will depend on the interview process.)

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