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Asia Society New York Celebrates Japan in Special Season of Programs

/ -- NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - January 22, 2016) - This spring, Asia Society presents Season of Japan, a celebration of Japanese culture held in conjunction with the exhibition Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan, on view at Asia Society Museum in New York from February 9 to May 8, 2016.

The exhibition -- comprising masterpieces from private and museum collections in North America and Europe -- marks the first major loan show of Kamakura-period sculpture in the United States in more than thirty years. The show explores how sculptures are "brought to life" or "enlivened" by the spiritual connection between exterior form, interior contents, and devotional practice, reflecting the complexity and pluralism of the period.

The exhibition coincides with the 60th anniversary year of Asia Society, which was founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd.

"John D. Rockefeller 3rd's first trip to Asia was to Japan, and he, like countless others, fell in love with the country. Later in life, he and his wife came to see Japan as a second home," said Josette Sheeran, President and CEO of Asia Society. "It is fitting that in the year of our 60th anniversary, Asia Society is celebrating Japan and its dynamic culture."

The season of programs, which include talks, films, and performances, explores Japan's past, present and future. Asia Society will host a media preview of the exhibition and related programs on Tuesday, February 9 at 9:00am. Members of the media interested in attending should register by emailing

Following is a list of confirmed programs and events. All events, unless indicated, take place at Asia Society in New York, 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street). Find out more about upcoming programs, including information about registration and ticket purchase, at

Japan's New Security Posture: Implications for Asia and the World
Wednesday, February 3 • 8:00-10:00am

Discussion with Japan's Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama and Asia Society Policy Institute President Kevin Rudd about Japan's role as a regional and global security provider.

Members-Only Exhibition Opening Lecture
Tuesday, February 9 • 6:30-7:30pm

Guest curator Ive Covaci gives members an inside look at Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan. Covaci is a lecturer in Art History at Fairfield University.

Leo Bar Happy Hour
Friday, February 12 • 6:00-9:00pm

A night of fun and culture at a Japanese-themed happy hour. Free museum tours of Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan, music, specialty cocktails, shopping at AsiaStore, and origami demonstrations.

Keynote address and exhibition viewing at Asia Society
Friday, February 26 • 6:30-9:00pm

Interdisciplinary symposium (held at Columbia University)
Saturday, February 26-27 • All day

This interdisciplinary symposium will gather leading scholars of Kamakura period art, religion, and literature. On the eve of the symposium, Mimi Yiengpruksawan of Yale University will deliver a keynote address at Asia Society.

Theater Japan / NOH and KYOGEN
Sunday, February 28 • 6:30-8:00pm

A rare opportunity to experience traditional Japanese theater in New York. Master performers of Noh and Kyogen will explain the form's essentials: the stage, dance, music, costume, masks, and props. The evening includes a talk (in Japanese with English translation), a demonstration by the artists, and Q&A. Presented in connection with An Evening of Japanese Traditional Theatre, taking place on March 1 at Carnegie Hall.

Of Ghosts, Samurai and War: Classic Japanese Film
March 4-19

Japanese cinema has produced some of the most admired films that continue to enrich the world cinema discourse. Asia Society and Japan Foundation will screen rare 35mm prints of masterpieces by such greats as Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, and Kaneto Shindo from the Foundation's Film Library.

Rashomon (1950) 88 min. B&W
Directed by Akira Kurosawa, starring Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo and Masayuki Mori.
Friday, March 4

The New Tale of the Taira Clan (1955) 108 min. Color
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, starring Raizo Ichikawa and Yoshiko Kuga.
Saturday, March 5

Kwaidan (1965) 183 min. Color
Directed by Masaki Kobayashi, music by Toru Takamitsu, starring Katsuo Nakamura, Keiko Kishi, Michiyo Aratama and Rentaro Mikuni.
Sunday, March 6

Ugetsu (1953) 97 min. B&W
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, starring Machiko Kyo, Kinuyo Tanaka and Masayuki Mori.
Friday, March 11

Miyamoto Musashi (1961) 110 min. Color
Directed by Tomu Uchida, starring Kinnosuke Nakamura and Michiyo Kogure.
Sunday, March 13

Brave Records of the Sanada Clan (1963) 90 min. Color
Directed by Tai Kato, starring Kinnosuke Yorozuya and Misako Watanabe.
Friday, March 18

Onibaba (1964) 103 min. B&W
Directed by Kaneto Shindo, starring Nobuko Otowa and Jitsuko Yoshimura.
Saturday, March 19

3-11 and 9-11 Survivor Stories
Tuesday, March 8 • 6:30-8:00pm

The Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 and the ensuing tsunami and nuclear accident brought unprecedented trauma and challenges for residents of northern Japan. Four nearly four years, a unique outreach program has connected New Yorkers with profound experiences of 9-11 to the people of Tohoku, Japan. Small groups of people from New York and Tohoku have traveled back and forth in a healing exchange that has yielded life-changing results. This special event features representatives from New York and Tohoku, a short documentary film, and a conversation about the power of human connection and healing.

Japan After TPP (held in Washington, D.C.)
Wednesday, March 9

Discussion with Wendy Cutler, Vice President, Asia Society Policy Institute. Cutler most recently served as Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, playing a central role in negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Recycling: Washi Tales
Thursday and Friday, March 24-25 • 8:00-9:30pm

Recycling: Washi Tales uses live performance to enliven human stories contained in sheet of washi, Japanese handmade paper, as it is recycled through time. Four tales of paper making from different periods of Japanese history unfold on stage with an extraordinary ensemble of performers and musicians, in a world created by distinguished paper artist, Kyoko Ibe.

Monkey Business: Japan/America Writers' Dialogue
April 30

The Japan/America Writers' Dialogue is an annual conversation between contemporary Japanese and American authors. Curated and moderated by the co-founders and editors of the Tokyo-based literary journal Monkey Business, the program features writers published in the journal's latest edition. Co-presented by Asia Society and Japan Foundation, and held in conjunction with the annual PEN World Voices Festival.

Leo Bar Happy Hour
Friday, May 6 • 6:00-9:00pm

Asia Society celebrates the diversity and dynamism of Asian Americans in New York City with a free night of fun and culture. Featuring free museum tours, live music, Japanese food, and more.

New York Japan CineFest
June 4-5 • 6:30pm

This festival of short films by Japanese and Japanese American filmmakers shines a spotlight on young talents. Encompassing documentary, animation, live action, and experimental shorts, the festival focuses on the independent filmmakers who committed to making their full potential to express their voice and vision to the world.

Additionally, AsiaStore events include:

  • Origami demonstration with origami masters Michael G. LaFosse and Richard Alexander, Friday, February 12, 12:00pm to 3:00pm. Origami kits and books available for purchase and signing.
  • Kokeshi dolls by the Hodsdons, demonstration and sale, Friday, March 11 from 12:00pm to 3:30pm. Husband and wife team Lisa and Jacob Hodsdon craft modern interpretations of traditional Japanese Kokeshi dolls.
  • Fashions by Meiko Mintz sale event, Tuesday and Wednesday, March 15-16, from 12:00pm to 3:30pm. Born on the Japanese island of Kyushu, Mintz utilizes vintage Japanese kimonos, Indonesian batik, and Indian Kantha infusing fresh and modern design elements into her fashions.

Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan is made possible by the generous support of The National Endowment for the Arts.

Major support for this exhibition is also provided by the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation and Etsuko O. Morris and John H. Morris Jr.

Asia Society acknowledges other generous underwriters including The Kitano Hotel New York, the Japan Foundation, The Blakemore Foundation, Peggy and Richard Danziger, Japanese Art Dealers Association, Helen Little, Toshiba International Foundation, John C. Weber, and the Ellen Bayard Weedon Foundation.

Additional support is provided by Sebastian Izzard, Leighton R. Longhi, Joan B. Mirviss, and Erik Thomsen.

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Asia Society Press Office

Recycling: Washi Tales, which will be staged at Asia Society on March 24 and 25, uses live performance to enliven the human stories contained in sheet of "washi," Japanese handmade paper, as it is recycled through time. (Valerie Oliveiro)