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Friday, June 5, 2009

Ireland, Japan unite for festival

Special to The Japan Times

Ireland and Japan are two countries with rich traditional and contemporary cultures, yet there has been only limited cultural exchange between them over the years. Yet both are island countries that have created a unique culture that has had an immense influence on the cultural development of other countries near and far.

News photo
Joseph Woods

Beginning June 9 and running for a week at the Center for the Study of World Civilizations on the campus of Tokyo Institute of Technology is the largest single celebration of Irish culture ever held in Japan.

The week kicks off on June 9 with an evening of Irish dance featuring the only Japanese ever to be a Riverdancer, Taka Hayashi, backed by his performance group.

On June 13, there will be more than six hours of Irish music, drama, poetry reading and a public lecture, "Irish Literature Today," by poet Joseph Woods. Woods is coming specially to Japan from Dublin for this event. Joining him from Ireland is acclaimed author Claire Keegan, who will read an excerpt from her as yet unpublished story, "Three Lights."

On June 15, an evening of seven Irish short films, all subtitled in Japanese, will be presented, and on the 16th, Isao and Masako Moriyasu will perform Irish music on a variety of instruments.

Irish Week may plant a seed in the minds and hearts of Irish and Japanese people who participate in it as artists or audience. It will be fascinating to see how this seed flowers in both countries.

Admission to all events is free and all are welcome, though it is advised to come early as seating is limited. For times and location, phone the CSWC on 03-5734-3892 or visit the Web site at www.cswc.jp The Center for the Study of World Civilizations at Tokyo Tech is dedicated to cross-cultural activities between Japan and other countries.

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