A night of Japanese sake tasting

Our first ever online ‘Sake Tasting Night’ took place on 29th April. The event was a huge success and we were pleased to welcome many IJA individual and corporate members to enjoy and learn the basics of sake from the comfort of their homes.

The evening included not only sake tasting but our guest speakers Colin Murray, Retro Sake, and Graham Ryan, Yamamori, took everyone on a virtual tour and introduced to the origins and history of sake, the wide variety of sake types and its production in Japan.

During the event participants had a chance to taste 6 different types of Japanese sake:

* Hatsumago “Kimoto Tradition”, Honjozo
* Kikumasamune Junmai “Koujo”, Junmai
* Kikusui Junmai Ginjo, Junmai Ginjo
* Rihaku “Dreamy Clouds”, Junmai Nigori
* Dassai 45, Junmai Daiginjo
* Fukuju “Plum Sake”, Plum Sake

We had a wonderful experience hosting this event and we would like to thank everyone who joined us and made it a tremendous success!


Event was organised in cooperation with RetroVino Wine & Sake and Yamamori Restaurant Group.

The IJA would like to thank Eddie Hughes, IJA Council, for his help and support throughout this project and event.

*Photos: taken by event participants

Participants needed | Survey of Japanese expatriates stationed in English-speaking countries

WizWe Corporation, which develops and operates a habituation platform, conducted a survey at the start of a joint research with Professor Mitsuhide Shiraki of the Transnational HRM Research Institute of Waseda University, “Survey research on English utilization ability and performance of Japanese overseas dispatchers”.

WizWe currently is conducting the survey to measure the English ability and business performance of Japanese expatriates, who are seconded to subsidiaries from Japan to other countries. WizWe is looking for companies who would be interested to cooperate.

For companies that cooperated in the survey, WizWe will provide a free research result report on the relationship between the English proficiency of overseas dispatchers and local business performance.

1. The purpose of this survey:
To evaluate the relationship between English proficiency and the business performance of Japanese expatriates. We have a hypothesis that there might be a relation between these two and would like to investigate the reality of the Japanese expatriates. The result will be kept anonymous and utilised for our research to contribute to many Japanese companies’ global business strategy by giving proposals and actual solutions of corporate education.

2. Survey respondents’ profiles:

  1. Japanese expatriates working in subsidiaries outside Japan and using English at their workplaces. Locally
    employed Japanese employees are NOT included.
  2. Their colleagues who know the business performance and English proficiency of the Japanese expatriates
    above such as those who supervise them, are supervised by them or are working together in the same
    project. All nationalities are welcome if they can read English.

3. The necessary steps to execute a survey:
The two separated steps are provided to Japanese expatriates and their colleagues described in 2. Survey respondents’ profiles;

  1. For Japanese expatriates

There are three types of survey and test for Japanese expatriates: Behaviour competency survey and two English tests for this survey.

    1. Behaviour competency survey to evaluate their working performance at the subsidiaries outside Japan. It will take around 10 mins per person.
    2. English tests with CASEC to evaluate listening and reading skills (40 mins) and VERSANT to measure speaking skills (20 mins). All the licenses and instructions will be provided by WizWe.
  1. For their colleagues

Only the Behaviour competency survey is for their colleagues.

    1. Behaviour competency survey to evaluate their working performance at the subsidiaries outside Japan. It will take around 10 mins per person. This survey will be provided in both Japanese and English.

4. The period of the survey: until the end of July 2021

5. How to apply for the survey:
There are two ways to apply for the survey. We kindly ask you to be coordinated respondents of your company or organisation by a representative such as an HR department. We will come back to you shortly after the application is accepted. Application deadline: May 31, 2021 (Monday).

  1. Website application form (JP)
    The application form is available at the bottom of the URL below;
  2. Email (JP/EN)
    Please email to research@wizwe.co.jp and hamada@wizwe.co.jp with the information below;
    – Name of a representative of the survey in your company or organisation
    – Email of the person
    – Phone number of the person
    – Number of the research respondents in your company or organisation

6. Reward
We will provide the result of this survey in September 2021. Companies with over 10 pairs of respondents for this survey will be given the original analysis within the companies in addition to the overall result.

If you have any enquiries, please contact Mariko Hamada, WizWe Corporation: hamada@wizwe.co.jp 

For more information: https://www.smarthabit.net/ja/waseda-uni-transnational-human-resource-management_2021_2

Institute for Transnational Human Resource Management is a Waseda University project established in October
2008 which aims to research and advise human resources management departments in transnational enterprises in

WizWe is a private company to support corporate education and school education by providing multiple
language training and global training programmes.

Exhibition ‘Edo in Colour – Prints from Japan’s Metropolis’ | Online Now

As the Chester Beatty continues to follow Irish government guidelines, the opening of ‘Edo in Colour – Prints from Japan’s Metropolis’ has been delayed but an online version of the exhibition, which features one hundred prints and printed books from the Chester Beatty’s renowned collections of Japanese art, can be viewed here.

Photo: Chesterbeatty.ie

Bursting into life as capital of Japan’s ruling shogunate, by the mid-18th century the population of Edo (modern Tokyo) had grown to over one million.

From buskers and teahouse beauties to actors, entertainers, prostitutes and star-crossed lovers, the people of downtown Edo became celebrities of this new metropolis, their image captured in vibrant woodblock prints.

Photo: Chesterbeatty.ie

Woodblock prints were an affordable art, printed by the thousand and consumed as fast as fashion demanded. They are also aesthetically rich and technically accomplished. As illustrious artists and shrewd publishers battled for market share, they constructed the city anew on paper.

Edo in Colour explores how woodblock prints shaped a city’s identity as they crafted its image.

Photo: Chesterbeatty.ie


Visit online exhibition here: https://chesterbeatty.ie/exhibitions/edo-in-colour/


‘Edo in Colour’ is presented with the support of the Japan Foundation and Toshiba International Foundation.

‘Black Dragonfly’ – Debut Novel by Jean Pasley

We are delighted to announce the upcoming release of Jean Pasley’s novel ‘Black Dragonfly’ based on the remarkable experiences of the Irish writer Lafcadio Hearn.

Over a century after his death, nomadic Irish writer, Patrick Lafcadio Hearn remains one of the most famous Westerners ever to make Japan his home. In this richly imagined novel, Jean Pasley explores not only Hearn’s stark, lonely childhood in Ireland and his scandalous time in America but also how Japan changed him and how he went on to become one of Japan’s most celebrated and cherished writers.

Dublin-born writer and filmmaker Jean Pasley spent ten years in Japan. Her screenplays have won numerous awards, the most recent being The Audience Award at Cork International Film Festival 2020 for The Bright Side on which she was co-writer. Her new short film, Ship of Souls, which she directed, was also inspired by Hearn and is due for release shortly. She now lives in Dublin, close to one of Hearn’s childhood homes. This is her first novel. Jean Pasley is also a member of the Ireland Japan Association (IJA).


A lavish, beautiful testimony to the life and achievements of Lafcadio Hearn. – Frank McGuinness


The story of a complex and troubled man, as he tries to come to terms with his life and at the same time, negotiate the ancient, mysterious and fast-changing civilisation of nineteenth century Japan. – Christine Dwyer Hickey


An alluring and absorbing tale and one of the most engaging and insightful books I have read in a long time. – Manchán Magan


Black Dragonfly is published by Balestier Press. Publication date: 15 April 2021.

You can preorder your copy online here:

Founded in 2015, Balestier Press is an independent publisher proudly presenting the hidden gems of contemporary world literature, picture books, comics/graphic novels and memoirs, with a focus on Asia, Pacific and Africa. We enable a greater variety of original voices to be heard by promoting writers, translators, and illustrators worldwide, with the belief that the beauty of literature, stories and thoughts can connect different cultures and people across borders.

IJA Annual General Meeting 2021 | Review

The 31st Annual General Meeting for the Ireland Japan Association took place on Wednesday, 24th March 2021. Following the official guidelines and taking into account the current situation in the country, the meeting took place online via Zoom platform.

The IJA General Meeting was called prior to the AGM 2021 to discuss and vote on the proposal to amend the Paragraph 10 (Election Procedure) of the IJA Constitution regarding the duration of both Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson holding of their positions. The proposed amendment was approved by majority and will be included in the IJA Constitution: ‘10.7. Both the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson shall be elected by the Annual General Meeting and shall hold office for a one year period and may be re-elected but may not hold the same office for more than three consecutive years.’

Raymond Hegarty, IJA Chairperson, thanked the outgoing Council members for their work, participation and team effort throughout the past year, Embassy of Japan for continued support to the IJA, AIB – the Patron member of the IJA in 2020, and all IJA Corporate and Individual members.

Raymond Hegarty paid his respects to the late Dr. Tom Hardiman (1929 -2020) who was the IJA Honorary Member and a passionate advocate of Ireland-Japan relations throughout his life.

In his report, Raymond Hegarty noted that despite the lockdown and numerous restrictions in 2020, the IJA adapted to the new situation and moved most of the events online. 10 business and culture events were organized throughout the past year, including Noh ‘Between the stones’ workshops and shows in Kilkenny and Wexford and the IJA Annual Dinner 2020 which was the last event the IJA managed to organise before the Covid pandemic hit the country, followed by a list of online events: AGM 2020, Hokkaido and the Coronavirus – coping with the second wave, IJA Photo Competition JAPANORAMIC, Kimono demonstration, Ikebana demonstration, Wellness talk ‘Happy Gut Happy Brain’, Managing Business Recovery Through Covid-19, New Business Opportunities with Japan and Ireland, and the IJA Japanese Conversation Group.

In 2020 IJA supported and promoted 12 online events in partnership with other organizations, IJA members and friends – UCD Japan, Unique Japan Tours and the Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce.

The IJA supported three organizations with donations in 2020: Dublin School for Japanese Children (DSJC), Experience Japan festival in Dublin and 18th Japanese Speech Contest.

Raymond Hegarty informed that IJA member’s network has 34 corporate members and 47 individual members. Two new corporate members have joined the IJA in 2020 – Clover Aircraft Leasing and NTT Ireland Ltd. Raymond Hegarty thanked AIB for continued support to the IJA over the years as a Patron member.

An update on the Dr. and Mrs. Ushioda Scholarship was given during the meeting, noting that the very first recipient of the scholarship – Sophia Herar (DCU) – returned from her studies in Japan in 2020 where she studied at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies. Unfortunately, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, Sophia’s stay in Japan was cut short but she has expressed her gratitude for the support to Mrs. Ushioda and the IJA.  Raymond Hegarty thanked Donagh Morris for his support and assistance with the scholarship management and administration process over the last 2 years.

In 2020, due to the pandemic, the scholarship award was put on pause but the IJA is delighted to announce that in 2021 the scholarship will be awarded to a student from University of Limerick – based on their academic merits. 

Summary of the IJA Financial Statements for 2020 was shared with the AGM participants, membership subscription fees were approved for 2021/2022 and the new IJA Council members were announced.

Raymond Hegarty informed that this year there are 8 current Council members leaving the Council. He thanked Colin Murray (Retro Vino), Donagh Morris (MUFG Fund Services), Eoghan Howe (Bank of Ireland), Graham Ryan (Yamamori), Hiro Ino (IJA Individual Member), Niall Moriarty (AIB), Shane Geraghty (Dillon Eustace) and Zach Schroeder (IJA Individual Member) for their work, participation and team effort during their time on the Council.

This year the IJA received a record number of nominations for the IJA Council elections – 17, and the elections for the very first time were held online from Thursday, 11th March – Thursday, 18th March.

Seven new Council members were welcomed to the IJA Council this year – Catherine Grennell-Whyte (Finnair/ATTS), Karl O’Reilly (KWE Ireland), Laura Goonan (Dillon Eustace), Pamela Connell (Bank of Ireland), Paula Kelly (IJA Individual Member), Rachel Curry (AIB) and Stephen Mullin (CPL Ireland).

The newly elected IJA Council for 2021:

Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson

  1. Raymond Hegarty (Chairperson)
  2. Yasuyuki Ozeki, JETRO (Vice-Chairperson)

Corporate Members:

  1. Catherine Grennell-Whyte, Finnair/ATTS
  2. Darina Slattery, Unique Japan Tours
  3. Karl O’Reilly, KWE Ireland
  4. Laura Goonan, Dillon Eustace
  5. Pamela Connell, Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking
  6. Rachel Curry, AIB Corporate Banking
  7. Stephen Mullin, CPL Ireland
  8. Tsugumi Yamamoto, Grant Thornton Ireland

Individual Members:

  1. Eddie Hughes, IJA Individual Member
  2. Hiroaki Ozaki, IJA Individual Member
  3. Paula Kelly, IJA Individual Member
  4. Verity Swan, IJA Individual Member

Not on Council but invited to attend meetings:

  1. Sou Watanabe (Honorary Member)


EU-Japan News | March 2021 Issue Available Now

EU-Japan NEWS is the quarterly newsletter of the EU-Japan Centre launched in 2003 and containing EU-Japan-related news and features on topics of interest to EU and Japan businesses and public bodies.

The newest issue of the March 2021 Newsletter is available in an online and PDF version packed with the EU and Japan related news, partnering opportunities, network news and lots of other useful information and links.

EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation is a unique venture between the European Commission and the Japanese government. It is a non-profit organisation established as an affiliate of the Institute of International Studies and Training (IIST). It aims at promoting all forms of industrial, trade and investment cooperation between the EU and Japan and at improving EU and Japanese companies’ competitiveness and cooperation by facilitating exchanges of experience and know-how between EU and Japanese businesses.

You can read full March 2021 Newsletter online here!

You can read full March 2021 Newsletter in PDF format here!

Japanese Story: A New Season of Japanese Films Online | Volume I

If you have an interest in Japanese film history, you will be pleased to know that Irish Film Institute has announced their new season of Japanese films, online on IFI@Home: Japanese Story.

Films included in the first volume of the season will be available to rent from Friday, February 5th for just €5.99, taking you through a journey of Japanese cinema, from the Golden Age to the surrealist, to the best of J-Horror.

Films are available to browse and rent here: https://www.ifihome.ie/page/japanese-story/

The phenomenal depth and breadth of stylistic and narrative invention observed in Japanese cinema offers continued delights for even the most ardent of cinephiles. The films selected for this season are intended to offer the most basic of primers to one of film’s most historically significant national cinemas.

Alongside classics from titans such as Ozu and Kurosawa are included some more outré examples of work from contemporary directors, as well as samples of uniquely Japanese takes on genre, such as the kaijuanime, and pinku eiga films featured. While it is impossible to represent all the many facets of Japanese cinema in such a selection, it is hoped that what is on offer will provide a tantalising introduction for some, and a welcome opportunity to revisit for others.

Films are available to browse and rent here.
The second volume of the season will be available to rent on IFI@Home in March 2021.

Off The Page: Kazuo Ishiguro in conversation

International Literature Festival Dublin is delighted to welcome Nobel Prize winning writer Kazuo Ishiguro for an online talk to mark the publication of Klara and the Sun, his first novel since receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017.

Date: Friday, 12th March 2021
Time: 7.30 PM

Note: Tickets are priced at €25* which includes a ticket to the event and a signed hardback copy of Klara and the Sun.  If you wish to only buy a ticket for €8, please input the coupon code KLARA before purchasing your ticket. You will find this under “click to book ticket” on the top right of your screen. *Free postage within Ireland.

Klara and the Sun tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watching the humans in the store where she’s based and those on the street outside. Remaining hopeful a customer will one day choose her, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.

Ishiguro’s work, which includes the Booker-winning The Remains of the Day and the dystopian novel Never Let Me Go, has been translated into over fifty languages. Klara and the Sun highlights his uncanny ability to speak to the here and now, from an imaginative perspective that is all his own. Join this event to hear this exceptional writer in conversation with Sinéad Gleeson, author of Constellations, and to put your questions to him during the event.

Kazuo Ishiguro is a Japanese-British novelist, screenwriter and short-story writer. He was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954 and moved to Britain at the age of five. His eight previous works of fiction have earned him many honors around the world, including the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Booker Prize. In 2017, the Swedish Academy awarded Ishiguro the Nobel Prize in Literature, describing him in its citation as a writer “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”. His work has been translated into over fifty languages, and The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, both made into acclaimed films, have each sold more than 2 million copies. He was given a knighthood in 2018 for Services to Literature. He also holds the decorations of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star from Japan.

Event is presented by International Literature Festival Dublin in association with Faber and Faber and Eason as retail partner.

A Gap in the Clouds: Translating Medieval Japanese Poetry

Trinity Centre for Literary and Cultural Translation  is inviting you to join for the launch of a new translation of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, one of the most important poetry collections in Japan.

Date: Thursday, 11 February 2021
Time: 5.30 PM
Registration is required: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-gap-in-the-clouds-translating-medieval-japanese-poetry-today-tickets-137401151543?aff=ebdssbeac&keep_tld=1

Compiled ca. 1235 by Fujiwara no Teika, it is one of the most important poetry collections in Japan, a collection of 100 poems by 100 poets, composed by emperors and empresses, courtiers, high priests, ladies-in-waiting and soldier-calligraphers over almost 400 years. The 100 poems in the collection are Tanka, a related form of poem to the more famous Haiku. Each one works as a mental snapshot of scene, filled with symbolism and layers of interpretation.

This new translation, A Gap in the Clouds, is a collaboration between James Hadley, Director of the MPhil in Literary Translation at Trinity College, and poet Nell Regan. The collection combines the scholarly research to understand the historical and cultural context of medieval Japan, where the poems were originally written; with the poetic mastery to allow each text to be appreciated as a poem in its own right in English. The book includes all 100 of the poems in English translation, accompanied by the original poems in beautiful Japanese calligraphy.

James and Nell will be joining this event to discuss the background to the collection, how they went about translating the poems, and will read some of their favourites from the collection.

Nell Regan is a poet and non-fiction writer based in Dublin. She has published three collections of poetry: Preparing for SpringBound for Home and One Still Thing. Her awards include an Arts Council Literature Bursary, a Fellowship at the International Writing Programme, Iowa; and she has been a Fulbright Scholar at U.C. Berkeley, as well as Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellow. Her biography Helena Molony, A Radical Life, 1883-1967 was Irish Independent 2017 Book of the Year. Her translations of the Irish language poetry of Micheál Mac Liammóir have been published in Poetry Ireland Review and Cyphers. She works freelance as an educator and literary programmer. Her recent collaboration with composer & musician Mary Barnecutt, supported by the Arts Council, has just been launched at www.eavesdrop.ie

James Hadley is Ussher Assistant Professor in Literary Translation at Trinity College Dublin. He is the director of the College’s master’s degree in Literary Translation, which is based at the Trinity Centre for Literary and Cultural Translation. After studying Japanese and Computing at the undergraduate level, and later Buddhism and Translation Studies at the master’s level, James completed a PhD in Translation Studies in 2013. Since then, James has become known as one of the leading theoretical researchers in indirect translation, or the translation of translations. James is a strong proponent of using computer-based tools in the production of translation research. James is also very interested in practices that stretch our casual assumptions about what translation is and how it functions.

If you would like to pre-order this book, please click here: https://www.dedaluspress.com/product/a-gap-in-the-clouds/


The JLTI Japanese Language Contest is open for entries!

In order to encourage and promote Japanese language education in Ireland, JLTI and the Embassy of Japan in Ireland jointly have hosted an annual Japanese speech contest. This year, the Japanese Speech Contest is back as the Japanese Language Contest.

The theme is ‘optimism’ and JLTI is inviting entries in the form of speech or Japanese language soundtrack videos which demonstrate an optimistic outlook.

The Japanese Language Contest takes place online.

The entries will be evaluated on a variety of criteria such as language level and expression, creativity and performance, and the prizes will reward a range of different styles, abilities and effort. The judging panel will take into account the language background and learning experience of the entrants which will be documented through their application forms.

Enquiry: Twitter account @JLTIcontest OR jltispeechcontest2021@gmail.com

Guidelines for Video Production and Uploading Video to YouTube

  • Video production must be original work. In the open category, if you use music and/or pictures, they also must be original or copy-right free materials.
  • The entry should be your own work (or the work of the members of your group). Only limited help or input from a teacher or native speaker or other is permitted.
  • Participants should submit a YouTube video link. See the following instructions on how to upload your video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/VtF2AgFSLAw
  • The setting of your video privacy should be “unlisted”
  • Please title the video with your name (or your group name for a group entry)

Secondary School Category

  • Video clip of a self-introduction speech
  • One individual speaker should be clearly shown making their speech on screen.
  • No use of special props or items, other speaker or background noise or music etc is permitted.
  • Duration is 1 – 5 minutes

Open Category

  • It can be individual or group production
  • Open format; (i.e.) speech, conversation, skit, drama, song, poetry, show & tell, presentation or animation
  • There must be a soundtrack in Japanese voiced by the entrant(s)
  • If entrants are not shown speaking on screen, then a separate short video must be provided with the application form which clearly shows the entrant(s) giving their names and speaking the lines. This video will not be evaluated for judging purposes.
  • Duration is 2 – 7 minutes

Criteria for Participation:

  • Participants must not be Japanese native speakers
  • Participants must be residents of Ireland.
  • Secondary School Category: This category is open to individual entrants of Secondary School age only.
  • Open Category: Participants cannot have lived in Japan for longer than 5 years in total. This category is open to entrants of all ages.
  • Neither participants themselves nor their immediate family members may be members of the JLTI.
  • Only one entry per category per person, regardless of whether individual or part of a group.
  • Participants should submit the application form including their YouTube video link and consent form(s) by the deadline.
  • A signed consent form must be provided for each member of any team entries for the Open Category.
  • For individual entries, the file names for the YouTube Videos and Consent Form should include the name of the entrant. The group name should be included in the file names for group entry videos and group member consent forms.
  • Applications will be accepted until February 28th.

Online Application and Consent Forms can be found here: https://jlti.org/speech/

Application Deadline: Sunday, 28th February 2021

Results will be announced by the end of March. The winners will be added to our website and winning entries will be showcased on social media.

Hosted by Japanese Language Teachers of Ireland (JLTI) and The Embassy of Japan. Supported by the Japan Foundation.