Tag Archive for: Japan

Interview with Raymond Hegarty, IJA Chairperson | 2022 Ireland Report for The Japan Times

We are delighted and very proud that the 2022 Ireland Report for The Japan Times features an interview with Raymond Hegarty, IJA Chairperson. You can read the full interview with Raymond Hegarty here: https://sms-bridges.com/encouraging-connections/
Founded in 1897, The Japan Times is Japan’s largest and oldest English-language daily newspaper with headquarters in Tokyo.

This interview was prepared in cooperation with media specialists SMS Bridges. Bridges is a digital business and lifestyle magazine for high-level Japanese executives, global business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs.


Dr. and Mrs. Ushioda Scholarship in 2022 is awarded to Joseph Peter Talento

The Ireland Japan Association is delighted to announce that in 2022 the Ushioda Scholarship is awarded to Joseph Peter Talento, studying Business Studies International at DCU. Joseph will be travelling to Japan for an exchange year at Toyo University.

‘My name is Joseph, a Filipino who is in love with Japanese culture. Growing up I was surrounded and influenced in many ways by Japanese culture, including the language and media. I often found myself staring at videos, watching people visiting Japan and vlogging their experiences studying in the country. When I saw the option to complete an exchange year abroad in Japan with DCU, I thought – why don’t I try that myself? Along the way, I was able to learn more and more about Japanese society. Today, I am months away from beginning my exchange year abroad at Toyo University, under the Faculty of Economics. During these coming 11 months, I plan to really develop my strength in the language, travel as much as I can and overall, see what the realities of life in Japan is truly like!’ – Joseph Peter Talento

We would like to thank Ms Paula Kelly, IJA Council, for her support and assistance with the scholarship management and administration process this year.

Dr. and Mrs. Ushioda Scholarship was established in 2019 in honour of Dr. and Mrs. Ushioda’s major contribution to the development of the Ireland Japan Association and Ireland-Japan relations, and to underpin the association’s strong commitment to supporting Japanese studies in Ireland.

IJA Annual Dinner 2022 | Photo Gallery

On 17th June the IJA members, friends, and supporters came together to celebrate and enjoy one of our biggest events of the year – the IJA Annual Dinner 2022. This year it took place at one of the most beautiful Dublin venues – Radisson Blu St. Helen’s Hotel.


The evening began with Sake reception, kindly supported by our corporate member – Retro Vino Wine & Sake. Reception was followed by welcome words from Catherine Grennell-Whyte, Master of Ceremonies, and after that guests enjoyed a delicious 3-course meal in the beautiful Le Panto Suite.


Catherine Grennell-Whyte, Finnair/ATTS, Master of Ceremonies


Speeches were given by Raymond Hegarty, IJA Chairperson and Mr. Makoto Honda, Counsellor, DHM, Embassy of Japan.



Prize Giving this year was sponsored by the IJA Corporate members – Bank of Ireland, Cpl Resources, Dillon EustaceKWE Ireland, Retro Vino, Unique Japan Tours and Yamamori. The Grand Prize this year was sponsored by Finnair, IJA 2022 Travel Partner, and we would like to congratulate the lucky winner who received 2 return flights to Japan.


Grand prize winner received 2 tickets to Japan from Finnair/ATTS.


It was great to see everyone back together after so long. We are happy for you attending the event and look forward to seeing you again in coming events. – Tsugumi Yamamoto, IJA Vice Chairperson


We would like to thank all our members and friends who attended the IJA Annual Dinner this year, and special thanks go to our 2022 Travel Partner – Finnair, and all our Corporate members for their continued support and very generous prizes.

We would also like to thank Dublin School for Japanese Children who made beautiful origami decorations for our dinner guests, and to Mrs. Tomoko Ozaki who created Ikebana flower arrangements for the event. Huge thanks to the event team at the Radisson Blu St. Helen’s Hotel for being great hosts and providing excellent service during our event.

We would like to thank Catherine Grennell- Whyte, Master of Ceremonies, and our event team and volunteers from the IJA Council – Raymond Hegarty, Tsugumi Yamamoto, Darina Slattery, Laura Goonan, Jonathan Kelly, Hiro Ino and Eddie Hughes – for their time, support and help to make this year’s event such a great success.

More photos from the IJA Annual Dinner 2022 are in the photo gallery below. Please click on the image to enlarge it.


Photos: Kevin O’Neill, Laura Goonan, Darina Slattery, Eddie Hughes, Raymond Hegarty and Jonathan Kelly 

Visit of Japan Ladies National Hockey Team to Dublin | June 2022

The Japan Women’s National Field Hockey Team, also known as the ‘Sakura Japan’ will be visiting Dublin on the 18th, 19th, 22nd and 23rd of June 2022 to play a series of challenge games against the Ireland Women’s National Field Hockey Team in the SoftCo Series as part of final preparations for July’s World Cup

Photo: https://en.hockey.or.jp/national/sakura-japan/

The game schedule which will be played in the National Hockey Stadium in UCD Belfield Campus is set out below:

  • Saturday 18th June at 16:00 
  • Sunday 19th June at 16:00 
  • Wednesday 22nd June at 17:00 
  • Thursday 23rd June at 19:00 

Senior women’s head coach Sean Dancer is thrilled to get top class opposition in Japan, currently 10th in the world and two places above Ireland. They bring a fast, attacking style which will make for a thrilling series.

“With all the hockey being played around the world, it has been difficult to host matches in Ireland in recent times so we are delighted to be able to play these at home,” Dancer said.

“It has been a difficult couple of years with Covid and the girls are excited to see home crowds and the legendary Irish support back out in force.” 

Tickets can be purchased at  https://hockey.ie/buy-tickets/

UCD Belfield Sports Facilities: https://www.ucd.ie/sportfacilities/t4media/UCD-Pitches-Map.pdf

For more information: https://hockey.ie/softco-senior-series-against-japan-uniphar-u23-5-nations/

EU-Japan News | June 2022 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 June 2022 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 June 2022 Newsletter online here!

You can read full June 2022 Newsletter in PDF format here!

Kwaidan: The exhibition and a prestigious cultural event connecting Japan and Ireland

Please see the following information about ‘Kwaidan’, the exhibition and a prestigious cultural event connecting Japan and Ireland managed by Blue Moon Projects and SO Fine Art Editions, Dublin. Project organisers are looking for supporters and are offering sponsorship opportunities.

About Kwaidan
Kwaidan aims to follow in Lafcadio Hearn’s footsteps by connecting east and west through common cultural values, and will be a shared celebration of the life and work of Lafcadio Hearn, the Irish literary figure revered in Japan as the cultural icon Koizumi Yakumo.

Kwaidan will include 20 leading artists from Japan and 20 artists from Ireland who will visually interpret a story of their choice from Kwaidan, Hearn’s 1904 seminal collection of ghost stories inspired by Shintō and Buddhist legends.

The exhibition will be staged in six venues in Japan and six in Ireland from September 2023 to the end of 2024. This will include being one of the main opening events for the exhibition space in the new Irish Embassy building (New Ireland House) in Tokyo and at the Lafcadio Hearn Museum in Matsue. In Ireland the prestigious venues will include the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) in Dublin and the Yeats Museum in Sligo.

Kwaidan will offer unique access to connections, exposure and cultural affinity with an historic event that will have lasting resonance in both countries. Project has the support of the Dept. of Foreign Affairs Ireland, Irish Embassy in Tokyo, Japanese Embassy in Dublin, Business to Arts and UCD, and organisers will engage with Culture Ireland and The Arts Council of Ireland.


Please see brochure about the project and sponsorship options here!

About the Curators
  • SO Fine Art Editions is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary galleries specialising in printmaking. SO Director Catherine O’Riordan has worked with many of the Kwaidan participants previously. SO’s most recent international print project was a lonely impulse of delight in 2015 which toured to London, Beijing and Tokyo. www.sofinearteditions.com
Contact details
Stephen Lawlor

Hiding in Plain Sight: Mieko Kawakami & Rónán Hession | ILF Dublin 2022

Ireland’s premier literary event – International Literature Festival Dublin (ILF Dublin) – is taking place from 19th – 29th May, bringing the world’s finest writers together to enthral, engage and excite audiences.

This year’s festival has an amazing line-up and is proud to celebrate the very best Irish and international fiction and non-fiction authors, poets, lyricists, playwrights and screenwriters. Festival strands include StoryMachine, a curated series for families and children; fringe programme Boundless; and Advance professional development events. You can explore the full festival programme here!

The world-famous International Dublin Literary Award is presented during ILF Dublin. Awarded for a novel written or translated into English, it promotes excellence in world literature. One of the richest literary prizes at €100,000, it is solely sponsored by Dublin City Council.

Among other amazing events, we would like to highlight event and discussion with two authors from different corners of the globe who share a literary eye for vulnerable, gentle characters in a hostile world.

Mieko Kawakami and Rónán Hession excel in portraying quiet individuals who are almost invisible at the centre of their own lives. Mieko’s latest work, All the Lovers in the Night, is as much about the problems of modern society in Japan as it is about the intense joys and terrors of womanhood the world over. Rónán’s long-awaited second novel, Panenka develops the warm yet uncompromising voice he is known for in the story of Joseph, a middle-aged man attempting to save his own life.

Date: Tuesday, 24 May
Time: 20:00
Venue: Merrion Square Park (Le Fanu)
Tickets: €10 / €8 – Book here!

Photo: ILF Dublin 2022

Originally from Osaka, Mieko Kawakami has just been shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, for her 2021 novel HeavenRónán Hession is a Dublin-based writer and musician. His debut novel, Leonard and Hungry Paul was selected as the One Dublin One Book title in 2021. 

The authors will discuss their novels with chair, Martin Colthorpe, Programmer at the International Literature Festival Dublin.

Kawakami never evangelizes, never wags a finger. . . This is the real magic of Heaven, which shows us how to think about morality as an ongoing, dramatic activity.’ Merve Emre, New Yorker

For more information, please visit ILF Dublin website: https://ilfdublin.com/

Festival map & venue:

Japanese Film Festival (JFF) returns to Irish cinemas this April

The Japanese Film Festival returns for its 14th outing this April, bringing the best of Japanese cinema to audiences across Ireland.
This year, Ireland’s only truly national film festival returns to its usual April slot. Screenings will take place in seven venues nationally, starting in Cork on Sunday April 3rd. April 7th will see the start of screenings in Dublin, Galway and Waterford. The festival continues in Tipperary on April 9th and concludes in Dundalk on April 23rd.
From festival favourites and hidden gems to the latest anime and blockbuster hits, every year JFF aims to bring the best of contemporary Japanese cinema to Irish audiences – and this year is no different.
This year’s line-up includes Tokyo Revengers, a live-action adaptation of the hit manga / anime series and one of the biggest Japanese box office successes of 2021. Time travel, romance, yakuza drama, action – Tokyo Revengers has it all.
Under The Open Sky, meanwhile, is among the most acclaimed Japanese dramas of recent years, boasting a career-best lead performance from veteran star Koji Yakusho (The Eel, Shall We Dance?, Cure, 13 Assassins).

Photo: Under the Open Sky (JFF 2022)

Other highlights at this year’s festival include Ito, a funny and poignant drama about a disaffected young woman who starts working in a maid café; Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle, a captivating take on one of the most unusual chapters of World War II and its aftermath; and Dawning on Us, a sharp social satire set in the immediate aftermath of lockdown. Foodies won’t want to miss the sumptuous The Pursuit of Perfection, a documentary that focuses on four of Japan’s most internationally celebrated chefs.

Photo: Ito (JFF 2022)

JFF 22 will also include the Irish premiere of the visionary stop-motion animation film Junk Head. Full of grotesque creatures, bizarre sights and unexpected comedy, Junk Head is an unforgettable trip into a subterranean sci-fi dystopia.

Photo: Junk Head (JFF 2022)

There’s something for everyone in this year’s anime selection. Looking for Magical Doremi is a lively and charming coming-of-age story and road trip across Japan. Sing a Bit of Harmony – the latest from Patema Inverted director Yasuhiro Yoshiura – is a joyous and energetic mix of high school drama, sci-fi and musical. Pompo the Cinephile brings a larger-than-life manga character to life while serving as a celebration of all things cinema. Last year’s JFF included the first Irish screenings of the Oscar-nominated Drive My Car.
JFF audiences in Cork, Galway and Waterford will this year have a chance to see director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s other 2021 masterpiece – the extraordinary anthology film Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy – on the big screen.
Ticket sales information for screenings are available from each participating venue.
Ticketing links and listings are also available at www.jff.ie
Gate Cinema, Cork
Sunday April 3rd to Wednesday April 6th
April 3 @ 18:00: Under The Open Sky
April 4 @ 18:00: Tokyo Revengers
April 5 @ 18:00: Pompo the Cinephile
April 6 @ 18:00: Ito
Triskel Arts Centre, Cork
Thursday April 7th
April 7 @ 18:00: The Pursuit of Perfection
April 7 @ 20:15: Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy
Light House Cinema, Dublin
Thursday April 7th to Thursday April 14th
April 7 @ 20:15: Under the Open Sky
April 8 @ 18:30: The Pursuit of Perfection
April 8 @ 20:15: Tokyo Revengers
April 9 @ 13:15: Looking for Magical Doremi
April 9 @ 15:00: Sing a Bit of Harmony
April 9 @ 18:30: Pompo the Cinephile
April 9 @ 20:15: Junk Head
April 10 @ 19:00: Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle
April 11 @ 18:00: Ito
April 12 @ 18:00: Dawning on Us
April 13 @ 18:00: The Murders of Oiso
April 14 @ 18:00: The Asadas!
Pálás Cinema, Galway
Thursday April 7th to Monday April 11th
April 7 @ 20:30: Under the Open Sky
April 8 @ 18:45: The Pursuit of Perfection
April 8 @ 20:30: Ito
April 9 @ 14:45: Looking for Magical Doremi
April 9 @ 16:30: Sing a Bit of Harmony
April 9 @ 18:45: Pompo the Cinephile
April 9 @ 20:30: Tokyo Revengers
April 10 @ 14:00: Dawning on Us
April 10 @ 16:30: Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle
April 10 @ 20:00: Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy
April 10 @ 18:30: Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy
Garter Lane Theatre, Waterford
Thursday April 7th to Saturday April 9th
April 7 @ 19:30: Sing of a Bit of Harmony
April 8 @ 19:30: Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy
April 9 @ 19:30: Pompo the Cinephile
Tipperary Excel Centre, Tipperary
Saturday April 9th
April 9th @ TBC: Sing a Bit of Harmony
An Táin Arts Centre, Dundalk
Saturday April 23rd
April 23rd @ TBC: Looking for Magical Doremi
April 23rd @ TBC: Summer Ghost + Making Of
April 23rd @ TBC: Pompo the Cinephile
Japanese Film Festival 2022 is co-organised by The Embassy of Japan and access>CINEMA.

Book Review: Structures of Kyoto: Writers in Kyoto Anthology 4 | Review by Jean Pasley

My first thought on reading Structures of Kyoto (Writers in Kyoto Anthology 4) was that I must go back to Kyoto. I have visited the city many times, lived there for months on end, and this book reminded me of what a special place it is and how much I miss it. It also alerted me to how much I missed while I was there. In this anthology, writers share their insights, knowledge and experiences of life in Kyoto, from the sublime tea ceremony to the other extreme: a school trophy made out of a rubber duck taped to a plastic plinth. There is something here for everyone.

The wonderful title of Mark Hovane’s essay, Rocks, Gravel and a bit of Moss, gives a sense of playfulness that belies the erudite content of this excellent essay and indeed of the entire anthology.

Did you know that Ryoanji is the second most photographed garden in the world? No? Neither did I.

I expect there is much I don’t know about Zen gardens. Hovane writes, “Knowing historically that these spaces are, on one level, 3D representations of 2D Chinese ink paintings is a good place to start” your study of these enigmatic spaces.

Reggie Pawle recalls a monk telling him that “Zen practice is like tying yourself up with a rope and then, in that condition, finding your freedom.” It seems that the harder you try to understand Zen the more elusive it becomes. Pawle says you learn “by doing rather than by analytically figuring things out.” His essay offers an amusing glimpse into the bewildering concept of Zen.

It is interesting how you can live somewhere and remain oblivious to the significance of what you are seeing all around you.

How many times have I walked past five-tiered tower-like structures without realising the profound importance of them? These are gorinto and they are “primarily associated with memorialising the dead.” In Jann Williams’ intriguing and informative essay, Beyond Zen – Kyoto’s Gorinto Connections, I learned that the five geometric shapes stacked on top of one another that form the structure of gorinto are the cube, sphere, triangle, semi-circle and jewel. The five shapes represent the elements of the universe: earth, water, fire, wind and space and they embody the interconnectedness of all creation. The next time I see gorinto, I will pay more attention.


It was in November 2012 that Jann Williams first experienced gorinto at Adashino Nenbutsuji, a small Pure land Temple in northern Arashiyama, Kyoto. She was deeply moved by their form, beauty, spiritual connectedness and energy.

Gorinto Siddham, Higashi Otani (photo: Jann Williams)


Catherine Pawasarat writes about how she spent untold hours at the annual Gion Festival before she started delving into the understated rituals taking place. She asks the question: “How can we humans long so deeply for significance in our lives and be blind to it at the same time?” Pawasarat explains the gruesome origins of this spectacular thousand-year-old festival during which the main deities, the god of storms and the goddess of rice, are welcomed every year to purify the city and its inhabitants.


Tradition holds that the spectacular Gion Festival floats purify the city streets in preparation for the Yasaka Shrine deities to bless central Kyoto, protecting its people from epidemics and other harm. (photo: Catherine Pawasarat)

The Gion Festival’s Ennogyoja Yama celebrates the 7th-century founder of Shugendo. This nature-mystic Buddhist path is followed by practitioners called Yamabushi, shown accompanying the float here. (photo: Catherine Pawasarat)


This book contains many little gems and nuggets of wisdom. Did you know that monks used to use green tea to help them stay awake during long periods of meditation, or that the sound of an iron kettle boiling on the charcoal brazier in the teahouse creates a whispering sound known as matsukaze, wind in the pines?

Apparently, “a ladleful of cold water poured into the kettle causes this sound to cease and creates a moment of utter silence and peace.” This, Rebecca Otowa tells us in Structures of Tea, is “one of the many wordless moments in tea ceremony that have the power to lift one out of ordinary sensation.”

There is another side to life in Kyoto. In Ina Sanjana’s heartfelt piece, Sunrise over the Kamogawa, we feel the loneliness of a homeless man, who “would like to hear someone say his name. Even in contempt.” And in Karen Lee Tawarayama’s science fiction set in 2050, The Life Dispensary, the summer heat has become unbearable not just for humans but for other bewildered creatures who are forced to take refuge in ponds, springs and rivers. This sad story highlights the climate crisis and a possible future intensifying of the sweltering heat that Kyoto already suffers during the summer months.

The unique landscape in and around Kyoto is depicted beautifully. Travel with Edward J. Taylor on a winter’s day to the village of Ohara where he hopes to walk “through fields of snow, the white purifying valley, called the Pure Land.” Stay with him through an area of “small forest between two massive beds of moss from which small jizo statues sprout like mushrooms.” Or enjoy John Einarsen’s elegant piece about the Dragon Gate of the World. “It stands alone atop wide stone steps, its three doorways always open to a forest, and beyond, mountains, keeping nothing in nor anything out.” The forest is “wild and free and vast beyond imagining.”


Nanzen-ji Sanmon (photo: John Einarsen)


Vast beyond imagining, as is Kyoto, a city where the secular world and the spiritual world stand side by side. During Obon, the annual Festival of the Dead, the souls of the ancestors return to visit their families. At the end of the three-day festival huge bonfires are lit on the surrounding mountains to guide the spirits back to the heavens. The fires can be seen all over the city.  In Lisa Wilcut’s beautiful poem, Okuribi, two recently bereaved people stand on their hotel roof and toast a departing spirit while gazing at the fires burning in the distance; “the spirits almost palpable in the haze that hovers over the city.”

Structures of Kyoto Anthology 4 is an eclectic mix of things personal, poetic, aesthetic, magical, modern and ancient, gathered together in an informative, thought-provoking collection. Enhanced with photographs and illustrations, this is a delightful book to dip in and out of.

It will amuse, inform and move you, whether you live in Kyoto, are simply passing through, or are dreaming about this ancient city from the other side of the world.


Award-winning writer/director Jean Pasley lived in Japan for many years. Her debut novel Black Dragonfly was published in 2021.  Set in late nineteenth century Japan, it is a historical novel based on the remarkable experiences of the Irish writer, Lafcadio Hearn.

More information about the book can be found – here!

Order your copy of ‘Structures of Kyoto: Writers in Kyoto Anthology 4’ (2021) – here!


EU-Japan News | December 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 December 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 December 2021 Newsletter online here!

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

Tag Archive for: Japan

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