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Japan 2021 in Oxford

First came the sporting highlights of the summer and now we turn to an Autumn celebrating some of the cultural gems that Japan has to offer.

Daily Info takes a look at all there is to enjoy for this somewhat delayed (such is the nature of our pandemic life) season, with events across Oxford and the country

At the movies

Both the Phoenix Picturehouse and the Ultimate Picture Palace have a raft of films to watch, mixing modern classics with some older works, all as part of the BFI’s extensive Japan 2021 season.

The Ultimate Picture Palace has themed their coverage per-weekend and has packed in some gems both seen and unseen. Their season covers the powerful dramas of Yasujiro Ozu (Late Spring, Early Summer, Tokyo Story), incredible animated visions of the future (Akira, Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind and Paprika) before finisihing the month in the company of the award-winning director Hirokazu Kore-eda (After Life, Still Walking, Shoplifters).

Many of these works also have screenings at the Phoenix Picturehouse as part of the cinema’s Sunday reDiscover season, with the likes of Throne of Blood and Tokyo Story popping up across the next month. The pair of films that have most got Daily Info excited are The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice and Godzilla. The former is another gem from Yasujiro Ozu, looking at married life in 50s Japan, whilst the latter is an iconic monster movie, part powerful metaphor for the Nuclear age and part thrilling watch whose influence has been felt ever since.

Tokyo across 400 years

The Ashmolean Museum’s first major post-lockdown exhibition is ‘Tokyo: Art & Photography’, which celebrates and explores Japan’s capital city over four centuries. This includes woodblock prints, video works, pop art and contemporary photographs. Running until 3rd January, this would a perfect autumnal treat and break from Christmas shopping.

The Ashmolean are also running an exhibition displaying a selection of Japanese money, with gold coins and paper money charting the country’s history.

Holding up a TORCH to Japanese art

Oxford University and TORCH have been hosting a number of events throughout the autumn around Japan 2021 and there’s still plenty to get involved with. The woodcuts of artist Naoko Matsubara will be celebrated in an online coversation, Drummers Unite! is a festival showcasing a range of performers including Joji Hirota and the London Taiko Drummers, and finally, an online conversation about the Botanic Gardens and their relationship with Cherry Trees.

Particularly exciting is a trio of installations of artists' work in a pair of temporary spaces at the Pitt Rivers Museum, mixing video projections and photography to showcase the lifestyle of the Ainu people.


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