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Japanese Week at the University of Stirling

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Japanese calligraphy

The University of Stirling is hosting a public programme of events during a special week dedicated to Japanese culture from 19 to 24 March, to celebrate Scotland’s links with Japan.

Japanese Week will offer members of the public the opportunity to participate in Japanese-themed sessions covering culture, art, dance, calligraphy and film.

Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University says: “We are delighted to be hosting this exciting programme of events on campus, to celebrate Japanese culture – past, present and future – and the connections between Scotland and Japan. 

“The University takes great pride in its diversity and international reach.  At Stirling, we are dedicated to developing our engagement with communities and cultures worldwide and enhancing our collaborative links with international partners.  

“Japanese Week is just one manifestation of this commitment and is also representative of the University’s particularly strong relationship with Japan.  The six-day celebration will contribute to the development of links between Scotland and Japan and will promote the value of intercultural engagement in an educational setting.  Audiences can expect lively discussion, thought-provoking talks and inspiring entertainment.”

The programme begins on Tuesday 19 March with a joint lecture by Japanese sculptor Hironori Katagiri and his wife and fellow artist Kate Thompson.  The couple, who actively promote sculpture in Scotland and Japan, will discuss and exhibit the work of 22 artists who were affected by the tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011.  They will then talk about their public sculptures installed at the University and invite their audience on a tour of their artworks around campus.

One of the highlights of Japanese Week is a symposium on Thursday 21 March, entitled ‘Japan and Scotland: a Shared History and a Shared Future’. Held in association with the Consulate General of Japan and the Japan Society of Scotland, this stimulating event will invite audience members to participate in a Q&A with the discussion panel - to debate the future collaborative opportunities that exist between the two countries.

Panellists include Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University; Mr Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment; Councillor Mike Robbins, Provost of Stirling; and Reverend Professor Stuart Picken, Chair of the Japan Society of Scotland.  After the symposium, audience members will be invited to a drinks reception and whisky tasting session.  

Other events include a screening of the celebrated Japanese film, I Wish (2011); a calligraphy exhibition by one of Japan’s foremost calligraphers followed by a calligraphy workshop with students from Atomi and Waseda Universities in Japan; an Enso dance performance by the Edinburgh-based company LaNua, which gained critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; a music performance by renowned chamber ensemble, Edinburgh Quartet; and a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

The event programme is open to everyone.  Most sessions are free to attend, but some must be booked in advance (see the events pages here for further details).

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