Welcome to the hub page for the sixth annual Ann Arbor Japan Week! Here you will find links to free, online events and activities for youth and families surrounding Japanese culture - including movies, music, arts, and more! Note that some events are scheduled and will be live-streamed - see event information below for details on how to participate. These and pre-recorded activities will be archived when possible.
Ann Arbor Japan Week 2020 is sponsored by the Japan Business Society of Detroit Foundation.
Virtual Film Screening - Okko’s Inn with Michigan Theater
After losing her parents in a car accident, Okko goes to live in the countryside with her grandmother, who runs a traditional Japanese inn built on top of an ancient spring said to have healing waters. While she goes about her chores and prepares to become the inn’s next caretaker, Okko discovers there are spirits who live there that only she can see – not scary ones, but welcoming ghosts who keep her company, play games and help her navigate her new environment. The inn’s motto is that it welcomes all and will reject none, and this is soon put to the test as a string of new guests challenge Okko’s ability to be a gracious host. But ultimately Okko discovers that dedicating herself to others becomes the key to taking care of herself.
The latest feature from famed anime studio Madhouse and director Kitaro Kosaka, who was a key animator on numerous classic films at the venerable Studio Ghibli, seamlessly blends immersive, idyllic landscapes with the storybook charm of Okko’s beloved ghosts. Okko’s Inn delivers a rare ghost story that –despite several floating characters – is firmly grounded in the trials and joys of humanity.
Directed by Kitaro Kosaka and Produced by Madhouse.
- June 14 (all day)
- Watch the movie here!
Bon-odori dance activities - GEN-J, Eastern Michigan University Japanese Student Association
Tune in for a series of workshops and demonstrations surrounding bon-odori summer dances! GEN-J and EMU JSA students will walk you through all things bon-odori, including how to sing, dress, and dance for the occasion.
- June 12 (7pm) - Songs and Stories for Bon Odori with Momo
- June 13 (7pm) - How to Wear a Yukata
- June 17 (7pm) - Singing Class for Bon-Odori with Keiko
- June 18 (5pm) - Streaming of Bon-Odori Class Video (with Ann Arbor Summer Festival)
(info and registration through Facebook)
Live Origami Workshop with UMMA Family Art Studio
June 18, 11am - 1pm
Learn how to fold origami butterflies, boxes, and more with College of Literature, Science, and the Arts student Maiya Yu!
While Maiya walks participants through the process of folding, Penny Stamps School of Art and Design student Emily Considine will lead a virtual exploration of the beautiful artwork in UMMA's collection and beyond, which will spark inspiration as you create!
Let’s Explore Japan! - Ypsilanti District Library
June 17, 1-1:30PM
Take an eight week trip around the world from the comfort of home with the Ypsilanti District Library! Sightsee, make art, meet people from other countries, play outdoor games or learn martial arts such as Capoeira and Karate through virtual lessons by local instructors. A new country will be available each week for you to explore. Visit previous weeks’ webpages any time. This week’s stop: Japan.
Also check out YDL’s resource page for all things Japan! Learn about Japanese crafts, writing styles, martial arts, anime and games, and more!
Origami demonstration - Asami Iba (GEN-J), A2SF
Please join us and Asami Iba of the Grassroots Exchange Network-Japan (GEN-J) Program for an origami lesson and demonstration! Viewers will learn how to make simple origami designs, including paper samurai helmets, goldfish, and hopping frogs. All you need is your computer and a square sheet of paper! Presented by GEN-J, the U-M Center for Japanese Studies, and U-M International Institute for Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s Virtual KidZone Series and Ann Arbor Japan Week 2020.
This video goes live on June 19 at 4PM.
Calligraphy demonstration - Kyoko Fujii
Born in Hiroshima, Kyoko Fujii is a master instructor of shodo (calligraphy), including that in kohitsu (pen writing) and mohitsu (brush writing) styles. She has since developed her own calligraphic style, which she’s applied to digital design, logos, and graphics for various commercial means. After moving to Michigan in 2009, she began holding public shodo demonstrations, and eventually her own studio: “Kyoka Japanese Calligraphy Design Art Studio.”
Koto performance - Miyabi
Miyabi has been together since 1997 and is comprised of koto players (Etsuko Aikawa, Yuko Asano, Harumi Omitsu), piano (Nobuko Kato) and flute (Satoko Fujiwara). These performances took place at Providence Hospital, the Detroit Institute of Art, and our own Hill Auditorium.
How to Draw Totoro, with Studio Ghibli Producer Toshio Suzuki
Studio Ghibli producer, Toshio Suzuki, shares how to draw the beloved character Totoro with this online tutorial!
Presented by Studio Ghibli and the Nagoya City Board of Education (名古屋市教育委員会), in the spirit of offering at-home activities for those sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio based in Koganei, Tokyo, best known for works such as My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke.
© Studio Ghibli
CJS Podcast Series - Michigan Talks Japan
In it, Professor Allison Alexy talks with leading scholars doing research on Japan about their work, their backgrounds, and their recommendations in the field. Crossing academic disciplines and time periods, the podcast highlights new and exciting scholarship in Japanese Studies.
In 2017, CJS Associate and SMTD Assistant Professor Matthew Thompson received a faculty research grant allowing for collaboration with U-M alumnus, Dr. Alex Hayashi, on a recording of recently composed Japanese oboe/piano music. Since then, the two have performed the program at venues in the US and internationally. To celebrate the third anniversary of the project, Thompson released a multimedia version of the concert with spoken introductions to the works. Please enjoy some recently composed Japanese classical music in a virtual performance!