Welcome to the hub page for the seventh annual Ann Arbor Japan Week! Tune in June 13-18 for free, online events and activities surrounding Japanese culture for all ages! Note that some events are scheduled and will be live-streamed - see event information below for details on how to participate. Activities will be archived for later viewing when possible.
Ann Arbor Japan Week 2021 is sponsored by the Japan Business Society of Detroit Foundation.
Sunday, June 13
Virtual Film Screening - Lu Over the Wall with Michigan Theater
- From visionary anime auteur Masaaki Yuasa comes a joyously hallucinogenic but family-friendly take on the classic fairy tale about a little mermaid who comes ashore to join a middle-school rock band and propel them to fame. Kai is talented but adrift, spending his days sulking in a small fishing village after his family moves from Tokyo. When his classmates invite him to play the keyboard in their band, their practice sessions bring an unexpected guest: Lu, a young mermaid whose singing causes humans to compulsively dance - whether they want to or not. As Kai spends more time with Lu, he finds he is able to tell her what he is really thinking, and a bond begins to form.
- Presented dubbed in English
(2017) 107 minutes. Animation/Family. PG.
- Sunday, June 13 (all day)
- Film screening here
Monday, June 14
Manga Drawing Workshop
- Monday, June 14, 11:00 AM EDT
- Hosted by Reginald Jackson, Director of the U-M Center for Japanese Studies and Associate Professor of Pre-Modern Japanese Literature.
- Come learn introductory drawing techniques for manga illustration! We’ll cover construction, expressions, poses, and rendering techniques using examples from classic and recent shōjo and shōnen manga. No previous drawing experience required and all are ages welcome!
- Recommended supplies: pencil/pen, highlighter/colored pencil, paper
- Register here
Tuesday, June 15
Calligraphy Reading Workshop
- Tuesday, June 15, 11:00 AM EDT
- Basic knowledge of hiragana and katakana required, some knowledge of kanji helpful
- Hosted by Reginald Jackson, Director of the U-M Japanese Studies and Associate Professor of Pre-Modern Japanese Literature.
- Come learn the basics of reading Japanese calligraphy! We’ll consider early kana’s development from Chinese characters and discuss principles of creating and deciphering cursive from the Heian period (794–1185). Sample exercises will draw from poetry and prose in the Kokinshū (905) and The Tale of Genji (1008).
- Recommended supplies: dull pencil or brush pen, paper
- Register here
Gyotaku Fish Printing Demo with AADL
- Tuesday, June 15, 6:00 PM EDT
- Gyotaku dates to the mid-1800s, and was originally a form of record keeping, but it has evolved into an art form. In this brief demonstration, you'll learn the tools needed to make your own prints from real or artificial fish. The AADL staff use a set of synthetic fish for printing.
- Event link
Wednesday, June 16
Wild Tempura Cooking Demo
- Wednesday, June 16, 5:00 PM EDT
- Tempura is a delicious and beautiful way to showcase edible wild plants. Cook along with authors Hannah Kirshner and Winifred Bird as they guide you through a simple recipe for making tempura at home, reminisce about memorable wild meals, and read from their recent books about rural Japan. You’ll need basic ingredients and a selection of whatever edible wild plants are in season where you live. You can also use cultivated vegetables—or just watch. A recipe, equipment list and ideas for plants to gather will be provided to registered participants in advance (foraging instructions will not be provided).
- Hannah Kirshner is the author of Water, Wood and Wild Things: Learning Craft and Cultivation in a Japanese Mountain Town (Viking, 2021). She is a writer, artist, and food stylist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Vogue, Saveur, Taste, Food52, Roads & Kingdoms, and Atlas Obscura, among others. Trained at the Rhode Island School of Design, Kirshner grew up on a small farm outside Seattle and divides her time between Brooklyn and rural Japan.
- Winifred Bird is the author of Eating Wild Japan: Tracking the Culture of Foraged Foods, with a Guide to Plants and Recipes (Stone Bridge Press, 2021). She currently lives with her family in northern Illinois, where she works as a translator of Japanese fiction and non-fiction. From 2005 through 2014, she lived in rural Japan and covered the environment and architecture for the Japan Times, Yale Environment 360, Science, Dwell, Interior Design, and other publications.
*Both books include recipes for wild tempura as well as essays on the topic. If you’re buying online, we recommend Bookshop.org
- Recipe and ingredient list will be sent to participants upon registration.
- Register here
Thursday, June 17
UMMA Family Art Studio: Kusudama Origami
- Thursday, June 17, 11:00 AM EDT
- Recommended participants prepare materials ahead of time (see registration link)
- In this special program for Ann Arbor Japan Week, join College of Literature, Science, and the Arts alum Maiya Yu for a tutorial on making Japanese kusudama — paper models typically created by sewing or gluing together multiple identical origami units. While you learn about the kusudama process with Maiya, you will also have the opportunity to explore some of the artwork in UMMA's collection with Student Programs Assistant Emily Considine. This event is open for all ages, though each project will increase in difficulty. Projects later in the program may require a level of dexterity difficult for small children to achieve on their own.
- Family Art Studio is generously supported by the University of Michigan Credit Union Arts Adventures Program, UMMA's Lead Sponsor for Student and Family Engagement.
- Register here