An original educational video tour of Japan
Funded by a grant from the Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership
Dear Members and Friends,
We are excited to announce the completion of a project that has kept us busy behind the scenes for the past few months. It’s “Hello Japan,” an original, educational video tour of Japan funded by a grant from the Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership. To produce the video, our organization collaborated with Toko Shiiki, Michigan-based filmmaker, photographer, and musician.
The video includes several Cincinnati-area references designed to inspire people to learn more about local connections to Japan, including the Gifu Sister City relationship, and study abroad programs hosted by the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, and Northern Kentucky University.
Though intended especially for kids, the video will be appealing to anyone interested in learning about Japan.
“Hello Japan” features original music from Shiiki’s composer husband, Erik Santos, who also appears in the video, sharing his experiences as a visitor to Japan. Also featured are original illustrations by COCORO, a cartoon artist in Japan with whom Shiiki collaborated to produce “The Story of Ikkyu,” also featured on our YouTube channel here.
“Hello Japan” is available on the JASGC’s YouTube channel here and will include an interactive study guide designed by the JASGC. “We realize that schools and libraries can’t offer many in-person cultural education programs right now, due to COVID, and we hope this video will be useful to librarians and teachers, especially in our region,” says Anne Golden, Executive Director of the JASGC. “We were extremely lucky to get a grant from the Japan Foundation, and we’re fortunate that Toko Shiiki was available for the project. We can’t wait to share it with members of our community. It’s one of a kind, and it gets to the heart of our mission — educating people in our region about Japan.”
Born and raised in Japan, Toko Shiiki spent most of her life in Tokyo before moving to Michigan in 2005. Her pursuit of using photography as a narrative medium inspired her to explore documentary filmmaking, where she delights in meeting fascinating people and sharing their stories with the world. She exhibits her work nationally and internationally, and has earned multiple awards including The International Photography Award.
Erik Santos is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, singer, and producer, who is active in many musical genres, from rock to classical, to electronic, world music, and music for theater and dance, installation, and film. A professor in two departments, Composition and Performing Arts and Technology, at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, he is also the co-founder of the bands October Babies, The Crossed Lines, and Man From Ham.