National

Japan House to open cultural promotion center in Los Angeles

Kyodo

The Japan House communication center is coming to Hollywood this month, working to promote the country’s best art, cuisine, design, entertainment, fashion and technology.

“Hollywood is a magnet for people,” said Yuko Kaifu, president of Japan House Los Angeles, at a news conference earlier this week. She added that Japan House is lucky to have access to such a location because of the sheer number of tourists who come from all over the world. “There’s always foot traffic.”

Japan House Los Angeles will eventually occupy two floors of the Hollywood & Highland Center, home of the Dolby Theater that hosts the Academy Awards. A 139-square meter shop featuring specially curated Japanese products will open on Dec. 20.

The Los Angeles location will be the second Japan House following an opening in Sao Paolo, Brazil, with a London site in the works.

The cultural promotion facilities are operated by the Foreign Ministry.

According to Kaifu, the Sao Paolo Japan House has proven popular since opening in April, drawing around 400,000 visitors in its first four to five months.

Adjoining the Japan House Los Angeles shop will be a gallery space, scheduled to open Jan. 19. The inaugural exhibition, “Anrealage: A light un light,” will feature works by fashion designer Kunihiko Morinaga, who uses photosensitive fabrics in his latest collection.

The other floor is still under construction and will also open in spring 2018, Kaifu said. When completed, it will house a library, a salon and a restaurant, where visitors can browse books on Japanese culture, attend lectures and dine on Japanese cuisine.

Kaifu emphasized that Japan House does not aim to define Japan for the international community. Its mission, rather, is to let people discover meaning for themselves by contemplating the question “What is Japan?” she said.

“I find something new about Japan everyday,” Kaifu said. “I hope you find the journey worthwhile.”