HCA NEWS Launch of Japanese HCA projects

The Japanese Hans Christian Andersen projects presented at a press launch in Tokyo attended by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark

By on - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 18 November 2004

Japan is to play a major role in the worldwide celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen in 2005. A wide array of Hans Christian Andersen projects are scheduled, including theatre productions, a touring exhibition, new book publications, educational resources for Japanese schools, projects in support of the humanitarian HCA-abc Foundation and an animated TV sequel to be screened on nationwide Japanese TV.

The Japanese Hans Christian Andersen projects were presented at a press launch in Tokyo on 17 November 2004 presided over by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in her capacity as patron of the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation. The press launch was hosted by the Royal Danish Embassy in Tokyo and the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation jointly.

At the press launch, the Danish ambassador to Japan, Poul Hoiness, appointed nine Japanese Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors, who are all to promote the wider awareness of Hans Christian Andersen and the Andersen bicentenary in Japan. The nine Japanese Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors are designer Jun Ashida, actor Masumi Okada, the singer duo Sachiko Yasuda and Saori Yuki, Danish consul and director of the Andersen Bakeries Seiichi Takaki, tennis player Shuzo Matsuoka, TV host Matthew Minami, singer Ryoko Tsunoda and soccer player Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi.

At the press launch, the Tivoli Gardens Pantomime Theatre performed excerpts of the Hans Christian Andersen performance Kærlighed i Skarnkassen (Love in the Dustbin) with set and costume design by her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and the traditional Japanese dance group Hanayagi kot Omi to Sukizoo performed a rendition of Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling.

The Japanese Hans Christian Andersen projects


The Tinder-Box

A children's opera based on Andersen's fairytale The Tinder-Box produced by Art Life Corporation. The performance will be staged by the Danish music theatre Undergrunden. The music will be by classical composers such as Puccini, Rossini, and Wagner.

Performances in Japan:
March-April 2005 at:
Kochi City Culture Plaza Kalport Second Hall (Kochi City, Municipality of Kochi)/ NPO Children Library (Kochi City, Municipality of Kochi)/ Kochi Children's Library (Kochi City, Municipality of Kochi)/ Miyata Wakanomiya Children's Theatre (Municipality of Fukuoka)/ Mary Hall Miyata Variety Hall (Municipality of Fukuoka)/ Children Miraikan, Haki Hall (Asakura, Municipality of Fukuoka)/ Ichiki Children's Theatre (Ichiki city. Nagano Prefecture)/ Ichiki Culture Hall Chu Hall (Ichiki City, Municipality of Nagano)/ Omura City Community Centre, Large Meeting Room (Omura City, Municipality of Nagano)/ Ukucho Kominkan Meeting Room (Higashi Matsuura, Municipality of Nagano)/ Astale Plaza Variety Studio (Hiroshima City, Municipality of Hiroshima)/ Hyogo Prefecture Children's House (Himeji city, Hyogo Prefecture)/ Children's House Variety Hall (Himeji city, Municipality of Hyogo)/ Hachio City Culture Room, Prism Hall (Hachio City, Osaka)/ Osaka City Culture Centre (Osaka City, Osaka)/ Children's Culture Centre Rehearsal Room (Osaka city, Osaka)/Urinko Theatre Hall (Nagoya City, Municipality of Aichi)/ Katanoso Entrance Hall (Katano City, Municipality of Ishikawa)

Contact information:
In Japan:
Mr. Kurihara Yuji, Art Life Corporation
Tel/ Fax 088-822-4450

In Denmark:
Jakob Draminsky Højmark

Space Factory 2005 Let's Play with Andersen

The Japanese theatre group Space Factory will stage an interactive performance based on Andersen's fairytales The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid.

Performance in Japan:
On 17 July 2005 at Bank ART 1929 Yokohama (Yokohama City, Kanagawa)

Contact information:
Space Factory, Tel/Fax 044-911-6573
www.land-net.co.jp/~sfactory (only in Japanese).

The Snow Queen

The Tokyo-based theatre Setagaya Public Theatre and the Italian theatre company Teatro Kismet of Bari will co-produce an innovative rendition of Andersen's fairytale The Snow Queen. The production will be developed through a number of workshops to be held in Tokyo involving a number of young Japanese actors and musicians. The workshop will be headed by the Italian director and author Teresa Lucovico. The production is sponsored by: Kirari-Fujimi Hall (Municipality of Saitama), Fukuoka City Foundation for Arts and Cultural Promotion (Fukuoka), Kani Public Arts Center-Ala (Gifu), and Biwako Hall (Shiga).

Performances in Japan:
The Snow Queen will open in Tokyo at the Setagaya Public Theatre in August 2005 followed by a tour to: Kirari-Fujimi Hall (Municipality of Saitama), Fukuoka City Foundation for Arts and Cultural Promotion (Fukuoka), Kani Public Arts Center-Ala (Gifu) and Biwako Hall (Shiga).

Contact information:
In Europe:
Judy Owen Ltd
3 Melton Rd
Tel. +44 121 443 2867

In Japan:
Setagaya Public Theatre
4- 1 - 1 Taishido
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 154-0004
Tel.: +81-3-5432-1526, 
Fax +81-3-5432-1559
Att.: Producer Metumi Ishii

The Story of a Mother

An experimental opera performance will be staged based on Hans Christian Andersen's tale The Story of a Mother as a fusion between western opera, the Japanese Noh tradition, and modern electro-acoustic computer music. The performance is entitled Aru haha no monoga and is a co-production between the Danish music theatre Undergrunden, the Noh ensemble Ryokusenkai and Multisounds.

Contact information:
Jakob Draminsky Højmark


International Touring Exhibition by the Odense City Museums
The Odense City Museums have in association with the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation created a new international touring exhibition on the life and work of Hans Christian Andersen. The exhibition will be featured in 12 languages. The Japanese version is scheduled for the following venues in Japan:

2 February - 14 March 2005: The Hans Christian Andersen Park, Funabashi City:
15 - 30 March 2005: Kodomo-Gekijo National Centre in Tokyo
1 April - 8 May 2005: Anjyo City: Denpark
10 May - April 2006 (in association with med Medialynx - se description): Ilf Doga-kan (Municipality of Nagano), Ishikawa City, Hiroshima City, Otsu City, Municipality of Shiga, Sapporo City Hokkaido, Obihiro City of Hokkaido, Toyooka City Hyogo, and the Municipality of Tokyo

The Andersen Bicentenary Exhibition, featuring 20 contemporary artistic renditions of works by Hans Christian Andersen
The Japanese publishing house and exhibition organiser Medialynx will feature the Andersen Bicentenary Exhibition at 7 different venues in Japan and 2 venues in Korea between May 2005 and April 2006. The Andersen Bicentenary Exhibition consists of the Odense City Museums' international exhibition featured in Japanese as well as original Hans Christian Andersen artefacts on loan from the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense, including Andersen's original pen, ink well and the manuscript for the poem Funen. At the exhibition, Medialynx will also present artworks by 20 contemporary artists including the Japanese illustrator Mitsumasa Anno. The 20 artists are all recipients of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award, which is awarded to illustrators and authors of children's literature every second year by the International Board on Books for Young People.

Exhibition venues:
10 May 2005 - April 2006: Ilf Doga-kan (Municipality of Nagano); Municipality of Ishikawa, Municipality of Hiroshima; Otsu City, Municipality of Shiga; Sapporo City Hokkaido; Obihiro City of Hokkaido; Toyooka City, Municipality of Hyogo, Tokyo.

Contact information:
Andersen Bicentenary Project Asia (Medialynx Japan)
Tel 03-5206-1145 
Fax 03-5206-1146 

The Tinderbox Children's Culture House in Odense

The Tinderbox Children's Culture House in Odense will host two Japanese projects in celebration of the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary in 2005:

1) The Hans Christian Andersen Picture Dialogue - an exchange of drawings made by children of Odense and Funabashi
Japanese and Danish children will exchange drawings inspired by Hans Christian Andersen. The drawings will be exhibited at Odense Town Hall during December 2005 and in Odense's twin city Funabashi where the drawings will be featured at the Children's Museum at the Hans Christian Andersen Park.

2) The Enchanted World of Thumbelina
The fairytale Thumbelina by Hans Christian Andersen is a story about a tiny girl learning how to make friends in the wide world. The exhibition by the Tinderbox Children's Culture House will be featured in an evocative exhibition design especially adapted to Japanese audiences. Nature and the seasons of the year are central themes in the story just as spring and autumn are important features of Japanese culture. The Tinderbox is currently on the lookout for a Japanese partner for this project.

Contact information:
The Tinderbox
Hans Jensens Stræde 21
5000 Odense C
Tel.: 66 14 44 11
Fax. 66 14 44 77


Andersen's fairytales

A book featuring thirteen of Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales is to be published in Japanese by one of Japan's major publishing houses, Shogakkan. It will be edited by Medialynx and illustrated by 13 famous artists. The fairytales will be interpreted by popular Japanese writers, including Eiko Kadono, who wrote the critically acclaimed book Kiki's Delivery Service. The book appeals to adults as well as children.

Contact information:
The Andersen Bicentennial Project Asia (Medialynx Japan)
Tel. 03-5206-1145
Fax. 03-5206-1146

Medialynx' guide book to Hans Christian Andersen events in Asia

The Medialynx publishing house will issue a catalogue of events in Asia related to the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary. The catalogue will be made available at exhibitions and other Hans Christian Andersen events.

Contact information:
The Andersen Bicentennial Project Asia (Medialynx Japan)
Tel. 03-5206-1145
Fax. 03-5206-1146

The Snow Queen as Japanese picture book.

The Petit Glam Publishing House will issue a picture-book version of Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale The Snow Queen. The book will feature decoupage by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

Contact information:
Petit Glam Publishing
Tel.: 03-5366-2400
Fax. 03-5366-2402


The Snow Queen as animated TV sequel

The national Japanese broadcaster NHK is to produce a 39-episode animated sequel of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen. The sequel will be aimed at both adults and children and will feature the story of little Gerda and her quest to find her friend Kay set in 19th century Denmark. The Snow Queen is the third animated series created by NHK and will be screened between early 2005 and January 2006.


The Scandinavian Tourist Board

In celebration of the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary in 2005, the Scandinavian Tourist Board will launch a number of new products on the Japanese market to entice more Japanese tourists to the homeland of Hans Christian Andersen.

Contact information:
The Scandinavian Tourist Board


Hans Christian Andersen in schools

The Danish Centre for Children's Literature has in association with the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation developed inspiring educational resources for teachers of 6 to 16-year-olds. 

The educational material features the following: Articles on the life and work of Hans Christian Andersen and the different versions of his fairytales as well as articles on the topic of whether or not Andersen wrote for children or for adults. Additionally, the resources offer suggestions on new and creative ways to work with Andersen's fairytales. Furthermore, a Hans Christian Andersen exhibition including advice on how to employ the exhibition in education is available as a download from the official website hca2005.com.

The educational resources are available in a number of languages. The Japanese version will soon be available from the official website hca2005.com. All educational resources are free of charge.

Japanese Hans Christian Andersen projects in support of the HCA-abc Foundation

The Andersen Bicentenary Message Celebration

On 17 November 2004, a grand Hans Christian Andersen charity event will be held for Japanese school children at the Jingumae Elementary School in Tokyo. Ten famous Japanese personalities within the arts, sports, and science will along with several Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors relate the story of Hans Christian Andersen, focusing on Andersen's message: Love, Courage, Hope, Dreams, and Creativity. Admission is free but visitors are encouraged to donate funds to the HCA-abc Foundation. The project is organised by The Andersen Bicentenary Message Festa Organisation/How PR.

The Takaki Bakery

The Andersen Bakery Group stores throughout Japan will retail bakery products featuring the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation logo, and the stores will also feature posters with the HCA2005 logo. The Andersen Bakery Group will donate proceeds from the sales to the HCA-abc Foundation.

Contact information:
Andersen Bakery Group
Tel. 082-2409-409

The Japanese Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors

The Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors are celebrated artists, politicians, athletes, and business people from around the world appointed by the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation to represent the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary. Furthermore, the Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors are to represent the HCA-abc Foundation, which is a humanitarian foundation established to address illiteracy worldwide in the name of Hans Christian Andersen.

Jun Ashida, fashion designer
Born in Kyoto in 1930. In 1960, Jun Ashida was appointed Consulting Designer at Takashimaya. Jun Ashida served as exclusive designer to H.I.H Crown Princess Michiko (now Empress Michiko) between 1966 and 1976. With the support of members of the Imperial Family, the international diplomatic corps, and political and economic leaders, she has over the years earned international goodwill. Honours: Purple Ribbon Medal (Japan), Ufficiale dell?Prdine al Merito (Italy), Insignia of Officer of the National Order of Merit (France). Designer of team gear for the Japanese team at the Hiroshima Asian Games (1994) and the Atlanta Olympic Games (1996). Designer of uniforms for the Imperial Hotel, the Tokyo Marine and Fire Insurance Co., Ltd., the Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., and other leading corporations.

Jun Ashida's statement on Andersen:
"Once when their Papa was abroad I read one of my favourite stories, "The Little Match-Seller", to my 7-year-old and 4-year-old daughters before they went to sleep. I gestured enthusiastically, and when I reached the end I stood there between the beds with a painful backache. I relived these memories recently when I read the same story, this time to my 10-year-old granddaughter and 5-year-old grandson. Compared with my daughters, my two grandchildren seem more like tiny aliens from outer space than innocent children. Nevertheless, tears came brimming to their eyes as they listened with sorrow to the story of the little girl selling matches, so romantically narrated by Andersen. No matter how much times change, Andersen's stories will continue to shine like brilliant jewels."

Masumi Okada, actor
Masumi Okada, who is half Danish and half Japanese, is a distinguished actor in Japan. He has performed in more than 140 movies, including the world-famous movie Shogun, and has always been at the forefront of art whether in plays, movies, TV, or narration. He has played numerous roles, including leading Shakespeare parts, and has performed in the musical La Cage aux Folles, which ran for more than 400 performances. He has furthermore recently proved his talent within variety shows. 

Masumi Okada's statement on Andersen:
"To the future Andersen: Why, why, why? There were many "whys" during my childhood. And although the years have passed there are still many things I do not understand, but that makes life fascinating. The passion of asking "why" is called "curiosity". I have heard that Andersen's father read many stories to Andersen when he was a child. A book is a magical thing, and once you turn the pages, you can travel and experience many things. For example, you can fly, talk to flowers and animals, and even live under water. I am sure that Andersen's inspiration and his eternal message of "Love, Courage, Hope, and Dream" grew from his father's storytelling. Anyone who harbours the curiosity to read books is himself a potential future Andersen.

Saori Yuki, Sachiko Yasuda, Japanese Folksingers of Children's Songs
The professional career of the sisters Saori Yuki and Sachiko Yasuda began at elementary school in one of the famous Japanese choral societies, Hibari Children's Choral Society. They later became popular folksingers. After graduating from school, the sisters went in different directions. The elder sister, Sachiko Yasuda, stayed with the classical repertoire, and the younger sister, Saori Yuki, pursued a pop career. The two started singing together when Saori Yuki invited her elder sister to her concert as a guest performer in 1981. Since then, they have received many accolades including The Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs Award for their commitment to the heritage of Japanese folksong and to the Japanese language itself. 

Seiichi Takaki, Danish Consul and President of the Andersen Bakery Group
Seiichi Takaki is the President of the Andersen Bakery Group, established in 1948. 
Today, Andersen Bakery Group consists of the bakery chains "Andersen" (78 shops: October 2004), "Little Mermaid" (457 shops, October 2004), and "Andersen Bakery Partners" (producer of frozen bread) and "Takaki Bakery", which a wholesaler supplying supermarkets and convenience stores.

The Andersen Bakery Group has organized "Denmark Fair" each year since 1984, and in 1983 the Andersen Group received the "Andersen Fairytale Prize" for their commitment to bringing not only Danish products but also the Danish way of life and culture to Japan.

Seiichi Takaki's statement on Andersen:
"The bakery was established in Hiroshima in 1948 and still honours the principles of the fonder, Shunsuke Takaki, who first tasted Danish pastry on a visit to Denmark. The bakery takes its name from Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish storyteller who has nurtured the hopes and dreams of children around the world."

Shuzo Matsuoka, professional tennis player
Shuzo Matsuoka is one of Japan's best-known sportsmen. He started playing tennis at the age of 10 and has won all single/ doubles/ mix titles. In 1986, he became a professional tennis player, and in 1992 he was the first Japanese male to win the ATP tour, which ranked him as a world No. 46. In 1995, he made it to the top-8 at Wimbledon, which was the highest score for a Japanese player for 62 years. Since retiring from tournament activity he has established "Shuzo Challenge" to nurture and support young talents within tennis. He not only stresses the technical aspects of the game but also emphasises the mental approach to the spirit of the game.

Shuzo Matsuoka's statement on Andersen:
"Reading not only makes children more knowledgeable, it also feeds their imagination. Andersen has a universal message to all children. I hope children will continue to embrace Andersen's fairytales."

Matthew G. Minami, entertainer
Matthew G. Minami is one of Japan's most famous and cherished entertainers. He also hosts a TV program, "Matthew's Best Hit TV", which is the number-one talk show in Japan. His father was a Japanese musician and his mother an English aristocrat. He is also celebrated by youth in Japan as a cutting-edge fashion guru. His recent appearance in the movie "Lost in Translation", directed by Sophia Coppola, attracted tremendous interest.

Matthew G Minami's statement on Andersen:
"Like Andersen, I want children to nurture their creativity. Asking questions is easy, but the true challenge is seeking the truth. Being creative is to be kind to others. I believe this is one of the things Andersen wants to tell us. I would like to encourage people to nurture the world of art and culture rather than the world of business. I hope to promote this by voicing Andersen's universal message.

Ryoko Tsunoda, singer of children's songs
Ryoko Tsunoda is famous for her role in the long-running children's programme "NHK With Mom", which is similar to "Sesame Street". She appeared in the show between 1999 and 2003 and performed on all weekdays. Currently, she regularly performs as a "captain" in another children's programme entitled "Yume rinrin maru (Ship of Dreams)" where through song she educates the young TV audience.

Ryoko Tsunoda's statement on Andersen:
"Hans Christian Andersen and his wonderful stories have been part of my life from early childhood. On being nominated as Andersen Ambassador I once again opened books of his and felt as though I had met a long-lost friend. Most of my current work involves interacting with children. I feel strongly for my job; for being able to interact with the pure and heartfelt feelings of children and their shinning smiles. As Andersen Ambassador, I would like to voice Andersen's message of "Love, Courage, Hope, Dream, and Creativity".

Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, professional soccer player
Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi is one of the top goalkeepers in Japan with international experience.

He first appeared as goalkeeper on the national team in 1998 and played for the team during the 2002 World Cup. To gather international experience in goalkeeping, Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi moved to Portsmouth in England and to Denmark where he played for Team Nordsjælland. He was the first Japanese goalkeeper to move abroad.