Weaving Japan and Canada together through language and storytelling.

We are thrilled to announce Japanese poet Takiya Kuwahara (a.k.a. The Indifferent Poet) will be in Vancouver to collaborate and perform the first two weeks of October. As the host of Shuntaro Tanikawa’s slam poetry event Shundoku, and host of the legendary tamatogi open mic event in Tokyo, there isn’t anyone in the Japanese poetry scene who doesn’t know Takiya Kuwahara. In fact, just before his arrival in Vancouver, he will be attending a celebration of his 30 years of influence and impact on the Tokyo poetry scene. This is his first-ever visit to Canada.

While in Vancouver, Kuwahara will write a poem for one of the buildings in the 200–400 block of Powell Street formerly owned by Japanese Canadians. The poem will be based on historical narratives shared by collaborators Soramaru Takayama and Steve Frost of the Vancouver-based Tasai Collective. Kuwahara’s poem will be the first in a collection that addresses the dispossession and removal of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War, as understood and written about by poets visiting from Japan. While in Vancouver, the poet will live in residence at Historic Joy Kogawa House.

Takiya from Japan. Steve from Canada. Sora linking Japan and Canada. All three backgrounds inspire each other, providing audiences the opportunity to experience new bilingual forms of poetry in the readings and workshops to be presented.


Thursday, October 6, 20:00

Takiya Kuwahara & Soramaru Takayama Poetry Performance
Visual Space Gallery
3352 Dunbar Street, Vancouver

Saturday, October 8, 15:00—17:00

Takiya Kuwahara & Soramaru Takayama Poetry Performance
Vancouver Japanese Language School
487 Alexander Street, Vancouver

Thursday, October 13, 19:00

Takiya Kuwahara and Soramaru Takayama Poetry Performance
Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre
6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby

Artist Talk

Tuesday, October 11, 19:00

Reception: An Intimate Evening with Takiya Kuwahara
Historic Joy Kogawa House
1450 West 64th Avenue Vancouver


Saturday, October 15, 19:00-21:00

Poems for Powell Street:
In partnership with the Powell Street Festival Society
Uncommon Café
477 Powell Street, Vancouver


Soramaru Takayama

Host of Japanese Poets North of the 49th. Poet. Born in Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan, in 1979. Master of Arts in philosophy. Beginning in 2007 he travelled the world for four-and-a-half years. In 2008, Sora joined Austrian artist Bello Benischauer’s ongoing art project doing translation and performance (http://www.artinprocess.com).

Takayama co-starred with Japanese actors Takao Osawa and Masami Nagasawa in Global Work’s advertising campaign “Sekai-jin” [Global Citizens] (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ws8y_bHW54).

He has performed his poetry for the Canada Japan Friendship Association. (http://cjfa.org/). His first poetry book Tsuki To Buranko was published in spring 2014. A vegan, he owns and operates the Vancouver-based Vegan Pudding & Co., and enjoys living in Canada. www.takayamasoramaru.com www.facebook.com/soramaru.takayama

Takiya Kuwahara

Poet. Born in Yokkaichi City in Mie prefecture. Initial stage appearance as an actor, August 28, 1986. After exploring theatre, music, and performance movement, he began composing poetry in 1994. His first published work, “Erina’s Profile,” appeared in the Shincho paperback compilation The Poem That Wants to Meet You and Be Born. His subsequent work was based on his personal motto, “Ongoing Poetry for All of Spacetime,” created in various media: print, stage, and film. Kuwahara founded Shuntaro Tanikawa’s slam poetry event Shundoku and Tokyo’s legendary open mike event tamatogi.

His evolving practice includes international productions and live performances with wife and professional storyteller Kyoko Kanda. More recently, he wrote lyrics for Tashikanaru Kaze (the promising breeze), “My Hometown, Hisanohama,” and “Tobushiru no uta” in support of the people of Fukushima after the Great East Japan earthquake. This summer, in collaboration with photographer Kitchen Minoru, he published the photo-poetry book Meoto Pandora (meoto means a married couple) with FOIL publishers.

On August 28, 2016, Crocodile, a Tokyo performance theatre have organized a celebration honouring Kuwahara’s 30 years of artistic expression and impact on the Tokyo poetry scene.

Kuwahara blogs at shijinrui.blogspot.jp

Host of Japanese Poets North of the 49th. Artist, author, and community organizer. Frost is executive director of the Tasai Collective, a Pacific Rim artist collective practising friendship through collaboration. He is also partner at the VisualSpace Gallery, a little space with a big heart. He coaches and teaches Sustainable Creativity to organizations interested in humanizing the future of work.


Historic Joy Kogawa House

Historic Joy Kogawa House is the childhood home of Canadian author Joy Kogawa. Joy and her family lived in the house until 1942, when they were sent to an internment camp along with thousands of other Canadians of Japanese descent. Now used as a site for author residencies and literary events, the house stands as a historical reminder of the internment experience of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War, and by extension, to the experiences of diverse cultural and ethnic groups within Canadian society.


Powell Street Festival Society

The Powell Street Festival is Canada’s largest festival of Japanese arts and culture, as well as Canada’s longest running cultural festival. The Powell Street Festival celebrates the history of Japanese Canadians in the Powell Street area through an event similar to the festivals, or matsuri, of Japan. In the spirit of the neighbourhood, in addition to being a platform for Asian Canadian arts performers to showcase their talents, the festival engages the broader community through fun cultural activities, volunteer opportunities, and of course, delicious food.


Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre

The Nikkei Centre’s mandate is to promote a better understanding and appreciation by all Canadians of Japanese Canadian culture and heritage; and an awareness by all Canadians of the contribution of Japanese Canadians to Canadian society, through public programs, exhibits, services, publications, public use of the facilities and special events. Their mission is to honour, preserve, and share Japanese Canadian history and culture for a better Canada


Frank H. Hori Charitable Foundation

Focussed on preserving Japanese cultural heritage, creating opportunities for young people, and enriching society.

Vancouver Japanese Language School – Japanese Hall

Promoting the understanding of Japanese language and culture to all Canadians. Actively upholding the history of Vancouver’s Nikkei community and facilitating cultural exchange with other multicultural, neighbourhood and international groups.

The Uncommon Café

The Uncommon Cafe is owned and operated by the sustainably minded husband and wife  team of Lisa & Luc Leimanis. The goal is simple – make great homemade food while attempting to be 90% sustainable. The quiche, made by French Pastry chef Valentine Kitamura of Tartine & Maple, is amazing. [We tried it].

If you would like more information, please email jpn49@tasai.ca