Message from the director-general of the Japan Foundation, Bangkok

It is our great pleasure and honor to participate in the 2nd edition of Unfolding Kafka Festival by bringing an internationally acclaimed visual artist and performer, Hiroaki Umeda with his installations of the body and light this year.

The year 2017 falls on the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Japan, having a wide variety of cultural projects not only by the Japan Foundation but also by fellow organizations both in Thailand and Japan.

Among line-ups of such cultural projects, Unfolding Kafka Festival is, I believe, one of the most ideal platforms to promote the appreciation of contemporary art in Thailand, thanks to the enthusiasm and vision of its festival director, Jitti Chompee, as well as to the sharp and critical eyes of its audience.

Obviously, lots of Japanese artists are also inspired by Kafka, including the world-renowned Japanese writer, Haruki Murakami. He has won the Franz Kafka Award in 2006, and even has his work with the German writer’s name on the title, Kafka on the Shore (2002).

Though Umeda’s works this time are not directly inspired by Kafka, his first-ever performances in Southeast Asia will, I would say with confident, provoke your thoughts on the boundary between dance, performance and installation, just as Kafka drifted around the boundary between realism and the fantastic.

It is my fervent hope that Unfolding Kafka Festival this year will attract a wider audience with its variety of performances/events and will provide us the rejoice of appreciating contemporary art in this extremely market-driven city.

Norihiko Yoshioka
The Japan Foundation, Bangkok