The Global Japan House Project


JAPAN HOUSE seeks to foster awareness and appreciation for Japan around the world by showcasing the very best of Japanese art, design, gastronomy, innovation, technology, and more. An innovative project of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, JAPAN HOUSE is comprised of three hubs—London, Los Angeles and Sao Paulo.

JAPAN HOUSE LOS ANGELES occupies two floors in the popular Hollywood & Highland entertainment complex and brings various aspects of Japan to American and international audiences.

On the second floor, the facility spans more than 6,000 sq. ft. and features an exhibition gallery, a retail space that carries an expertly curated selection of uniquely Japanese products, a small café, and a sub-gallery suitable for intimate gallery talks and smaller exhibitions. The fifth-floor space spans 8,000 sq. ft, and features an elegant, fine-dining Japanese restaurant, a relaxing library, a multi-purpose event venue, and simply spectacular views of Los Angeles.

Through thoughtful and imaginative programming, JAPAN HOUSE offers engaging experiences for guests with very little exposure to Japan but also surprising and memorable interactions to even the most well-versed.

JAPAN HOUSE will shine a spotlight on Japanese artists, chefs, designers and other professionals making an impact in Japan and around the world. It also invites professionals influenced or inspired by Japan to contribute to its programming. The project will embrace all aspects of Japanese culture today, from high culture to subcultures, and from the traditional to the cutting edge. JAPAN HOUSE also will work with artisans from Japan’s lesser-known regions to showcase their products and works to audiences eager to appreciate inventiveness and outstanding quality.

JAPAN HOUSE aims to drive intellectual exchange between Japan and the rest of the world, generating business opportunities and inviting people of all backgrounds and interests to explore Japan again and again.

President: Yuko Kaifu

© Japan House Los Angeles

Prior to joining Japan House in January 2016, she was Managing Director in the Corporate Communications Department of MUFG Union Bank, owned by the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, where she was charged with media relations, internal/external publications of the bank, and with CSR activities for the Japanese and Japanese American communities and for the US-Japan relations.Read more.

She started her career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Her past assignments include the Embassy of Japan in Canada, North American Affairs Bureau, Economic Cooperation Bureau, Foreign Policy Bureau, and Cultural Affairs Department, where she was Deputy Director in Tokyo. During her service at the Ministry, she was appointed official interpreter for Her Majesty the Empress, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Japan.

After she served as Consul at the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles from 2001 to 2007, she left the government to work as Vice President of the Japanese American National Museum. She has sat on the boards of various community organizations including Nisei Week Foundation and International Visitors Council of Los Angeles, and is the Executive Vice President of Japan Business Association of Southern California, and is honorary advisor for the Japanese Flower Arrangement Association of Southern California, the Omote Senke Tea Ceremony Association of Southern California and the North American Calligraphy Association.

She graduated from Nara Women’s University and received Master’s degree in Sociology from Queen’s University in Canada.

Executive Vice President: Michael McDowell

© Japan House Los Angeles

Previously, McDowell was the first Vice President for Cultural Tourism at the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, where he promoted Los Angeles as a premier cultural center for visitors worldwide since 2004. In 2011, he also assumed responsibility for marketing efforts created to attract African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latino and LGBT visitors, which together account for 42 percent of all visitors to Los Angeles. Before that, McDowell held leadership positions at the CalArts and USC as well as top positions in higher education, government and publishing on the East Coast.Read more.

As a volunteer, McDowell has served on boards for Arts for LA, the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Alliance, the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles, the LA Stage Alliance, and the Travel & Tourism Marketing Association of Southern California, among others.

He holds a bachelor’s degree, with distinction, from the University of Virginia.

Producing Director: Leslie Tamaribuchi

Photo provided by Leslie Tamaribuchi

Tamaribuchi is responsible for the administration of all public programs. Previously, she served on the Creative Producing and Management faculty at California Institute of the Arts and as Producing Director of CalArts Center for New Performance. Before CalArts, Tamaribuchi was Managing Director of Cornerstone Theater Company. She studied at Kyoto University and Konan University, collaborated with sho-gekijo and butoh artists, and earned masters and bachelor degrees from Harvard University. Tamaribuchi has served on grants panels for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, and the city and county of Los Angeles, among others.

Chief Creative Director: Kenya Hara

Photo by Yoshiaki Tsutsui

As a designer, Hara visualises the potential of industrial design by creating new design solutions. Notably, he has recently worked as art director for MUJI and Daikanyama Tsutaya Books and continues to work on a large number of projects re-evaluating situations through notions of 're-design' and 'house vision'. As an author, his books such as 'Designing Design' and 'White' have been translated into several languages and attracted a large number of dedicated followers.


Art/Creative Director: Tamotsu Yagi

Photo by Yoneo Kawabe

In 1984, Douglas Tompkins, founder of ESPRIT headhunted Tamotsu Yagi to become the Art Director for ESPRIT. The development of the "Esprit Graphic Look" under Yagi's direction was internationally celebrated and culminated with the highly-regarded, American Institute of Graphic Arts’ (AIGA) Design Leadership Award. In 1990, Tamotsu Yagi was elected for membership in the prestigious Alliance Graphique International (AGI) and a few years later, Tamotsu Yagi was honored by the induction of over 100 examples of work into the permanent collection of the SFMOMA. Tamotsu Yagi Design was established as an independent, multi-disciplinary design studio in 1991. In 2000, Steve Jobs contacted Tamotsu Yagi and asked to consult with the development of the Apple store concept. Currently based in Venice, Los Angeles, representative clients and projects include: Art direction for the Foundation Beyeler. Art direction for the exhibition of Shiro Kuramata and Ettore Sottsass at the 21_21 Design Sight.


Space Composer: Junji Tanigawa

Photo by Kenshu Shintsubo

Tanigawa founded space creation consulting firm JTQ Inc. in 2002, providing creative direction for clients to “deliver [their] messages through the medium of space”. He advocates his own spatial development method, “Space Compose”, and his experience-design in combining environment and situation has gained much attention from various fields. His major works include Kansei Exhibition at the Palais du Louvre’s Museum of Decorative Arts, Yakushiji Hikari Emaki in commemoration of the 1300th anniversary of Heijyokyo, GOOD DESIGN EXHIBITION, and MEDIA AMBITION TOKYO.


2nd Floor Designer: Kohei Nawa | SANDWICH 

Photo by Nobutada OMOTE |

Kohei Nawa was born in Osaka, Japan in 1975 and now lives and works in Kyoto. He received his MFA, and PhD in Fine Arts from the Kyoto City University of Art. In addition to his work as an artist, Nawa is the founder and director of SANDWICH, a creative platform for contemporary art, design, and architecture projects. Nawa's signature sculpture works transform taxidermied deer and other motifs, collected via the internet, through encapsulation in a myriad of glass spheres, or PixCells; a term he established combining the idea of a pixel, the smallest unit of a digital image, with that of a cell, the smallest structure of living matter. Nawa's "PixCell-Deer#24" is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's permanent collection.


5th Floor Designer: Ryu Kosaka

Photo provided by Ryu Kosaka

Ryu Kosaka A.N.D. (NOMURA Co., Ltd.)
Born in Tokyo in 1960, Ryu Kosaka is a graduate of the Musashino Art University’s architecture department. He joined Nomura Co., Ltd in 1986 and is currently the executive creative director of the Commercial Facilities Division and the head of Aoyama Nomura Design.

Akira Chiba, Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles; 
Douglas Erber, President of Japan America Society of Southern California; 
Gil Garcetti, UNESCO-IHE Cultural Ambassador, Former Los Angeles County District Attorney
Thomas Iino, Chairman of the Board of Directors Pacific Commerce Bank, Former Chairman of US-Japan Council;
Hitoshi Ishikawa, President of Japan Business Association of Southern California;
Leslie Ito, President and CEO of Japanese American Cultural and Community Center;
Gary Jacobs, Member of National Board of Governors of American Jewish Committee;
Mickey Kantor, Board Member of Pacific Council on International Policy, Former United States Trade Representative;
Beth Marlis, Directors at Large of Hollywood Chamber of Commerce;
Peter O’Malley, Former Owner and President of the Los Angeles Dodgers
Jeff Yamazaki, President of Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California