ABOUT US

The Global Japan House Project
09.12.2017

PROJECT VISION

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.


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.





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.



 

Culinary Program Producer: Takeshi ‘Shin’ Okawara

Photo provided by JC Comsa Corp.

Takeshi “Shin” Okawara graduated with a degree in Advanced Management from Harvard Business School. He entered Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan as the store manager of its first unit and eventually became Vice President of Kentucky Fried Chicken International for North Asia and served as President and CEO of Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan from 1984 to 2002. He was Chairman of Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan from 2002 until 2006. Upon his retirement he executed an MBO of the company’s noncore businesses which comprised of 150 restaurants, a food delivery business and counters in department store food sections. This was later merged with JC Foodsnet to form JC Comsa Corp. He became Chairman in 2003, before becoming Chief Executive Officer in 2007. Okawara served as President of the Japan Food Service Association from 1997 to 1999 and has served as Board Chairman of the Organization to Promote Japanese Restaurants Abroad (JRO)since 2015. He was decorated with the Japanese Medal of honor with Blue Ribbon in 2003 and the order of the Rising Sun in 2014. Under his guidance the company received the Best Food Service Award from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in 2008.



 

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, LEXUS Brand Spatial Design, and MEDIA AMBITION TOKYO.



 

2nd Floor Designer: Kohei Nawa | SANDWICH 

Photo by Nobutada OMOTE |
SANDWICH

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 Shotenkenchiku

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 Commerical Facilities Division and the head of A.N.D. Aoyama Nomura Design.

 

His work includes Main Dining Room of the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, the JAL Sakura Lounge at Haneda International Airport and the internationally acclaimed W Guangzhou FEI Ultra Lounge in China for which he became the first Japanese national to be awarded Best Bar at the prestigious Restaurant & Bar Design Awards.



 
Akira Chiba, Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles
 
Douglas G. Erber, President, Japan America Society of Southern California
 
Gil Garcetti, Photographer, Los Angeles County District Attorney (1992-2000), UNESCO-IHE Cultural Ambassador (2014-2017)
 
Thomas Iino, Founding Chairman, US-Japan Council; Director, First Choice Bank
 
Satoshi Okawa, President, Japan Business Association of Southern California
 
Leslie Ito, Former President and CEO, Japanese American Cultural and Community Center
 
Gary N. Jacobs, Chairman Emeritus, American Jewish Committee Asia Pacific Institute
 
Mickey Kantor, United States Secretary of Commerce (1996-1997); United States Trade Representative (1993-1996); Partner, Mayer Brown LLP; Chair, Lexmark International, Inc.
  
Beth Marlis, Vice President, Musicians Institute; Chair Emeritus, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
 
Peter O’Malley, President, Los Angeles Dodgers (1970-1998)
 
Jeff Yamazaki, President, Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California