Arts Flanders Japan: About us

Bernard Catrysse, Director

Welcome to Arts Flanders Japan.

Thank you for finding your way to our website. Arts Flanders Japan (AFJ) is a foundation that acts as the Liaison Office of the Government of Flanders for cultural affairs. For Flanders it is vital to keep abreast of the cultural scene in Japan and to closely connect and take advantage of the potential and the opportunities that this country has on offer.

Networking and Bridge-Building

We are based in Tokyo and from here we dedicate our efforts to developing a network in Japan that is benefitting our artists and professionals. To have this bridge-building-work done optimally and to make use of all available resources, Arts Flanders Japan is closely liaising with the different interface organisations and expertise centres in Flanders and Brussels: Flanders Arts Institute, Flanders Image, Flanders DC, Flanders Architecture Institute, Flanders Literature, Flanders Knowledge Area, Taalunie and FARO, the heritage expertise center.

International Collaboration

With and through these organisations, AFJ is stimulating and helping develop international collaborations, communication and exchange not only between artists, art professionals and policy-makers, but also between professionals of cinema, fashion, design and architecture. Moreover, we are supporting writers and translators all the while promoting the Dutch language.

Sustainable International Relations

It is our aim to increase the awareness and visibility of the Flemish arts scene in Japan. We want to build sustainable international relations that not only benefit the Flemish art scene but that show respect and pay tribute to the the cultural scene of Japan, the country that is receiving and hosting us.

Disseminating Knowledge and Sharing Expertise

Apart from bridge building and networking, Arts Flanders Japan wants to meet the needs of Flemish art professionals in search of information and opportunities. This very website will be a tool for disseminating knowledge and expertise about the art scene in Japan. Gradually we will also be inserting information about do’s and don’ts, visa applications and open calls.  

Focus on the Long Term

In Japan the focus is on the long term, both in business and in the arts. Fruitful contacts and networks are the result of a long and intensive process. AFJ will therefore spend its time, energy and resources on artists and organizations that have long-term plans and that also have the potential and the intention to build a sustainable relationship with their Japanese counterparts.

Focus on Reciprocity and Cooperation

Japan is a versatile and full-fledged player on the international arts scene. Japanese artists can compete at the highest level in almost every discipline. Flanders can take advantage of this and look for cooperation and reciprocity with these artists. The idea to co-create and co-produce and the focus on reciprocity and complementarity go well with Japanese artists and should be considered as a viable way to connect with Japan.

European Network

AFJ is very much in favor of connecting with fellow institutes and being part of a larger network of like-minded organizations. Apart from economies of scale and many practical advantages such as exchanging information, sharing expertise, joint promotion and benchmarking, this bundling of forces also allows to make a mark and emphasise more easily on a set of values that Europeans share. In this country that prides itself on its homogeneous culture, a European platform is an excellent way to bring ‘diversity’, the characteristic that marks the EU countries and cultures.

Bernard Catrysse