Closure of Arts Flanders Japan

We are sad to announce the closure of our foundation. Arts Flanders Japan (AFJ) will cease to exist by the end of March 2022 due to the Flanders’ Government’s decision to re-allocate its budget for Japan and discontinue financing the foundation. 

We feel pain for the artists, writers, translators and the many creative people whom we can not support anymore. Since most of our guidance and support was meant to push the concerned parties to come up with solutions themselves, we trust most will find their way even without us being around. 

We are grateful because for over 46 years this foundation was able to take on a meaningful role in the development of the Flemish-Japanese cultural relations. As a grassroots foundation embedded in the cultural scene of Japan, we were able to bring artists and audiences of both Japan and Flanders closer together. We are appreciative to the Flanders Government for entrusting us as their liaison office for almost half a Century. 

We are most grateful to the many people and organisations that have supported us all along, helped us see and create opportunities and allowed us to develop activities and collaborate: artists and ensembles, both Japanese and Flemish, board members, sponsors, European colleagues, EU diplomats, Belgian Embassy and the many festivals and networks all over this country. It was a joy and a true blessing to work together with each of them.

Looking ahead and on a more personal level, I can very much relate to a sentence from Gustave Flaubert that recently popped up again in my readings: “Il faut mettre son coeur dans l’art, son esprit dans le commun du monde, son corps où il se trouve bien, sa bourse dans sa poche, son espoir nulle part.” I continue to find guidance in the attitude Flaubert is proclaiming. 

The very last part is striking. Flaubert’s idea about hope is not fatalistic. We should continue to hope but hoping without obligation will not cut it. The dire situation in which the world right now is, is proof of this. More than hope, there is a strong need to diligently act within one’s capabilities, professionally and privately, however small or large these may be. A truly strong call for action these days!

Grateful for everything we did together and anticipating the pleasure of meeting again, 

Yours truly,

Bernard Catrysse  &  Mayumi Nishimura