#window2asia: Cultural Events in June 2024

#window2asia is a project of AREA Ruhr which collects and publishes information on current and upcoming cultural events in the Rhine Ruhr region. In our overviews, we feature exhibitions, concerts, movie screenings and workshops that are aimed towards the general public. Starting with this news article, we will also provide a monthly digest of ongoing and upcoming events in the following month.

Ongoing events

Since March 2024, the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn features the exhibition »Kengo Kuma. Onomatopoeia Architecture«, presenting around two dozen models of some of the Japanese architect’s most important buildings. Kuma, who was born in Yokohama in 1954, has built all over the world: in Japan, but also throughout Europe, the United States, China and Australia. The exhibition is open to the public until September 2025.

The Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst in Köln is currently holding two exhibitions on East Asia: »Blumen für Frieda« (flowers for Frieda), which will close on 4 June, exhibits contemporary plant compositions by Ikebana master Ursula Winand that draw on various schools and traditions of Japanese floral art. »Bizzare Schönheiten« (bizarre beauties), the second exhibit, features a stone collection received from collector couple Gudrun and Willi Benz that, complemented by paintings, bronzes and porcelains, sheds light onto the Chinese tradition of bizarrely shaped stones as decorative elements in gardens and scholars’ studios. The exhibition opened in April and will be accessible until January 2025.

Until 13 July, the Ekō-Haus in Düsseldorf is home to the exhibition »Die Poesie der Tusche« (the poetry of ink), which places two representatives of the sumi-e art movement in a dialog and attempts to highlight the artists’ respective foci, their similarities, and their contrasts.

At the Japanisches Kulturinstitut in Cologne, the movie screening series »Funktionalität und Schönheit« (functionality and beauty) features 20 documentaries made between 1971 and 2019 that provide an insight into various areas of Japanese arts and crafts. Slated to conclude on 3 June, two final screenings will take place at the beginning of the month. The institute also features an exhibition on »Japanisches Glück« (Japanese happiness) that opened last week. Until 31 July, the exhibition attempts to shed light on the connections between happiness and Japanese aesthetics using selected objects from everyday life, design objects and works of art.

Upcoming events

Ringing in the start of the month will be the Japantag (Japan day) in Düsseldorf that takes place on 1 June. For the duration of Saturday, the city will once more be transformed into the site of one of Europe’s largest Japanese culture and encounter festivals and will delight visitors with a spectacular display of Japanese fireworks on the Rhine river.

On 5 June, a pipa concert, organized by the Konfuzius-Institut Bonn, will be conducted at the Kunstraum Villa Friede in Bonn. The pipa, a 4-stringed plucked instrument that has been around in China for around 2000 years, will be played by performer Tang Hua, who since 1991 made an international career in Japan, USA, and Germany.

Following the movie series on Japanese arts and crafts, from 8 to 15 June the Japanisches Kulturinstitut in Cologne will screen a selection of three movies from the programme of the Japanese Film Festival Online 2024. The screenings are followed by the start of a new movie series on 24 June, titled »Auf der Suche nach Verbrechern und neuen Bildern« (in search of criminals and new images), that will feature five Japanese directors from the 1960 and their works.

On 9 June, the second Sunday of the month, both Bonn and Cologne will be scenes of two culture and encounter events: In Bonn, the city’s »Diversity!« Festival of Culture and Encounters will feature Korean and Chinese booths, hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, the Korean School Bonn, and the Konfuzius-Institut Bonn. The stage programme will also include a taekwondo demonstration and a K-pop cover dance performance. Meanwhile, the Japanese-German Culture Workshop TENRI, in cooperation with the German-Japanese Society Cologne, will hold an open house day in Cologne with a variety of Japanese dishes, origami, kimono try-on, koto, shamisen, gagaku and much more.

Also held in Cologne will be the concert »ZEN« at the Japanisches Kulturinstitut on 12 June, featuring the group Wa no Kai with nagauta songs accompanied by shamisen, and a shakuhachi performance by two master artists.

On 15 June, the Konfuzius-Institut Metropole Ruhr will host the workshop »Das Drachenbootfest« (the dragon boat festival) for children in Duisburg. There will be not only dragon boat races, but also lots of zongzi, opportunities to learn about the traditions of the festival and the crafting of a long paper dragon. This workshop is part of an ongoing series the Institute’s team offers for children aged 6–12 once a month.

From 17 to 28 June, the Landesspracheninstitut of the Ruhr University Bochum (LSI) is showing the exhibition »Jizō: Kunst, Kult und Kommerz in Japan« (Jizō: Art, Cult and Commerce in Japan) in cooperation with Japanologist Clemens Schlüter and his wife Ryōko, with modules and selected exhibits from the private collection JIZO-WORLD, which sheds light on the multifaceted presence of Jizō in Japan.

Finally, on 19 and 20 June, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea is inviting interested guests to the 4th Bonn Freedom Forum. This year, the event consists of a lecture on human rights in North Korea by Dr. Sue Mi Terry on Wednesday, and a screening of the award-winning documentary “Beyond Utopia” about a North Korean family’s defection to South Korea, which will take place on Thursday.

If you want to take a look at more upcoming events or browse our event archive, visit the #window2asia page. While we strive to include as many cultural events related to East Asia that take place in the Rhine Ruhr area as possible, our work does not claim to be exhaustive. If you know of an event that fits the criteria but is not yet included in our overview, please feel free to reach out to us at window2asia@area-ruhr.de.