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Bulgaria – Japan

The project

The project was launched in the distant 2006, about a year after the establishment of Amateras Art Studio. As the first initiative of the project met with the high interest of public, institutions and artists alike, that motivated the subsequent expansion of cultural exchange. The past 15 years have seen large-scale travelling exhibitions in both countries, annual exhibitions, lectures and workshops, some of which during the Days of Japanese Culture in Bulgaria and on the occasion of marking anniversaries and other events. A large portion of the exhibitions are the work of artists from the two countries who have established a firm friendship combined with a seasoned professional relationship. Authors have been convinced to participate in various events, leaving donations at museums and galleries, and contributing to the development of intercultural dialogue in a number of cities in Bulgaria and Japan. Every year, the foundation organises events with participants in familiar and new locations.


In 2014, Amateras Foundation was awarded an Honorary Diploma for Cultural Exchange by the Government of Japan for its contribution to the promotion of Japanese culture in Bulgaria.


The sculpture Sun Dance, symbol of Japanese-Bulgarian friendship, was unveiled in Sofia in November 2020. The work is an elemental sculpture in urban space, part of an author’s collection of wind driven kinetic sculptures seeking expression in a natural and urban place.


Curatorial team:
Daniela Todorova, Amateras Foundation
Kakuko Ishii, Nexus


The events in the Bulgaria – Japan project were implemented under the auspices of:
H.E. Lubomir Todorov, Ambassador of Bulgaria to Japan
H.E. Borislav Kostov, Ambassador of Bulgaria to Japan
H.E. Tsuneharu Takeda, Ambassador of Japan to Bulgaria
H.E. Makoto Ito, Ambassador of Japan to Bulgaria
H.E. Takashi Koudzumi, Ambassador of Japan to Bulgaria
H.E. Masato Watanabe, Ambassador of Japan to Bulgaria
H.E. Hiroshi Narahira, Ambassador of Japan to Bulgaria

Events and exhibitions

Over sixty events were organized under the Bulgaria – Japan project. On Bulgarian territory, such were held in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Pavlikeni. In Japan, they were organized in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Munakata, Karuizawa, Sano, Iwate, Okawa in Fukuoka Prefecture, Higashichichibu in Saitama Prefecture, as well as in Busan, South Korea:

2021

Exhibition from the ”Europe – Asia” international project’s programme, curator Nexus, Seiriki Museum, Okawa, Fukuoka prefecture (April 4th – 30th).
“Europe – Asia” Exhibition, Nekogameya Gallery, Osaka (February 27th – March 7th).
Exhibition of the Amateras Collection, B Gallery, Tokyo (January 10th – 21st).
”Japanese Art” – a part of Sofia Paper Art Fest and 32nd Days of Japanese Culture in Bulgaria, The Triangular Tower Exhibition Space, Regional History Museum, Sofia (September 20th – October 20th).
“Mizuhiki” – a solo exhibition by Kakuko Ishii, a part of Sofia Paper Art Fest and 32nd edition of the Days of Japanese Culture in Bulgaria, Sredets Gallery, Ministry of Culture, Sofia (November 22nd – December 8th).
• Japan Bowl III – an annual Japanese language and culture competition under the patronage of JSEEBA, The Japan Foundation and The Embassy of Japan in Bulgaria, National Palace of Culture, Sofia (June 12th).

2020

TKO II, International Miniprint, a travelling project by B Gallery, Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre (June 1st – 10th); Artzone Kaguraoka, Kyoto (August 22nd – 30th); Irohani Gallery, Osaka (September 4th – 16th).
Participation in “Europe – Asia” International Project, curator Nexus, Seiriki Museum, Okawa, Fukuoka prefecture (September).
Japan Bowl II – an annual Japanese language and culture competition under the patronage of JSEEBA, The Japan Foundation and The Embassy of Japan in Bulgaria, San Stefano Gallery (October 10th).
Inauguration of the sculpture “Sun Dance” – a symbol of the friendship between Bulgaria and Japan, 30th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture in Bulgaria, under the patronage of Sofia Municipality and the Embassy of Japan in Bulgaria (November 20th).
International Project “Europe - Asia”, International exhibition “Colour and Form” by the Korean Society, Busan, Republic of Korea (November 24th – December 24th).

2019

“Water and Flower” exhibition – calligraphy by Kihachiro Nishiura and paintings by Yoshiko Ishikawa, private collection “Ishikawa”, 30th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture, Triangular Tower Exhibition Space, Regional History Museum, Sofia (October 2nd – 20th).
A solo exhibition by Haruko Cho, 30th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture, The Mission Gallery, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sofia (October 10th – 25th).
“Breeze From The East - Contemporary Japanese Art”, 30th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture, Resonance Gallery, Plovdiv (November 5th – 27th).
Triple Exhibition by Daniela Todorova, Todor Todorov and Nexus: CA Gallery, Munakata (September 5th – 23rd); Global Arena, Munakata (September 13th – 23rd) and Cultural centre with gallery Yurix Munakata (September 3rd – 16th).
Exhibition, a part of 5th Tokyo International Art Fest, Cobun Gallery, Tokyo (September).
Japan Bowl I – an annual Japanese language and culture competition under the patronage of JSEEBA, The Japan Foundation and The Embassy of Japan in Bulgaria, San Stefano Gallery (May 11th).

2018

“White Silent” exhibition, Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU 2018, B Gallery, Tokyo (June 26th – July 8th).
A two-week artistic residence, Tokyo (July 2nd – 17th).
“Japan. The Art Now” – exhibition, lectures and workshops, Amateras Foundation and Nexus, 29th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture in Bulgaria, Regional History Museum, Sofia (November 8th – 30th).
“Works on Paper. Works of Paper” exhibition, Caso Contemporary Art Space, Osaka (March 6th – 11th).
Travelling project “Ancient Messages and Elemental Sculpture”, Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU 2018, Wakita Museum, Karuizawa (June 7th – August 29th).
“Japanese Paper Art” exhibition, a part of Sofia Paper Art Fest, Mazda Gallery, Sofia (May 18th – June 15th).
International exchange exhibition “The Golden Bough”, organized by the Association of the Busan artists and artisans, Nexus and Amateras Foundation, Busan, Republic of Korea (August 20th – September 7th).

2017

Bulgarian-Japanese exhibition and plain air “Pavlikeni and the World”, Pavlikeni Municipality (July 1st – September 6th).
“Japanese Paper Art” exhibition, a part of Sofia Paper Art Fest, Mazda Gallery, Sofia (May 9th – July 6th).
Lecture about “The Role of the Japanese Art in the World of Contemporary Art”, 28th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture in Bulgaria, Serdika Ancient and Cultural Communicative Complex - Largo, Sofia (October 16th).

2016

Bulgarian-Japanese exhibition and plain air “Pavlikeni and the World”, Pavlikeni Municipality (July 1st – September 6th).
“Japanese Paper Art” exhibition, a part of Sofia Paper Art Fest, Mazda Gallery, Sofia (May 2nd – June 19th).
“Japanese Contemporary Art” exhibition, 27th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture in Bulgaria, Finesse Gallery, Sofia (November 2nd – 19th).
Lecture about “The Role of the Japanese Art in the World of Contemporary Art”, 28th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture in Bulgaria, Peroto Space, National Palace of Culture, Sofia (October 15th).

2015

“Paper Art in Japan” exhibition, a project by Amateras Foundation, Nexus and “Colour and Form” Association – Korea, Fukuoka Prefectural Art Museum, Fukuoka prefecture (March 31st – April 12th).
“Paper Art in Japan” exhibition and lecture, a project by Amateras Foundation, Nexus and “Colour and Form” Association – Korea, Kyosei-no-Sato Kurokawa Inn Museum, Asakura-shi, Fukuoka prefecture (March 21st – 31st).
“Japanese Paper Art” exhibition, a part of Sofia Paper Art Fest, Mazda Gallery, Sofia (May 11th – June 6th).

2014

“Tradition – the Key to Success” - a project that presents Nishiura family and their achievements and role in the history of the Japanese ceramics, together with Nishiura Style, National Gallery, Sofia (November 6th – 30th).
“Japanese Ceramics” exhibition, 25th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture in Bulgaria, Sredets Gallery, Ministry of Culture, Sofia (November 18th – 28th).
“Japanese Paper Art” exhibition, a part of Sofia Paper Art Fest, Mazda Gallery, Sofia (May 7th – May 30th).

2013

Exhibition at “Sakuragaoka” Cultural Centre, Tama, Tokyo Municipality, under the patronage of the Embassy of Bulgaria in Japan (January 10th – February 3th).
“Tradition and Contemporaneity” exhibition of ceramics and plain air, curator Keiko International, Bulgarian-Japanese project, History Museum, Pavlikeni (May 1st – August 8th).
“Japanese Contemporary Art”, 24th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture in Bulgaria, Pavlikeni (October 1st – 10th).
“Japanese Paper Art” exhibition, a part of Sofia Paper Art Fest, Mazda Gallery, Sofia (May 16th – June 2nd).

2012

“Contemporary Japanese Paper Art” exhibition, 23rd edition of the Days of Japanese Culture in Bulgaria, Altera Art Centre, Interpred, Sofia (October 15th – November 9th).
“Contemporary Japanese Paper Art” three workshops, 23rd edition of the Days of Japanese Culture in Bulgaria, Altera Art Centre, Interpred, Sofia: 1. Kakuko Ishii (October 16th); 2.Chikako Sato (October 18th) and 3.Atsumi Murata (October 19th).
“Japanese Paper Art” exhibition, a part of Sofia Paper Art Fest, Mazda Gallery, Sofia (May 15th – June 2nd).

2011

“Japanese Paper Art” exhibition, a part of Sofia Paper Art Fest, Mazda Gallery, Sofia (May 10th – June 30th).

2010

Exhibition at Tamaya Gallery, Ogawamachi, Tokyo (April 5th – 15th).
“Symphony” exhibition, Ranzan-machi, Japan (J-Cat organizaton), 21st edition of the Days of Japanese Culture in Bulgaria, Forum Art Centre, Sofia (February 3rd – 18th).
5 workshop with Japanese participants during the Amateras Exhibition/Competition for Paper Art, J-Cat organization, Art Alley Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria (June 4th – July 4th).
“Kurosawa. Reflections” exhibiton, lectures, workshops, 21st edition of the Days of Japanese Culture in Bulgaria, Forum Art Centre, Sofia (November 23rd – December 23rd).
Five events included in the project “Kurosawa. Reflections” with Japanese participants: 1.Lecture “The Movies of Kurosawa – Impacts on the Bulgarian Culture” (November 20th); 2. Lecture “The Movies of Kurosawa – Impacts on the American and the World Cinema” (November 27th); 3. Performance and workshop “Traditional Paper Works – Origami and Kites” (December 4th); 4. Workshop “The Kimono – Tradition and Art” (December 11th); 5.Performance and workshop “The World of the Samurai” (December 18th).

2009

A solo exhibition by Naoyo Yamamato, Art Alley Gallery, Sofia (April 21st – May 17th).
A group exhibition “Printforum”, experimental prints on kozo and washi paper, two exhibition in Lessedra Gallery, Sofia and Higashi Chihibu, Saitama prefecture, Japan (April – June).
A group exhibition during “Festival of Bulgaria – 50 years of Diplomatic Relations between Bulgaria and Japan”, Tokyo, Japan (July 7th – 20th).
Participation of Todor Todorov and Daniela Todorova’s artworks in “Festival of Bulgaria – 50 years of Diplomatic Relations between Bulgaria and Japan”, Sano, Japan (August 5th – 14th).
Exhibition of Paper Art, Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo (September 9th -28th).
Exhibition of graphic art be the Japanese print Society, Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo (August 7th – November 2nd).
Exhibition “Sun Signs – Paper Innovations”, Spase S Gallery, Tokyo (May 5th – August 19th).

2006

A two-week artistic residency in Iwate prefecture, Japan (September).

Participants

Amateras Foundation expresses gratitude to all authors who have contributed to this project over the years:


NEXUS: Kakuko Ishii, Mitsuru Kuroki, Ichiro Mitsuo, Toru Kurita, Jeoong Moon.


Atsumi Murata, Ayako Tajima, Akiyo Niysato, Gorousuke Asami, Ayako Abe Miller, Sachiko Abe, Sugane Hara, Sumiko Tasaka, Kazunobu Yanagi, Katsuhito Ito, Kazuyoshi Morita, Kenji Sato, Kakuko Ishii, Kiyoshi Yunohara, Kihachiro Nishiura, Koko Shimumura, Mami Idei, Mami Kawai, Mayumi Tsukuda, Miyuki Tanyama, Maya Asahara, Mitsue Ito, Mikii Nakamura, Mitsuru Kuroki, Ichiro Matsuo, Toru Kurita, Jiyoung Moon, Naoyo Yamamoto, Naomi Kaneko, Noriko Iishikawa, Kumoi Yadjima, Hiroaki Asahara, Yoshio Hasegawa, Chikako Sato, Nobuko Ueda, Noriko Amano, Tamiko Kawata, Sugane Hara, Rie Hachiyanagi, Hidemasa Sakihama, Fukiko Nakabayashi, Yoshio Ikezaki, Yoshinobu Suzuka, Sumie Matsura, Wakako Ishisone, Yoshiaki Kajikawa, Tsuruko Takinawa, Nobuyoshi Kano, Iyonaga Takahiro, Ritsuko Jinnouchi, Haruko Cho, Nobuko Murakami, Hitomi Ueoka, Shoko Fukuda, Yuki Tsuboyama, Yukiko Maeda, Junko O’Neill, Junko Suzuki, Yuri Okamoto, Yasuko Iyanaga.


Ukiyo-e Collection, courtesy of the National Gallery for Foreign Art, Sofia: Katsushika Hokusai (1760 - 1849), Kitagawa Utamaro (1753 - 1806), Utagawa Toyohiro (1790 - 1829), Kitao Masanobu (1761 - 1816), Torii Kiyonaga (1752 - 1815), Okihimura Toshinobu (1716-1751), Torii Kiyohiro (1751-1764), Torii Kiyotomo, Ichirakutei Eisui (1797-1804) and Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858)

Support

Amateras Foundation appreciates deeply the support for the project provided by institutions, structures and places:


Embassy of Japan to Bulgaria;
Embassy of Bulgaria to Japan;
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bulgaria;
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan;
Ministry of Culture, Bulgaria;
National Culture Fund, Bulgaria;
State Institute for Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bulgaria;
Sofia Municipality, Bulgaria;
Munakata District, Japan;
Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan;
Pavlikeni Municipality, Bulgaria;
Blagoevgrad Municipality, Bulgaria;
Zlatitsa Municipality, Bulgaria;
Japanese Foundation;
National Gallery, Bulgaria;
Nexus, Fukuoka;
Keiko International, Japan;
Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo;
Kyosei-no-Sato Kurokawa Inn Museum, Asakura-shi, Fukuoka prefecture, Japan;
Wakita Museum, Karuizawa, Japan;
Fukuoka Prefectural Art Museum, Fukuoka prefecture, Japan;
CASO Centre for Contemporary Art, Osaka, Japan;
CA Gallery, Munakata, Japan;
Global Arena Gallery, Munakata, Japan;
Seiriki Museum, Okawa, Fukuoka prefecture, Japan;
Nekogameya Gallery, Osaka;
Tamaya Gallery, Ogawamachi, Tokyo;
Space S Gallery, Ogawamachi, Tokyo;
B Gallery, Tokyo;
Kobun Gallery, Tokyo;
Mazda Gallery, Sofia;
Triangular Tower of Serdica exhibition space, Regional History Museum – Sofia, Bulgaria;
Regional History Museum – Sofia, Bulgaria;
Sredets Gallery, Ministry of Culture, Sofia;
Forum Art Centre, Sofia;
Altera Art Centre, Sofia;
Finesse Gallery, Sofia;
Rezonas Gallery, Plovdiv;
JSEEBA – Japanese Business Organisation for Eastern Europe;
Mazda Bulgaria;
Takeda;
Astelas Farma;
KWP;
SEGA;
JTI;
SEIKO;
Geotechmin;
FANUK;
JAPE;
Nichon Tomono Kai;
Kagetsu;
Yumeicho;
Aiki School;
Aiki Budo;
SOGA;
Shinbukan Club;
Bulgarian Haiku Union.