The Japan Opera Foundation (JOF)
Official title: The Japan Opera Foundation, a public interest incorporated foundation Competent Authorities: Cabinet Office
Incorporated foundation established on March 27, 1981. Opened offices on April 1 the same year. Became a public interest incorporated foundation on April 1, 2012.
Performance of “La Boheme “(Puccini) took place at Hibiya Public Hall
The Fujiwara Opera is founded under its first General Director, Yoshie Fujiwara
- 1958 The Institute for Opera Education and Research is founded
- 1960 The Institute for Opera Education and Research changes its name to Japan Institute for Opera Research
- 1970 Japan Institute for Opera Research changes its name to Japan Opera Association
- 1972 Keisuke Shimoyakawa becomes 2nd General Director of the Fujiwara Opera
- 1977 Hiroshi Ooga is appointed General Director of Japan Opera Association
The Fujiwara Opera and Japan Opera Association merge together and become an incorporated foundation Japan Opera Foundation
Both names The Fujiwara Opera and Japan Opera Association stay on as performance business units within the corporate organization.
- 1985 Kiyoshi Igarashi assumes role of 3rd General Director of the Fujiwara Opera
- 2003 Hiroyuki Okayama is appointed Production Director of the Fujiwara Opera
- 2012 Incorporated foundation The Japan Opera Foundation becomes a public interest incorporated foundation
- 2014 Hiroyuki Okayama is appointed 4th General Director of the Fujiwara Opera
- 2016 Tadamichi Orie is appointed General Director of the Fujiwara Opera
- 2017 Aiko Kori is appointed General Director of Japan Opera Association
Awards and Decorations -
- 1984 The Fujiwara Opera receives the 35th Award from the Ministry of Education in the Art Encouragement Prizes (music section)
- 1985 Japan Opera Foundation receives the 13th Jiro Opera Special Award
- 1986 The Fujiwara Opera receives the 16th Mobile Music Award (for Western music)
- 2000 The Fujiwara Opera’s performance of “Macbeth” wins 9th Mitsubishi Trust Music Award
- 2015 The Fujiwara Opera joint production of “Il viaggio a Rheims” wins the 13th Mitsubishi Trust Music Award (Encouragement Prize)
The Japan Foundation focuses on enhancing awareness and appreciation of fine arts and music through opera and vocal music. The following are the three main areas of activities - -
- 1）Engage in opera and music performances
- 2）Nurture talents of opera singers, vocalists, music support staff, chorus singers
- 3）Contribute to broadening the awareness of opera and vocal music in general
The Japan Foundation offers other activities with the above objectives in Japan and overseas.
Opera Performance business units
The Fujiwara Opera: performs operas by western composers
Japan Opera Association: performs operas by Japanese composers in Japanese language
The Fujiwara Opera
Founded in 1934 by Yoshie Fujiwara, the Fujiwara Opera is the first professional opera company in Japan, and still is the leading company even after more than 80 years.
After a merger with the Japan Opera Association and becoming part of the Japan Opera Foundation, the Fujiwara Opera is presently the business unit focusing on the so-called western operas and carries its history and legacy to this day.
Kiyoshi Igarashi was appointed the 3rd General Director in 1985. He aggressively pursued raising awareness and popularity of opera works by engaging well-known masterpieces. He invited world top-class international singers, conductors, stage directors etc. to collaborate with the Fujiwara singers/crew members and under his direction, theatrical standards were elevated to the international level. In 1986, simultaneous translated titles were introduced and further contributed to the success in gaining public attention. The performances of “La Forza del Destino”, “Andrea Chenier”, “Norma”, and “La Favorita,” works until then regarded as complicated and difficult, received high international acclaim, further enhancing opera productions in Japan.
Former bass singer Hiroyuki Okayama was appointed Production Director in 2003 and afterwards the 4th General Director in 2014. He continued engaging popular masterpieces and added themes such as the Rossini series. “ Il Turco in Italia” “L'italiana in Algeri” “Il viaggio a Rheims”” La gazza ladra”” Tancredi” etc. received raving reviews.
Tadamichi Orie (former bass singer) is now the 5th General Director and under his leadership, the Fujiwara Opera continues to elevate its standards and attract a wide range of audience.
Japan Opera Association
Formerly known as the Institute for Opera Education and Research (1858), Japan Opera Association changed its name in 1970 and then merged with the Fujiwara Opera in 1981. Since its inception, Japan Opera Association has focused on the creation of opera works based on Japanese tradition and culture and has contributed to the development of the field of opera in Japan. In 1984, the production of “Iwaiuta no nagareru yoruni (The evening you hear songs of celebration)” presented by the 39th National Arts Festival (the Agency for Cultural Affairs) won the 13th Jiro Opera Special Award. In 1988, the production of “Kesa to Morito (Kesa and Morito)” participated in the Warsaw Autumn Music Festival dispatched by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and received high acclaim.
Japan Opera Association started the “Japanese Opera Series” in 1965 and to this day, has seen great achievements. The 1st General Director Hiroshi Ooga was indeed the pioneer in developing the unique vocal method for the Japanese language. As mentor and instructor to the younger generation, he has left a legacy in his research and training of “singing in beautiful Japanese.”
“Yuzuru” by Ikuma Dan, “Shunkinsho (A portrait of Shunkin)” by Minoru Miki, “Tenshu monogatari (Tale of a Castle Keep)” by Shuko Mizuno are well-known Japanese operas. The Japan premiere of “Ada” by Minoru Miki, “Iwaiuta no nagareru yoruni (The evening you hear songs of celebration)”and “Yosaikoi bushi (Yosakoi song)” by Kazuko Hara, “Koya hijiri (Monk Koya)” by Shinichiro Ikebe, revival of “Kesa to Morito (Kesa and Morito)” by Kan Ishii, “Kurofune (Black Ship)” by Kosaku Yamada have received positive reviews.
Aiko Kori, mezzo soprano, has assume the 2nd General Director from April 2017.
We look forward to the future enhancement of Japanese composers and their works under her direction.