Understanding Your Neighbors: Exploring Narratives of Asian Society in Contemporary Literature

  • The Grant Program for Promotion of Cultural Collaboration
Grant Year
Fiscal Year 2018
Grant Amount
JPY 1,964,447
Country of Activity
Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan

Can literature heal people’s trauma after great disasters? How do we develop a cultural bridge in Asian countries though literary festivals and initiatives? Led by the Makassar International Writers Festival in Eastern Indonesia, this project has explored narratives written by Japanese, eastern Indonesian and Malaysian authors. We have explored various themes in literary works of participating writers and speakers in order to understand how people/readers in Asian countries understand people living in neighboring countries. As Japan is always portrayed as a success model of a developed country in Asian region, Malaysian and Indonesian authors have explored paradoxical situation of Japan in their literary works. From Fukushima, a region that gained worldwide attention after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, we learned about a grass-root movement to heal the society from trauma in a form of a festival named Festival of The Future. Japanese cultural activist and prominent pert, Mr. Ryoichi Wago participated at Makassar International Writers Festival and shared his stories on how literature has become an effective medium to unite the local people in Fukushima after the 2011 disaster, meanwhile Indonesian and Malaysian young writers have explored their Asian identity through contemporary poetry and narratives.

Related Countries
Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia
Co-organizer(s), Cooperator(s)
WAGO Ryoichi (Festival of The Future Fukushima)
MATSUI Kazuhisa (Matsui Glocal LLC)
Rumah Ripta Malaysia

From the Organizer

We plan to maintain our relationship with Fukushima’s Festival of The Future and Ripta Malaysia beyond this project. We are glad the opportunity to collaborate that was granted by The Japan Foundation Asia Center has increased our self-confidence as a small cultural organization to collaborate with other organizations in Asia. We do hope more and more organizations in Eastern Indonesian will apply for this grant.

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