The Secret Universe Exhibition at Helsinki Design Museum



The Secret Universe exhibition at Helsinki Design Museum presents the work of dynamic designer duo Aamu Song and Johan Olin! They have travelled around the world, seeking folkloristic spirit in traditional crafts techniques and manufacturing skills. These trips have resulted in art objects, clothing, accessories and furniture made together with local masters of crafts.

The exhibition will present Song and Olin’s artistic process from travelling to meeting craftsmen, from correspondence to production and to completed objects. Several masters have been invited to Design Museum’s special events, the Holy Days, which will be held during the exhibition. The Holy Days will feature Japan in May, the Finnish craft heritage in June, Russia in August, and Mexico in September. In addition to these Holy Days, workshop events for the visitors will be held monthly. The exhibition will be open until the 22nd of September.

For more information:



Diplomatic Relations 100-year Anniversary Photo Competition


We are launching a photo competition!   

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Finland we chose the theme “100”! This could be interpreted any way you like. 

How do I participate? 

You can enter the competition either by posting your photo on Instagram and using the hashtag ‘#JPNFINphoto100’ OR by sending your entry photo to us at (for subject line please write “Photo competition 100”). The deadline is 31st of May and you can enter with more than one photo! 

A jury consisting of the staff at the Finnish Institute will choose 3 winners who will receive a great prize! The winning photos will be posted on our social media. 

This is your chance! Let your creativity flow and show us your best results!  

Feel Finland 14.4.2019



Our heartfelt thanks to all of you who attended Feel Finland – the biggest cultural event of this year that marks the centennial of the diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan! The event was historic in many ways – it was the largest Team Finland collaboration ever, it was the first open day at the Embassy of Finland’s compound and it was a major success with a total of 1200 participants! 

Special thanks to our excellent performers Vilma Timonen, Marianne BacklénMutsuko and Hisashi Yamamoto, Sami Tallberg, Tarmo Thorström, Miiko Toiviainen as well as Tango Alakulo (Jarmo Julkunen and Christian Garrick)!  

The first Knitting club with Novita Moomin yarns was a huge success! The workshop attracted 90 participants spread over three different sessions – the youngest participant being a 9-year-old boy! Many thanks to our sponsor Novita Knits for the yarns, needles and patterns! 

And finally, our utmost thanks to the magnificent Team Finland in Tokyo as well as the outstanding staff of the Finnish Institute in Japan! 

TOGETHER – we made this day an unforgettable one! 

Akari Hara elected as the Academic research coordinator of the Finnish Institute in Japan


The Foundation of the Finnish Institute in Japan has elected Bachelor of Arts Akari Hara as the Academic research coordinator of the Finnish Institute in Japan for a three-year period starting on April 8th 2019. The Academic research coordinator is responsible for planning and coordinating the research projects, seminars and conferences of the Institute. The institute is located in Tokyo.

Akari Hara has previously worked both in corporate life and in international organizations.

The Finnish Institute in Japan is an academic and cultural institute operating in Tokyo. It identifies and anticipates the development and cooperation needs of Finland and Japan, especially in the fields of science, culture and education, and it also helps potential partners to find each other between Finland and Japan, as well as Eastern Asia on a wider level.

The Finnish Institute in Japan is in the midst of eventful years. The Institute celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. This year it will take part of the celebration of 100 years of diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan, and in 2020, Tokyo will host the Olympic Games.

Finland has 17 cultural and academic institutes in total around the world. The Finnish Institute in Japan is currently the only office in Eastern Asia. More information: Director of the Finnish Institute in Japan, Dr. Anna-Maria Wiljanen, (, tel. +81 80 4069 7846).

Finnish-Japanese Contemporary Circus Project

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan, contemporary circus artists from both countries come together for a new collaborative project.

Ilona Jäntti. Photo: Claire Bilyard

The project begins in May with Ilona Jäntti’s workshops in Setagaya Public Theatre and Setouchi Circus Factory. The workshops also double as auditions for a shared performance later.

In the summer, a Japanese artist visits Finland to work with Jäntti and other Finnish participants.
The grand finale of the project is a collaborative show to be held in Fukuoka Civic Hall at the end of the year.

Applications for performers to join the workshops are open until April 15th. For more information, please visit Setagaya Public Theatre’s website.

Vacant post at the Finnish Institute in Japan


The Finnish Institute in Japan (FIJ) promotes Finnish science, culture and higher education supporting and enabling co-operation and dialogue between Japan and Finland. The Institute identifies and recognizes trends and co-operation possibilities connecting potential collaboration partners. The Institute is part of Team Finland in Japan and one of the 17 Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes.

The Finnish Institute in Japan is looking for an Office manager as soon as possible or according to agreement.

As the Office manager you will take care of the different tasks related to the office management. The Office Manager will organize and coordinate office administration and procedures, in order to ensure organizational effectiveness and efficiency. Other tasks include administrative and executive support related tasks and coordinating FIJ’s activities such as events, meetings and seminars. The office manager will work under the guidance of the Director of the FIJ.

In order to manage the task successfully, the applicant should have

* An academic degree

* Fluency in written and spoken English

* Native-level Japanese language skills

* Ability to work in a small but dynamic organization where tasks and duties may vary

* Knowledge of Finnish culture and experience of studying and/or doing research in Finland

The employment contract will be made for a period of three years with an option for renewal.

Please send your motivation letter and CV, in English, to by March 29, 2019.

Inquiries and more information: Director Anna-Maria Wiljanen,, +81 (0)80 4069 7846

Available for phone inquiries on Tuesday March 26, at 2-4pm.

Women’s Empowerment seminar: Women, you CAN HAVE IT ALL! How to combine work and family life!

Women’s Empowerment seminar: Women, you CAN HAVE IT ALL! How to combine work and family life!

Come and listen to the intriguing life stories and panel discussion of our distinguished speakers on March 12th, 2019 at 3:15-6:00PM at Meiji-Kinenkan! Women’s empowerment reception will be held right after the seminar at the same venue.


3:15 Doors open

3:30 Welcome (Director of the Finnish Institute in Japan, Dr Anna-Maria Wiljanen)

3:50 My story (H.E. Ambassador of Iceland, Elin Flygenring)

4:10 Questions and answers

4:20 My story (President of S2, Hiroko Uakomura)

4:50 Questions and answers

5:00 My story (President and Chancellor of Showa Women’s University, Mariko Bando)

5:20 Questions and answers

5:30 Panel discussion

6:00 Questions and answers

6:10 Women’s Empowerment reception and networking

7:30 Reception ends

Registration is now open!

Admission free, advance registration required.

Contents and schedule may be subject to changes.




Social Portrait – A performance by Katriina Haikala

Social Portrait is a performance and an empowering art project where artist Katriina Haikala draws 1000 portraits of individuals who identify themselves as women. Social Portrait embraces diversity, equality and intimate encounters where the models are elevated, seen and accepted as they are. It creates a community by bringing together women all around the world.

The drawing takes a form of a performance. While Katriina is drawing she is not looking at the sketch at all – instead she looks at the model intensely.

Social Portrait – a performance by Katriina Haikala

February 25th (Mon) – March 3rd (Sun) 11:00 – 20:00
Venue: Spiral Entrance (Spiral 1F), 5-6-23, Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Performance times
Feb. 25 (Mon) 11:00 – 13:00, 16:00 – 18:00
Feb. 26 (Tue) – Mar. 1 (Fri) 12:00 – 14:00, 16:00 – 18:00
Mar. 2 (Sat) 11:00 – 13:00, 14:00 – 16:00
Mar. 3 (Sun) 11:00 – 13:00, 14:00 – 16:00, 18:00 – 20:00
Free / No reservation required 

Artist Talk: Strong Finnish Women

Thursday 28th February at 19:00 – 21:00, Spiral Room (Spiral 9F)

Katriina Haikala will discuss her art, performance and artistry with the director of the Finnish Institute in Japan Anna-Maria Wiljanen in Spiral Room (Spiral 9F) on Thursday 28th, February. The talk will be followed by an informal reception.
Free, please register for the artist talk by e-mail to

Katriina Haikala: Social Portrait

Katriina Haikala: Social Portrait


Social Portrait project has been curated and executed in collaboration with:
Amos Anderson Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland 2017
Turku Biennale, Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, Turku, Finland, 2018
Finnish Institute in London, London, United Kingdom, 2017
Taidehalli, Helsinki, Finland 2018

Social Portrait project has been curated and will be executed in collaboration with:
EMMA, Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Espoo, Finland 2019
Finnish Institute in Germany, Berlin, Germany 2019
Macro Museum, Rome, Italy 2019
and still more to come

Katriina Haikala lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. She graduated from Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture (BA) 2016 and has worked as an independent artist since year 2007. Haikala has a successful career as an international artist and has launched highly regarded and socially impactful art and fashion projects like Monokini 2.0 which empowers survivors of breast cancer and challenges the aesthetic of high fashion and commercial culture, Dystopia/Utopia, a photography project that gives a voice to socially disadvantaged young people, and Hairy Underwear Collection, a bold in-your-face underwear collection that puts the hair we try to hide front and center.

In her work Haikala has explored crossovers between community and visual art, fashion, design and performance art. Her work emerges from norm criticism and passion to reveal prevailing power dynamics in society. She is especially interested in the challenges women face due to gender biases and addresses as well as explores the role of women in Western culture and in society. She produces works together with communities, with aesthetic interest and a critical eye on our social environment.

Katriina Haikala has been showcasing her artwork in galleries and institutions in New York City and Washington DC (USA), Tokyo (Japan), Berlin (Germany), Oslo (Norway), Stockholm (Sweden), Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic), St Petersburg and Murmansk (Russia), and in several other cities.Katriina Haikala’s tireless effort to change the world one mind at a time is not limited to practicing art. For the past nine years she has been a highly regarded university lecturer at Aalto University, a mentor for students in the University of the Arts Helsinki, and a coach giving high-end team building and development trainings to dozens of Finnish and international organizations. She truly believes in art being the essential element in societal change and an entity that enables communities to grow.

Kati Immonen’s exhibtion and artist talk at Almost Perfect

Kati Immonen has been the artist in residence at Almost Perfect for the month of February. Her exhibition Play Forest will be shown in Almost Perfect’s gallery between February 25th and March 2nd, with an artist talk and a reception February 27th at 18:00.

Kati Immonen: Play Forest

February 25th – March 2nd 13:00 – 19:00

Artist talk and reception February 27th 18:00 – 21:00
Free, please register for the artist talk by e-mail to

Venue Almost Perfect, 2-3-2 Kojima, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0056

Photo: Kati Immonen


“I am interested in reinventing and reintroducing watercolour painting as a valid medium in contemporary art. I make use of the supposed easy and ‘light’ nature of the medium and strive to make an impact with clear cut and dynamic expression. My imagery and topics range between military history, ecological dilemmas and the enjoyment of nature. 

In the paintings that I have worked on during my residency period in Almost Perfect I have looked into the human need for control and order which clashes with the free and wild organic nature. The starting point of my latest series of paintings titled “Play Forest” were the flower baskets sold during the Christmas time in my native Finland. My “Play Forest” combines the flora of Finnish forest and ideas of Japanese Bonsai ending up as small watercolor paintings. The series has its origins in the miniature worlds of the summer-cottage games and self-made toys of my childhood, which I made using things from the forest: pine and fir needles, cones, May lilies, moss and lichen. Moss became a mountain and small tree branches formed a forest. In the Japanese garden art and in the tradition of Bonsai small becomes big and huge is turned into little.”


Kati Immonen (b. 1971, Jyväskylä, Finland) graduated from the Department of Painting at Turku School of Fine Arts in 1997. She has exhibited widely in Finland and abroad, lately in Helsinki Contemporary, Mikkeli Headquarters Museum, Rovaniemi Art Museum, Örö fortress island, Saarijärvi museum and Galerie Christian Roellin in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Her works are represented in prominent Finnish public collections, and in the Nordic Watercolour Museum in Sweden. At the moment she is working on a comission work for new Nova Hospital in Jyväskylä, Finland.

The Peace Machine Concept by Timo Honkela

Professor Timo Honkela presented the Peace Machine Concept in a 2-day seminar in Tokyo, June 19-20, 2018

Professor Timo Honkela (Photo:

What if we allowed a computer to listen to everything we say and read everything we write, and then to analyse the material? According to Timo Honkela, Professor of Research into Digital Information at the University of Helsinki, this could offer a chance for an unprecedented level of understanding – and even world peace.

Honkela’s vision leans on machine learning. While listening to a person and reading her texts, the machine would learn the individual and context dependent meaning that the person give to words and concepts. If machines were to analyse everyone’s way of using language, it would be easy to detect conflicts in meaning. This would essentially reduce misunderstandings and help avoid arguments over the meaning of an agreement. It could also reduce conflicts. In fact, Honkela has named his idea the peace machine with elements related to communication, emotions and society.



Organised by: Finnish Institute in Japan

Supported by: INIAD Toyo University, Embassy of Finland, Tokyo, Business Finland, Tokyo,