The Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes network responds to the challenges of the COVID-19 epidemic by announcing an open call for art projects.

The current crisis is severely affecting the cultural sector. Many artists and creatives whose work is project-based have lost months worth of income.

Amongst the crisis, the mission of the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes remains unchanged. We exist to promote international mobility, visibility and collaboration of Finnish art, culture and science. That is why we are launching a new and fast progressing open call for Finnish and Finland-based artists and artist groups.


The Institutes are seeking artistic proposals related to the following themes:

  • * state of emergency
  • * radical change
  • * resilience
  • * artistic practice in the future
  • * alone together

At the same time the project will act as a documentation of the crisis and one of the major social upheavals of our time and gives the artists an opportunity to reflect it through the arts. The application is open to all Finnish and Finland-based professional artists who have lost work opportunities due to the corona epidemic.

The Institutes are commissioning projects from selected artists or artistic groups to be completed by June 30, 2020. The total grant of an individual project is between 1 500–5 000 €. The expenses will be paid as work compensation or by invoice. The suitability for diverse international distribution is considered an asset. The implementation of the project must comply with the national law concerning accessibility of digital services.

The aim of the open call is to ensure the livelihoods of artists and the continuity of international collaboration. Although mobility and physical encounters must now be restricted, we want to support the international networks and cooperation.

The epidemic is revolutionizing the world in ways we could not have foreseen. We are facing a time when it’s necessary to question our way of life – and to come up with new ways of living, working and securing our livelihoods. With Together Alone we want to give a platform and encourage professionals to consider new ways of operating in a situation, where mobility and physical contact are no longer possible. We are especially looking for projects, which emphasize broad international collaboration – without physical contact.

Projects won’t be restricted to be implemented within any particular Finnish Institute’s geographic area but should fit to the sphere of activity of all of the institutes. The projects can take place or be available on the artist’s website, on a public web platform, on Youtube or on an alternative platform with a reach to wide audiences. The medium is not restricted and the result can be for example an artwork, work in progress, performance, a diary, a film etc. The Institutes will include the chosen projects as part of their official programmes and they will be available for all the institutes worldwide. The artist will retain the copyright of the work.

  • The project will be carried out in a manner that will not contradict the regulations of the prevailing state of emergency conditions
  • The project should promote international networking and collaboration of Finnish artists or Finland-based artists
  • The open call encourages international dialogue and creativity beyond national borders Innovativity and experimental approach are encouraged

Send your project proposal (max 3 000 characters) to Please attach a budget, a short CV and a brief communication plan of the project. Send all the files as a single PDF file, maximum 2 Mt by size. The choice will be made by a panel of experts from the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes.

SCHEDULE – Proposal deadlines

Deadline by Monday 30.3. 16:00 (Finnish time / GMT +2) Deadline by Monday 20.4. 16:00 (Finnish time / GMT +2) Deadline by Monday 4.5. 16:00 (Finnish time / GMT +2)

All proposals received by the deadline will be considered and a selection will be made within two weeks after the deadline. All submitted project proposals will remain under consideration through all selection rounds.

Please send any enquiries by email to The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux:

Works of the iconic artist Tom of Finland to be exhibited in Japan for the first time


Reality & Fantasy: The World of Tom of Finland

at GALLERY X (B1F, Shibuya PARCO)
Open hours 11:00-21:00
*Last entry time 30mins before close
*Close at 18:00 in 5/11
Admission: 500yen *Pre-school child not allowed in


  • Press conference: 2020/04/23, 16:00~17:00 (10F, Shibuya PARCO)
    Media preview: 2020/04/23, 17:00~18:30 (GALLERY X, B1F, Shibuya PARCO)
    Opening reception: 2020/04/23, 18:30~20:30 (GALLERY X, B1F, Shibuya PARCO)
    Live dance performance, choreographed especially for the event by Ville Valkonen, director of Ballet Finland
    In attendance: Durk Dehner, president of Tom of Finland Foundation; Gengoroh Tagame, anime artist


Auxiliary program: 2020/04/24~2020/05/30

Lecture series concentrating on for instance: art, identity, cultural history and political historyCurated by Dr. Anna-Maria Wiljanen, Director of Finnish Institute Japan.

The auxiliary program may be subject to changes. Starting time and dates will confirmed April 16th, 2020 at the latest.

  • April 24th, 2020:      The masculine beauty ideal in Tom of Finland’s art
  • April 30th, 2020:      There always a meaning in a seemingly meaningless landscape – the national romanticisim in the background of Tom of Finland’s drawings
  • April 2020:      The man behind the leather and feathers: the true identity of Touko Laaksonen
  • May 2020:         Uniforms, leather and peaked caps – the fashion in Tom of Finland’s art
  • May 2020:         The artistic journey of Tom of Finland
  • May 72020:         The legacy of Tom of Finland to the arti field in Finland and worldwide


Movie Screening: 2020/04/24~2020/04/30
Tom of Finland (2017), directed by Dome Karukoski

Satellite exhibition: 2020/04/27~2020/07/06

An ode to Tom

at The Container (Nakameguro)
Presenting Japanese artists inspired by Tom’s works:
Gengoroh Tagame, Goh Mishima, Jiraiya
Opening reception: 2020/04/27, 19:30-21:30


Tom’s 100th Birthday Anniversary Parties: 2020/05/08

  • Embassy of Finland, Tokyo (by invitation only) – TBC
  • Happy Birthday, Tom! Eagle Blue, Shinjuku nichome, 22:00-closing

Leather, sailors, uniforms, musclemen, and fashionistas!

We are pleased to announce the first exhibition in Japan of the works of the iconic Finnish artist Tom of Finland (born Touko Laaksonen, 1920-1991). The exhibition, at GALLERY X, is the fruits of a collaboration between the Finnish Institute Japan, the Embassy of Finland in Japan, the Tom of Finland Foundation, The Container gallery, and PARCO. The exhibition is curated by the Tokyo-based curator and director of The Container, Mr. Shai Ohayon. The exhibition was designed to coincide with Tom’s 100th birthday anniversary – #TOMs100.

The exhibition features a selection of 30 historical works, ranging from 1946 to 1989, covering the artist’s entire professional career, and highlighting both his artistic versatility and presenting his identity as an LGBTQ legend who paved the way for LGBTQ rights worldwide and helped to shape gay culture.


About the artist

Tom of Finland (born Touko Valio Laaksonen,1920, Kaarina – 1991, Helsinki), was a Finnish artist known for his homoerotic artworks, and for his influence on late twentieth century culture. During his prolific career, Tom produced over 3,500 illustrations, drawings, woodblock prints, and paintings, mostly featuring men in sexualized poses and compositions, to redefine masculinity and the position of gay men in modern society. He signed his work “Tom” and when his drawings were first published in 1957, the now world-famous “Tom of Finland” was born.

Tom’s works are in many permanent collections worldwide, including NY’s MoMA; Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art; Art Institute of Chicago; The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), LA; Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art, Turku; University of California Berkeley Art Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Tom of Finland Foundation, LA.

In 2006, The trustee of The Judith Rothschild Foundation, Harvey S. Shipley Miller, asserted about the Foundation’s gift to the MoMA of five of Tom’s work, “Tom of Finland is one of the five most influential artists of the twentieth century. As an artist he was superb, as an influence he was transcendent.”


About the exhibition

Reality & Fantasy: The World of Tom of Finland, brings together a selection of works, covering the artist’s entire four decades of career, and presents works on paper using a variety of mediums, such as graphite, gouache, markers, and pen & ink. Historically, the images highlight milestones and artistic stylistic developments in Tom’s life and practice—starting with his 1940s and ’50s paintings in gouache, of men in stylish attire and uniforms, such as sailors, soldiers and policemen, in fantastic and romantic compositions, influenced by his army service in Finland—to his stylized depictions of leathermen and muscle men in the ’60s and ’70s, and the cleaner, high contrast and graphic drawings of his later career when he was working in Los Angeles.

The exhibition also features many works commissioned by the Athletic Model Guild (AMG), founded and headed by Bob Mizer in 1945. Tom and Bob had a long-time professional relationship. It was Bob that added “of Finland” to Tom’s name as was the fashion of the day. Reality and Fantasy, includes a number of drawings that appeared in AMG’s magazine Physique Pictorial, including two drawings that appeared on the cover of the magazine (Untitled, from the AGM “Men of the Forests of Finland” series, 1957; and Untitled, from the AGM “Motorcycle Thief” series, 1964.)

The exhibition puts emphasis on Tom of Finland’s role in promoting sensual and erotic depictions of the male body as a catalyst for social change and the acceptance of gay people, while facing a legal and social reality they were fighting to change. Delving into a world of fantasy, with sexual freedom, Tom depicted a new “gay masculinity”, adding to the vocabulary of what gay men were allowed to be by society.


About Tom of Finland Foundation

In 1984, the nonprofit Tom of Finland Foundation (ToFF) was established by Durk Dehner and his friend Tom. As Tom of Finland had established worldwide recognition as the master of homoerotic art, the Foundation’s original purpose was to preserve his vast catalog of work. Several years later the scope was widened to offer a safe haven for all erotic art in response to rampant discrimination against art that portrayed sexual behavior or generated a sexual response. Today ToFF continues in its efforts of educating the public as to the cultural merits of erotic art and in promoting healthier, more tolerant attitudes about sexuality.


About the film

Award-winning filmmaker Dome Karukoski brings to screen the life and work of one of the most influential and celebrated figures of twentieth century gay culture:

Touko Laaksonen, a decorated officer, returns home after a harrowing and heroic experience serving his country in World War II, but life in Finland during peacetime proves equally distressing. He finds post-war Helsinki rampant with homophobic persecution, and men around him even being pressured to marry women and have children. Touko finds refuge in his liberating art, specialising in homoerotic drawings of muscular men, free of inhabitations. His work – made famous by his signature ‘Tom of Finland’ – became the emblem of a generation of men and fanned the flames of a gay revolution.

Director: Dome Karukoski
RUNNING TIME: 1h 56 min
2017 / Finland / Sweden / Denmark / Germany
© Helsinki-filmi Oy, 2017

Notice of telecommuting

According to the instructions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland, the Finnish Institute in Japan will be telecommuting from March 17th. But do not worry, we will continue to create engaging content and keep you busy online! Stay tuned and be healthy!

Registration for the Finnish Language and Culture Course in Huittinen has started!!

Come and experience Finnish local life, learn Finnish language and culture…you are welcome to join our first collaboration with Länsi-Suomen opisto! 


March 15th (Sunday): We will meet in Helsinki Vantaa Airport, then travel to Huittinen, where we will stay for a week.

March 16th ~ 21st (Monday-Saturday): You can participate in Finnish language lessons, sauna, walks in the nature, visit to farm & house, schools and many other activities! 

March 21st (Saturday): Travel back to Helsinki

◆Participation Fee:

80,000 Yen for Double occupancy, 92,000 Yen for Single occupancy

*Included:Accommodation for 6 nights, 17 meals, and fees for activities

*Excluded:Flight ticket between Japan-Finland-Japan, and travel insurance

Application and Inquiries:

Please download and fill in the application form. You can send it via email or post.

The Deadline for the application will be on Saturday 29th February 2020.

Tel:03-5447-6036 (Japan)


Address:Finnish Institute in Japan,

3-5-39 Minami-Azabu, Minato, Tokyo, Japan

Download the application form from here (*Japanese Only)

カルチャー留学 募集要項


Season’s greetings


Many thanks to our friends and collaboration partners! We wish you a very relaxing Christmas and all the best for the new year 2020!

The Finnish Institute in Japan office is closed from December 30th 2019 to January 5th 2020.

Tove Jansson and the Impact of Japan Conference



The Finnish multitalented artist Tove Jansson (1914-2001) is widely known in Japan. She visited various places in Japan and filmed her experiences, but what was the impact of Japan to her literary production and to her as an artist? Come and listen to Finnish, Swedish and Japanese researchers intriguing presentations and panel discussion! Lunch boxes are available on both days, and conference attendees can participate in an excursion to Saitama Moominvalley Park on November 29th (see details on Peatix, link below)!

Conference days:
November 27th (Wed) 10:00 – 17:00 and reception
November 28th (Thu) 10:00 – 16:00

Excursion day:
November 29th (Fri)
Bus leaving from the Finnish Institute in Japan at 09:00


For more information and registration (deadline November 24th):


CONFERENCE PROGRAM  (Changes are possible)

Day 1: Wednesday, November 27th

10:00           Registration

10:30           Welcome, Anna-Maria Wiljanen

10:40           Opening of the Conference, Mr. Pekka Orpana, Ambassador of Finland


11:00           KEY NOTE 1

A hundred miles of silence. The Moomin stories of Tove Jansson

Boel Westin, Professor Emeritus, University of Stockholm


12:15           LUNCH




Moderator:   Anna-Maria Wiljanen


Tove Jansson and Japanese Aesthetics

Miki Tokoyoda, Independent researcher, The Moomin Museum



“Moomins changed everything” – The influence of Moomin animations to Japanese animators

Eija Niskanen, Researcher, University of Helsinki



Tove Jansson and Japonism

Anna-Maria Wiljanen, Director, The Finnish Institute in Japan


14:45           BREAK




Moderator:   Boel Westin


Lost in Translation? How much the translation is truthful to its original text?

Miki Tokoyoda, Independent researcher, The Moomin Museum



Thingumy, Bob and Too-ticky in Moomin franchise

Harri Ruohonen, Researcher, Daito Bunka University



”What will happen to “Moomin without Tove Jansson”? From the survey of 100 Japanese teenagers

Kimiko Matsui, Children’s Books Journalist, librarian, CEO of MightyBook


16:45           Summary of the first day


17:00           RECEPTION


19:00           END OF THE DAY


Day 2: Thursday, November 28th

10:00    Welcome, Anna-Maria Wiljanen



Moderator: Anna-Maria Wiljanen

10:05    KEY NOTE 2

Solitary Wanderers and the Fear for Being Average: The Paths and the Barriers of Young and Old Individuals in Tove Jansson’s Literature

Sirke Happonen, Associate professor, University of Helsinki



Seasons and nature as a metaphor

Miki Tokoyda, Independent researcher, The Moomin Museum



Music plays inside Moomin Art and Stories of Tove Jansson

Heikki Mäenpää, Executive producer, Harjula Production Oy Ltd.


12:15    LUNCH




Moderator: Boel Westin


Tove Jansson and Japanese Creators

Hiroko Yokokawa, Editor



Why do we love ‘Moomin’  – a Japanese perspective

Arisa Kawasaki, Creative Director


14:15    BREAK



Moominvalley Park

Robert Hirst, Chairman, Moomin Monogatari Ltd.


15:15    PANEL DISCUSSION with the conference speakers

Moderator: Anna-Maria Wiljanen



Anna-Maria Wiljanen


Organized by:    The Finnish Institute in Japan

Supported by:    Moomin Monogatari Ltd.



Finnish-Swedish Week HALLÅ TOKYO 2019! was held 4th – 8th of November


Five days of fun, humor, in-depth discussions and traditions under the theme Creators & creations!

The Finnish-Swedish week Hallå Tokyo 2019! was extremely well-received!




The week started with a talk event together with famous TV personality Mark Levengood, funny and inspiring stories from his life and identity as a Swedish-speaking Finn living in Sweden. Such a heartwarming evening!




Next day was all about comedy and music when Finnish-Swedish band Humorgruppen KAJ performed in Harajuku. Combining funny and witty lyrics with catchy music of different genres, KAJ’s first gig in Japan was a great success!




At Wednesday’s seminar we discussed sustainability and green lifestyle with excellent speakers Mariko McTier (Social Innovation Japan & MyMizu), Ran Nomura (@zerowaste.japan on Instagram) as well as Finnish-Swedish blogger Julia Degerth ( Many interesting topics and questions that we hope to see more of in the future!





Next day, fashion designers Carolina Forss and Wataru Tominaga shared their stories and views on the fashion industry! They talked about their inspirations as well as their own creations that were on display at the event.




SKÅL! KIPPIS! KANPAI! On Friday the Finnish-Swedish week culminated in a traditional crayfish party! The once again fully-booked party was filled with funny hats, schnapps, singing and of course – crayfish!


Thank you to everyone who participated in the Finnish-Swedish week and to our excellent guests from Finland, Sweden and Japan!


Stay tuned for the events of next year!


Photos: Finnish Institute in Japan

HALLÅ TOKYO! Finnish-Swedish Week



The Finnish Institute in Japan is celebrating the Finnish-Swedish week Hallå Tokyo 2019! on November 4th-8th, 2019. This event is organized to tell about the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. 

This year the theme is Creators & Creations with focus on identity, artistic creativity in music, design and fashion, but also on creativity in problem solving when talking about for instance climate change.

During the week we will present creators within different fields from both Finland and Japan! Design, fashion, music, books, blogs, startups, activism and identity – all creative work and connected to all of us! Come and be inspired!




MONDAY 4th of November



Talk with Mark Levengood, the famous TV personality and author about identity, the Finnish-Swedishness and how one should be proud of one’s roots.

Photo: Stellan Herner Time: Monday 4th of November, 18:00 – 20:00 (+ Reception)

Place: Spiral Room (Spiral 9F)

Register at:



TUESDAY 5th of November


Performing in Japan for the first time, Humorgruppen KAJ (consisting of Kevin, Axel and Jakob) treats the Japanese audience to an exclusive show! Combining comedy and music, KAJ writes all their songs in their local Finnish-Swedish dialect which makes the sound very unique.


Photo: Eva Lingon Time: Tuesday 5th of November, 19:00 – 21:00 (Doors 18:30)

Place: Harajuku Strobe cafe

Register at:



WEDNESDAY 6th of November



Inspiring seminar on sustainability, climate change and environmentally friendly lifestyles such as zero waste! Participating is Finnish-Swedish blogger Julia Degerth, Ran Nomura who is behind @zerowaste.japan and Mariko McTier, Director of Social Innovation Japan. Check also the poster session about plastic waste in Japan made by a group of university students!


Time: Wednesday 6th of November, 18:00 – 21:00

Place: Embassy of Finland

Register at:


Julia Degerth is a Finnish blogger who inspire her readers to live a greener life. Her blog is called Grön i Åbo ( and she writes in Swedish and English. Julia has also written a book “Min lilla gröna” about an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Ran Nomura runs the popular instagram account @zerowaste.japan where she documents her transition towards a zero waste life and give tips to her readers on how to live more environmentally friendly.  
Mariko McTier is Co-Founder and Director of Social Innovation Japan, Co-Founder of Japan’s first free water refill app, MyMizu, and an independent consultant focused on sustainability and circular economy projects.
Photos: Julia Degerth, Ran Nomura, Mariko McTier  




THURSDAY 7th of November



Talk with fashion designers Carolina Forss and Wataru Tominaga about their work, sources of inspiration and the similarities between Finnish and Japanese design! 


Time: Thursday 7th of November, 18:00 – 20:00 (+ Reception)

Place: Spiral Room (Spiral 9F)

Register at:

Carolina Forss is a Finnish fashion designer with a love for 20th century fashion history combined with a modern focus. She holds a Master’s degree in Textile, Clothing and Fashion Design from Aalto University in Finland.
 Photo: Emma Sarpaniemi


Wataru Tominaga is a fashion designer and artist who has lived in Helsinki, Tokyo, Paris and London. He holds an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea Collage of Arts and received The Grand Jury Prize Première Vision at The 31th edition of the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography.



Photo: Rene Habermacher


FRIDAY 8th of November



It’s partytime! The last day of the Finnish-Swedish Week belongs traditionally to a crayfish party – which was sold out in half an hour! Thank you! An event filled with schnapps songs, funny decorations and – of course, crayfish!

Photo: Elina Suominen  

Time: Friday 8th of November, 18:00 – 21:00

Place: Mace Sendagaya

Registration full!



All events are free of charge but registration is required.



European Day of Languages


Let’s celebrate European Day of Languages together!

Do you want to know more about the diversity of the European languages? EUNIC Japan, which the Finnish Institute in Japan is now serving as a president country, will organize an interesting event for the language and culture lovers!! You can learn simple phrases in Finnish, French, English, German, Italian or Polish from native speakers. Also, it is a great opportunity to win gorgeous prizes while participating in the stamp rally and the reception! Free admission but registration required!

●Date: 5pm-8pm 28th September Saturday, 2019
●Venue: Hosei University, Ichigaya Campus, Boissonade Tower 26th floor
(Address: 2-17-1 Fujimi, Chiyoda, Tokyo)
●Participating countries: Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the UK
●Organized by EUNIC Japan/Co-organized by Hosei University
法政大学 Hosei University
Co-organizing institutes:
Finnish Institute in Japan
Instituto Italiano di Cultura Tokyo
Institut Français Japon
Goethe Institut
Instytut Polski Tokio
British Council

Registration: Please register through Peatix
Deadline is 11pm on 26th September Thursday. We can accept up to 120 guests