About us

About the Institute

The Finnish Institute in Japan

The Finnish Institute in Japan is a science institute also active in the culture field. It serves as a link between Finland and Japan in the fields of science and culture. We enable dialogue and develop co-operation between actors in research, higher education, culture, technology and business. The Institute is active in various cultural and academic fields, and organises program and projects with local partners in the form of exhibitions, events and seminars f. ex. In addition the Institute is active in the cooperation between Finnish and Japanese educational institutions and researchers. The institute publishes its own magazine, Koivu, which addresses current topics related to Finland and Japan. Koivu can be read here.

The Institute actively follows and observes changes in the Japanese and Finnish societies and builds long-lasting connections in different sectors, in addition to starting new projects proactively. We guide interested parties through the worlds of research and culture in both countries. The results of our work can be seen for example in a growing interest in Finnish art, music, design and modern dance in Japan, new types of cooperation created through visiting specialists and the introduction of new artist-in-residences and university cooperation projects.

The Institute is supported by a private foundation, Suomen Japanin Instituutin Säätiö – Stiftelsen för Finlands Institut i Japan. All Finnish universities, notable actors in research, culture and business, the city of Helsinki and two friendship associations are part of it. Such a wide representation of the Finnish society gives us outstanding possibilities to further the cooperation between Japan and Finland in several different fields. The Institute is mainly financed by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland. The Institute is one of seventeen institutes in the network of Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes around the world and a part of TeamFinland Japan.



Kauko Laitinen, PhD, Adjunct Professor (University of Helsinki)

Culture and Communications Manager
Kati Laakso, MSc (Econ)

Office Manager
Rika Shigeta, MA

Assistant (media)
Henrika Laiho

Kauko Laitinen
Director 所長
Kati Laakso
Head of Culture and Communications 文化・コミュニケーション担当マネージャー
Rika Shigeta
Office Manager オフィス・マネージャー
Henrika Laiho
Assistant (media) 研修生(メディア)
Irina Hasala
Assistant (Project & communications) 研修生(プロジェクト・コミュニケーション)



The idea of establishing the Finnish Institute in Japan was to support the work and cooperation in science, education and cultural relationships came in 1996. It was clear that an institute in Japan should be established, so it was supported by universities, economic life, science and culture society. At the end there were 33 different founders and the Finnish Institute in Japan was registered on 15th of May 1998.

The Finnish Institute in Japan opened a new chapter between Finland and Japans’ cooperation in science and culture. It also helped to start various cooperations between different specialists and professionals. From the beginning the goal has been to create collaboration and good networks between the best professionals and institutions.

The institute has been in the same building with the Finnish Embassy from the very beginning.


Jukka Viitanen 1998-2002

Katja Valaskivi 2002-2004

Heikki Mäkipää 2004-2011

Kauko Laitinen 2011-2014

Merja Karppinen 2014-2016

Kauko Laitinen 2016-

Culture Managers

Annukka Klinge 1998-2001

Heli Lampi 2001-2007

Aarne Toivonen 2007-2011

Ulla Kinnunen 2001-2016

Kati Laakso 2016 (4th of July)-

Chairpersons of the board of the Foundation of the Finnish Institute in Japan

Yrjö Sotamaa 1997-2003

Markku Löytönen 2004-2009

Matti Rautiola 2010-2016

Susanna Pettersson 2016-

The Foundation

The Foundation of the Finnish Institute in Japan


The purpose of the foundation is to promote the knowledge of Finnish culture, science, higher education, technology and business in Japan and improve co-operation in these fields between Japan and Finland.



Museum Director, Adjunct Professor Susanna Pettersson (Ateneum Art Museum), Chairperson
Professor Pekka Korvenmaa (Aalto University), Vice Chairman
Professor Pirjo Hiidenmaa (University of Helsinki)
Professor Markku Kivikoski (Tampere University of Technology)
Director General, Professor Matti Rautiola (Building Information Ltd)
Vice Rector Paula Tuovinen (University of the Arts Helsinki)
Senior Advisor Tiia Saarinen (University of the Arts Helsinki), Secretary of the Board


The council of the Foundation of the Finnish Institute in Japan includes all Finnish universities, many actors in research, culture and business, the city of Helsinki and two friendship associations.



The institute publishes the the annual magazine Koivu, which addresses current topics related to Finland and Japan. The magazine is in Japanese.

2016 (vol. 15)
Koivu magazine for the year 2016 will be issued in July. You will be able to find the pdf version here

2015 (vol. 14)

We can send you the Koivu magazine for the year 2015, if you send your address and name to info@finstitute.jp.


The Koivu magazine for the year 2013 can be read here