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,

Finnish-Swedish minority celebrated in Tokyo for a week

The Finnish Institute in Japan organized a Finnish-Swedish Culture Week called HALLÅ TOKYO! on 5-9 November to celebrate and bring awareness to the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. The week was filled with program focusing on themes such as identity, well-being, female artists and design.


Finnish-Swedish Language Café. Photo: Elina Suominen

HALLÅ TOKYO! started on Monday with a Swedish language café at Finland-themed restaurant Finland Kitchen Talo. At the relaxed event, the participants enjoyed discussing about differences between the Swedish language in Sweden and Finland, among other things.

Kaisa Kepsu speaking at the Finnish-Swedish Heritage Day Seminar. Photo: Elina Suominen

The official Finnish-Swedish Heritage Day “Svenska dagen” was celebrated on Tuesday November 6th, with an academic seminar at the Embassy of Finland. Head of Research at Think Tank Magma, Kaisa Kepsu, was invited from Finland to talk about the identity of the Swedish-speaking Finns, while Associate Professor Erika Takahashi from Chiba University presented her research about the welfare system and eldercare among Swedish-speaking in the Finnish archipelago.

Artist Maria Wolfram. Photo: Elina Suominen

On Wednesday, an artist talk was held with Finnish-Swedish painter and installation artist Maria Wolfram at the newly opened artist residency ALMOST PERFECT. Wolfram discussed her sources of inspiration and how her art is expressed through a female perspective.

Fashion designer Rolf Ekroth. Photo: Elina Suominen

Fashion and textile design was in focus on Thursday at a talk event together with rewarded fashion designer Rolf Ekroth, textile designer Emma Hagman and Japanese textile designer Yuki Kawakami. A few pieces from Rolf Ekroth’s Hyères Fashion Festival collection was also on display at the venue.

Crayfish party at the Embassy of Finland. Photo: Elina Suominen

On the final day of the Finnish-Swedish Culture Week, the Finnish Institute made history and organized the first ever crayfish party held at the Embassy of Finland. Traditional schnapps songs were sung and crayfish from both Finland and Japan were eaten more than anyone could count.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the events! If you missed the Finnish-Swedish Culture Week or the crayfish party, don’t worry as it will be organized again next year, November 2019!

20th Anniversary Conference of the Finnish Institute in Japan – Tove Jansson: Visual Artist.Writer. Landscape Enthusiast. Woman.

20th Anniversary Conference of the Finnish Institute in Japan – Tove Jansson: Visual Artist. Writer. Landscape Enthusiast. Woman.

21–22 November, 2018 at Meiji-Kinenkan, Tokyo

Organised by:
The Finnish Institute in Japan

Supported by:
Moomin Monogatari Ltd.

Tove Jansson.
© Moomin Characters™

The Moomin books are widely known in Japan, but who was the woman behind them? This conference will focus on the character of the multitalented Finnish artist Tove Jansson, especially her creativity, identity and womanhood, thus giving new perspectives on her life and art.

The presentations will be held in English and Japanese (there will an interpreter). The Institute’s 20th anniversary reception with a Moomin related music performance will be held after the first conference day on November 21 at 6pm.

Free admission, advance registration required. The first-arrived 200 applications will receive a special anniversary gift from the Institute.

Online registration (link below) ends on November 16, 2018.


(download programme in PDF format / download programme & abstracts in PDF format)


DAY 1 / NOVEMBER 21, 2018, 9:15-20:00

Moderator: Anna-Maria Wiljanen, Director of the Finnish Institute in Japan
9:15 Registration

10:00 Welcome
Anna-Maria Wiljanen
10:15 Greetings
Sophia Jansson, Moomin Characters Ltd.
10:30 Opening of the Conference
Mr. Pekka Orpana, Ambassador of Finland

10:50 KEY NOTE 1
Boel Westin, University of Stockholm

12:00 LUNCH

13:00 SESSION 1
Moderator: Anna Maria Wiljanen

13:05 Tove Jansson as a visual artist.
Miki Tokoyoda
13:35 A woman’s road: Tove Jansson from comics to cartoons and back to comics.
Juhani Tolvanen
14:05 Tove Jansson and Matisse.
Azu Kubota

14:35 BREAK

15:05 SESSION 2
Moderator: Boel Westin

15:10 KEY NOTE 2
Sirke Happonen, University of Helsinki

16:20 The Return of the Groke. A modern horror story in the wake of Tove Jansson.
Bengt Lundgren, Södertörn Högskola
16:50 Tove Jansson and Japan.
Eija Niskanen
17:20 World in few millimeters: how Tove Jansson described the fears and the hopes of common people in his political cartoons for Finnish Garm during the World War II.
Ville Hänninen




DAY 2 / NOVEMBER 22, 2018, 10:00-17:00

Moderator: Anna-Maria Wiljanen, Director of the Finnish Institute in Japan

10:00 Welcome

Anna-Maria Wiljanen

10:05 KEY NOTE 3
K.A. Laity, College of Saint Rose (New York)

11:15 Solitary and nature.
Hiroko Yokokawa
11:45 The Importance of landscape in Tove Jansson’s art.
Satsuki Uchiyama

12:15 LUNCH

Moderator: Boel Westin

13:15 Moomin characters of Our Lives. Which Moomin Character Are You? (or Realise You Have been)?
Sirke Happonen
13:45 Muminalism.
Björn Sundmark
14:15 The Moomin Books by Tove Jansson from a perspective of multiple address.
Hanna Dymel-Trzebiatowska

14:45 BREAK

Moderator: Anna-Maria Wiljanen

15:15 Tove Jansson and the artistic inspiration at Klovharu.

Michiyo Okabe
15:45 Tove Jansson -the lyricist.
Emma Klingenberg


Anna-Maria Wiljanen

※Contents and schedule may be subject to changes.



Tove Jansson: Visual Artist. Writer. Landscape Enthusiast. Woman.
– 20th Anniversary Conference of the Finnish Institute in Japan

Date: November 21–22, 2018
Venue: Meiji-Kinenkan, Tokyo, Japan

  • Free admission, advance registration required
  • The first-arrived 200 applications will get a special anniversary gift from the Institute

Jazz sensation Alexi Tuomarila Trio to embark on a big Japan tour

The Finnish Institute in Japan has granted TelepART mobility support for Alexi Tuomarila Trio’s Japan tour. The trio will perform in seven cities across Japan between October 31 and November 4, 2018.

Alexi Tuomarila is a well known figure in the Finnish and European jazz scenes both as a strong pianist and composer who has collaborated with numerous other artists. Bassist Joonas Tuuri and drummer Jonne Taavitsainen – both up and coming jazz artists of the younger generation – are joining him for this tour. The multitalented trio draws inspiration from different genres, thus creating a mature and rhytmic unique atmosphere.

For more information on the tour and concert venues, visit Alexi Tuomarila Trio’s website.

Playing with shape and colour – artist Man Yau commenced Shigaraki Ceramic Culture Park’s residency

Supported and selected by the Finnish Institute in Japan and Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, the Helsinki-based sculptor, designer and installation artist Man Yau has started her 1,5 month residency period in Shigaraki.

Overarching themes in Yau’s works are the colourful and industrial expression in form and shape as well as the seemingly plastic, often full of contrasts finish. Her works have been shown in numerous group and solo exhibitions in Finland and abroad – including Seoul, Berlin and Milan. Her latest exhibitions have been held at Jingdezhen in China, Fiskars Summer House project and department store Stockmann in Helsinki.


More information:

Artist Man Yau selected for the institute’s and SCCP’s ceramic residency

Shigaraki Ceramic Culture Park

Man Yau

Comedy, suspense and intertwined destinies at Finland Film Festival in Tokyo 3.-9.11.

Photo credit: Finland Film Festival

The Finnish Institute in Japan is supporting Finland Film Festival which has been working to promote Finland and bring attention to Finnish films and culture for the past ten years. The festival is held at EUROSPACE cinema in Shibuya, November 3-9, 2018.

This year’s selection includes five very different films ranging from documentary film to heavy metal comedy and suspense drama. All films are shown in their original language and have Japanese subtitles. Tickets (JPY 1,500) can be purchased in advance through EUROSPACE’s website or at the cinema’s ticket office during the day of the screening.

More information on the films, screening times, ticket sales and the venue is available in Japanese on the Finland Film Festival’s official website, Facebook page and Twitter.

FIN/JPN LAB at the Finnish Institute showcases intercultural AIR programs

The Finnish Institute in Japan is hosting a FIN/JPN LAB -event to celebrate and showcase the intercultural artist residency programs between Finland and Japan on October 31, starting at 6PM.

The collaboration between the Finnish Institute in Japan, Youkobo Art Space and its Finnish counterpart Waria Artbreak Air has a long history. The aim of these artist exchange programs is to introduce Japan and Japanese culture to Finnish artists, and Finland and Finnish culture to Japanese artists.

Artists-in-residency Naoko Chiba, Chie Kamekura, Venni Ahlberg and Saara Ekström will present the results of their stays and take part in a panel discussion which will be moderated by Anna-Maria Wiljanen, Director of the Finnish Institute in Japan. Kaisa Kerätär will tell the Waria Artbreak’s point of view to this appreciated exchange.

Naoko Chiba: The Stone Said (2011)


Date & time: October 31st, 2018, 6-8PM

Venue: The Finnish Institute in Japan, 3-5-39 Minamiazabu, Minato, 106-8561 Tokyo


RSVP to, by Monday, October 29th 2018

HALLÅ TOKYO! Finnish-Swedish Culture Week in November

The Finnish Institute in Japan is organizing a 5-day event on 5-9 November to celebrate and bring awareness to the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland.  Focusing on this theme has been a long-term goal of the Institute, as many in Japan are not aware of the Swedish-speaking minority and its historical and cultural impact on the Finnish society.

This year the Finnish-Swedish Culture Week comprises of a 5-day program with academic seminars, artist talks and other social events focusing on identity, well-being, female artists and design. Speakers invited from Finland include Kaisa Kepsu (Head of Research, Think Tank Magma), visual artist Maria Wolfram, fashion designer Rolf Ekroth and textile designer Emma Hagman.  Invited speakers from Japan are Associate Professor Erika Takahashi (Department of Anthropology, Chiba University) and textile designer Yuki Kawakami.

The last day of the Finnish-Swedish Culture Week is celebrated with a traditional crayfish party – ensuring an unforgettable experience filled with schnapps songs, funny hats and – of course, crayfish!

To participate in the events, please register below


Registration open until November 4, 23:59 JST




Finnish-Swedish Language Café

Time Monday, November 5, 16:30-18:30
Come and practice your Swedish-language skills at a relaxed event in Finland Kitchen Talo! Besides practicing your Swedish conversation skills you can learn about the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland and the difference between the Swedish language in Finland and Sweden. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.
※In order to participate, you need to have Swedish-language skills at a conversational level. Native Swedish-speakers also welcome!
Place Finland Kitchen Talo, 6-4-1, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Max 40 participants


Finnish-Swedish Heritage Day Seminar
Identity and well-being among the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland

Time Tuesday, November 6, 16:30-19:15 (followed by reception)
On this day we celebrate the official Finnish-Swedish Heritage Day with an academic seminar, focusing on the identity and well-being of the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. The Finnish-Swedish Heritage Day (in Swedish “Svenska dagen”) is celebrated on 6th of November in Finland to appreciate the culture and history of the Swedish-speaking population.
  Kaisa Kepsu (Head of Research, Think Tank Magma)
Finns or Swedes? The identity of the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland
  Erika Takahashi (Associate Professor of Anthropology, Chiba University)
Welfare system and eldercare among Swedish-speaking in the archipelago (in Japanese)
Place Embassy of Finland, 3-5-39, Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Max 60 participants


Artist talk
Finnish-Swedish Women Artists

Time Wednesday, November 7, 17:30-19:30
Come and listen to a presentation about Finnish-Swedish female artists and an artist talk with Finnish-Swedish painter and installation artist Maria Wolfram discussing her art and sources of inspiration.
Presentation Director of the Finnish Institute, Ph.D. Anna-Maria Wiljanen
Artist Maria Wolfram is a Finnish-Swedish painter and installation artist who lives and works in Helsinki and Hong Kong. In her art she focuses on identity, interaction, human condition and power from a female perspective.
Place ALMOST PERFECT, 2-3-2 Kojima, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Max 30 participants


Fashion and textile design talk event

Time Thursday, November 8, 18:00-20:00
This day focuses on Finnish-Swedish people in fashion and textile design, together with fashion designer Rolf Ekroth, textile designer Emma Hagman and Japanese textile designer Yuki Kawakami. The designers will tell about their work accompanied by a discussion of the similarities between Finnish and Japanese design, aesthetics and sources of inspiration.
  Rolf Ekroth (Fashion designer) is currently one of the biggest names in Finnish menswear fashion. His collections draw inspiration from sports culture in the 1990s and has been worn by artists such as Jared Leto and Finnish singer Alma. At the beginning of this year he launched a collection in collaboration with Finnish outdoor brand Halti at the Pitti Uomo Fashion Fair.
   Emma Hagman (Textile designer) has studied textile design in Paris, where she specialized in print design. She has many years of international experience in textile-, garment- and graphic design, working for brands such as Ikea, Finlayson and Nokia.
   Yuki Kawakami (Textile designer) is a textile designer based in Kiryu, working closely with fashion brands in Japan. She has also collaborated with Rolf Ekroth and studied in Finland as an exchange student at Aalto University.
Place Spiral Room, Spiral 9F,  5-6-23 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Max 40 participants


Finnish-Swedish Crayfish Party (FULLY BOOKED)

Time Friday, November 9, 18:30-21:30
As the highlight of the week there is a traditional Finnish-Swedish crayfish party! Crayfish parties (in Swedish “kräftskiva”) are fun and relaxed events, usually held at the end of summer, filled with schnapps songs, funny hats and – of course, crayfish!
Place Embassy of Finland, 3-5-39, Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Max 60 participants