The 20th anniversary year of the Finnish Institute in Japan 2018

The 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Finnish Institute in Japan will be 18.11.2018. The theme of the anniversary year is New Openings, which will be made in all the fields that the institute works with: science, culture and higher education cooperation. The theme New Openings will also be included in the institute’s residency programs.

The anniversary year program focuses on interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity, the cross sections between science, art and culture, demographic developments and innovations affiliated with it as well as enhancing higher education cooperation between Finland and Japan.

A wide variety of events will be organized during the anniversary year: exhibitions, panel discussions, infos, seminars and conferences. In addition institute will establish a new alumni network.

For further details visit Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

A warm welcome to join our celebration!

OPEN CALL for the Tokyo Art & Science Research Residency in Japan

The Bioartsociety is calling for Finnish artists or artists based in Finland to apply for a one month art & science research residency in Tokyo Japan in autumn/winter 2018. The residency will be hosted by BioClub Tokyo in partnership with the Finnish Institute in Japan.

Applications are submitted online via an online form including a research plan, portfolio and CV. The submission deadline is 1st of March 2018.

The selection will be made by the board of the Bioartsociety together with BioClub Tokyo and the Finnish Institute in Japan.

The residency will cover local and international travel and accommodation costs, access to workshops and local art & science communities for one artist.

During the residency, the facilities of the BioClub Tokyo and FabCafe & FabCafeMTRL, both located in Shibuya, will be available for the artist. This includes a fully-equipped BSL1 lab, as well as a co-working space with fabrication equipment such as a laser cutter and a 3D printer. Depending on the equipment and facilities chosen by the artist, there might be some costs to be covered by her/himself. The residency will also support research visits within the wider network of BioClub Tokyo and the Finnish Institute in Japan like the metaPhorest Art & BioMedia Group at Waseda University and to the BioLab at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media.

The usage of the above mentioned facilities is not a must and we encourage artists to also apply with research ideas beyond biology and life sciences.

During the stay the selected artist will be required to write a blog on the website of the Finnish Institute in Japan and to deliver a final report of the work carried out after the residency finished.

This residency is a pilot with the aim to establish an ongoing exchange of artists between Finland and Japan working within the art & science field.

For further questions, please, contact Pirtta Puhto at

The Bioartsociety is developing, producing and facilitating activities around art and natural sciences, with an emphasis on biology, ecology and life sciences. Since 2010 it runs the Ars Bioartica art & science residency program at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station of the University of Helsinki.

The BioClub Tokyo is a Community Bio Space in Shibuya. It was started in 2015 by Georg Tremmel and Shiho Fukuhara and is supported by Loftwork and co-located with the FabCafe MTRL space. The BioClub organises weekly meetings, a range of entry-level hand-on courses and aims to create a playful, yet critical approach to the emerging biotechnologies and their impact on society.

Artists’ Kalevala in Japan and Kerava

Artists’ Kalevala in Japan –project introduces Finnish folklore through modern art from a Japanese perspective. The aim of the project is to promote mutual cultural understanding and artistic cooperation between Finland and Japan, as well as to broaden the way we interpret mythology and folklore. The project is organized together with Kalevalaseura as a part of a larger Artists’ Kalevala -project.

The project began in 2016, when Japanese contemporary artists Kotobuki Shiriagari, Yuji Ohta, Ayumi Tanaka, Tomoko Konoike and Hideki Iinuma as well as the curator of the exhibition Kenji Kubota visited Finland to familiarize themselves with the Finnish national epic Kalevala, Finnish art and culture. The artist Yusuke Asai visited Finland later.

Each artist was commissioned to produce a new piece of art after the trip, based on their experiences of Finland and their interpretation of Kalevala. Their work reflect both Finnish mysticism and the Japanese way of thinking, and the story of Kalevala is told through many different mediums and genres. The exhibition brings together painting, photography, sculpting, video and installation art. Sculptor Hideki Iinuma for example depicts Kalevala’s strong female characters as modern versions, whereas Tomoko Konoike reflects on the raw human emotions and the violent nature of man in her multimedia work.

An exhibition based on the project, Universal Nature – Rediscovery of Kalevala by 6 Contemporary Japanese Artists, was organized in Sezon Art Gallery in Tokyo 6.8.-27.8.2017. In Finland the same works became part of the exhibition Echoes from the Past – Tokyo | Berlin | Kerava, which opened 26.1.2018 at Kerava art museum curated by Arja Elovirta. Besides Universal Nature, the exhibition includes works from the Artists Kalevala exhibition Do you remember produced by the Finnish institute in Germany.

The Echoes from the Past exhibition kicks off the Finnish institute’s 20th anniversary year and is open until 15.4.2018. Several events will be organized during the exhibition.

Personnel changes at the institute


PhD, M.Sc. Anna-Maria Wiljanen started as the director of the Finnish Institute in Japan on 1st of January 2018. Wiljanen completed her doctoral thesis in art history at the University of Helsinki in 2014. She has extensive networks and diverse experience from marketing and communications in both the field of culture and the world of business. Wiljanen has previously worked as the Executive Director of the UPM-Kymmene Cultural Foundation and Communications Manager and Development Manager at the Finnish National Gallery.

MA Suvi Laakso started as the new project manager of the institute on 15th of January 2018. Laakso has a diverse experience from the Finnish cultural and academic institutes. She has previously worked, for example, as a coordinator for the Finnish institute in Middle East.

The institute’s new interns are FM Ella Karman (started on 1st of February 2018) and FM Katja Sjöström (started on 5th of February 2018).

FIN/JPN LAB – seminar series

FIN/JPN LAB -mini seminar series continues in spring 2018


FIN/JPN LAB is the Finnish Institute in Japan`s seminar series which brings together Japanese and Finnish residency artists and art professionals. Started in 2016, the speakers of the seminars have featured artists in residency in Akiyoshidai International Art Village and Yokobo Art Space, and guests participating have included curators, art journalists and gallerists.

The seminar consists of artists’ presentations on their work and residence experiences in addition to panel discussions. The focus on the event is the discussion of the effectiveness of the residence and the role of residency when it comes to building a bridge between Finland and Japan on the field of art.

FIN/JPN LAB was first established on October 2016. Two first seminars focused on photography and its relationship with art and text with the title ‘Art photographs, text and tea’. The theme of the third seminar was artist residencies and the international collaboration closely related to them.