Director’s Message

Greetings and Konnichiwa,

At the beginning of this year, we had been looking forward to celebrating with you the 30th anniversary of the establishment of The Japan Foundation, Toronto, as well as the summer Olympics in Tokyo. Unfortunately, as with countless other events around the world, many of our plans have been postponed or cancelled. Our centre is also temporarily closed until further notice (JFT message about COVID-19 here).

Despite current setbacks, we wish to help you stay connected to a world of culture beyond the walls of your home. As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to push the limits of organizations, companies, and individuals alike, The Japan Foundation, Toronto believes that access to culture can lend power to people and strengthen community ties. The following are some examples of activities we are doing to engage, motivate, and stimulate our patrons and community at large.

Through our weekly online newsletter and social media platforms (TwitterFacebook), we continue to provide interesting content about Japanese culture (online language classes, podcasts, lectures, films, etc.). Wherever possible, we have also moved operations online in support of social distancing measures, as well as to provide our patrons with a sense of normalcy in these unprecedented times. The Japan Foundation, Toronto successfully supported the first-ever virtual National Japanese Speech Contest, co-hosted by the National Japanese Speech Contest Organizing Committee and CAJLE. The online competition saw 26 top participants join in from across Canada and was live-streamed by over 190 people from around the world. The YouTube video of the contest has been viewed over 3K times.

The question on everyone’s mind right now is “When will life return to normal?” Although we do not have an answer, we at the Japan Foundation, Toronto look forward to welcoming you back to our centre and to participate in our 30th-anniversary celebrations, whenever that may be.

We leave you with a well-known Japanese proverb, 七転び八起き (na-na-ko-ro-bi ya-o-ki), literally meaning, “If you fall seven times, you will get up eight times.” We will get through this together as a community. We will not stay down.

Stay safe,

Yuko Shimizu

Executive Director