Wednesday November 4th– Japan’s Soft Power– How Can Japan Wield it Effectively? by Mr. Seiichi Kondo, Former Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs

The Harvard Club of Japan is pleased to present a talk by Mr. Seiichi Kondo, former Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs and Ambassador to UNESCO and Denmark, who will present his thoughts on how Japan can make its “soft power” felt most effectively around the world.

Prefacing his remarks, Mr. Kondo comments, “What are the sources of Japan’s soft power? They are, among others, a unique view of nature and an ability to see the intangible.  These sources of power can be most effectively transmitted by cultural properties and performing arts. The best way to help non-Japanese audiences to appreciate them is to invite them to Japan to spend several months freely, thereby giving them opportunities to be exposed to the beauty of nature, traditional Japanese esthetics and philosophy.”

DATE and TIME: Wednesday, November 4th, 19:00 – 21:00 (Doors open at 18:30.)

PLACE: Roppongi Hills Club, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower 51st Floor, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku

ADMISSION: 6,000 yen, including buffet dinner with cash bar for all beverages.

REGISTRATION: Please use the form at the upper right side of this page. After you have registered, A CONFIRMATION WILL APPEAR ON-SCREEN, but NO CONFIRMATION EMAILS WILL BE SENT.

Please register by October 30th. All cancellations after that date and no-shows will be invoiced WITHOUT EXCEPTIONS. Your understanding is appreciated.

Profile of Mr. Seiichi Kondo: 

Seiichi Kondo Graduated from the University of Tokyo (Liberal Arts), and joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1972. He served as Ambassador to UNESCO from 2006-2008, to the Kingdom of Denmark from 2008-2010, and was appointed Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, serving from 2010-2013. He is currently an advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, teaching at the University of Tokyo (Faculty of Law), and Doshisha University (Faculty of Economics).


Tuesday October 6th “Poetry Reading and Book Signing by C.E.J. Simons”

Thanks for your ongoing support of Harvard Club of Japan’s events. We are pleased to invite your members to a talk “Poetry Reading and Book Signing by C.E.J. Simons” by Senior Associate Professor C.E.J. Simons of International Christian University. Details follow below and at

We hope you and some of your members can attend.


Please join the poetry reading and lecture by Professor C. E. J. Simons of the International Christian University.  Prof. Simons will read from his new collection of poems, One More Civil Gesture, as well as from some of his favorite modern and contemporary poets, including W. B. Yeats and Geoffrey Hill.

The poems in One More Civil Gesture, the first full collection by C. E. J. Simons, frequently take their subjects from singularities of nature and art – things that are wonderful not because they are unusual or rare, but because they deserve wonder, no matter how familiar: animal life; the seasons; family; myth; well-known Shakespeare plays. They aim, as Geoffrey Hill has said, to restructure banality into beauty without denying the banal. Simons wrote much of the book in Japan, where he has lived since 2006, and in the interstices of frequent travel in Asia, particularly to Burma, China, and Mongolia; the cultures and landscapes of these places, as well as of England and his native Canada, inform the work. The gestures of these poems are civil in two senses: in their bold and exciting use of inherited forms, whether Western or Japanese; and in their aspiration to eschew self-expression in search of representations of the human capacity to engage with the other – to be civilized through immersion in the unknown.

The book One More Civil Gesture will be available for purchase (1,500 yen per copy) at the event, and Professor Simons is happy to sign copies.

DATE and TIME: October 6th (Tuesday)  19:00pm to 21:00pm (Doors open at 18:30pm)

PLACE: Roppongi Hills Club

Please see the direction at

ADMISSION:  5000 yen per person including exquisite buffet dinner. Cash bar available.

RESERVATION: Please make a reservation using the form right on the side of this page.

Please contact Yukari Fujita at if you have any question or inquiry.

Book reviews:

With something of Ted Hughes’s unflinching power, allied to a troubled compassion, Chris Simons draws on a richly diverse range of subjects in poems that deal with the devastations and losses of the present, the past, and prehistory. Rhyme and violence are yoked together as ‘Time picks history clean as a carcass’, a cameraman earns a tough, affecting elegy, ‘the anthropomorphic lie’ confronts ‘the truth in the hawk’s eye’, and the civil gesture of poetry encounters much that threatens its attempted composure. This is an impressive first volume. – Michael O’Neill

In One More Civil Gesture Christopher Simons explores the strictures of civilization on our natural state: these are layered poems, informed by the poet’s travels – both physical and in the metaphorical ‘realms of gold’ – drawing on language, literary references, the sublime and the prosaic to express the tensions between the sentient and the rational. A collection of poems which demand multiple readings: Simons gives voice to a contained passion and a new edge to contemporary formal writing. – Claudia Daventry

Beneath the formal gestures in C. E. J. Simons’ debut collection, there resides a great sense of loss that threatens to undo each poem from within. Each gesture, each line, is an attempt at domesticating various forms of grief – for lost places, for the past, for decays; the poet mourns for illuminating moments that leave him ‘more full / of love for the old lie’. These poems are an attempt at holding on to details – of a turtle’s body, sea urchins, his lover  – trying to resist  as ‘time picks history clean as a carcass / scavenged down to its armature’. They resist forgetfulness. They evoke. They provoke. One More Civil Gesture is a work of beauty. – Mariko Nagai

Performance and the stage provide the setting for many of the poems here, and theatrical stylization – the way that overt artificiality can heighten our sense of the real – is strongly reflected in Simons’ deft handling of formal structures. Like the black-clad kurogo of Kabuki theatre, he carries a light close in to his subjects, encouraging us ‘to look straight through his mimic shadow-play, / so each of us may slowly learn to see / our shadows.’ – Alan Buckley

  1. E. J. (Christopher) Simons is Senior Associate Professor of British Literature at International Christian University, Tokyo. He holds a D.Phil in British Romanticism from Lincoln College, Oxford, and in 2003 he held the Harper-Wood Studentship in Creative Writing at St John’s College Cambridge. He has published on Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Yeats, Emily Dickinson, and Sylvia Plath, most recently contributing a chapter to the Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth (Oxford University Press, 2015). He has previously published two poetry pamphlets with wordwolf press – Progress Bar (2010) and No Distinguishing Features (2011) – and his poems have won prizes in UK competitions, including the Cardiff International Poetry Competition and the Wigtown Competition. His criticism and poetry have appeared in publications including the Independent, Isis, Magma, Oxford Poetry, PN Review, and The Times Literary Supplement.



Japan’s R&D Policy: The Key to Sustainable Economic Strength in the 21st Century

Thanks for your ongoing support of Harvard Club of Japan’s events. We are pleased to invite your members to a talk “Japan’s R&D Policy: The Key to Sustainable Economic Strength in the 21st Century” by RIKEN Executive Director Shigeharu Kato. Details follow below and at

Japan’s R&D Policy: The Key to Sustainable Economic Strength in the 21st Century

Recently appointed RIKEN Executive Director Shigeharu Kato will discuss RIKEN’s role and strategy as an esteemed leading institution of Japan’s national R&D and also lessons from the STAP cell scientific misconduct scandal.

Success in R&D is critical to Japan’s economic future, and skillful management of R&D is more important than ever. The example of the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, better known as RIKEN, shows the full range of possible outcomes in R&D, from the glory of Nobel Prizes to an embarrassing scandal over scientific misconducts in STAP cell research. Please join the Harvard community for a talk by Shigeharu Kato, Executive Director of RIKEN who was recently chosen to help lead that institution as it approaches its 100th anniversary in 2017 while dealing with the fallout from the STAP scandal. Mr. Kato (HKS MPP ’86) will describe the lessons Riken has learned from the past and the strategy it is embracing to maintain its leading role in Japan’s R&D effort.

DATE and TIME:  Tuesday September 15th , 7:00 – 9:00 pm (Doors open at 18:30pm.)

PLACE: Roppongi Hills Club, 51 floor Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku

Admission 6,000 yen includes buffet dinner with cash bar for all beverages.

REGISTRATION: Please use the form right on the web page

Please register by September12th. All cancellations after that date and no-shows will be invoiced. Your understanding is appreciated.

Shigeharu Kato graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1980 and entered the Science and Technology Agency (which was integrated into the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2001). Mr. Kato has engaged mainly with science and technology policy, development of nuclear technology and safety regulations for nuclear energy. Mr. Kato studied at Harvard’s Kennedy School from 1984 to 1986 earning a master’s degree of public policy. In recent years, Mr. Kato was engaged with international cooperation in the fields of education and science through UNESCO and Southeast Asian regional framework.

At RIKEN, Mr. Kato served first as senior manager to support President Ryozo Noyori when the institute became an independent administrative agency in 2003. In 2014, Mr. Kato returned to RIKEN as Special Advisor to the President to help address challenges including the STAP cells case. Mr. Kato was designated Executive Director under new President Hiroshi Matsumoto in April 2015.




TELL x Ivy League Alumni Picnic

With the summer heat starting to diminish, the alumni of Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, and Yale, along with TELL are planning a family picnic on Saturday, October 10th at Arisugawa Park.  The event is open to all alumni clubs and friends.

The event will be in a relaxed atmosphere where entertainer Guy Totaro ( will perform for the kids, soft drinks will be provided, and we welcome individuals and families from all college and university alumni associations and friends as well.

TELL Executive Director Roberto De Vido (Brown ’85) will also be present and briefly explain about some of the services that TELL offers.  TELL( is a mental health services organization with a 40+ year history in Japan that provides a wide range of services for families and children.  Although many people know the organization for its Lifeline, information about TELL’s other mental health services (e.g. exceptional parenting programs, and anti-bullying, eating disorders and suicide prevention and awareness initiatives) is often not well known. The event will also offer the chance to ask questions about the organisation.

Date:  Saturday, October 10, 11:30-14:30

Venue: Arisugawa Park (800m from Azabujuban Station).  It will be held at the circular island near the library and the man-made fountain.

Additional info:  Soft drinks will be provided, but please feel free to BYOP (Bring your own picnic) as food will not be provided.

Entertainment: The great Guy Totaro  (

Please RSVP by September 15 by contacting us at  (This will help us to contact you if we need to postpone the event due to inclement weather or for another reason).  If you have any questions, please also email