Message from JFT Executive Director Emi Iwanaga

Director’s Message:
Reflecting on the Past/ Reflecting on the Future: Hyogo Aid ’95 Revisited

In 1995, the Japan Foundation, Toronto was reborn. What began as an office became a fully-fledged cultural centre, complete with a gallery for the exhibition of Japanese and Japan-related artworks.

And the exhibition that first graced our gallery walls at our original location in the Colonnade was Hyogo Aid ’95.

1995 was the year of the devastating Great Hanshin Earthquake in Kobe in which over six thousand lives were lost. The international community embraced the people of Japan, and we were overwhelmed by the kind thoughts of those in Canada and all over the world.

Many Japanese artists also showed their solidarity by contributing works of art in support of recovery efforts. Thus the Hyogo Aid ’95 project was born.

Now we find ourselves twenty years on in a new location, looking back on the many exhibitions and programs we have been able to present. Seeing the artwork in this collection on the gallery walls at the Japan Foundation, Toronto once again, I am reminded of the journey we have taken. A journey that has without a doubt been worthwhile.

I am delighted to welcome you to our new gallery space, and hope that you will be inspired by the images you see to reflect not only on the past, but on the future as well.

Emi Iwanaga
Executive Director
Japan Foundation, Toronto

Sadly echoing Hyogo’s disaster, earlier this month the Kumamoto region of Japan suffered another devastating earthquake. While our appreciation goes out to those in the international community who have offered their well-wishes and support, our deepest sympathies go out to those who have suffered tragic losses.