Japan Foundation Film Talk – The Legacy of Composer Toru Takemitsu on January 22nd

Toru Takemitsu was a self-taught musician and composer who contributed the scores to many highly-regarded, even classic, films from the 1960s and beyond. More than ninety films received his work such as many New Wave titles like Hiroshi Teshigahara’s most important films (Pitfall, Woman in the Dunes, The Face of Another) and Masaki Kobayashi’s Kaidan and Harakiri. Not only those, he worked with Akira Kurosawa (Ran), Shohei Imamura (Black Rain), and Nagisa Oshima (Empire of Passion). Here’s an example of his work:

His work melded Eastern and Western influences and his inspirations ranged from Debussy to John Cage. His work became highly regarded around the world and he won many awards. Here’s an interesting article on The Guardian website from 2013.

On Sunday, January 22nd, the Japan Foundation is hosting an event that looks over his legacy, which comes ahead of a special event where NHK Symphony Orchestra will perform his work at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in March. The talk will take place at King’s Place, Hall Two, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG.

Here’s the information on the Japan Foundation event plus a link to the NHK concert which was sent out by the organisers:


Toru Takemitsu is among the most important composers in the history of Japanese music. Almost entirely self-taught, Takemitsu went on to compose several hundred independent works and score over ninety films. The first composer to be fully recognised in the West, Takemitsu achieved international renown for his distinctive style. Combining elements of the Occident and the Orient, Takemitsu created music that was sensuous yet accessible.

Takemitsu’s daughter and music producer, will examine the significance of Takemitsu’s work and share their unique experiences reflecting on his life and legacy.In honour of this talented composer The Japan Foundation are proud to present a special talk as a prelude to NHK Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Takemitsu’s Requiem for Strings in March. Oliver Knussen CBE, a close friend of Takemitsu who has presided over many of Takemitsu’s works himself and Maki Takemitsu

This event will focus not only on the music of Toru Takemitsu but also on the life that influenced such vast and intricate musicscapes.

Tickets for this event are priced at £3 (with free entry for students and minors). To purchase tickets please visit: kingsplace.co.uk/Takemitsu

If you are a student, free places for this event can be booked by contacting event@jpf.org.uk

This event is co-produced by the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo

NHK Symphony Orchestra perform Takemitsu’s Requiem for Strings alongside Mahler’s Symphony No.6, ‘Tragic’ at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on Monday, 6 March 2017, 7:30pm, as part of the International Orchestra Series. For further details, please click here

It sounds like a great event and the tickets are pretty cheap (free in the case of students) so this is something definitely worth going to, especially if you want to find out more about older Japanese films.

His non-film work is also quite beautiful and mysterious and I have recently taken up listening to it while writing:

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