Representatives of the Etxepare Basque Institute and the Basque Government met with Basque language and culture students in Tokyo

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.


Lecturer Gari Ortigosa teaches Basque language and culture to thirty students from the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies in Japan. After a reception from the Rector of TUFS, the students were given a special class today to kick off the course. The class was led by Bingen Zupiria, the Basque Minister of Culture, and Irene Larraza, the director of the Etxepare Basque Institute.

Having shared numerous insights into Basque culture, they emphasized the significance of collaborating with the diaspora, global universities, and cultural institutions from around the world. That is precisely the mission of the Basque delegation’s trip to Japan.

They previously visited the Tokyo International Film Festival, where five films directed by Basque women filmmakers in recent years were screened in the ´World Focus´ section. The presentation of this Basque Window was held last Monday, aimed at promoting collaboration between the Japanese and Basque film industries. The director and president of the Tokyo International Film Festival, as well as Irene Larraza and Bingen Zupiria, among others, took the floor. A day later, Basque filmmaker Estíbaliz Urresola won the festival´s Ethical Award for her film ‘20.000 especies de abejas’ (´20,000 Species of Bees´). The Ethical Award is making its debut as part of the honors presented at TIFF for the first time. Urresola and Isabel Herguera (‘El sueño del sultana’/ ´Sultana´s Dream´) also had the chance to talk to the Japanese’ audience after the screening of their films These are the Basque films that were shown at this A-list festival, one of the most important film festivals in the world: ‘20.000 Species of Bees’, (Estibaliz Urresola), ‘Sultana´s Dream’ (Isabel Herguera); ‘O corno / A Rye Horn’, (Jaione Camborda); ‘Deep breath, women filmakers’, (Rosa Zufía and Bertha Gaztelumendi); and ‘Las buenas compañías / In the Company of Women’ (Silvia Munt).

Euskadi Japan 2023

The multi-sector initiative Euskadi Japan 2023 is designed to strengthen and highlight the existing relations between the Basque Country and Japan and create new partnerships in areas including culture, gastronomy, tourism, economics, sport... The Etxepare Basque Institute is actively engaged in enhancing cultural relations and fostering collaborations between the Basque Country and Japan.

Throughout 2023, a bilateral programme will be developed in Japan and the Basque Country with the aim of promoting multisectoral activities in both regions. In the area of cinema, we have already enjoyed some of the events in the programme, such as the Hiroshi Teshigahara retrospective at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, the ‘Icons of Japanese fantasy films’ exhibit now open at San Sebastian’s  Okendo cultural centre, and the film series ‘Del manga al cine: cine japonés contemporáneo’ starting this week at Azkuna Zentroa. Back in March, the film ´Unicorn Wars´ was featured at the Niigata Film Festival and a Basque Window will be shown at the Tokyo International Film Festival. More events will be held in the coming months in both regions.

Etxepare Basque Institute and the Lectureship

In order to promote awareness and appreciation of the Basque language and culture the internationally context, the Etxepare Basque Institute establishes partnerships with universities worldwide so that Basque Studies can be taught at an international level. Tokyo University of Foreign Studies has been offering classes in Euskara and Basque culture classes since 2015, focusing on the Basque language and culture, as well as society and history of the Basque Country.

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