Interview: President of Japanese Music and Arts Association Ayşegül ATMACA

 

Atsuko Suetomi ve Ayşegül Atmaca
Atsuko Suetomi and Ayşegül Atmaca

Ö.Burcu: Could you tell us about the founding process of the Japanese Music and Arts Association?

Ayşegül Atmaca: In early 2014, we created a music community in order to introduce Japanese music to Turkey with a group of friends who lived in Japan and/or play the Japanese koto instrument. The leader of this community was the Japanese Koto Artist, Atsuko Suetomi, who was also our teacher. We gave concerts in different parts of Turkey with this community. Unfortunately, however many of our projects couldn’t come true because of our opportunities as a community were very limited. In the meantime, we realized that there aren't enough Japanese art associations in Turkey. In 2017, we established our association to introduce Japanese art, which has such deep roots, to a wider audience in our country and thus reinforce the friendship of the people of both countries.

 

Ö.Burcu: When you put aside your presidential identity, can you talk about what Japan represents for you and what drove you on this path?

Ayşegül Atmaca: Between 2009-2013, I worked as the Culture and Promotion Consultant in Tokyo. When I heard about this assignment, I was a little surprised and a little hesitant at first. It was a very different culture, a very distant country; I started my duty with worries about whether I can. However, Japan has been the turning point in my life. With this mission, I opened such a door that there was a completely different world behind it. Words are not enough to describe Japan, but I can briefly say this: Japan is, above all, a country of "respect". It respects human beings, animals, nature, in short, all components of life. This respect brings with it valuing and protection. I watched with great admiration, especially how nature and history are preserved with great care. On the other hand, working and producing has an endless meaning for the Japanese people. If you put your heart into it and do it with care, you will always be appreciated and rewarded in some way. Art is life itself in Japan. Seeing creativity in every aspect of everyday life, capturing aesthetics, watching the channels of spreading feelings and thoughts through art have deeply affected me in my life in Japan. With all these feelings, we wanted to establish our Association and introduce what we see and experience there to the people in our country.

 

Ö.Burcu: It caught my attention as a writer and enthusiast of Japanese culture. Your association has a library. What kind of books do you keep? What can those who want to contribute do? Or how can those who want to use your library reach you?

Ayşegül Atmaca: As far as I know, there is no special library that contains only works in the field of Japanese art in Turkey. We aim to create an art library that focuses on Japanese art. Our association is a very recently established association. For this reason, we have not yet reached an accumulation that can be open to the user. We want to be a library available to the user with library materials that we obtained from our members, followers and charitable citizens. At this point, we will be happy to accept donations related to art books, Japanese art books, videos, magazines, maps, sound recordings, etc. library material in any language.

 

Japan Ambassador Akio MIYAJIMA, Koto Artist  Atsuko SUETOMİ,  President of Japanese Music and Arts Association  Ayşegül ATMACA
Ö.Burcu: When it comes to Japanese music, taiko, and koto, when it comes to Japanese art, Ikebana comes to mind first among Japanese lovers. However, when it comes to Japanese arts, we also think of Noh and Kabuki theaters. Has anything been done in Turkey to promote Japanese theater? Or do you have any plans on this subject?

Ayşegül Atmaca: Noh and Kabuki theaters are among the oldest and most established traditional theater arts in the world. While conducting our work on Japanese art, we especially want to be able to promote these theatrical arts. In fact, before the covid 19 outbreak started, we started a very special project on the Noh theater. The project had reached a certain stage, but the point we have reached regarding the pandemic has limited our possibilities to carry out this project “at least for now”. We will be able to continue this project when the epidemic ends or at least the risks are minimized.

 

Ö.Burcu: Until now, as the Japanese Music and Arts Association, you have initiated many seminars and events in our country. Due to Covid 19, many events are now taking place in the digital environment. Are there any digital events in your 2020 and 2021 schedule?

Ayşegül Atmaca: In fact, at the beginning of the pandemic, we organized two very special events as our Association. One of our founders was Atsuko Suetomi's Koto concert. The other was our interview with the General Secretary of our Association, Ikebana Artist, Neslihan Noyan about Ikebana. We will continue to produce our digital projects in 2020 and 2021, wishing that this global disaster will end as soon as possible and that we will be able to contact "face to face" as before.

 

Ö.Burcu: Is your association membership open to all lovers of Japanese culture? How can those who want to support your association contribute?

Ayşegül Atmaca: Art is a universal language. Understanding and uniting societies are one of the most important ways to contribute to world peace. Our association embraces this goal and opens its doors to everyone interested in Japanese culture and art. Those who want to know, become a member and support our association can view the following link of our association website: http://jmsder.com/

 

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