Culture and art

Our inter-cultural work is designed to forge positive relationships, build mutual respect and enrich one another through shared cultural experiences. We work to build cultural links between national academic institutions, governments and the wider community, and between Russia and Japan, reflecting and building upon our Founder’s deeply-held passion for Japan’s culture and language.

We are widely engaged in popularizing Japanese culture in Russia and vice versa, through our long-standing and extensive work with MGIMO, J-Fest, an annual festival of contemporary Japanese culture in Russia, and Russian Culture Days in Japan.

As a testament to Dr Chodiev’s appreciation of Japanese art and tradition, in 2011 he rescued the Itchiku Kubota Museum and its world-famous collection of 104 Kubota kimono from financial difficulty. Over the years, the Foundation has organized numerous exhibitions of the kimono around the world, bringing their beauty to new audiences.

Since the opening of our representative office in Uzbekistan in 2017, we have been working on extending our inter-cultural work by supporting a number of cultural and art events in the county.

Our projects

Promoting Itchiku Kubota and his art

Itchiku Kubota, (1917-2003) is one of the most important Japanese textile artists of the 20th century. He rediscovered a traditional Japanese dyeing technique, called tsujigahana, which allowed him to create an exceptional collection of artistic kimonos. These kimonos are exquisite works of art and are frequently exhibited both in Japan and abroad, where they continue to attract recognition.

Itchiku Kubota discovered tsujigahana when he was 20 years of age and it changed his life. Tsujigahana is a 16th-century Japanese textile decorative technique that incorporates resist-dyeing, brush painting, applied metallic leaf, and embroidery using gold and silver threads. It took the Master thirty years of research to discover all the secrets and subtleties of this ancient technique. However, he then devised his own variation of it, incorporating innovative designs and contemporary colours. In recognition of his artistry and innovation, the technique he devised has been attributed to him as Itchiku tsujigahana.

When the Collection was on the verge of being sold in 2011 due to a lack of available finance, Dr Patokh Chodiev rescued both the Collection and the Itchiku Kubota Museum to preserve them for posterity.  There are 104 Kimonos in the Collection, which is a culmination of 40 years of work and which includes Kubota’s “magnum opus” – the Symphony of Light depicting one continuous panorama extending over 36 kimonos.

Since 2013, The International Chodiev Foundation has organised and sponsored exhibitions of the kimono around the world, bringing their beauty to new audiences.

“I did it as a token of gratitude to Japan for the influence it has had on my life,” commented Dr. Chodiev. “My professional and personal life have long-lasting ties to Japan. I’ve visited this country on numerous occasions, I’ve even worked in this beautiful country and came to appreciate the best qualities of the Japanese people. I love Japan’s unique culture and traditions.”

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J-Fest – festival of contemporary Japanese culture

For many years ICF has been the main sponsor of J-Fest – the Festival of Contemporary Japanese Culture in Moscow. The motto of the festival is ‘Japan for Everyone’.

Since its inception in 2009, J-Fest has become the biggest platform displaying contemporary trends of Japanese culture. Today, it is a high-profile event for cultural exchange between Russia and Japan, held over several days during the summer months.

Every year, more than 2 million people attend lectures, workshops, concerts and performances across a wide range of subjects, such as art, high-tech, fashion, gaming, traditions, gastronomy, cinema, and animation. 

More information about the festival can be found on its official website.

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Russian culture days festival in Japan

Since 2015, the International Chodiev Foundation has been the main sponsor of the Russian Culture Days Festival in Japan. This magnificent event is the largest project in the Russo-Japanese cultural exchange programme in terms of its geographical reach and duration.

The guests of the Festival can enjoy Russian films, theatre, ballet, art and photography exhibitions, and much more. The event features the best of Russian performers, such as the Mariinsky Theatre, the Big Moscow Circus, and the Leonid Jacobson Ballet Company, among others.

The Festival lasts about 8 months a year. It takes place in almost all prefectures of Japan. More than 900 representatives of Russian culture usually perform in 92 cities across Japan, and on average more than 1 million Japanese people attend the Festival.

Since it started, the Russian Culture Days Festival attracted more than 13 million visitors.

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Book publishing

Japanese books translated by the International Chodiev Foundation into Russian have proved very popular in Russia.

One such example was the translation and publication of the book ‘Little Bakkun in the Land of Dreams’, a children’s book by her Imperial Highness the Princess of Japan Hisako Takamado. 

Another popular publication is ‘Building bridges’, a book by Her Majesty the Empress Michiko, which is now displayed at the Museum of the Imperial Household.

In 2020, ICF supported the publication of an anthology of Russian and Japanese novels titled ‘Vladivostok-Japan: two hours before the meeting’. The Russian version of the book has been released and the Japanese version is in the process of being printed.

ICF is also a long-term sponsor the annual academic journal ‘Japan’, published in Russia.

Read more about our publishing activities here.

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Documentaries about Japan and Russo-Japanese relations

In the last few years, ICF supported a series of documentaries dedicated to the history of Japan, its culture, and its relationship with Russia and the Russian people. Three films – ‘Multifaceted Japan’, ‘Building Trust: Russians in Japan’ and ‘Hokkaido: The Way to the Northern Seas’ were received with high acclaim by both Russian and Japanese audiences. 

The trilogy’s script was written by Alexander Panov, Doctor of Political Sciences, Deputy Head of the Diplomacy Department at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Japan (1996-2003). The films were directed by Marina Kireeva and produced by Olga Monakhova, Head of the ICF’s Representative Office in Russia.

The documentaries are available on the ICF YouTube channel.

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