Linking creative Tokyo with creative Portland is theme for free lecture series
Author: Melinda Glover, Center for Japanese Studies
Posted: October 1, 2018

The PSU Center for Japanese Studies will present three free lectures and a free film screening this fall, each featuring successful, young insiders of the Tokyo creative community who will share their experiences and insights on launching a career and thriving in creative Tokyo.

October 4, 2018
Surviving the Creative Industry in Japan, Leo Kominz, Founder of THYNK and CEO of blank inc.,
6 p.m. in Smith Memorial Student Union, room 327/8

October 11, 2018
Japanese Films in the Modern Era, Ryutaro Nakagawa, Director of August in Tokyo, Tokyo Sunrise
6 p.m. in Smith Memorial Student Union, room 327/8

October 12, 2018
Free screening at the Fifth Avenue Cinema of Nakagawa’s latest film, Summer Blooms at 6 p.m.

November 1, 2018
What if Poems were Water?, Bin Sugawara, Poet
6 p.m. in Smith Memorial Student Union, room 338

Leo Kominz, originally from Portland OR and currently residing in Japan, is the founder of THYNK -The
Thinking Platform-, a web platform dedicated to getting viewers to think and question everyday life, and
CEO of blank inc., a creative agency focusing on media management. He previously worked in the TV
industry in Japan, at TV Asahi. He will discuss how he navigates the industry, sharing examples of
foreigners making the successful transition from English teacher (where almost everyone starts
out) to freelance or employed member of the Tokyo creative community. He will illustrate how
aspiring creatives from outside Japan can and enter and survive.

Ryutaro Nakagawa is the youngest director ever selected by the Tokyo International Film Festival two
years in a row, for his films August in Tokyo and Tokyo Sunrise. His Summer Blooms (2017) was awarded
the International Critics Prize at the 29th Moscow International Film Festival. He will talk about what
has influenced him as a film maker and how it has translated into his films, as well as the importance of
non-major feature films and the possibilities they hold for society and the future.

Bin Sugawara is Japan's most recognized poet as the result of the intersection of his poetry with various
forms of media.  He frequently reads his poems on radio and television, and has presented readings
throughout Europe and Russia. He has contributed to many magazines, including Brutus, Ginza,
and  Harper’s Bazaar. His recent work titled "Kanohito" was published by Tokyo Shinbun (The Tokyo
Newspaper).  He will present examples of his work, including a reading with musical accompaniment. He
will discuss how he “pours his poems into different vessels” (types of media).

All three lectures will be presented by the PSU Center for Japanese Studies, with support from the
United States-Japan Foundation. The lecture and screening by Ryutaro Nakagawa is also part of the
Portland State of Mind festival.


The Center for Japanese Studies supports research on Japan and the Japanese American experience,
providing a forum for related academic activities and the free exchange of ideas. The Center is
committed to preparing PSU students to become leaders in business, government, arts, and the
academy by fostering cross-cultural understanding. It seeks to facilitate understanding of Japan as well
as the Japanese American experience among students, faculty, and the greater Portland community
through a variety of curricular and outreach programs.