The ‘#CultureConnectsUs’ online festival is full of diverse and inspiring work by UK artists, including new theatre, concerts and virtual gallery visits. The festival is part of an ambitious programme called ‘UK in JAPAN’, run jointly by the British Embassy and the British Council, to showcase innovation and to develop creative partnerships.

The rich cultural exchange between the UK and Japan nurtures friendship. It helps us to see the strength of our shared values but also the added value of our differences. As we appreciate each other’s culture, we deepen our mutual understanding.  In the aftermath of the pandemic, the creative arts have the power to bring us together and to support our recovery.

This year the whole world has passed into a place that none of us expected: for many, a place of fear and sadness. In both countries there have been times when people were unable to get out into the world and do the things that give purpose to our lives. 

In the digital space, national lockdowns have encouraged people to be more inventive in the ways they connect. And online communities have been a source of strength and solace.  I feel that we have come to a new appreciation of the natural world and the world of culture. At a moment in history when we are all living through the same story, the arts confirm each one of us as members of a single community. That's what the ‘Culture Connects Us’ festival is about, and I hope you enjoy it. 

With best wishes,

Matthew Knowles
Director, British Council in Japan