Japan Desk Scotland is a Glasgow-based partnership between two producers, Fumiko Nakabachi and Yushin Toda.
Fumiko Nakabachi was born in Tokyo, and worked there as a secretary to a member of the House of Representatives, a staff member of a political party, and a journalist, before coming to Glasgow to study Sociology. She obtained postgraduate Diploma in Sociology from the University of Glasgow, where she worked as Research Assistant at its Department of Sociology and as Honorary Research Fellow at its Faculty of Social Sciences. Her main research theme was cross-cultural communication in the workplace at Japanese companies operating in the UK, and her findings were presented at a conference held at the University of Glasgow in 2005, where a film ‘Fear and Trembling‘ (director: Alain Corneau) was also screened. She reported about Shunsuke Nakamura of Celtic FC for Kyodo News, Japan, and is now Associate Member of Scottish Football Writers’ Association.
Yushin Toda was born in Tokyo, and worked there as a journalist. He received MPhil in Agricultural Policy Analysis from the University of Glasgow, and worked at the university firstly as Administrator, Europe-Japan Social Science Research Centre, and then as International Business Development Manager, Research and Enterprise. While working at the university, he organised various public engagement activities, including the screening of ‘Riben Guizi: Devil’s Soldiers from Japan’, a documentary directed by Minoru MATSUI, in 2001 and ‘The Naked Island‘, ‘Children of Hiroshima‘ and other feature films directed by Kaneto SHINDO in 2002, and the organisation of ‘Friendship beyond Boundaries‘ events in 2009 to mark the 150 years anniversary of UK-Japan relations. He has received the Japan Society Award from the Japan Society of the UK in 2005 and the Consul General’s Commendation from Consul General of Japan in Edinburgh in 2011, both for his Japan-related activities in Glasgow and beyond. He participated in the debate organised by the Law Society of Scotland on Scottish independence, ‘To see ourselves as others see us’ on 16 August 2014. He has been a Management Committee member of Glasgow West Housing Association since 2007.
They volunteered together in 1985/86 in Ethiopia as a field monitor, Emergency Relief, UNICEF Ethiopia, for five months. Inspired by this experience, they came to Glasgow a few years later to further their understanding of various issues involved in developing countries and international cooperation.
Both of them are the founding members of the Japanese Matsuri for Glasgow (a recognised Scottish charity: SC 034172), which has run matsuri (a festival in Japanese) in the West End of Glasgow twice a year since 2001. They are still actively engaged in its activities.
Their activities through Japan Desk Scotland and Japanese Matsuri for Glasgow have been reported as follows:
Scottish Television Going Out (31 January 2013) about the Season of Contemporary Japanese Films
The web magazine of the Embassy of Japan in the UK (15 February 2013) about the Hina Matsuri, Japan Matters and school visits
Scottish Television Magazine Glasgow (20 February 2013) about the Hina Matsuri