I hold a monthly discussion event called “Literature and Art Café” in Tokyo. Japanese is used as the primary language, but I might plan a session in English in the future. Literature and Art Café is loosely based on a philosophy café. The latter was started by French philosopher Marc Sautet as “Socrates’s Café,” and the movement has spread around the world. A philosophy café deals with a variety of topics, while my Literature and Art Café focuses on topics related to literature, art, movies, manga, anime, dramas etc. You do not have to reach a conclusion as a group. Literature and Art Café is also inspired by the “Theory of Knowledge” subject of the International Baccalaureate.
Participants include both creators (writers, artists, producers, editors, etc.) and consumers of the contents. Anyone can participate. There is no need of preparation. Students are also welcome. We talk about religions from time to time, but religious (and business) solicitation is prohibited.
Here are samples of the topics we discussed: “Do you need expertise to appreciate art?” “How can religion and science work together?” The past topics can be found here.
Meiji University Global Front (Ochanomizu), Shimokitazawa, or online.
I ask the participants to follow the simple rules below:
- Respect different opinions. It is important not only to assert your thoughts, but also to learn from other people’s opinions.
- Explain your thoughts in your own words. Do not simply quote someone important and/or famous.
- Explain in a plain language so anyone can understand. Be sure to define and explain before you use concepts from philosophy, science, religion, art, etc. If you wish to refer to a work of literature and art, be ready to describe it for those who are not familiar with it (without spoilers).