JFKL Talk Series

The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur would like to proudly announce the launch of its new series “JFKL Talk Series”, a programme initiated to reach out to everyone and introduce more about Japan through the lenses of professionals in various fields. Through this programme, we hope that it is able to showcase the charms of Japan and instil curiosity on the multifaceted culture of the Land of the Rising Sun. The episodes of this series will be streamed live on JFKL's official Facebook page. Make sure to like and follow our Facebook page to get notified when we go live!

Sunday, 25 July 2021, 3:00 PM via FB Live

The first episode of this inaugural talk series is titled “Longing and belonging: Portraits of different people in Japan” by Mr. Mahen Bala. Mahen is a Malaysian documentarian and visual artist who has worked on documenting Malaysian culture and history for more than a decade. 
> Watch this episode on YouTube <

Title: Longing and belonging: Portraits of different people in Japan
In early 2020, I arrived in Japan on a research trip to explore railway heritage and history from the Japanese perspective. It was an opportunity to observe how train travel, museums, and railway history defined national and communal constructs of identity across the Japanese landscape. In this light-hearted talk, I will share my research findings, the places I visited, and most importantly the people I met. Among many others, I will tell you about my most treasured souvenirs and who gave them to me: the red plastic folder, the polka-dotted paper crane, and the golden manekineko from a ramen shop. After more than a year of lockdown and travel restrictions, I hope this lighthearted sharing session will remind us of the magic of connecting with strangers, and in the process, discover new insights into Japanese culture and history.

About Mahen Bala
His primary interest is in investigating the human experience, and how memory shapes personal and communal constructs of history. In 2018, he published ‘Postcards from the South’, a comprehensive documentation of memory and history of the Malaysian railways. In 2020 he completed a Fellowship with the Japan Foundation Asia Center, and is currently pursuing his Masters at the University of Malaya.

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