skip to primary navigationskip to content


Akihiro Iitomi is a performer and teacher of the kotsuzumi shoulder drum within the Ohkura School of Noh theatre. He performs regularly throughout Japan, and has toured internationally in North America, Europe and Asia. In his teaching, he particularly focuses on the preservation of traditional Japanese culture and teaches at all levels of education, from primary school through to university (including Chikushi Jogakuen University, Fukuoka, and Shokei College, Kumamoto). Iitomi appears as one of the three main characters in the film KanZeOn, a UK-Japan documentary that explores the role of sound within Japanese religion. In addition to discussing the relation of Noh theatre to the Zen school of Buddhism, the film also highlights Iitomi’s enthusiasm for jazz, whereby the spirit of improvisation that infuses jazz is found to be not so different from the aesthetic approach in the traditions of Noh.


Hiroko Iitomi is a graduate of Koran Women’s College in Fukuoka and is currently employed by Okashino Kōbai, a famous Japanese sweets and cake shop in Kumamoto, Kyushu. She is a trained teacher in the art of kimono dressing, the tea ceremony, Yanagawa gotenmari and other cultural pursuits.


Johan Nordström received his doctoral degree from Waseda University and is currently a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Post Doctoral Fellow at Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo. He is working on a book about the Tokyo-based early sound film studio P.C.L., as well as co-editing an anthology volume, The Culture of the Sound Image in Prewar Japan, to be published by Amsterdam University Press. He has co-curated many programmes of Japanese cinema for international film festivals, most recently at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. 


Japan Sound Portrait

Neil Cantwell is co-director of the film KanZeOn, recently released on DVD by the International Buddhist Film Foundation. He has previously worked as Programme Officer for Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange at the London office of the Japan Foundation, as well as holding the position of Foreign Research Fellow at Shuchiin University in Kyoto. Neil continues to perform, record and write music across a range of instruments.

Nick Luscombe is a London-based radio broadcaster for BBC Radio 3, a music and playlist curator, and a live event and radio producer. He has worked in senior roles at iTunes and Google Play and has held the position of Director of Music at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). He is the founder of Musicity, an international digital and live event platform that explores the intersection of music and architecture.


Amoeba is a design, motion and audio-visual installation studio based in Brighton and run by Scott McPherson. His recent work in virtual reality includes The Cube – a transmedia theatre performance created by the internationally renowned company Circa69. 



Matthew Shores comes from Oregon, USA, and has trained in a number of the Japanese performing arts, specializing in comic storytelling (rakugo). He is a Lecturer in Japanese Studies at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge and is a Fellow of Peterhouse College. For further information, please see


Yongsuk Song was born in Tokyo and is a Japanese language instructor at the University of Cambridge. She studied pedagogy and held teaching positions in America and Japan prior to coming to Cambridge.


Brigitte Steger is University Senior Lecturer in Modern Japanese Studies and Subject Convenor of Japanese at the University of Cambridge.