Shuko Noguchi - Executive Director, Japan21
Shuko came to the UK at the age of 13 when her father’s work brought the family to Edinburgh. Having finished secondary school education in Edinburgh, she went on to read physics at Imperial College in London. In the late 80s as a student, during the summer breaks she worked as an interpreter for the Edinburgh International Festival, where as well as helping many visiting Japanese theatre/dance/performance companies including the Ninagawa Company, she established contact with various Japanese producers. On graduating, she took the opportunity to work as a Liaison Officer for Japan Festival 1991 - a huge celebration of Japanese culture in the UK - being the sole Japanese national in the UK Secretarial Office and getting involved in variety of projects ranging from the Grand Sumo Tournament at the Royal Albert Hall to touring several Japanese theatre companies around the UK. Having become interested in theatre and UK-Japan cultural exchanges, she then went on to work as Arts Officer for The Japan Foundation London Office for 6 years before becoming a part-time Executive Director of Japan Festival Fund and at the same time working as a freelance interpreter/translator. She is currently on maternity leave from Japan 21 (formerly Japan Festival Fund) while looking after a two-year old son and expecting a second baby.