Daiwa Scholars 2015

Daiwa Scholars 2015 at Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation on 12 June 2015 (Background: 'Pigment Drawings' by Julie Brook, part of the Daiwa Foundation Art Prize exhibition 2015)

The Foundation is delighted to announce Daiwa Scholars 2015.

For this year’s intake, the Foundation has selected six Scholars.

In total, they have studied at thirteen different universities and their subject areas encompass Animation and Surrealist Art, Aeronautical Engineering, Buddhist Art, Geopolitics, Music Composition and Theatre and Performance Studies.

Daiwa Scholars 2015 departed for Tokyo on 16 September 2015. Their graduation ceremony was on 23 March 2017 and the programme finished on 31 March 2017.

Their profiles with photographs can be found via the following link:

Daiwa Scholars 2015 profiles with photos, PDF


About the scholars

Louis Copplestone

Louis Copplestone was awarded a BA (Hons) in Nepali and Art History and Archaeology by SOAS, University of London in 2014 and completed an MA in Buddhist Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2015. He would like to deepen his understanding of Japanese Buddhism as this would allow him to incorporate Japan into his understanding of the spread and development of Buddhism and Buddhist art across Asia. He hopes this would equip him to pursue a PhD focusing on Buddhist Studies or History of Art and support him in his aim of pursuing a career in academia.

Louis’s homestay whilst in Japan was in Tokushima City in Tokushima Prefecture. His work placement was at the National Tokyo Museum. Louis Copplestone will begin a PhD in Art History and Archaeology studying Buddhist art specifically, with a minor in Japanese art, at Harvard University in 2017.



Dr Sonia Friel

Sonia Friel was awarded a BA (Hons) in English Literature by the University of Durham in 2005, an MA in Creative and Critical Writing by the University of Sussex in 2006, and in 2015 completed a PhD at Norwich University of the Arts, with additional supervisors at Oxford University and the University of Edinburgh, on Jan Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers. She was introduced to Japanese literature while at Durham and has an interest in Japanese art, filmmakers, and animators like Hiraki Sawa. She aims to make connections with art galleries and artists in Japan and aspires to disseminate new research on intersections between contemporaneous modernist groups in Europe and Japan, and to become an international art curator with a continued research presence at an academic institution.

Sonia’s homestay was in Kanazawa City in Ishikawa Prefecture . Her work placement was at the Tokyo Museum of Photography. Sonia Friel is currently Assistant Producer of the Yebisu International Festival for Art and Alternative Visions team at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum.

Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones was awarded an MA (Hons) in Chinese by the University of Edinburgh in 2010. He spent a year at the National Taiwan Normal University (2010/2011), and completed an MA in Geopolitics at King’s College London in 2012. Through his study of classical Chinese poetry, he developed a strong interest in Japanese haiku, particularly those of the old masters such as Bashō and Issa. Up until departure for Japan he had been working for the Ministry of Defence, as a Policy Research Analyst specialising in East Asia. He aspires to further his political, social and linguistic knowledge of Japan in order to reach a professional level that will allow him to contribute to the formulation and implementation of UK foreign policy in East Asia.

Andrew’s homestay was in Ishigaki city in Okinawa Prefecture . His work placement was at the Japan Centre for Conflict Prevention and Sasakawa Peace Foundation.

In 2018, Andrew joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and is based in London.

You can read more about Andrew in the “Scholar Experiences” section of the website.

Francesca Le Lohe

Francesca Le Lohe was awarded a BMus (Hons) by the University of Manchester in 2011 and an MMus in Music Composition by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2013. She currently pursues a career as a composer through various projects and commissions, teaches the flute and saxophone and works at a school where she supports children with special educational needs (SEN). Her interest in Japanese culture was sparked by the music of Tōru Takemitsu and Kazuo Fukushima, and she has gone on to research Gagaku and shakuhachi music. She aims to learn from musicians in Japan in order further to develop her career as a composer, and to continue using music when working with children with SEN and in community and therapeutic settings.

Francesca’s homestay was in  Sado city in Niigata prefecture. Her work placement was at the Japan Gagaku Society and the Kokoro no Oshaberi Ongaku. Francesca Le Lohé is an Assistant Music Therapist with the NPO ‘Kokoro no Oshaberi Ongaku’, is continuing to study the shō, biwa and shakuhachi and is developing a new musical project inspired by Junichirō Tanizaki’s “The Key”.

FranJapan blog


Alexandra Rutter

Alex Rutter was awarded a BA (Hons) degree in Theatre and Performance Studies by the University of Warwick in 2011. In 2012 she co-founded Whole Hog Theatre, which staged the first ever adaptation of ‘Princess Mononoke’ with the kind permission of Studio Ghibli. Alex adapted and directed the production in London and then in Tokyo. She aims to build on the UK-Japan partnerships initiated with this production to create new collaborative adaptations of Japanese source material/animations and to be at the forefront of diversifying the UK theatre scene.

Alexandra’s homestay was in Wakayama City in Wakayama Prefecture. Her work placement was at  Nelke Planning.  Alexandra Rutter is currently Movement and Creative Director at Nelke Planning, an anime theatre production company.

Keir Simmons

Keir Simmons completed an MEng (Hons) in Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College London in 2015. His long-standing interest in Japan was sparked by a major Japanese exhibition centring on the country’s prominent role in the advancement of robotics and associated technological fields. While at university he was a member of the Japanese and Anime societies, and completed a preliminary Japanese language course. He visited Japan in 2014 after completing an exchange at the National University of Singapore, in which he focused on courses and research projects within computer science. He has an academic interest in software development and robotics, especially in relation to artificial intelligence and machine learning, and he hopes to gain work experience and pursue a career in a related field.

Keir’s homestay was in Itoshima City in Fukuoka prefecture. His work placement was at the Artificial Intelligence Research Centre at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. Keir Simmons worked as a Research Engineer (Deep Reinforcement Learning) at Ascent Robotics, Inc. in Tokyo for a few months, before beginning an MSc in Computational Statistics & Machine Learning at University College London in September 2017.

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