CHILDREN and adults explored Japanese culture during a special day hosted by the Brontë Society.

The literary society teamed up with Worth Valley-based Whitestone Arts to present an oriental spin on Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights.

The day this month featured specialists from the Land of the Rising Son who taught Westerners about historic Japanese art forms.

The activities were part of the Stormy House project, a cultural collaboration between Japanese artists and young people from West Yorkshire, which will culminate with an art installation in Haworth in November.

All photographs by Simon Warner at Whitestone Arts.

Building Stormy House, led by local organisation Whitestone Arts, with the title of the inaugural day of events this month.

In one session, Greco-Irish writer and traveller Patrick Lafcadio Hearn explore the ghostly elements of Wuthering Heights in relation to kaidan, Japanese ghost tales, that he has collected.

Another session, Following the Brush, was a workshop on Japanese calligraphy led by Misuzu Kosaka.

Misuzu guided participants through the process of transforming fragments of text from Wuthering Heights into creative calligraphy.

In the Japanese style of ‘following the brush’ she used kanji (Japanese characters) as a fluid bridge between words and images: both significant building blocks in the narrative worlds of the Brontes.

Misuzu Kosaka studied under calligraphy masters Saisui Ishibashi and Yuri Sato. Her artistic activity includes solo exhibitions, book illustration, public demonstrations and workshops.

She is a director and instructor at the Japan Calligraphy Education Society.

In the day, Damian Flanagan explained why Wuthering Heights has a particular resonance with Japanese readers .

In his engaging engaging and informative talk, Damian explored possible literary and landscape connections between Emily Brontë’s work and the islands of the North Pacific where she set her Gondal fantasies.

He also discussed his own creative collaborations with calligrapher Misuzu Kosaka.

Damian is a writer and literary critic specialising in Japanese culture who completed his MA and PhD in Japanese Literature at Kobe University.

A highlight of the Stormy House day was a Japanese Tea Ceremony with Ayaka Morimoto.

The tea ceremony is regarded as one of the most elegant of Japanese traditions, combining refined etiquette, religious symbolism and healing power.

Akaya Morimoto trained in the culture of old Japan from the age of six, and performs at the Camellia Tea Ceremony in Kyoto.

Stormy House, which runs from November 3-11, will be an immersive installation featuring audio, video, performance and set design with landscape imagery from Haworth Moor and rural Japan.

The installation will have been created across 2017 and 2018 in collaboration with calligrapher Misuzu Kosaka, dancer Ima Tenko and students from Haworth Primary School and Cathedral Academy of Performing Arts (Wakefield).

Stormy House is a collaboration between Whitestone Arts, the Bronte Parsonage Museum, Bradford Theatre in the Mill, Fifty Nine Productions and Bradford University’s School of Media, Design and Technology.

Visit for further information about a host of remaining events in the year-long programme to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Emily Brontë.

In activities linked to the Stormy House project, pupils of Haworth Primary School explored Japanese culture and art in a series of half-term workshops with Whitestone Arts.

School head Helen Thompson said the workshops, which included Japanese art, calligraphy, acting, dance and writing which is being used as inspiration for our children to write their own ghost tales.”

The school now hopes to make a film of the ghost tales, using pictures of silhouettes.

Amy Chavez, writing recently on the Japan Times website, explored Japan’s enduring love of Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights.

The novel, set on the moors of Yorkshire in the late 18th century, has long been staple reading in Japan.

Chavez said there had been more than 20 Japanese interpretations since the novel was first translated into Japanese by Yasuo Yamamoto in 1932.

Renditions include manga series (including a yuri lesbian-themed manga by Takako Shimura), stage productions, a children’s book version and a contemporary rewriting of the story in which Wuthering Heights was set in post-war Japan.

With the translation of this reworking from the original Japanese into English, by Juliet Winters Carpenter, the story comes full circle.