The Team

Japan House London’s team of dedicated directors is supported by a panel of highly experienced non-executive directors and a creative team that includes some of Japan’s most celebrated talent. The project also receives the invaluable input of an Independent Advisory Council.

Japan House London Directors
Sam Thorne Director General Japan House London

Sam Thorne

Director General & CEO

Sam Thorne is a curator and writer committed to education, experimentation and exchange. As a museum director, Sam was most recently director of Nottingham Contemporary, where he oversaw more than 30 exhibitions; prior to that he was artistic director of Tate St Ives. Previously, he was associate editor of frieze magazine, was a co-founder of Open School East, a free-to-attend independent studies programme, and is the author of the book School (2017). Sam has taught and lectured widely at universities and art schools, and written numerous catalogue essays and articles. He grew up visiting Japan regularly with his Japanese-speaking mother. 

Carolyn Burnett Corporate Development Director at Japan House London

Carolyn Burnett

Executive Director

Carolyn Burnett spent her early career with IBM in their consultancy business leading a number of client projects, before going on to establish Manchester Art Show, the largest contemporary art fair in the north of England. Most recently, she headed up live content for global events company UBM, leading on an annual series of international events and managing partnerships with key industry associations across the globe. Fascinated by both Japan’s deep history and culture, and the immense creativity of the Japanese people, Carolyn is looking to drive a legacy of engagement between the UK and Japan through Japan House London.

Simon Wright Director of Programming at Japan House London

Simon Wright

Director - Programming

Simon Wright has over 30 years’ experience of work with, or in, Japan - notably his work with the Embassy of Japan in London curating exhibitions and programming events with an emphasis on innovation and emerging Japanese talent. He has worked on events such as Premiere Japan (2005-2011), Giant Japanese Jamboree (2008), Akari Lantern Project (2011), Festival of Love Tanabata (2014), Satsuma 150 (2015), and Japan Matsuri (2009-present). For Simon, Japan House London is a place to discover and explore how Japanese tradition informs the present and the future.


Shane Delaney

Associate Director - Operations & Services

Shane Delaney started his professional career working for ATG Venues managing a number of West End and regional theatres throughout the UK before taking up a leading role at the Board Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. During this time, he drove the commercial and operational performance of these venues based on their specific focus, organisation and structure incorporating the development of key stake-holder relationships across the industry to maximise the overall customer experience. With his background in theatre, Shane is especially interested in the tradition of Japanese Theatre and performance and looks forward to welcoming new audiences to experience this at Japan House London.

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Heidi Isa

Director - Marketing & Communications

Heidi began her professional career spending 3 years as a Coordinator for International Relations in Nagasaki, before returning to the UK and sharing UK pop culture with Japanese audiences through her work with Fuji Television. As Head of Business Development for Toppan Printing in the UK, she developed markets for Japanese products in Europe before pursuing roles in destination marketing with Winchester City Council and most recently Southampton Business Improvement District. Heidi is excited to be combining her passion for Japan with her expertise in destination marketing to drive footfall to, and engagement with Japan House London.

Rosina Singleton

Rosina Singleton

Finance Director

Rosina Singleton qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG, moving to Steetly plc then to TSB bank through its merger with Lloyds. She joined a group of Trade Associations based in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter in a varied and expanding role, ultimately as acting CEO. She developed close links with the Department for International Trade to maximise members grant funding, working at overseas trade shows to increase members export sales. She has also held volunteer four NED roles.
Rosina is excited to be working with the dedicated and passionate team at Japan House London to showcase Japanese cultures and traditions, whilst learning about Japan herself.

Non-executive Directors
Nakajima Yuichiro2

Nakajima Yuuichiro

Non-Executive Director – Chair

Nakajima Yuuichiro is a Japanese national who has spent part of his childhood and half of his adult life in the United Kingdom. Having initially worked for a Japanese ODA execution agency, he changed course to investment banking in the City of London at S.G.Warburg in the 1980s. Yuuichiro founded and manages his own M&A advisory boutique called Crimson Phoenix. In addition to his chairmanship of Japan H.L. Limited, he is a Director/Trustee of Japan Society Limited as well as a Non-Executive Director of a J.P. Morgan Japan Small Cap Growth & Income plc.    

Pernille Rudlin3

Pernille Rudlin

Non-Executive Director

Pernille Rudlin was brought up partly in Japan and partly in the UK. She spent nearly a decade at Mitsubishi Corporation, working in the UK and Japan in sales and marketing, corporate planning and HR. More recently she was Director of External Relations, International Business, at Fujitsu. As Europe, Middle East and Africa Representative for Japan Intercultural Consulting, she has conducted seminars on Japanese culture for companies throughout the region. She is the author of several books and articles on Japanese culture and business as well as a trustee of the Japan Society of the UK.

Tsuchiya Daisuke3

Tsuchiya Daisuke

Non-Executive Director

Daisuke is the Head of Japan for critical issues advisory firm Brunswick Group advising clients on stakeholder engagement for issues ranging from crisis to M&A, litigation, regulatory matters, and market entry.  Prior to joining Brunswick, he had a career spanning over 15 years as a fast-track diplomat in the Japanese Foreign Ministry. He is a Guest Professor of the ESG-Integration Center at the Osaka University, and serves on the Advisory Board of the 30% Club Japan Chapter. Daisuke has a BA in law from the University of Tokyo as well as masters’ degrees from the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics.

Creative Team

Hara Kenya

Creative Advisor

The global creative direction for the Japan House project is defined by eminent designer Hara Kenya. Notably, he is President of Nippon Design Center, Professor at Tokyo's Musashino Art University and Art Director of MUJI. In the UK, Hara’s work has been exhibited in London at the Design Museum, the Science Museum and The Wellcome Collection. He has also authored books including 'Designing Design' and 'White'.
Photo © Sekiguchi Takashi

Katayama Masamichi portrait 2

Katayama Masamichi

Interior Designer

Katayama Masamichi, one of Japan’s leading interior designers, is responsible for the design of Japan House London. He is Professor at Tokyo’s Musashino Art University and founder of interior design firm Wonderwall. The studio is based in Tokyo, but the work that his team have completed spans Europe, the U.S.A., Australia, the Middle East, and the rest of Asia, including the design of UNIQLO’s global flagship store in London.
Photo © Kurigami Kazumi