CULTURE GATE to JAPAN is meant to digitally unveil Japanese culture

culture gate to japan will be available online indefinitely

through an exhibition of digital artworks that merge technology and Japanese tradition, the second edition of CULTURE GATE to JAPAN awaits domestic and international culture seekers (see the first edition here). the installations, designed by a curation of the japanese creatives, are now on display at tokyo’s haneda airport and the city’s international cruise terminal to accommodate in-person as well as online arrivals. each creation hopes to inspire and inform visitors to delve deeper into the country’s history and traditions.

CULTURE GATE in JAPAN is now online – come on board and check in!

(above) nyamyam’s tengami work is a puzzle-adventure game that incorporates the texture of Japanese washi paper

(banner) ‘the sign of the eels’ by dorita takido

all images courtesy of CULTURE GATE in JAPAN

organized by the agency for cultural affairs of the government of japan, CULTURE GATE to JAPAN carefully selected 10 creatives working in art, technology, animation, video games and manga to create original works of art inspired by the rich cultural history of Japan. participating artists include AC-bu; Creative label ni; saeko ehara; natsujikei miyazaki; nyamyam; hiroaki oishi; minori nagashima; sayaka shimada; dorita takido; and nao yoshigai.

the artists’ installations are presented in three different exhibitions – neo-kakejiku, transcend prayersand +A+ – that stimulate history through innovative and contemporary works. neo-kakejikufeatures five artists reinterpreting the traditional hanging scroll, and transcend prayers, created by sayaka shimada reminiscent of the country’s canceled fireworks festivals due to the coronavirus pandemic, are on display at tokyo’s haneda airport. simultaneously, +A+at the tokyo international cruise terminal, sees four artists explore the relationship between the human spirit and the sea via a large-scale video installation.

CULTURE GATE to JAPAN is meant to digitally unveil Japanese culture
iruka-kun, cherry blossom maneki-neko by AC-bu

the neo-kakejiku series at Haneda Airport, Tokyo

neo-kakejiku (video here) uses the latest technologies and modern interpretations to give a new look to the classic hanging rolls of Japan. First introduced by Buddhist missionaries from China and usually displayed in tokonoma alcoves, they can be found in tea ceremony rooms, ryokan guest rooms, martial arts dojos and the most important to the house. the aim of the participating artists was to express the charms of Japanese culture in a new light in order to welcome everyone who visits the airport.

artist AC-bu anime sound popular iruka kun the dolphin character has also featured in fashion collaborations, music videos, LINE stickers, and art exhibits. in this work, the character embodies the lucky charm, maneki-neko. dyebirth_see as by Creative label ni casts moving ink that resembles tree branches and flowers, rocks and clouds, mountains and rivers. the unpredictable chemical reactions create patterns that blend together and eventually fade to black, reminding viewers of the diversity and cycle of life.

CULTURE GATE to JAPAN is meant to digitally unveil Japanese culture
for the neo-kakejiku creative label ni was inspired by suibokuga (ink wash painting) which uses shades of black ink

in the bamboo by Natsujikei Miyazaki is a modern version of the ancient Japanese folk story, ‘the story of the bamboo cutter’, in which a mysterious princess comes from the moon and is discovered as a baby inside the bamboo stalk. through a floating girl, the artist sees inspiration as a reflection of the everyday life we ​​now live, with our private expressions hidden behind masks.

nyamyamit’s tengami features a digital representation of the video game in which the player becomes a samurai who must explore a mystical pop-up book world. while what is in the sea is also in me by nao yoshigai depicts a nocturnal swim in the sea inspired by the artist’s perspective on sugita genpaku’s anatomical tables. genpaku was the author of ‘Kaitai Shinshou’ design book which was written during the edo period (1603-1868) and was the first large-scale translation of a text on western anatomy in japan.“I dived into the sea at night and felt that what is in the body is also in the sea. in the ocean, life and death mingle […] I hope to touch the universe of the body which has not yet been revealed,’ said yoshigai.

CULTURE GATE to JAPAN is meant to digitally unveil Japanese culture
nyamyam’s contribution to neo-kakejiku is based on their video game ‘tengami’, which puts you in the role of a samurai who must explore a mystical world created with washi paper

all 1,300 fireworks festivals canceled

in japan, appreciating the fleeting beauty of fireworks is the summer equivalent of seeing cherry blossoms in spring. for transcend prayers at haneda airport in tokyo, artist, pyrotechnician and creator of fireworks sayaka shimada explores the history, thought and aesthetics behind his installation titled fireworks for another world that never came. To this day, Japanese fireworks are symbols of hope, the impermanence of life and fleeting beauty as well as a requiem for deceased souls. shimada has collected information on dates and locations where approximately 1,300 fireworks festivals were canceled in 2020 due to the influence of the coronavirus. based on this data, she created a specially designed fireworks show; launched them and captured it all through aerial footage filmed in one shot. this was then presented by simulating the booming explosions on a national map, dotted with tools from the launch, as the artwork pays homage to the aborted events.

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