Creative Kyoto

Shared “Vision”: KYOTOGRAPHIE 2020 in Review


“Vision,” the theme of this year’s KYOTOGRAPHIE International Photography Festival, seeks to highlight photography’s power to overcome barriers and satisfy (in the words of New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield) “that terrible desire to establish contact.”

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Creating Space for Artistic Expression: Reflecting on Kyoto Experiment 2019


Last month marked the 10th edition of Kyoto Experiment (KEX), an annual International Performing Arts Festival that presented avant-garde works by eleven feature artists who represented six regions of the world, running from Oct. 5-27. This year’s theme, Échos-monde: The Age of Ecology, explored the subtleties and complexities of our subjective relationship with nature to…

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Expanding the boundaries of Ceramic Art: Takuro Kuwata at Kyoto’s Kiyomizu Temple


The name of this exhibit, “Day After Day”, is an expression of the ritual of production, paralleling the daily ritual of prayer that takes place a temple, the continued action of which build to result in a gradual refinement and accumulation of moments that in turn drive future expression and creativity. Kuwata’s impressive and thoughtful work encapsulates the message that the FEEL KIYOMIZUDERA project endeavors to convey.

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KYOTOGRAPHIE 2019: A review


KYOTOGRAPHIE has been successful partly because photographic images have the ability to transcend linguistic differences through ishin denshin: wordless communication, heartstrings vibrating in harmony.“Vibe,” which situates ishin denshin within a specific locale, is a fitting theme for the photography festival, now in its seventh year.

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Embrace slow travel: Head to “Kyoto by the Sea”: Part One


In the autumn of 2018, our Head of Design at KJ, Hirisha Mehta, was invited with a group of journalists to explore the northern and lesser-known areas of Kyoto Prefecture, called Kyo-Tango. This was part of an initiative by Kyoto by the Sea DMO (Destination Management and Marketing Organisation) to promote regional development through tourism.…

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KYOTO EXPERIMENT: In Conversation with Yusuke Hashimoto

Kyoto Experiment sign

“Before, the younger artists based here in the Kansai region who wanted to grow internationally had to always to go Tokyo in the beginning to be acquainted with the right critics or journalists living there who could help launch their careers. But I wanted to create an international platform so that these artists could easily make the connections here”

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Honyarado: Losing Kyoto’s Counter-Culture Hub


Opening in 1972, Honyarado became a hub and stronghold of anti-war activities and a symbol of youth counterculture. We campaigned for the release of political prisoners in South Vietnam and South Korea, and supported court cases against obscenity charges.

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Mio Heki: Kintsugi Artist and Urushi Master

Mio Heki kintsugi repairing ceramic cup in studio Kyoto Japan close-up

“I see urushi as a way to connect ourselves and our culture with nature in so many ways. Because urushi and kintsugi art is all natural, it is a good way to remind ourselves that we are all part of nature, being pieces of our universe.”

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Chiemi Ogura: Bamboo Craftswoman

Chiemi Ogura bamboo craftswoman Kyoto photo by Irwin Wong

Chiemi weaves her intricate bamboo jewellery from her inner-west Kyoto home studio. Everything step is done by her and by hand, from cutting strips from raw, Kyoto-sourced stalks, to the final dying that washes the pieces in unique wine, turquoise, and emerald shades.

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KYOTOGRAPHIE Breaks New Ground

Ono Tadashi Coastal Motifs

Kyotographie seems to be not merely bringing people to hidden or at least underutilized parts of Kyoto, but taking an active role in developing and revitalizing areas that are in dire need of a pick-me-up.

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No Translation Needed: KYOTOGRAPHIE 2017


The theme of KYOTOGRAPHIE 2016 is “Love,” a sentiment that is seemingly-universal yet highly-fraught in ways that vary widely from culture to culture. The festival’s organizers do not try to reconcile the differences but rather lay out the debate in spatial and visual terms.

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Vassal Beats Lord: Benkei and Yoshitsune in the Noh Play Ataka

Practice with his son_1

Ataka reveals an aspect of unique Japanese spirituality. While it is a challenging performance for actors that requires subtle skills instructed orally by a master, the story structure involves a powerful psychodrama, and the roles and presentation evoke the audience’s emotions directly by the senses without depending completely on the words.

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In the Realm of the Bicycle


I first noticed them, the fact of their everywhereness, during my daily commute to and from work, as they stood and leaned and laid and zipped around in all the conditions of life itself…

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KJ 98: Ma