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Travel Tip: Art and Archaeology in Japan
Tadasu Takamine's Cool Japan

Tadasu Takamine's Cool Japan
IBARAKI  •  Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito  •  Ongoing
Taking the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the recent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster as two important benchmarks, Tadasu Takamine's Cool Japan investigates popular constructs of Japanese identity. In preparation for this exhibition, Japanese artist Tadasu Takamine has spent a two-and-a-half month period in a town halfway between Tokai-mura in Ibaraki Prefecture, where a nuclear power plant is located, and the city of Mito. The interviews he has conducted with people ranging from an elderly woman displaced by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster to a student participant of anti-nuclear protests in Tokyo are developed in the form of a theatrical installation that evolves across each of the galleries in the Contemporary Art Center.

the installation will also incorporate words, slogans and images that the Japanese have unconsciously promoted, disseminated, and deployed in an oppressive way from the postwar era to the present.

The "Cool Japan" in the exhibition title is a catchphrase devised by the Japanese government as a self-branding exercise to promote Japanese culture to an international audience. This includes superior consumer technology and a customer service ethic with a meticulous attention to detail, as well as Japanese food, anime, manga, and video games. At a time when the Great East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011, and various problems surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster have yet to be resolved, a pervasive distrust of politicians, corporations and the mass media has taken hold, and public emotions and sentiments over these issues remain divided. In this context, it seems a bit of a stretch to label anything about the current Japan as "cool."

Offering a taste of Takamine's vision of a "Cool Japan," the newly commissioned interactive works in this exhibition invite visitors to cast an inquiring eye on the value systems and moral perspectives of the Japanese people.

Curated by Mizuki Takahashi, the exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue in Japanese and English, to be published in March 2013.

Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito Website


Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito
1-6-8, Goken-cho, Mito
Ibaraki, 310-0063

Tel: (81) 29 227 8120

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