politics

Artists protest hate underlying attacks on Aichi art festival

61 Comments
By Yuka Nakao

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

61 Comments

Comments have been disabled You can no longer respond to this thread.

If a city is looking to attract Chinese and Koreans to their area, build up security and set up museums that cover the Nankin massacre, comfort women, Korean slave labor, the impact Japan had on the lives it oppressed in Japan, Korea, and China , topics like how conglomerates made their fortunes then and got to where they are today. I’m sure the list goes on. 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki have their history which people from all around the world come to learn from, grow, and say never forget and never again. 

Can you imagine if the United States were to say, ‘The nuclear bombs we dropped were not nearly as big as you say! It wasn’t even close to causing that level of damage you claim! You have to be kidding when you say that many people died!’

I would imagine rightly so Japanese would be deeply hurt and offended.

As I walk through parks here I occasionally find a random park with a concrete shape or a play area that seems to be a symbol of the atom dome. I pause at these places wondering how many Japanese realize the shapes significance. Those places in Nagasaki and Hiroshima are hallowed ground. The sad events of those times are seared into the psyche of this culture. Those events sadly happened. But It would be wrong to to take the events of what happened there away. 

As far as how Aichi can pay for this, I recommend they put a go fund me page out. There are those who would help cover the costs.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

I saw on Twitter Japanese people who weren't protesting for this statue, but because of other stuff like a video of a little girl who burned the pic of the Emperor, or another work made with the letters of the kamikaze for their families, called "the grave of the silly kamikaze" or something like that. I wonder why these articles don't show this stuff, that is what actually hurt some people. These works looked more like political protests that you see in Korean streets than art pieces, so people thought it wasn't proper to pay it by public money. Some people looked offended because they saw these works simply like a clear political protest against Japan rather than an art festival. Another pic had two women's shoes put above Abe's and the Emperor's pics. Honestly I wouldn't pay to see this kind of "art" either. You can send a message but in a more artistic way, if I want to see cheap stuff like that I can watch the pics of your typical anti-Japanese protests in Korean streets. These articles don't tell the full picture, they are obsessed over the statue.

-1 ( +14 / -15 )

Art before censorship whether I agree or disagree with the contents.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

Women haters and nationalists sure seem triggered by the statue.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

@zichi: yeah, art...but what's "art"? I can burn the pic of a politician too, am I an "artist"? Everyone can do that everywhere, and some people were offended because they paid to see this kind of cheap stuff. Do you want to protest against a government? Go to the street, and do it with your money. I repeat, these articles are biased. Try to search on twitter and maybe you can still find the photos of some of these "things".

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Art before censorship whether I agree or disagree with the contents.

Yep.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

@Mizu no Oto: the US don't deny the atomic attacks, but they stuck stubbornly to the narrative that they were necessary to save more people, despite many historians disagree about it. South Korea tries to censor any historian that tells the full picture about Japanese colonization of Korea, that wasn't made only of exploitation, but also of Korean collaborators, happy to be collaborators by free choice. They studied in Japanese schools and they were proud to be part of the Japanese Imperial army. Korean officials were some of the cruelest ones in Manchuria and against war prisoners. South Korea is proud of her history and economic growth, but it hides Japanese role in her economic development after WWII. The world isn't black and white, and Japan isn't the only one to be partially revisionist. According to the Westerns, everything about China is fake propaganda but they look to support Chinese narrative about everything related only to Japanese imperialism, just because in that period Japan was the enemy. People shouldn't act like we can know actually everything about stuff that is more complicated than it seems, and used for political agendas.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

@Jimizo: did you read my posts? I already explained you that the statue wasn't the main reason why many people protested. Search the photos of the other works on Twitter.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Alex80

@zichi: yeah, art...but what's "art"? I can burn the pic of a politician too, am I an "artist"? Everyone can do that everywhere, and some people were offended because they paid to see this kind of cheap stuff. Do you want to protest against a government? Go to the street, and do it with your money. I repeat, these articles are biased. Try to search on twitter and maybe you can still find the photos of some of these "things".

Being an artist myself for yon on 40 years, mostly painting but also sculpture. Went to college and did a degree course but that in itself don't qualify me to be an artist. I must also produce and exhibit and sell my works. The daily struggle is very hard and difficult.

Art is whatever you want to make it.

If I cook a plate of food and put it down on a table then I'm a chef/cook. If I put the same plate of food on a plinth in an art exhibition then it becomes art. The richest modern artist in Britain is Damien Hirst with his dead whales and sheep in tanks. He's worth about £300 million.

I haven't seen any photo's of the exhibit in the Aichi art festival so I can't comment on my personal opinions on it.

Censorship of art is unwarranted and let the visitors decide with their feet.

There are many exhibitions I don't attend and there are many I do.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

@zichi: you didn't see any of those photos, but you are here to express opinion about "art". Sorry but unlike you, I don't consider "art" a simple piece of "sht". Yeah, I know there's also a modern "artist" that put his own "sht" in a box, and called that "art". I disagree with the modern concept of "art". In the specific case, in this festival there were some things that looked simply stuff used for political protest against Japan that you can see in any street riot. I can understand why some people could think it's not right to pay with public money a strongly politically oriented thing.

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

So much art is either political or religious. And so much art has divided nations and scandalised people for centuries.

Long may it continue.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Maybe they can reopen the festival without paying with public money, and everyone is happy. No supposed censorship, and no waste of public money on something that is closer to clear political propaganda than art. I doubt any American would be happy to pay with public money an art festival with works that make fun of ordinary American soldiers died in war, like the "art" about kamikaze, that were only young guys forced to die by the State, not the ones who decided to invade Asia.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

@Toasted Heretic: art can be also controversial and satirical, but only if the supposed artists know the meaning of the word "satira". Some time ago Charlie Hebdo made fun of people died in an earthquake happened in Italy. Their idea was to suggest that all buildings in Italy are made by mafia, so they are collapsed. First, many buildings collapsed just because the cities are medieval, mafia has nothing to do with it, and second, in any case why making fun of the dead people? That hurt Italian people very much, in a desperate moment. Are we supposed to attack innocent people in satira? No, satira must be made against the politicians, not against the weak people and victims. In this art festival, I can understand the works that made fun of Abe, but why attacking the "silly kamikaze"? If you don't know how satira works, in my opinion you are not an artist, your works are only bullying at elementary school level.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

are revisionist , but at least that I'm aware are not the key issues that are creating a major impasse from opposing sides.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Art works as a mirror to the beholder and unsurprisingly their ugliness is reflected when their inner chimp is offended and provoked. The present neglect of the humanities, especially history, and the lack of art appreciation classes in public education may also explain the low level of emotional maturity displayed by the hate-filled critics of the Aichi art exhibition. Sad!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Well, at least I hope in all this "freedom of expression", people are also free to decide what we can consider "art", without someone decides for us it's art.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

If you don't know how satira works

You evidently think you know. You seem to think it should be limited to attacks on politicians. Please correct me if I’m wrong here.

Perhaps this is the understanding of satire in Italy, or perhaps it’s just your own, but it would be arrogant of you to tell us how it should be.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

The Aichi Triennale is an important international exhibition which has received some level of state support since the beginning. This is only a single exhibit but the government withdrew its support.

I don't like opera very much but I also think its a valuable worthwhile form of art which often needs state support. I would hate to see the opera disappear even if I don't go. I go to the ballet which again often needs support.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

@Mizu no Oto I recommend they put a go fund me page out... I recently checked Gofundme me, it is not accessible in Japan, if you know a similar program that can accept funds from donors in Japan please let me know. thanks

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@zichi: you can't impose your ideas of what art is on everyone else, exactly, so you can't force people to accept "this or that" like "art". People have the right to protest if they feel offended, like I showed you in the case of Amatrice. And people have the right to decide if the public money should be spent in something like that or not. Don't forget that there are always two sides, when one wins, the other one is repressed anyway.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Alex80

@zichi: you can't impose your ideas of what art is on everyone else, exactly, so you can't force people to accept "this or that" like "art". People have the right to protest if they feel offended, like I showed you in the case of Amatrice. And people have the right to decide if the public money should be spent in something like that or not. Don't forget that there are always two sides, when one wins, the other one is repressed anyway.

Unlike you I don't impose my ideas of what art is on anyone and have already stated that in my comments. Whereas you want to impose your own opinions of what art is on others.

I don't expect anyone to even accept this exhibit but since the government provided a level of funding for the Aichi Triennale since the beginning, they should have continued to do so with this one. The Central Government maintain strong feelings about everything Korea, but even more so over the CW. I don't think the funding should have been cancelled.

People actually have no right to say how taxpayer money is spent except when elections come. Governments spend taxpayers money on a wide range. I pay taxes which helps to support schools and education but I don't have any children in Japan. Money is spent on roads but I haven't driven or owned a car for 40 years.

Opera isn't something I like, even though my youngest brother has worked at the Rome Opera House for 30 years. But opera only exists because of a level of public money support. I believe that is the correct way.

I am not forcing anyone to accept what art is.

This exhibit should stand, the government should provide their funding and the visitors can decide with their feet.

This is the 19th Triennale

https://aichitriennale.jp/en/about/index.html

9 ( +13 / -4 )

@zichi: I am not imposing my idea of art, I am expressing my idea of art. Why do you think I am imposing my idea on you? This is only a way to tell me to shut up. I think people have any right in any moment to say how public money should be spent. The government has the duty to listen at all its citizens, and according to what I saw on Twitter, some of these works weren't art at all, only your typical tools of anti-Japanese Korean propaganda (burn something and stuff like that). The statue was the only normal thing.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

Alex80

@zichi: I am not imposing my idea of art, I am expressing my idea of art. Why do you think I am imposing my idea on you?

But you are when you state this exhibit should not be allowed and should not receive public money. Did you even go and read the link I made to the Aichi Triennale.

You didn't say you don't agree with this exhibit nor do you consider it to be art but it should be allowed to happen and receive funding. This is only one exhibit in the Triennale.

I have not told you to shut up, why should I?

The government has the duty to listen at all its citizens, and according to what I saw on Twitter, some of these works weren't art at all, only your typical tools of anti-Japanese Korean propaganda (burn something and stuff like that). The statue was the only normal thing.

You think the Italian, British Japanese governments listen to their citizens? Again you are imposing your ideas of what you think art is or isn't.

I don't even support all what SK is, says, does nor do I support entirely the CW stories. That has nothing to do whether this exhibit should stand.

The organisers decided what made the exhibition. That is good enough for me.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Anybody remember when art was just Bob Ross style scenery paintings and women standing by pillars?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@Alex80

Some people looked offended because they saw these works simply like a clear political protest against Japan rather than an art festival

This is what art is!  It’s not always intended to make you feel good. Art is to focus our attention onto a particular subject matter and invoke thought and emotion - good or bad. 

Political protests through art have been one of art’s greatest contributions to society. Dadaism, an art movement started around WWI, was designed to ridicule the meaningless of the modern world and its wars. It spawned a number of modern art forms like surrealism and pop art. 

All artists should show solidarity with the censored artists and protest the festival entirely by removing their works. And yes, the public should pay for this festival. Japan needs to stop trying so desperately to preserve ‘harmony’ because that essentially means to those challenging popular beliefs to put up and shut up.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

@zichi: I said they could reopen it, but without supporting of public money. This kind of "art" can be made during Korean rallies against Japanese government. I wonder why anything related to Korea must be always made in a way to suggest how much they hate Japan. They put a video with a girl burning a picture of the Emperor and stepping on it, another work that made fun of kamikaze by using the letters for their families, and another one with shoes stepping on the pictures of Abe and the Emperor. Everything was made to send the well known message about how much Korea still despises Japan, rather than to induce some historical reflection also in people who could learn something new, and modify their conservative attitude towards Japanese colonization. It looks like anything was a big "fu*k you Japan!", except for the statue, so they could say people protested for the statue, that is the most normal thing. This looks malicious manipulation to create a political case thanks to the presence of the statue, ignoring all the rest. Can these pro-Korean activists use another kind of language sometimes, to make their point?! They want only to provoke the right-wingers, without teaching them anything.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Except Bob Ross was never an artist, more of a painting technician with a very limited style and an entertaining TV person which is son now continues with.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@HJSLLS: art shouldn't be only propaganda.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Alex80

@zichi: I said they could reopen it, but without supporting of public money.

You have failed to understand the bigger picture of the 19th Aichi Triennale, even though I did provide you with a link. This exhibit didn't receive any public money or other money directly.

The Triennale is organised by a committee and happens every three years. The monies paid by private and public go to the Triennale and not to the individual artists or exhibits.

The central government have supported the Triennale since the Ist.

It's didn't like the contents of this particular exhibit and threatened to withdraw the funding unless it was excluded from the Triennale.

The committee of the Aichi Triennale decides on all the aspects of the show including those excepted and those rejected, and there are always many rejected.

It's very dangerous grounds when the central government tries to censor what is in this Triennale or any other show.

I may not agree with two square meters of brick in the London Tate Gallery, but they are part of the collection along with Damien Hirst.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

@zichi: again, people decided they don't want their money being used to host that kind of "art". Maybe the artists can try to send their message without the typical "burning something route" that people are used to see in anti-Japanese rallies in Korea. They weren't very original.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

I love artists and supporters who decry censorship but are willing to not condemn certain censors. Try drawing a certain figure and see how the religion of beauty and peace reacts and responds. See artistic freedom often depends on your own ideology and politics, and around the world it is no different!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The artists of the 19th Aichi Triennale are not just Japanese, but a wide range of international artists including Chinese and South Korean.

https://aichitriennale.jp/en/artwork/index.html

Alex80

you have failed to understand what the the Triennale is. Even though I informed you that this exhibit didn't receive any public money? Go and educate yourself on their site.

It's just like the Venice Biennale. There will always be exhibits not all of the people like. That is also happening this year.

https://www.labiennale.org/en

9 ( +11 / -2 )

The government decision was nothing less than “censorship” prohibited by the Constitution.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Follow-up announcement: On artworks to be withdrawn or changed (Announced on Aug 20)

https://aichitriennale.jp/en/news/2019/004083.html

7 ( +9 / -2 )

@zichi: I got what the Triennale is, you are failing to get my point. I rest my case.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

This is political and a disputed issue.

Now art and politics have to mix? A sad thing imo.

But this is more reflecting the current state of affairs more than anything else.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

More people protested at the closure than the exhibit.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

But, one has to ask, is it about the art or the politics?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

For the Triennale its about the art. For the government its about the politics.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

To all the people here saying 'it's not art' etc as if what constitutes art is your sole decision. Luckily for you, we have freedom of speech and expression in Japan (apparently). So, why don't you just go and make your own art pieces that convey your own passionate message/s and put them on public display? Nothing else much to say really, is there...

5 ( +8 / -3 )

@Alex80

ARTISTS AND CULTURAL WORKERS’ STATEMENT ON GENDER EQUALITY AND “AFTER ‘FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION?’”

signed by 155 artists

https://www.art-it.asia/en/top_e/admin_ed_news_e/203165

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The problem has been sk's aggressive politicization of comfort women exhibition. It has become political activism and not merely an art because the way they do it is to demand money by bringing up the past as if Japan is still doing the same thing. It may work in NY or LA but not in Japan. If you truly want to exhibit "art" then leave ugly political activism out. Again, sk caving into US demand of military contributions in billions of dollars has nothing to do with Japan. You cannot make Japan pay just because sk politicians can't say no to the US.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

It's not "art" just because someone with clear political interests decided it's "art" at all costs.

The curator or Artistic Director for the 19th Triennale was the journalist and media activist Tsuda Daisuke. There was also a selection team. Tsuda Daisuke is a professor at Waseda University, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

https://aichitriennale.jp/en/about/team.html

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Alex80

I'm just countering your claim

"*It's not "art" just because someone with clear political interests decided it's "art" at all costs."*

when in fact that isn't correct.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Alex80

you get to decide what art is for yourself but just not for everyone else.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I saw on Twitter Japanese people who weren't protesting for this statue, but because of other stuff like a video of a little girl who burned the pic of the Emperor, or another work made with the letters of the kamikaze for their families, called "the grave of the silly kamikaze" or something like that. 

The titles of those are 1. Picture to be burned 焼かれるべき絵 2. Endangered species Idiot JAPONICA round burial mound 絶滅危惧種 間抜けな日本人ー円墳

It is important to note there are many people as well who are offended severely by those exhibits.

Japanese constitution article 12 says

The freedoms, rights and opportunities enunciated by this Constitution are maintained by the eternal vigilance of the people and involve an obligation on the part of the people to prevent their abuse and to employ them always for the common good.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

The Agency for Cultural Affairs, however, said the following day that it will not pay a 78 million yen ($724,000) grant for the art festival, 

This is the problem - when you don’t fund your own art you don’t control it. There is an easy fix for the entire controversy- have the artists fund their own art/free speech.

"As soon as I was pregnant, I was asked, 'You're quitting your job, right?' (I should be able to freely decide that on my own)," read one of the posts on the door.

This is not an example of increasingly limited free speech. It is a cultural norm that is slowly changing. She is upset not with her speech being limited. She is upset with another person’s speech not matching her values. It seems she is the one that ones curtail another person’s freedom of speech.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

The Triennale has many exhibits not just this one. The funding from the Agency for Cultural Affairs is for the whole of the Triennale not just this one. It denies all of the Triennale not just this exhibit.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

And, as always, the Japanese artists and citizens who speak out against such things and favor exhibitions highlighting Japan's wartime atrocities, will conveniently be brushed aside and ignored by the usual crowd here. The kind of people who would have the world believe every single Japanese person is a xenophobic and hate mongering bigot who does nothing but white wash history.

No. This article isn't about them. You sure love playing the victim card on behalf of the Japanese. It's hilarious.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@mizu no too

As a matter of fact, the US cities have been cancelling the Hiroshima Nagasaki exhibition. Even in San Francisco. Japan wasn't protesting boycotting US goods or any political activism going on.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In a country where only two out of six national museum directors are women, this is a rarity for an art festival in Japan.

Yeah... One museum director short of parity. What a debacle!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There is something which nobody here seem to notice but I hear from Japanese around me who still haven't lost their sense for what's right and wrong.

The apparently national broadcaster NHK haven't aired anything about the issue so a vast majority of the population doesn't have any idea about the censorship put by the government.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Controversial art exhibition likely to reopen

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190930_23/

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If this is either North or South on the peninsula, or China, such exhibition would not be reopened.

Not only that, those artists, or directors& staffs related would be socially crossed out, at least, or dumped into jail.

What is so hard for the claimers to understand the difficulty to gain public expenditure when WHAT YOU CALL ARE UNDER FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION annoys and offends so much of people in the country?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If this is either North or South on the peninsula, or China, such exhibition would not be reopened.

If this was China or North Korea there wouldn't even be a site like JT allowing you freely to post your comments.

But this is Japan, and the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression.

More people protested at the closure of the exhibit than those against it.

If you don't like it then don't visit. I don't like the Yasukuni Shrine with its revisionist war museum so I don't visit.

The grant from the government is for the entire Triennale not just this one exhibit.

The public will never have 100% agreement on how taxpayer money is spent.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

zichiToday  07:08 pm JST

If this is either North or South on the peninsula, or China, such exhibition would not be reopened.

If this was China or North Korea there wouldn't even be a site like JT allowing you freely to post your comments.

But this is Japan, and the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression.

As I already posted, the same constitution states

The freedoms, rights and opportunities enunciated by this Constitution are maintained by the eternal vigilance of the people and involve an obligation on the part of the people to prevent their abuse and to employ them always for the common good.

More people protested at the closure of the exhibit than those against it.

If you have any source with which you can objectively compare which is more, please show us, unless you

are only talking about JT comments section

If you don't like it then don't visit. I don't like the Yasukuni Shrine with its revisionist war museum so I don't visit.

But you are enjoying the freedom of expression/thought by saying you don't like it and it is revisionist war museum. So should I be able to

The grant from the government is for the entire Triennale not just this one exhibit.

It is called collective responsibility levied on Aichi prefecture and the Triannale. Nothing wrong with that.

The public will never have 100% agreement on how taxpayer money is spent.

That is why we have democracy and the public servants who are supposed take action when they find issues and locate where the greatest common divisor should be set.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The Ministry of Culture claimed their grant was being withheld not because of the contents of the exhibit but because of incorrect procedure by the Aichi Triennale in claiming the grant.

Article 14. All of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.

Article 19. Freedom of thought and conscience shall not be violated.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Nagoya District Court agreed with the artists of the closed exhibit which stated it must reopen.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The Ministry of Culture claimed their grant was being withheld not because of the contents of the exhibit but because of incorrect procedure by the Aichi Triennale in claiming the grant.

The Ministry of Culture doesn't have to dig into the contents YET because the only fact the possibility triggering outcry was expected but not appropriately reported in advance, which is misconduct on the part of the prefecture.

Article 14. All of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.

Article 19. Freedom of thought and conscience shall not be violated.

Each one of freedoms contradict each other and that is why we have article 12. Freedom is not something which is complete restriction-free. Besides "Art" is "quasi-public" when it is presented in the public exhibition and demands public funding.

The Nagoya District Court agreed with the artists of the closed exhibit which stated it must reopen.

This is Japan not NK nor China. Sure it would be reopened but not coming with public supports

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

One statement said that the "Statue of Peace" made by South Korean artists Kim Seo Kyung and Kim Eun Sung "fundamentally addresses the human rights of women."

BS. In such case Mr and Mrs Kim should complain big time when those statues are being erected with fake epitaphs all over the places

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

There is something which nobody here seem to notice but I hear from Japanese around me who still haven't lost their sense for what's right and wrong.

The apparently national broadcaster NHK haven't aired anything about the issue so a vast majority of the population doesn't have any idea about the censorship put by the government.

Its no secret that the Japanese public are horribly uninformed. Hence they roll with a the revisionism.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites