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Japanese Embassy withdraws approval for Vienna art exhibition


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Just go ahead with or without Japans approval.

Japan can sensor it's own people, but cannot sensor everybody else.

2 ( +24 / -22 )

Not surpassing at all, Japan is neither democratic nor a country which allows a free and strong critical point of view among its population. It's totally ok to say xenophobic and racist things against foreigners but dare you say anything publicly and with a large audience possibly listening to it against the interests of its authoritarian government.

1 ( +24 / -23 )

The withdrawal of approval came after an unidentified Japanese lawmaker who learned of the artists' participation in both the Nagoya and Vienna exhibitions asked the Japanese Foreign Ministry to look into the matter,

That is a great way to ensure that lots of people come to the exhibition.

Well done!


10 ( +20 / -10 )

The thing is some of the controversial art work comes from actual Japanese artists that want to freely express themselves.

Japan even censored Yusuke Suga who made a piece referencing the Fukushima meltdown to terrorism and 9/11. He work was put up in New York after Japanese galleries and shows refused his work.

5 ( +19 / -14 )

Withdrawing support for an art exhibition, in other words censorship, certainly doesn't contribute to "mutual understanding and friendship".

-1 ( +18 / -19 )

The embassy said its officials who visited the exhibition concluded it does not facilitate mutual understanding and friendship between the two countries and notified the organizers of the retraction of its approval on Oct 30.

WelI, I don't know about you but I only surround myself with and call "friends" people who constantly praise and blow wind up my rear and never approach anything that might be considered critical or advisory. My fragile ego could never take such balance in my life. Horrendous treachery!

1 ( +17 / -16 )

Censorship. Pathetic.

-6 ( +14 / -20 )

The withdrawal of approval came after an unidentified Japanese lawmaker who learned of the artists' participation in both the Nagoya and Vienna exhibitions asked the Japanese Foreign Ministry to look into the matter,

name him/ her I dare you. So it's come to this an unidentifiable lawmaker who has so much time on his or her hands to be upto date on art. Decides this is way too much but remains unidentifiable. Little bit suspicious Nippon Kaigi shun the light.

-5 ( +14 / -19 )

The exhibition, scheduled to run through Nov 24, will now go on without the official logo

Not granting this a stamp of official approval from the Government of Japan is not equivalent to censorship.

Art works at the exhibition included one showing blood depicted in the shape of Japan's rising sun symbol streaming down from radiation protection gear and a video of a person posing as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologizing to China and South Korea for the country's wartime aggression.

Most governments aren't going to give official recognition to something that denigrates their own naval ensign, nor something that impersonates their own Prime Minister. Sorry that a 'petty right-winger' had to point out how absurd this is.

12 ( +22 / -10 )

Japan showing off its pettiness yet again.

-4 ( +16 / -20 )

So political propaganda disguised as Art is Almighty. Try it in current North Korea or even in China、 and boast

16 ( +21 / -5 )

It's totally ok to say xenophobic and racist things against foreigners

uhh, you obviously are just making things up. You should read the news because it isn’t okay.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Right wing men playing politics and censoring whatever they don't like.

-12 ( +8 / -20 )

Show us, what is it that is causing this problem ???.

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

There will be none of this belly-aching if these edgy “artworks” are shown at Comiket at Tokyo Big Site instead.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Does Japan get to do a reciprocal art festival in Austria? They can show pictures of htler (he was born there), nzi paraphernalia (banned in Germany, maybe Austria too - free speech?), and their prime minister who is deemed to be a far righter.

12 ( +18 / -6 )

And people wonder why are Koreans still upset with Japan. Does this look like the behavior of someone who feels even a grain of remorse about the past? To expect a sincere recognition and apology from these people is more than wishful thinking. Is it also any wonder why the majority of Japanese people are utterly ignorant about their past? The J-Govt. have done everything they can to keep people indoctrinated with one-sided information, and prevent them from being exposed to new information. Alternative views and information different from the "official one" are not allowed in Japan. Authoritarians hate all freedoms, the freedom to speak, the freedom to choose what to buy, where to buy, where to work, who to vote for etc. Authoritarians want to control you, what you can say, what you know, what you should think, who you should vote for, where you should buy from, what to buy, how to buy it etc. everything. It's not about the culture, it's about the system.

-6 ( +13 / -19 )

Nothing riles Japan up more than Japanese who don’t tow the party line and refuse to tone down their unfiltered warts and all portrayals, so at odds with the officially sanctioned, see, hear, and speak no evil views foreigners should have of the place.

-9 ( +10 / -19 )

This exhibition goes in search of two concepts that denote behavioural codes in Japanese society – tatemae (“masquerade”, which relates to the expectations of the community) and honne (which refers to feelings hidden from the community) – dual principles that are enormously influential in Japanese society – and it investigates their role in contemporary Japanese art. Tatemae and honne govern the relationship between the community and the individual, defining how coexistence functions through certain behavioural rules, laws, traditions and conventions – a phenomenon we see in different permutations in every society. In parallel with this, tatemae and honne reflect aesthetic questions that consider relationships between form and content, reality and representation, critique and affirmation, and so on.

The exhibition considers, for example, the kind of poetic practices, subtexts and metaphors that arise from precisely this tension between the avoidance of conflict and the open expression of criticism. Tatemae defines not only that which is best left unspoken, but also indirect forms of communication – the ways in which things can be reformulated or circumvented. The exhibition considers the control mechanisms that arise in the process, the ways people deal with them, and the position that critique and socially critical art assume in public discourse. In so doing, the works reveal indirect systems of control and associated power structures of official narratives. How do conscious transgressions of tatemae function in a socio-political context – and are they pushing artistic practices to the limit?

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Is this really important news to anybody. Really, if Japan does'nt like it - tough.

As one commentator has pointed out, more people will probably visit now.

Incidentally, Japan needs to understand, Austria is not Japan's jurisdiction, and Austria is a democracy. Exhibitions don't need Japans approval, and statues in other jurisdictions don't need Japans permission.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Well oh well its now 74years & COUNTING, we see the govt & powers that be STILL don't\wont acknowledge Japan's own history!!!

No surprise actually many of us here know that the Japan of old still lurks JUST beneath the surface, it would not take much for Japan to be pretty much the same as China.....something to think about!

Scary stuff, that is still very alive & lurking just below the surface in "modern" Japan, just waiting to take the country back to the "good ole" days...….

This politician should come out from whatever skirt he is hiding under & show has face!

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

“just waiting to take the country back to the "good ole" days...….”

And next time, unlike the last time things went all pear-shaped, it’ll be no more Mr Nice Guy.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

It's probably for "safety concerns".

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The Austrians well-known in German-speaking lands for disowning their most (in)famous son and their untiring efforts to deny their Nazi past have met their match in dealing with Japanese officialdom likewise infected root and branch by the fascist mindset of their forebears. The "Don't mention the war" mentality has inevitably resulted in some cross-cultural head-banging in Vienna. Lol!

0 ( +6 / -6 )

All those who want to brag about freedom of expression in Europe as opposed to Japan should try to organize "Cartoons of religious prophets" exhibition in any city in Western Europe. Good luck with that!

Talk about the kettle complaining to the pot...

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Japan isn't HK.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

We already know the history, why capitalize on it more in art form! All countries have history. The exhibit is almost like a satire and an insult.

if you want to befriend, you don’t constantly remind your friend of what your friend did wrong would you? That means you will never be forgiven and you will consume your time reminding the friend all their errors! Soon you will be enemies.

Past is past and we have learned from it. Move forward.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

As a sovereign country, Japan can make any decisions she sees necessary. Japan has the freedom of expressions, as all others have.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

I guess the Japanese Government would be happier if the art wasn’t in the form of criticism, however freedom of expression isn’t just limited to manga or anime, nor is it always a happy subject.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

The themes that the Japanese themselves can’t talk about because they don’t know themselves due to state control?

Scary stuff!

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Japan has the freedom of expressions, as all others have.

Except for nominally communist countries and other authoritarian countries.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japan continuing to try to whitewash its past. Foul.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Chip Star, you don't own the patent for the freedom of expression, why would you deny it to others ? What is your legal basis ?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Not made crystal clear in the above article is that all the artists involved in the "Japan Unlimited" exhibition in Vienna are Japanese. It is a marked irony that these artists must go abroad to be safe from censorship and threats of violence in Japan.

For over 70 years the Japanese power elite has done their best to deny Japan's crimes against humanity. This has primarily been done to gaslight the Japanese populace. But it has also run an international PR campaign to convince the world that Japan is the worst victim of WWII. Japan has in the meantime remained essentially racist and xenophobic. Witness all the vitriol unleashed here and elsewhere against Koreans. (The Mainichi had a excellent editorial about anti-Korean hate speech on the weekly magazines.)

It's sad that Japan's artists must go abroad to be able to freely express themselves.

0 ( +8 / -8 )


The themes that the Japanese themselves can’t talk about because they don’t know themselves due to state control?

Are you living in Japan? People can and do talk about topics like yanfu, Nanking, burakumin etc etc. However, because of strong opinions and the lack of a discussion culture here (not that that is not a problem in the West too, seeing the current Trump derangement syndrome posts on this site), people usually stay away from these, since they typically end in bad feelings and science.

But the claim of government control, North Korea style, is incorrect.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Who needs approval these days anyways?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan isn't HK.

What relevance is HK to this festival in Vienna?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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