Japan-Asia Art Exhibition for Sports, 2020:The Crown of Reiwa
Concurrent exhibition:Seishu “Ippin” Art Label Exposition: The Glorious Crown of Art
The Crown of Reiwa, Art Exhibition Supporting Sports, 2020, by Japan and its Compatriots, was held for three days from July 24 to 26, 2020, at Shibuya Hikarie Hall B (9th floor).
The Sacred Sake for Peace, Seishu “Ippin” Art Label Exposition, The Glorious Crown of Art, was concurrently held at the 9th floor Hall Foyer. Quite a few people stopped by to appreciate the works at the entrance of the exhibition.
The opening ceremony was held on the morning of the first day of the exhibition. Although the State of Emergency declared to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus had been lifted, the Municipal Goverments all over Japan continued to urge the public to restrict unnecessary travel. Under such circumstances, the ceremony was held with just a handful of sponsors and guests of honors to avoid the Three Taboos; confined areas, mass gatherings, and close contacts.
Mr. Nobutoshi Akao, Senior Advisor of the Geibun Association, the sponsor, explained the Geibun Association’s activities over the last 20 years and gave an outline of the Association.
Mr. Akao’s address was followed by congratulatory remarks by Mr. Masataka Fujita, Secretary-General of ASEAN-Japan Centre, for which Mr. Akao had previously served as Secretary-General.
Mr. Kathumoto Munakata, Oriental Art Adviser for the Geibun Association, followed with his speech and, finally, a congratulatory message from the president of Yoshikubo Brewery, who cooperated with us in organizing the exhibition, was introduced. The ceremony concluded with Mr. Akao sounding the Bell of Peace, signalling the opening of the exhibition. Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali of Thailand tolled the bell at one of our exhibitions in Bangkok in the past, and the bell has since been carefully looked after by the Geibun Association as a gift from the royal house of Thailand.
As mentioned before, it is only natural for us to pay extra attention to holding an art exhibition amid the coronavirus pandemic. Still, I cannot help but report and ask for your understanding that we paid more than extra attention to enable visitors to safely and securely see the artworks, as we maintained our stance of praying for peace.
We had over 300 visitors on the first day and were pleasantly surprised by having bigger number of visitors than we initially expected.
We had over 100 visitors on the second and third days respectively, with the three day total number of visitors exceeding 500.
It seems that the restrictions placed on travelling had an impact on the number of visitors, rather than the coronavirus pandemic itself.
The sponsors were relieved to see the event concluded safely, as we did not receive any report of Covid-19 symptoms from the artists nor visitors after the event.
Oddly enough, since the event was held to advocate peace in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, it is certain that the event was seen as an occasion to pray for children’s sound future and to support children and youths in sports through art.
A considerable number of the Japanese were disappointed by the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this year. Still, it is not comparable at all to the feelings of the athletes who had been training daily for the events. We can only sympathise with the sentiments of the athletes who persistently pursued their dreams.
The heartbreak of the Olympic swimmer, Ms. Rikako Ikee, expressed through the internet worldwide on the day the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were supposed to open, must have conveyed the feeling of the athletes to many people.
The sponsors believe that the arts, fine art and music in particular, heal such emotional wounds. We pray that the purpose of our exhibition would have reached as many athletes and others involved in sports as possible.
The exhibitions showed 395 pieces, consisting of 259 artworks, 46 labels and 90 children’s works.
The exhibition was originally supposed to send cheers to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this year. Ｗe wholeheartedly support the events that are to be held next year and expect to relish the skills of each athlete and see their beauty in motion.
It would also give us pleasure if we can convey to children that the art and sport can serve as two wheels on the axle in healing society.
Finally, I wish to thank our Association’s Senior Adviser Mr. Akao, Mr. Masataka Fujita, Secretary General of ASEAN-Japan Centre, and our Association’s Oriental Art Adviser Mr. Kathumoto Munakata for coming today despite the coronavirus pandemic.
I also thank the ASEAN artists who sent us their work when freight service is disrupted due to COVID-19 pandemic.
My sincere thanks also go to Hokkoku Newspaper and Yoshikubo Brewery for their support.
General Incorporated Association
Nobutoshi Akao, Senior Adviser, Geibun Association
I would like to say a few words on behalf of the Geibun Association on the occasion of The Crown of Reiwa Art Exhibition in support of sports by Japan and its Asian compatriots, and Sieshu “Ippin” Art Label Exposition, The Glorious Crown of Art.Today’s opening ceremony amidst the novel coronavirus pandemic is held in the absence of the exhibiting artists and event officials to prevent the spread of infection. They will see the exhibitions at a later date. I sincerely thank the artists for their understanding of the events held under such abnormal circumstances.
The exhibitions were originally to be held to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics, which were supposed to open at this weekend, in support of Olympic and Paralympic athletes through art, with the cooperationof leading Japanese artists from across the nation. The Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee initially sponsored the events, but due to the postponement of the Olympics, the motif of the exhibition now is to support Asian athletes in general. Vice-President Amrit Chusuwan of Silpakorn University in Thailand and Prof. Khairy Syamsudin of MARA University of Technology in Malaysia are kind enough to exhibit their works.
Whenever we organize art exhibitions whether in Japan or abroad, Geibun Association has been trying to organize “Children’s Art Session” with the participating Japanese artists with the purpose of nurturing children’s culture of sentiments through art. This time, ninety pieces by children from sports groups, including baseball and soccer, school clubs and calligraphy schools, are shown in the exhibition. I would like to thank everyone who assisted us in organizing the exhibits.
Geibun Association celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. In the past 20 years, we hosted exhibitions in Thailand, Italy, Russia, Lithuania, Malaysia, and Hawai’i, and Japan, with the understanding and cooperation of artists and others concerned. We look forward to resuming our work abroad next year as we await the suppression of the novel coronavirus pandemic, so we ask for your continued cooperation and support.
To conclude, I offer my thanks to the ASEAN-Japan Centre, Thai Red Cross, and Hokkoku News for their patronage, and Yoshikubo Brewery in Mito for their cooperation in organizing the label exposition.
Kathumoto Munakata, Oriental Art Adviser, Geibun Association
Today was supposed to be the opening day of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
The events will be held a year later, so I think we have time to think deeply and make preparations.
Before the first Tokyo Olympics in 1964, Japan was still suffering from the aftermath of defeat in the Second World War. Then, the difference of living standards between Japan and Western powers led by the United States was like light and shade, and Japan was no match to these powers. Neverthelwss, fully cognizant of the fact, the nation has worked hard to achieve economic development, recovering full confidence after the Olympic Games, thanks to the diligence of the Japanese people.
We are in the midst of the global climate change and Japan is no exception in that the people in Kyushu area are suffering again from floods this year, following such disaster last year. I feel that it could be a message from the God, “Humans, do not be arrogant.”
There is a saying, “Out of disaster springs fortune.” After such unfortunate experiences, I hope we could welcome the Olympics next year with very humble mind.
I closely studied the exhibits in The Crown of Reiwa and The Glorious Crown of Art exhibitions ahead of the opening. They made me realize anew that the power of art is all the more necessary in times like these.
I think we can overcome any hardship if we are spiritually nourished, but not if our spirit is broken. In times like these, I have strong expectation that the power of art would heal people’s souls and that a new Japan will emerge. I would like to humbly send my encouragement to the artists. Thank you very much for your attention.
Secretary General Masataka Fujita, ASEAN-Japan Centre
Thank you very much for inviting me to The Crown of Reiwa exhibition and The Glorious Crown of Art, Seishu “Ippin” Art Label exposition.
I believe that both sports and art are for expressing an individual’s passion and energy. We use our bodies to express ourselves in sports, and we convey our passion and energy to others in art. As I considered such relationship between sports and art, I realized how important it is to nurture culture of sentiments through art for children who would be future athletes.
The ASEAN-Japan Centre aims to deepen mutual understanding through promotion of Japan and Asia’s economic activities by linking trade, investment, and tourism. We began sponsoring art exhibitions such as these from around 2011, as we felt we must understand each other’s societies and cultures through people-to-people exchanges.
I am looking forward to seeing the works of Vice-President Amrit Chusuwan of Silpakorn University in Thailand and Prof. Khairy Syamsudin of MARA University of Technology in Malaysia, at these exhibitions.
I should like to conclude by expressing my wish that the exhibitions will provide an opportunity for us to further promote mutual understanding and friendships with ASEAN nations through fantastic art in the run-up to the Olympics next year.