Weekender; Korean's Eyes Wide Open to Japanese Arts, Culture

Korea Times (Seoul, Korea), October 21, 1999 | Go to article overview

Weekender; Korean's Eyes Wide Open to Japanese Arts, Culture


Since the government decision to open the market on Japanese popular culture, there have been a slew of events designed to shed light on the less explored sides of Japanese culture. Compared to popular culture, Japan's traditional and high-end art culture have been rarely introduced in Korea during the past decades of closed-door policy.

Ironically, the protectionist stance maintained by previous governments has in some ways contributed to a lopsided intake of Japanese culture. What has happened is that popular or bottom-rung culture targeting teenagers has been illegally transmitted and is flourishing here, whereas more sophisticated aspects of the culture has only had a scant amount of public exposure.

So the recent wave of events featuring Japanese fine art, traditional music and dance and a series of seminars and symposiums focusing on Japanese culture can be understood as the result of increasing public demand for wider choices of Japan's culture.

Therefore, these events have been intended to show that there is more to Japanese culture than lavish animation and comic books laden with sex and violence, thus to help people to better understand their ``close-yet-faraway'' neighbor.

The best example of this trend is a large scale Japanese contemporary art show titled ``Fancy Dance.'' It first went on display in July at the Kyongju branch of Artsonje and then moved last month to its headquarter gallery in Seoul to run until the end of this month.

Featuring 12 young, emerging artists who are forging the future of the country's fine art, it is the largest Japanese contemporary art show ever hosted in Seoul. Among the displayed items are installations, video works, photo collages and sculptures created by famed artists Maywa Denki, Miwa Yanaki, Yotaka Sone and Kachuhico Hachiya, which contemplate the new identity and lifestyle of Japanese youth today. There were multimedia performances by Dumb Type and architectural designs by Kachuo Sejima which showcased new generation visions on tomorrow's high-tech societies. The exhibit will be followed by a series of small and medium sized expositions featuring individual Japanese artists in the coming months.

An exhibit on contemporary architecture displaying photographs, documents, models and other materials finished recently in the city of Pusan. The show, previously held in Seoul, provided a glimpse into the future of Japan's architecture, with a variety of trend-setting models such as ultra-modern cityscapes to environment-friendly countryside abodes designed by the country's leading craftsmen. …

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