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This is a past article published in Hiragana Times. Each Japanese paragraph is followed by its English translation or vise versa, and furigana are placed above each kanji to make Japanese study even easier. [Magazine Sample] [Subscription Page]

The Appeal of Bringing Creators and Customers Together

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Design Festa is an art event at which artists get to display or perform their work. Since 1994, the event has been held biannually at Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward, Tokyo. No limits are set on age or nationality, and exhibitors include professional and amateur artists. Art of any genre is accepted. There are no auditions or evaluations, so as long as it’s original work, it can be displayed or performed here.

At Design Festa, a variety of art works and performances are shown. Some people paint pictures on eight-meter-wide canvases, while others deliver collective singing and dancing performances on stage. In a darkened area of the venue works utilizing light and video images are shown. In the outdoor area participants can cook and sell food. There is also a handicrafts section for visitors to enjoy.

In many of the booths, the items on display are also on sale. At most of the booths the creator is there in person to explain their work to customers. “Design Festa is a place which both exhibitors and visitors can enjoy together. It’s possible to attract many more customers than you would be able to do on your own and through communicating with visitors, new opportunities and possibilities arise,” says ITO Azusa, head of PR for Design Festa, Ltd.

“We do not divide the space up by genre. The mixture of various art works makes for a chaotic atmosphere, which creates an exceptional space,” says Ito. “Exhibitors are the stars of the event, so we take care to ensure that they feel free to exhibit as they please.”

“The great thing about Design Festa is that it attracts customers searching for items that don’t appeal to the general public or are extremely unique,” says ASAI Hideo, who has exhibited his work at the event 13 times in a row. Asai is the CEO of Asai Seisakusho, Ltd., a company that makes screws. At Design Festa, they sell accessories made using handmade screws.

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Asai Seisakusho Ltd.

To commemorate the 20th Anniversary of Design Festa, it has been decided that Designfesta, Ltd., will host a new art event – the “All Student Art Festival – Gakuten” – on August 9 and 10. “Gakuten” is a Design Festa for students. Those wanting to participate in the event have to be studying in school, in further education, or in a class. There are no restrictions on age or nationality. Original work of any genre is accepted.

“I expect that the exhibitors at Gakuten will be younger than those at Design Festa, so we are anticipating a more festive atmosphere,” says MINEO Asahi. Asahi is currently attending a product design course at Nihon Kogakuin Hachioji Campus. Mineo and her classmate TAKENAKA Mizuho are making accessories that combine traditional Japanese patterns with the cute colors and designs seen on items worn around the Harajuku area. “We’re hoping that young people will become familiar with the charm of traditional Japanese patterns.

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MINEO Asahi (right) and TAKENAKA Mizuho (left)

“We would like to make a music video and do an installation at Gakuten,” says IZUKI Keito of Amphithéâtre, a student handicraft club from Yokohama National University. “We would like to make a video production featuring these accessories to show while selling our products,” she says.

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IZUKI Keito

“All Student Art Festival – GAKUTEN -”

August 9 – 10
At Tokyo Big Sight (Koto Ward, Tokyo)
Tickets on the door: one day 1,000 yen, two days 1,800 yen
Advance tickets: one day 800 yen, two days 1,500 yen

Text: SAZAKI Ryo


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