Japanese leading architect, designer and musician got together in Asuka in July and thought about designing Japan in “Asuka Design Week”.
At an ancient temple, Oka temple, founded in Asuka at the same era, product designer Toshiyuki Kita who has been merging Japanese traditional craft with Italian creativity for 50 years and making new trend in the design world told about the power of design.
Character of local area has important impact to the world. When Japan was in the middle of the rapid growth in 1970s, many traditional crafts were not popular anymore. Handcrafts didn’t have energy to compete with new things. Masters of Japanese traditional paper had to think about closing their business. Kita went to Italy alone and started his career in the field of furniture at that time. He designed lump shade made with Japanese paper and it became such a popular product that it turned to be one of the design rights in Europe. When masters in every region were thinking as “it’s over”, Italian furniture manufacture ordered the lump shades in bulk and thus many Japanese paper districts revived.
Kengo Sumi who is going to design a main stadium for Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 talked about the relation between tradition, pioneer, and design. Architectures by Sumi are seen in the world now and those attract people to visit the place. He explains his works as “architecture connected with city and earth”. Sumi always used for local airport and stations for his design. He walked around the town and talked with local people. This fieldwork creates “architecture which is necessary for people”. He always goes to the place to understand something from his experience. This sense makes “ideal architecture” and “exciting architecture” like V&A matched with Scottish climate come true.
Satoyama where people lived for about 1500 years and appearance of temple and shrine give us much inspiration for discussing design. Asuka design week was developed for varied people to obtain rich inspiration from this cultural climate. Asuka’s icon, Ishibutai Tumulus made in 7th century is a tomb of aristocracies who had extreme power. It is now a huge grass park where people enjoy seasonal landscape.
Free pop music live, Asuka Otowa Festival was held there in the end for trial of reviving the landscape ASUKA DESIGN WEEK “Asuka Music & Story Festival”, GAKU-MC, National Asuka historic park Ishibutai Tumulus Asuka Kaze Butai. Japanese rapper GAKU-MC showed “rhythm for dancing together” and “song for singing together” to the all generation on the green field. It gave people happiness in the beautiful evening. The live was handed over to the woman vocalist Salyu on the magically lighted stage in the darken forest. Yo Hitoto and other musicians respect her as “Most talented singer in Japan”. Her melodious voice attracted all at the venue so much that people called for an encore for 30 minutes after the live and even though it had shower during the last song. The festival was closed with touching and comfortable live.
Asuka area is where Japanese leading creative people want to have much conversation. The beauty of Japanese Satoyama culture that has been brought for 1000 years is condensed there. You only see the image of capital of 1500 years ago through tumulus, stone and Buddhist statue left in the shrine.
However as the location tells it was the first international city, nature environment where people comfortably lived has been inherited to farm filed and forest. Not authority but hands of people have protected the temple and shrine. People can visit the scenic area by small electric car, which is available because of the high-tech experiment and also rental bike. Why don’t you consider this area for the next destination for understanding Japan more deeply?