Ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Tokyo, along with Japan as a whole, is starting to change. We now need to think widely about how we can clarify the tasks related to this as well as what we will present to the world and how to spread this further.
While Tokyo is full of incredible things to see and do as with any major global city, it is also in some ways an inaccessible city. For example, it is difficult to convey creatively and simply the appeals and characters of such areas as Shibuya, Nakameguro, Omotesando, and Aoyama.
Perhaps the Olympic and Paralympic Games will inspire visitors to come back in one or two years’ time and see how Tokyo has changed.
Japan has set a target of increasing the numbers of foreign visitors to 40 million by 2020 and 60 million by 2030. As such, we need initiatives that will encourage people from overseas to keep coming back to Japan.
Art Tokyo Association’s mission is to communicate the appeals of Tokyo and other regions around Japan in lucid and exciting ways through art.
In 2016, we launched the Japanese Art Industry Market Research Survey.
Until then, there was no reliable data in the art field regarding the scale of the art market and industry in Japan, comparisons with overseas markets, market changes, and the state of imports and exports.
By then accurately surveying and publishing our survey, we can show the unique attributes of the art market in Japan that had not been visible until now, while also providing objective data that can facilitate various business possibilities that incorporate art. I believe corporations that felt somewhat distant from the Japanese art scene will in the future be able to offer new inspirations for the art industry in Japan.
Through a process of harnessing our specialism and analytical abilities, and then visualizing things, Art Tokyo Association can fulfill its role of better activating the flow of culture and the arts in Japan.
I sometimes have had the chance to visit the offices of overseas clients. The room is often decorated with art and the clients will then explain that the choice of artwork reflects their way of thinking. In this way, they break the ice with a visitor by talking about art. They know that art is a very accessible communication took for showing their respective personalities. By lining up the different things you bought when you were 25, 35, or 45 years old, it forms a smart way to present your personal history or interests.
Fashion and our tastes are also fine means of expressing ourselves. So how about we add art as another option here? I think that we must come up with ways to integrate art into our lifestyles in Japan.
To do this, I want to take the know-how and ideas I cultivated in the entertainment industry as well as superb systems from various fields, not only arts and culture, and harness them proactively in the art world.
The Olympics expands and develops with the participation of many from a rich range of positions and professions, including arts and culture, creating the Games not only through the efforts of the actual athletes, but also the many members of staff and volunteers as well as the entire event with its jubilant atmosphere. I believe that sharing the joy of creating new culture together across fields and disciplines will usher in an amazing future and encounters with the unexpected.
Today, organizations and corporations from other sectors are taking note of the power of art. The time may soon be upon us when art in Japan will start to move. And when art starts to move, so does Japanese culture as a whole.
I want to connect with others by accelerating that movement, creating opportunities for people from around the world to encounter the wonders of Japan, and communicating this all through suitable language and expressions. I believe that Art Tokyo Association must be the greatest translator of Japan’s arts and culture, and of Japan itself.
Naohiko Kishi founded Art Tokyo Association in May 2015, since when he has served as executive producer of Art Fair Tokyo, the largest international art fair in Japan. He plans and produces a wide range of art-related projects that aspire to develop the art market in Japan and promote arts and culture.
In 1985, he joined Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings (TBS Television), where he was responsible for proposing, developing, and managing the Akasaka Blitz live music venue. As the head of promotions, he planned and produced akasaka Sacas in 2008, inspired by the idea of fusing the city with an entertainment venue. Alongside working as a producer and director for various TV shows, theater productions, events, concerts, and music software, he oversaw planning and production for projects in partnership with regional governments and other government bodies. He has also given lectures at local governments and such educational institutions as Kyoto University and Tokyo University of the Arts.
In his current role, he organizes Art Fair Tokyo as a place for international exchange through arts and culture, in partnership with the Cabinet Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan Tourism Agency, and local governments and embassies. In addition to contributing to the development of the art scene in Japan by attracting many media outlets and widely disseminating information both domestically and abroad, his activities foster global interchange across many fields via the interface of art.
Since 2016, Art Tokyo Association has conducted the Japanese Art Industry Market Research Survey. Moreover, it has contributed to regional regeneration by such efforts as art tourism services that introduce non-Japanese visitors to the appeals of areas around Japan through art. Kishi also works to expand the reach of culture and the arts, including in his role as chair of the proposal selection committee for an Agency for Cultural Affairs venture in 2017 to create and promote arts and culture strategically in the field of visual art.