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What was the incentive of this festival? Yusuke Hashimoto : We had the first edition of the festival in Before , from I had been working as an independent theatre producer in Kyoto. They were able to use a studio inside the Arts Center free of charge. We used to produce one or two stage works every year. Some very good works were born there actually.

He was awarded the Kishida Kunio Drama Award for this work. Or the work titled It is written there by Kyoto-based choreographer Zan Yamashita, which was invited the following year to feature in the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels. However, although we kept releasing good works, there was no increase in the number of people coming to watch them in Kyoto. In fact, the theatre journalists and professionals based in Tokyo would not come to Kyoto, so it was really problematic.

In order for their work to be recognized, the artists were constrained to go to Tokyo. That had become the rule of thumb. Theatre works have, or supposedly have, a certain connection with the place where they are created. So it would have been best for everyone to come and watch those performances in Kyoto. The artists who chose to work in Kyoto should have been encouraged to do so. But, no, the artists residing in any other areas outside of the capital were constrained to go and perform in Tokyo.

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I wanted to change that. Somebody suggested that if it were possible to watch two or three performances in a day, theatre professionals would come to Kyoto. That was what inspired us to start a festival. There are many young artists who choose Kyoto as their base. We wanted to create a good environment for them to continue creating in the city that inspired them. In addition to this, there was one more reason, actually. Japan is not a very large country, but still, each region has a slightly different culture and its own characteristics.

And Tokyo is in no way representative of all of those cultures. In promoting Kyoto, the government uses images of geisha, kimonos, traditional Japanese dances, etc. However, those images have very little in common with what we, the citizens of Kyoto, experience every day living here. Kyoto may seem a traditional city but, in fact, it is home to several universities and research centers involved in the development of advanced technologies.

However, those who are aware of this particular feature of Kyoto are very few. RT: Was your intention to make it an international festival right from the beginning? Hashimoto : Yes, right from the start we wanted it to be an international festival. Of course, we wanted the festival to feature Kyoto-based artists. As for the artists from abroad, we decided to invite mainly artists who have an explicit visual dimension to their work, who employ methods that are specific to visual arts.

And I think we actually succeeded with this concept. Because we wanted to attract audiences with broad interests, we aimed to create a program that would be appealing for people who enjoy visual arts, music or dance as well, not only theatre. He presented a new creation and separately he wrote an original Noh play for another performance.

We also invited Pichet Klunchun from Thailand who was working on a piece themed on traditional art in the contemporary society titled About Khon.

Work on this performance had been started in Thailand, but once brought here, Kyoto provided good material and inspiration for it. More recently, the autumn festival in also featured many artists whose interests go beyond the theatre, into the field of visual arts — in a word, multimedia artists.

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Some of them would hold a performance in one location and an exhibition in another. Or Michikazu Matsune , who is active now in Vienna. He is best known as a performing artist, but that year he was also in charge of the curation of an exhibition in Kyoto. On the other hand, in , there were many works related to music. Any type of performance presented on a stage can be considered for the program. Hashimoto : It was actually the theme that came up first. Kyoto was hosting a series of events on intercultural communication and Kyoto Experiment was asked to participate by inviting artists from Asian countries such as South Korea.

Usually, when intercultural events are held through a governmental initiative, participants from various countries are invited to Japan and asked to showcase their own cultures. However, when it comes to East Asian nations, are we really so different from one another? The peoples in East Asia have so many things in common, not to mention that with the spread of the Internet, we are all connected.

The intercultural exchanges sponsored by the government are based on the idea that the culture of each country has an independent identity. Twentieth Century Masters Le Corbusier.

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