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[ART FOR ART] KIZUNA FOR THE NOTO PENINSULA: ART & PRINT SALE TO AID EARTHQUAKE SURVIVORS

ART FOR ART: KIZUNA FOR THE NOTO PENINSULA

By JAPAN CONTEMPORARIES, January 22, 2024

Dear readers,


On New Year's Day, we awoke to the urgent news of the Noto Peninsula earthquake, evoking memories of the devastating 3/11 triple disaster that struck the Tōhoku region in 2011. Although the New Year's earthquake quickly faded from the headlines, survivors still require assistance. At Japan Contemporaries, we are deeply concerned for their well-being and are doing what we can to help through an art and print sale featuring prominent Japanese and Japanese-inspired artists and photographers at discounted prices for this important cause.

As tens of thousands endure the bitter winter in cold shelters across multiple prefectures we aim to bring them warmth and to let them know we care about them. Your contribution is crucial in making their lives more comfortable this winter. Continue reading or scroll down for the art.

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Art for Art: Who we are Helping

One of the hardest-hit areas was the small northwestern coastal town of Wajima in Ishikawa Prefecture. After the earthquake, a fire burned down the Main Street that housed some of the finest lacquerware for which the city is known. Homes, workshops, and offices were lost or severely damaged, leaving craftsmen struggling to survive amidst the turmoil. The aftermath threatens the existence of this unique lacquer craft and its techniques that were developed in Wajima, as businesses and craftsmen may leave or abandon their jobs.

As a publication that steadfastly believes in the profound importance of the arts and artists, we believe we must do all we can to help artists when they are most in need. To help Wajima artists get back on their feet, we are donating 100% of the proceeds, after expenses, to the Wajima Lacquerware Manufacturers Cooperative who aims to rebuild its offices and workplaces to prevent the loss of artistic and craftsmanship spirit. The funds we raise will help restore facilities such as the jinoko and lacquer factories, rebuild the lives and work environment of cooperative members, and procure necessary tools. Your contributions will play a crucial role in preserving this rich cultural heritage and ensuring that this illustrious craft will continue for many years to come.

 

Born From Kizuna: A Well-Informed and Extensive Network To Help Those in Need [Art for Art] 

One of the things that was born in the aftermath of the 3/11 disaster was "kizuna," heartfelt and enduring bonds between people that formed close relationships forged through mutual trust and support. Those who experienced and helped with the recovery of 3/11 recognized the inevitability of another natural disaster and stayed connected, forming a support network. The understanding was that when the next disaster occurred, we would be prepared to help quickly and efficiently as we are doing now. This network has proven invaluable, enabling a swift and insightful response to current challenges, a result of years of collective experience in the Tōhoku region.

Because the New Year's day earthquake was not on the scale of 3/11, the coverage of the disaster lasted only a couple of days, however the aftermath is significant: over 200 lives were lost with many still missing and thousands injured as of this writing. The hardest-hit areas were small, impoverished towns, challenging to reach along the coast and in the mountains, intensifying their sense of isolation. While addressing people's physical needs, we must also acknowledge the psychological hardships they face—coping with the loss of loved ones, witnessing the destruction of homes and businesses, and enduring the PTSD that accompanies such trauma.


Filmmaker and photographer Jake Price, a contributor to this publication, lived among the displaced following 3/11, sleeping on floors and in kasetsu (temporary shelters for evacuees). This direct experience provided an intimate, decade-long portrait of the challenges faced, granting him insight into the current needs of the displaced. He said, “Just because the survivors of this earthquake and tsunami are out of the headlines, doesn’t mean that their needs go away. They need to know that they are not forgotten and alone.”​

In response to 3/11, Japan Contemporaries Editor-in-Chief Kyoko Sato played a pivotal role in raising thousands for long-term relief. Ms. Sato curated Lessons from Recovery: The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, held at the Nippon Club and sponsored by the JCC Fund and she also curated The East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition which was featured in the Asahi Shimbun and also exhibited at the The Nippon Club, supported by JCC Fund, The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of NY, Consulate General of Japan in New York, Canon USA, Nippon Express USA.

 

Architect Motoko Shoboji helped organize this benefit.  She has organized numerous events to host presentations by international architects and designers on recovery efforts post 3/11, such as "Dialogues for a New Japan — Japan: Brainstorming", "Pecha Kucha Inspire Japan" and "IPPO x 365" series. These events raised awareness and inspired others in the recovery effort.

To alleviate the burden of loneliness faced by survivors in shelters, co-publisher Motoichi Adachi, based in Tokyo, will personally visit affected regions, bringing art to uplift and inspire survivors.

But the survivors still need your help—please purchase some art today!

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