Editor’s Note: Design Week is an event concept that originates in Tokyo and which has extended to over 100 cities worldwide. Within Japan, around 1,800 municipalities hold their own events in conjunction with the Design Week. The aim of the Design Week events is to showcase local creative talent – be in the musical, performing or visual arts. These events also serve to boost tourism in more off-the-beaten path cities in Japan.
The third district to hold Design Week this year is Fujisawa with the Fujisawa Design Week being a 9-day event lasting from 2nd December to 10th December 2017. Like the Design Weeks that preceded this event, the Fujisawa Design Week was a multisensory experience that encompassed musical performances by local artists across various genres as well as art book exhibitions.
Throughout the entire nine days, an illuminated exhibition of Akihiro Nishino’s popular children’s book, “Poupelle of Chimney Town” graced the Terrace Mall Shonan and complemented the Christmas decor around the Tsujido Station area. 41 illuminated pictures were exhibited using special film and LED that gave viewers the impression of being inside the book. On the first day, Akihiro Nishino was there to draw the picture book’s cover along with local children. So far, “Poupelle of Chimney Town” has seen a print of 330,000 copies since being released in October last year. The book was notable for being crowdfunded.
The second part of the Fujisawa Design Week was the Onwasai Music Festival which was headlined by popular artists and consisted of a talk show and musical perfomances. AKB48 Team 8 headlined the talk show where they discussed about their musical journey and answered any questions from the audience.
The two hour concert that followed in the afternoon included musical acts such as Rina Sumioka, Dachi Watanabe, Sky’s the Limit and Anna Takeuchi. Compared to the previous Design Weeks, the artists that performed in Fujisawa come from all over Japan.
Rina Sumioka came into the spotlight in 2012 with her debut single, “Feel You.” The following year, she also appeared in the reality TV programme, “Terrace House” that detailed her life with other people in a shared house. As an artist, she has toured Japan extensively with the most recent being the Rina Sumioka Hikigatari Tour. Rina Sumioka is signed with Sony Music.
Daichi Watanabe hails from Hyogo Prefecture. He is the vocalist for the band, Kuroneko Chelsea which debuted in 2009. Watanabe is also an actor, having won the New Actor Award at the Japanese Academy Awards in 2009. He has appeared in both movies and TV shows and even directed a movie called “The Motors.”
The Okinawa vocal group, Sky’s the Limit, is certainly not unknown in the music scene. As a group, they’ve won first prize in X Factor Japan held in Okinawa. They’re mostly known for their acapella performances. In November 2017, they released their first album called “Mellow But Funky.” They are also planning to do a concert tour around Japan starting in January 2018.
Last but not the least, Anna Takeuchi is a singer songwriter born in the United States and raised in Kyoto. As a teenager, she released her first album on her own and organized small shows in Kyoto and Osaka to support its release. Anna sings in both English and Japanese and coupled with her acoustic guitar playing and soulful voice, has attracted a diverse following. She has been signed to Sony Music since this year and in 2018 will release her first single off the new label called “Cinderella Girl.”
The end of Fujisawa Design Week paves the way for the final design week which will be held as follows:
MATSUYAMA DESIGN WEEK (Pre-Event / Musical Festival / Pihyara)
Time: Saturday, February 10, 2018 (13:00 – 17:30PM)
*“Poupelle Exhibition” will be held from February 10 – 12 (10:00 AM-20:00PM)
Venue: Matsuyama Castle, Shiroyama Park, Horinouchi Area