【Gallery】
COLLABORATION WITH SHINJI TSUCHIMOCHI

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No.67 Shin Nakamise Shopping Street (Asakusa) 1-39-2, Asakusa, Taito-kuCreated on 10/2015


As you may have ascertained from the front cover, jStyle is collaborating with Japanese illustrator, Shinji Tsuchimochi for this year’s edition. He is the illustrative mastermind behind “100 Views of Tokyo” and has a gathering of fans for his nostalgic, retro pieces.

The illustration on the front cover is a piece which features the renowned Tokyo Skytree in the backdrop. Tsuchimochi explains his thought process behind the piece as follows, “While the Tokyo Skytree often makes little cameos in many different places and has gradually become a familiar sight, I was particularly inspired to draw this piece because of how it looks in the distance behind the deeply-rooted Asakusa arcade streets. The juxtaposition between the future and the past makes for a wonderful scene.”

Other than the cover, this gallery is comprising of three pieces specially chosen by us here at jStyle. If you’re interested in seeing the pieces in the flesh, the locations where each of the work can be found are shown here.


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No. 68 Japanese Style Bar Yuchan Monzennakacho 2-9-4, Monzennakacho, Koto-ku, Created on 10/2015


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No. 83 The Suzunari Shimokitazawa 1-45-15, Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Created on 02/2016


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No. 87 Rashomon Shimbashi 1-13-8, Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Created on 03/2016

SHINJI TSUCHIMOCHI
– An illustrator based in Tokyo –

Shinji Tsuchimoto studiedJapanese-style painting at TamaArt University while he pursuedhis own love of art by drawing on inspiration from local illustrators of the 1980s. He has wielded his paintbrushto create pieces for various different forms of media including album covers. “100 Views of Tokyo” (Shikaku Publishing) released in October 2016 in Tsuchimoto’s masterpiece work.

OTAKU

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WHAT IS OTAKU

The epitome of an otaku is someone with a strong interest, to the point of obsession, in a certain topic. Outside Japan, the term otaku is directed at anime and manga fandom. The degree of interest may range from someone who spends some of their free time reading anime and manga, to the extent they are able to quote from them, to those who spend an inordinate amount of time watching anime, reading manga and collecting memorabilia. Another phenomenon commonly associated with otaku is the practice of dressing up as a favourite character, or ‘cosplay’, but not all otaku enjoy this activity. Some may prefer to watch cosplay performances, or take photos of cosplayers in action.

The anime TV series “I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying”, gives a good insight into otaku. The main character, Kaoru, is married to one. Kaoru explains her husband as a lifeform that will die if it is unable to watch anime. The best part about watching this series is trying to figure out how many anime references there are in each the three-minute episode.

COSPLAY

Cosplay is short for “costume play”. It is considered a performance artform in which the performers dress up in clothing resembling, or representing, a chosen character. Cosplayers are a subculture whose activities are not limited to stage performance. It is not unusual for cosplayers to dress up for events, or for fun.

Engaging in cosplay is a bit like getting dressed up for Halloween. Costumes are not gender specific. In fact, it is quite common for performers to tweak their costumes to keep the main features and colour of the original character’s appearance, while changing the gender to suit the performer.

Cosplay is also an activity that performers may take quite seriously. Dedicated cosplayers take pride in their work and may spend many hours over weeks hand-making their costumes for an event. The World Cosplay Summit (WCS) is held every year. Preliminary competitions are held around the world. The prize for winning national teams is a trip to Japan, including a week’s accommodation, to take part in the WCS.

Popular cosplayers travel internationally to participate in conventions, host panels, publish photo books and host signing events. They also have fans who will attend an event just for a meet
and greet session with their idol.

WHERE CAN YOU FIND AN OTAKU?

Popular events to attend in Sydney frequented by otaku include SMASH! Sydney Manga and Anime Show, Supanova Pop Culture Expo and Oz Comic-Con. Immerse yourself in this wonderful subculture and enjoy the fun!

SMASH! SYDNEY MANGA AND ANIME SHOW 2015

SMASH! Sydney Manga and Anime Show is our very own pop culture convention dedicated to promoting and gathering together artists, creators and fans of the genre. Founded in 2007, it is now a yearly event that goes for two days over a weekend and has attracted crowds of over 10,000 each year for the last couple of years. The event line up is diverse and the show is jam-packed with activities. SMASH! schedules are usually posted on the event’s website before event day and are sorted according to activity areas and times. Different guest speakers are featured in the Panel Room each day. Throughout the weekend there are many ongoing activities to participate in. Check out the art workshop area to make your own origami, or test your vocals in a karaoke competition or at free singing sessions in the Live DAM karaoke room. SMASH! also runs several competitions over the weekend. In addition to the karaoke competitions, expect quite a few console and card gaming tournaments and cosplay competitions.

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TIPS

Pick up an events guide on arrival and check out the activities you are interested in. Plan your other activities, such as shopping and viewing exhibitions, around them. There are some activities that are extremely popular, such as cosplay events, Maid Café and signing panels. For these events in particular, it is best to plan ahead and arrive at the location ahead of schedule.

MAID CAFE

Every year a cosplay “maid café” is hosted at the SMASH! show site. It is usually booked up quickly. Your best bet is to make a beeline straight for the café on arrival at SMASH! to book your preferred time for the café experience, before moving on to other activities.

COSPLAY COMPETITIONS

Perhaps the most popular activity at SMASH! is the cosplay events. In fact, most showgoers turn up all dressed up, even if they do not intend to compete.

There are two main cosplay events. The Madman Cosplay Competition is a local comp in which contestants perform a prepared script, or answer a few questions from the emcee about their costume and character.

The World Cosplay Summit (WCS) Australian preliminaries are held at SMASH! The winning team represents cosplayers of Australia at the final WCS event in Japan.

GAMING COMPETITIONS

In the Gaming Hall there are a few competition blocks to attend, depending on the games in which you are interested. Registration opens an hour before each competition starts, so if his is your cup of tea, head towards the registration booth in the Gaming Hall. If you do not wish to compete, there are also free-play sessions held across the day.

FOOD AND SHOPPING

In addition to booths hosted by major exhibitors such as Madman Entertainment and Hobbyco, there are other vendors operating booths featuring popular culture and anime related merchandise. In the artist’s circle, many artists display their drawings and creations, which are also available for sale. Besides the Maid Café, there are quite a few caterers on site supplying food to the hungry masses, so if you are unable to secure a session at the Maid Café, there is no need to worry about dining.

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Who is SMASH!?


SMASH! is a non-profit organisation created and managed by fans for fans. The organisation’s objective is to bring together like-minded individuals and create an open and affordable event that encourages creativity and community spirit.

Art

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The international art scene may focus its jetsetting on the big name destinations on the gallery circuit, with cities like New York, Paris and London dominating the psyche and leaping to mind as art-rich travel destinations. Often (although increasingly less) overlooked is Tokyo – a city simply packed with visual sensations for the dedicated aesthete and casual browser alike. From large scale national and commercial galleries to tiny tucked away gems, Tokyo offers a sprawling world of the visual arts just waiting for exploration.
The Ginza district in Tokyo alone plays home to a staggering 400 plus galleries, and just by meandering the streets it is impossible togo half a block without stumbling upon an exhibition space or small commercial gallery worth poking one’s head (or whole body) into. One of my favourites is the Shiseido gallery, located in the basement beneath the Shiseido store on the main street Chuo-dori in Ginza. A small and architecturally interesting space, the gallery hosts regularly changing exhibitions and installations across wide-ranging media by contemporary Japanese artists.
A similarly basement-housed artspace in the Marunouchi area of Ginza is Gallery Art Point (GAP), a contemporary gallery showcasing the cutting edge of Japanese art, through a range of visual and print media, sculpture, installation andperformance art. Located directly above GAP and posing a stark contrast in terms of contents but of no less interest is Seikodo Ltd: a narrow space dedicated to the art of traditional samurai armour and weaponry, it is a must for antique and history enthusiasts. On the ground floor of the same building is the Art for Thought gallery and attached café, exhibiting progressive pieces in print of different forms – whether they are framed, or on T-shirts. All artworks are for sale here and include the works of both budding artists and art students from colleges across the city. Bonus – the café offers a delightfully art- surrounded spot for afternoon tea!
The Ginza Graphic Gallery (GGG or 3G) was founded by Nippon Printing Co and produces digital illustrations, and hosts exhibitions by artists ranging from the world famous veteran to the just-emerging. 3G also holds open talk evenings and workshops and other collaborative activities, and is a constant learning space for Japanese artists engaged in photography, graphic design, graphic art media and typography.
Another area absolute full of galleries is the so called ‘Art Triangle’ in Roppongi, home to many commercial galleries amidst the skyscrapers of one of Tokyo’s most exclusive neighbourhoods. Most notable of these is the Mori Art Museum, which occupies the top floor of a 54-storey building in the heart of Tokyo’s entertainment district. With a constantly rotating selection of ambitious and outstandingly curated contemporary shows, the Mori Museum is the major gallery name in the Tokyo art scene. Also well worth a visit amongst the selection in Roppongi is the Suntory Museum of Art, nestled within the Tokyo Midtown shopping complex in Roppongi Hills and host to a range of exhibitions across different media. In addition, Tokyo Midtown itself is a beautifully architectured setting, with glamorous boutiques, restaurants and landscaped grounds and water features. The SCAI The Bathhouse gallery is, as its name suggests, tucked away in a traditional neighbourhood in Taito-ku, and housed in a renovated 200-year-old former bathhouse. Retaining the original fittings from the era, the juxtaposition of the traditional Japanese interior against the fascinating contemporary installations and exhibitions by some of the top names of the Japanese art scene provides an utterly intriguing visual experience. For the cutting, and often gritty, edge of contemporary Japanese photography, the Taka Ishii gallery in Koto-ku is a must for any art itinerary with a second space in Roppongi for film-based media installations, the gallery also exhibits and sells in Kyoto and internationally.
Tokyo also hosts world class art and design events, the biggest of which is the Design Festa, held twice annually in Tokyo Big Sight. Representing the perfect fusion between commercial marketability and experimental small-scale art endeavours, the Festa serves as a platform for over 10,000 artists, designers, musicians, actors and more to exhibit and share their artistic visions, and since its inception in 1994 has welcomed professionals and ambitious amateur exhibitors alike in a melding of creative minds and talent.
The Festa maintains a linked exhibition and creative space in the small backstreets of Harajuku, the Design Festa Gallery. According to the website description, the Gallery is “devoted to supporting freedom of expression regardless of an artist’s age, nationality, language or preferred medium” – and by association, income; at the heart of the Gallery’s mission is providing a space where upcoming artists can sell and exhibit their works free without commission fees. The ever-changing space, covered top-to-bottom and inside-out in murals and graffiti art, has 71 different exhibition spaces across its East and West wings, and all pieces are by young upcoming artists and designers, and can be bought directly from the floor. There’s also a café and bar on site, notably serving delicious okonomiyaki (my favourite in Tokyo!). For those interested in finding out more about what exhibitions and public art events are happening in Tokyo at any given time, check out Tokyo Art Beat (www.tokyoartbeat.com), which has an English language guide to events, reviews, reports and photos of the art scene, both mainstream and offbeat.

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