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Ask Kanta Ogata! “Actor Ken Ogata and his era” exhibition

緒形幹太さんに聞く!「俳優 緒形拳とその時代」展

Since joining the Shinkokugeki Theater Company in 1958 until his death in 2008, Ken Ogata was an actor who was active in a wide range of fields, including television dramas, movies, and documentary programs during the dawn and development period. This year, which marks the 13th anniversary of his death, ``Actor Ken Ogata and His Era'' is being held, which looks at the changes in postwar Japanese popular culture from a large number of his belongings. At the venue, Yokohama City Museum of History, we spoke to his eldest son, Kanta Ogata.

We also received gifts such as admission tickets, so please read carefully!

So many things were left behind, including scripts, posters, props, and calligraphy.

My father is someone who can't throw things away (lol). Since I was a child, I always kept even small pencils, so I always thought that my house had a lot of things (lol). I got rid of a lot of stuff when I rebuilt my house about 30 years ago, but there are still a lot of different things left. This exhibition can be said to be one in which such qualities of my father are put to good use.

What made you decide to hold an exhibition?

It all started when I was introduced to Professor Hiroomi Baba of Tokai University by the daughter of playwright Hideji Hojo, author of "Osho." I heard that Mr. Hojo also left behind a huge amount of materials, and I heard that Professor Baba had organized them properly, so I consulted him about my father's belongings.

Professor Baba specializes in the so-called "municipal history" in modern Japanese history.

that's right. Focusing on the fact that he lived most of his life in Tsurumi, he organized the materials from the perspective of an ``actor with ties to Kanagawa''. I think it took a lot of time and effort, but in the end we were able to present it not as a retrospective exhibition of my father personally, but as an exhibition that provides a bird's-eye view of the flow of popular culture from the postwar period to the Showa and Heisei eras. I am truly grateful to Mr. Baba for creating an exhibition that can be enjoyed by the younger generation who did not know about my father.

Most of the belongings have now been sorted out.

No, it's still about two-thirds of the total (lol). There is a pile of cardboard in the attic that has not yet been opened. It's filled with letters and photos, so if you organize them, you might be able to get a sense of the times through the connections and friendships between people. There is no doubt that this will be another difficult task, so I will think about it patiently (lol).

Did Kanta write the title of the exhibition?

that's right. I started writing calligraphy by chance about five years ago, and I really enjoyed it. Since the Reiwa era, I have been working under the pseudonym. I am very happy that I was able to collaborate with my father in this way.

Was it your father's influence that made you love calligraphy?

What do you think? My father wrote completely on his own, and I don't have a teacher either. I sometimes use my father's calligraphy as a model, but I had no interest in calligraphy when he was alive... or rather, I didn't even like calligraphy.
I think it was around the third year of elementary school. My father came home while I was writing the first calligraphy for my school homework and asked, ``What letters do you like?'' I answered ``Wind'' on a whim, and he told me to ``write it down'', but no matter how many pages I wrote, I was met with ``No, that's not right'' and ``One more time'', and I was so frustrated that I was exhausted. I started crying. Looking back, my father was busy and sometimes came home early, so maybe he was trying to communicate with my child, but I was only in the third grade of elementary school. That incident traumatized me and made me hate writing, so I never thought about writing until a few years ago.
However, since I am now enjoying calligraphy, my father may have guided me somewhere.


We also spoke to Professor Hiroomi Baba of Tokai University, who supervised this exhibition.

Since his debut in Shinkokugeki, Ken Ogata has always remained a top star during the turbulent era from the post-war period to the 21st century. Why was he able to play an active role until the end? When we sort through his belongings from this perspective, we can look back on his life from stage actor in large theaters to early TV dramas and movies, and trace the trajectory of postwar popular culture and get a bird's-eye view of changes in media. I realize that it is an act. When TV dramas reached maturity, he expanded his activities to documentaries and even appeared on the stage of small theaters. It may be a sign that you have always been honest about your interests.

On the other hand, I also find his true personality as a citizen appealing, as he lives in Tsurumi, Yokohama, and frequents local restaurants with his family.
Nowadays, the coronavirus pandemic has had a tremendous impact on popular culture, including the stage, and fundamental changes to traditional ways of doing things are required. We hope that this exhibition will serve as an opportunity to explore new guidelines in this field, and send encouragement to those who perform and those who watch.

《Actor Ken Ogata and his era》
[Duration] October 3rd (Sat) - December 6th (Sun)
[Opening hours] 9:00-16:30 (ticket sales until 16:00)
[Venue] Yokohama City Museum of History
[Closed] Mondays (except November 23rd ), November 24th
[Admission fee] General ¥500 / High school and university students ¥300 / Elementary and junior high school students, Yokohama city residents 65 years and older ¥ 100

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Applications for this gift have ended. Thank you for your many applications.

[Gift application details]
We will give away admission tickets and original goods for the exhibition "Actor Ken Ogata and His Times" which is being held at the Yokohama City Museum of History (until December 6, 2020 (Sunday)). Please choose one and apply.
[A] 5 sets of tickets for 10 people
[B] Ken Ogata postcard set for 5 people

[C] Original staff T-shirt S size 1 person
[D] Original staff T-shirt M size 1 person
[E] Original staff T-shirt L size 1 person
[F] Original staff T-shirt XL size 1 person

【Application method】
If you are interested, please select one from the application form below and apply. We look forward to receiving your applications.

[Application Deadline]
Until Friday, November 6th 23:59

[Lottery and Winner Announcement]
The announcement of the winners will be replaced by shipping tickets, goods, etc. (It will be mailed by the Kanagawa Prefectural Culture Division.)
*If we are unable to deliver tickets, goods, etc. due to the winner's address being unknown, etc., the winner will be invalidated.
*Personal information provided will not be used for any purpose other than the lottery.

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