The future of “people” and “towns” connected through art


Koganecho Area Management Center ✕ Artist

Koganecho Area Management Center is an NPO that was started in 2009 with the vision of "community development through art." What kind of efforts have been made to revitalize the Koganecho area after all the illegal adult entertainment establishments were raided? We spoke with Shingo Yamano, the executive director, and Risa Tsunegi, an artist participating in the artist-in-residence program.

Turning a former entertainment district into an art town

Until a few years before the NPO Koganecho Area Management Center (KAMC) was established, the area around Koganecho was known as an entertainment district. Approximately 250 special restaurants for the purpose of prostitution were lined up along the elevated line between Koganecho Station and Hinodecho Station on the Keikyu Corporation, and the deterioration of the living environment was a major problem. In 2005, Kanagawa Prefectural Police carried out ``Operation Bye-Bye,'' a round-up of special restaurants. Shingo Yamano, the executive director of KAMC, looks back on those days as follows.

``Although we were successful in raiding all of them in 2005, there were many vacant houses, and the area had turned into nothing more than a ruin.While considering what to do with the vacant houses, there were The idea was to improve the image of the town while making use of vacant houses."

Originally, Mr. Yamano was involved in creating exhibitions using spaces that were not exhibition spaces. I visited Koganecho in 2008 to be in charge of an art event planned as a stepping stone to revitalizing the town. The art festival ``Koganecho Bazaar 2008'' was held in the ``towns'' of the Koganecho area, including newly built studios under elevated railway tracks and vacant stores on the main street. The success of this event led to the creation of KAMC in 2009.

The current state of Koganecho, where art is alive and well throughout the town. Mr. Yamano of the Koganecho Area Management Center says that there were various hardships to achieve this scenery that is now commonplace.

Utilizing vacant houses as spaces for creation and exhibition
artist in residence

"Scary", "dangerous". In order to ``regenerate'' an area where such an image had taken root, it was essential not only to simply clean up the town, but also to improve its image by removing the old impression.

``I knew it wasn't going to be easy, and I thought it would take some time.When I first started, people would break the glass when they found out it was our facility.It was a scary area.'' At first, artists wouldn't come unless we asked them to."

``Artist-in-Residence'' (hereinafter referred to as AIR) has been a mainstay of KAMC's activities since its founding, in which vacant houses that were lined up along the elevated tracks are renovated and used by artists as a place to create, exhibit, and stay. The number of participants has increased as the town's environment has improved, and currently about 50 artists are participating at any given time. Rihaya Tsuneki, an artist who has been participating since 2018 and works on three-dimensional works, describes the appeal of AIR as follows.

“Compared to Tokyo, costs are lower, and we have a large workshop that we can use whenever we need it.It’s also great that there are other artists around us.Although we work in different fields, we can talk to each other and provide encouragement. Since 2019, when I participated in Koganecho Bazaar, my interactions with other artists have deepened.My interactions with the people of the town have also increased, and I have been giving information to the shop owner about other shops. I've received some... I've also made connections like that."
We can see that communication is expanding not only between artists but also with local people.

Risaya Tsuneki “Swimming in the Grass” Installation view “Between the Conscious and Subconscious” Pierre-Yves CaerGallery Paris 2018/Mixed media
Mr. Tsuneki says that artist-in-residence is attractive because there are many artists who require large spaces and spaces for their creative activities. On the right is the work presented by Tsuneki.

The circle of communities that artists have connected with nature

``City development through art'' may sound like an abstract phrase, but KAMC's activities have produced solid results step by step. We asked Mr. Yamano what kind of impact art has on the people of the town and region.

``For example, before creating a piece of work, artists do a lot of research about the area. They do their own research and talk to people in the town, and then turn that into a piece of work. , the community and artists are connected...I feel that artists are building relationships with nature in places that are beyond our reach.Of course, art has an impact on the community, but... I also think that artists have an impact on the town."

On the other hand, Mr. Tsuneki tilts his head and says that he does not feel that he is playing a part in the development of the town, but Mr. Yamano continues as follows.
"There's no need for artists to think about what they should do to improve the town. Just do what you do without thinking, and that's all you need to do."

New challenges during the coronavirus pandemic and the future of Koganecho

In response to the situation where overseas artists are unable to visit Japan due to the effects of the new coronavirus infection, in 2020 they also took on the challenge of "remote production." We took on the challenge of a new form of production in which Koganecho artists gave form to the works of overseas artists while communicating online. Mr. Tsuneki, who participated in the remote production, said, ``For me, even when the work is completed, it feels like a virtual experience.I can't actually see the completed work.I usually work with ``certain objects'' such as three-dimensional objects. I'm the type of person who creates things, so it was very new to me,'' he says.

Despite being affected by the coronavirus pandemic, 12 years have passed since KAMC was established, and the Koganecho area has been revitalized to the point where you can now see children running around. Mr. Yamano seems to have ideas for the next initiative in his head.

“Not only our industry, but also theaters, movie theaters, and the food and beverage and accommodation industries have been damaged by the coronavirus pandemic.There are many such facilities in our neighborhood.In the future, we will work with such organizations to develop I'm currently thinking hard about what direction I can take to tackle this issue.When I founded the NPO, I think the picture I had of what I wanted this town to look like 10 years from now is looking quite similar to that. So, I would like to once again draw a picture of the next 10 years and move on.”

If you get off at Koganecho Station on the Keikyu Line and walk along the elevated track, you will see unique works of art decorating the townscape. There are also studios and a bookstore selling art books and miscellaneous goods under the elevated tracks, allowing you to enjoy a unique atmosphere that combines an artistic space with the town.


Koganecho Bazaar Director

Shingo Yamano

Born in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1950. Graduated from the Copperplate Engraving School of Art School in 1971. Since the 1970s, he has been active as an artist based in Fukuoka. He also presides over the IAF Art Laboratory and plans exhibitions. Since 1990, he has produced "Museum City Tenjin," an art exhibition using the town. Since then, he has been involved in numerous art projects and workshops under the theme of "town and art." In 2005, he served as a curator for the Yokohama Triennale 2005.


Rihaya Tsuneki

Born in Gunma Prefecture in 1982, lives in Kanagawa Prefecture. Studied painting at Chelsea College, University of the Arts London, and completed MFA at Glasgow School of Art in 2009. Major exhibitions include 2020 and 2019 "Koganecho Bazaar" (Kanagawa), 2019 "Causality and synchronicity" The Container (Tokyo), and "OUT OF BOUNDS" Bloc Projects (UK).


Koganecho Bazaar 2021 - How to make side-by-side
The theme of this year's Koganecho Bazaar, now in its 14th year, is "How to make side-by-side." By public recruitment and recommendation
12 selected guest artists and 29 Koganecho AIR participating artists created and created works in Koganecho.
We will have an exhibition.

Date: October 1st (Friday) to October 31st (Sunday), 2021 [27 days in total] Closed on Mondays
Venue: Studio under the elevated track between Hinodecho Station and Koganecho Station on the Keikyu Line, surrounding studios, local shops,
Outdoor open space etc.
Sponsored by: Koganecho Area Management Center/Hatsuko/Hinode Town Environmental Purification Promotion Council

Artist in Residence (AIR)
Koganecho AIR offers production and remodeling services to people working in creative fields, regardless of nationality or genre.
We provide a place for searches and presentations. From September 1st, we are accepting applications for residents from November onwards.
(Application deadline: September 30th)
Go to Koganecho Area Management Center website

“Socks in Lunchbox” exhibition view “Koganecho Bazaar 2019” / 2019 / Mixed media

Showcase Gallery Koganecho Area Management Center Collaboration Project
Risao Tsuneki
Date: September 25, 2021 (Sat) – December 12, 2021 (Sun)
Closed: 9/27, 10/25, 11/22
Time: 9:00-21:00
Price: Free viewing
Venue: Yokohama Citizens Gallery Azamino Entrance Lobby

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