Cool Japan? A Curatorial Practice after Fukushima

17 Nov 2015

Event times


Cost of entry

Free, please book your attendance at:

The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Buses: 2, 13, 18, 27, 30, 74, 82, 113, 139, 189 and 274
  • Tube: Baker St.

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The Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011 had a devastating impact on the Japanese art scene. In the wake of the disaster, some politically concerned Japanese artists attempted to intervene in political discourse regarding nuclear power generation.


Art Tower Mito, where Mizuki Takahashi is a senior curator, felt the repercussions of The Great East Japan Earthquake directly. Located in Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture, the cultural complex and contemporary art centre suffered considerable damage in the earthquake, forcing Takahashi to cancel the group exhibition celebrating contemporary female art she had curated in the middle of its term.

In this talk, Takahashi will reflect on her experience and curatorial journey after March 2011, in particular focusing on a controversial exhibition called “Tadasu Takemine’s Cool Japan”, which addressed popular constructs of Japanese cultural identity in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. 

Mizuki Takahashi is a senior curator at Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito, and is currently based in London as a research fellow in Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. Takahashi has realized interdisciplinary exhibitions addressing various contemporary cultures from manga, architecture, performance, film, music and visual art. Her curated exhibitions in and outside of Japan include “Eight Days: Beuys in Japan” (Art Tower Mito, 2009, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, 2011), “Quiet Attentions: Departure from Women” (Art Tower Mito, 2011), and “Darren Almond: Second Thoughts” (Art Tower Mito, 2013).

Art Tower Mito is an important cultural complex located in Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture. Established in 1990, the contemporary art department is known to produce influential contemporary art exhibitions including “Ground Zero Japan” (Noi Sawawagi, 1999) and “The Door into Summer: The Age of Micropop” (Midori Matsui, 2006).


Mizuki Takahashi

Taking part

The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

London, United Kingdom


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