"KAKEHASHI Project" Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts (Tokyo Met.)

Dispatch in March 2014

Group 1 (University Students and Graduate Students)
Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts (Tokyo Met.)

Period:March 3 – 14, 2014
Local Visit Destination:Massachusetts College of Art and Design (Massachusetts)
Number of Participants: 24

Tour Photo Album

Photo of Orientation in Tokyo
Orientation in Tokyo

Photo taken at Tisch School of the Arts 1
Tisch School of the Arts
(Campus tour)

Photo taken at Tisch School of the Arts 2
Tisch School of the Arts

Photo taken at Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal
(Learning about U.S. history and culture)

Photo taken in Times Square
Times Square
(Learning about U.S. history and culture)

Photo taken at Reception at the Japanese Consulate-General in New York
Reception at the Japanese Consulate-General in New York

Photo taken at air port leaving New York to Boston
From New York to Boston

Photo taken at MassArt 1
Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt)
(University exchange)

Photo taken at MassArt 2
(University exchange)

Photo taken at Exchange with MassArt students
Exchange with MassArt students
(University exchange)

Photo taken at MIT Media Lab
MIT Media Lab

Photo taken at The Museum of Arts and Design
The Museum of Arts and Design

Photo taken at MassArt 3

Photo taken at The Museum of Arts and Design
Talks by Koki Tanaka and Gabriel Ritter

Photo taken at Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
(Viewing the Price Collection)

Photo taken at Lecture by Masaki Kaifu
Lecture by Masaki Kaifu, President of Wowmax Media

Photo taken at LA City College 1
LA City College

Photo taken at LA City College 2
LA City College

Voices from Participants

1. What impressed you most in this experience of promoting the charms of Japan in the U.S.?

  • Before leaving the U.S. I handed one of the film students a DVD; it was a film I had made for my graduation assignment. After returning to Japan I received a message on Facebook saying she had watched my film and thought it was great. I was extremely happy to hear from her. This was the first time that someone in the U.S. had watched my film and her comments gave me confidence. This project provided an opportunity for many of the participants, myself included, to communicate with others through their work and gain a truly valuable experience.
  • So much happened over the ten-day trip, and I was struck by practically everything I saw and heard. If I were to name one thing that stands out among all other memories it would be the time spent interacting with the U.S. students. In particular, we spent a lot of time with a group of Boston's MassArt students who hosted us over three days and we got to know them quite well. I am now connected to some of them on Facebook. The trip literally helped build a bridge between the students of both countries.
    The MassArt students could not have been more generous. They organized a welcome party for us the night we arrived in Boston, and even created an original poster for the occasion. They also prepared name cards for each of us along with bags full of gifts. I was really touched by their warm hospitality. They later accompanied us on a tour of Boston. Our visits to places that any art student would find exciting, such as the Institute of Contemporary Art and the MIT Media Lab, will remain a special memory for me.
    Meeting students from Tisch School of the Arts in New York and from LA City College was similarly a rewarding experience, although we were not able to spend as much time as we did with the MassArt students. The experience reinforced my belief that it is the connections and relationships at the individual level that ultimately build bridges of friendship between countries. In that sense, meeting and getting to know U.S. students studying in the same field as myself was an important aspect of this project.

2. What would you like to pass on to people in your community and school after you return to Japan?

  • As a member of the Creators Exchange program, I would like to tell art students and creators in Japan: "Do not confine yourself to Japan. Take a look at the world around you!" I am happy to report that our group presentation on Japanese visual medias, namely films, animation, media art, and contemporary art, was met with great interest.
    The response to our creation was especially strong, and much of the discussion centered on it during the question and answer session that followed our presentation and interaction session. The experience encouraged me to show my work in the U.S. and gave me a vague sense that I might even succeed. In fact, I felt the works of Japanese artists are on the whole of a high standard. One person we met told us that Japanese artists enjoy a certain advantage in the U.S., being seen as "cool" just because they are Japanese, perhaps in reflection of the popular elements of Japanese culture like anime and fashion. Even if your work that fails to attract attention in Japan there is always a chance that it will become a success overseas, so it is a good idea for Japanese artists, young artists especially, to venture out into the world.
  • Taking part in the KAKEHASHI Project has boosted my confidence. The experience of seeing Japan from the U.S. and the response that our work received taught me the importance of always being your genuine self. Japanese people tend to be shy or reserved, but the U.S. and community residents is the importance of communicating with friends and the people around us as a way to inspire each other. If we can let people know what we think without holding back, I think it can lead to something fantastic.

3. Please freely describe your experience in the KAKEHASHI Project.

  • This was my first time to travel abroad and I was full of apprehension as I prepared for the trip, not knowing what to expect; but the trip offered many valuable experiences and I am sincerely glad that I went. I was so frightened to leave Japan, a fear I now see as absurd. I may have future opportunities to sightsee overseas, but probably never another chance like this to participate in an international exchange study tour. However, should the chance ever arise, I would like to visit the U.S. once again and do the things I could not do this time—things like, convey more of my thoughts, see even more places and things, and talk to many more people. The trip not only broadened my horizons but also contributed to my personal growth.
  • The KAKEHASHI Project provided the richly rewarding experience of contact with another culture, people's generosity, and the latest arts and sciences. I learned much during this trip that will be useful in planning my own future. For this reason I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful program. Packed full of exciting activities, the program took us to places that are difficult for individuals to visit and offered insights into the research topic I hope to pursue in my future productions. I would like to reiterate my appreciation for the project and thank the teachers and staff for listening repeatedly to my presentation practice and for their helpful advice. Thank you.

Page Top