Japan

The Japanese Pavilion: A Chance Encounter or Political Engineering?

The history of Japan Pavilion dates back to 1950s. In 1956, Japan installed a cross-tradition and modern, concrete-structured pavilion designed by Takamasa Yoshitaka in Giardini, giving in to the decades-long request of Italian government to participate to the Venice Biennale. The construction was initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), financially, though, largely dependent on an entrepreneur named Shinjiro Ishibashi, the founder of Bridgestone Tire.

Ever since the Italian government took over the administration of the Biennale from Venice in 1930, Italy had insistently demanded Japan to be more involved in the biennial cultural – and political − banquet. The pavilion negotiation between the countries, however, was to halt during 1940s as the war broke out. It was in 1952 when MOFA dispatched official envoys for the first time to Venice. Consequently, Japan was suggested the site for their installation by Italy.

From 1974 onwards, the Japanese pavilion has been administrated by an Incorporated Administrative Agency – the Japan Foundation – which was originally founded as a fringe organization of the MOFA in 1972; this year’s Japanese ambassador to Venice is L.A.-based artist Toki Tanaka, who is called home for the installation.

Recontextualizing the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster in 2011, Tanaka tries to make ultra-diplomatic conversation with the viewers on our behavior and its uncertainty. We are all invited at his table. Who is ready to attend?

Sayuri Okamoto and Marco Mazzi

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Pavilion

Organizer/Commissioner:
The Japan Foundation (public institution)
Artist:
Koki Tanaka
Curator:
Mika Kuraya
Open Call?
No
Selection procedure:
Selection of the artist by The Japan Foundation.

Curator

Name:
Mika Kuraya
Gender:
Female
Born:
Japan, 1966
Lives and works in:
Japan
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Koki Tanaka
Gender:
Male
Born:
Japan, 1975
Lives and works in:
The United States of America
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1
Represented by galleries in:
Guangzhou and Tokyo

Politics & Economics

State System:
Parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Ruling Political Party:
Conservative social-liberal Liberal Democratic Party
Population (World Bank, 2011):
127,817,277
GDP per capita (World Bank, 2011):
$45,903
Unemployment (World Bank, 2011):
4.5% of the labor force
Net OECD ODA Aid Donated (2011):
$10,498,100,000
Military Expenditure (SIPRI, 2011):
$59,271,000,000

Alliances


Coalition of the Willing
G8
G20
International Criminal Court recognized
OECD
WTO

Conflicts

Country independent since:
660 B.C.
Last Major Border Revision:
Ongoing border dispute
Colonial History:
Former colonial power
Former Colonies:
Korea, Taiwan
International Court of Justice cases:
1
Global Militarization Index (BICC, 2011):
112
Nuclear Force?
No
Ongoing Conflicts and Disputes:
Japan disputes the Russian control over the South Kuril Islands.
Participation in Multinational Missons:
UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan.