February 28, 2014 (Fri) - June 15, 2014 (Sun)

Exhibition "KOME : The Art of Rice"


Rice is a very immediate part of lives in Japan. It is an integral aspect of everyday life. Many facets of Japan’s culture evolved in conjunction with the history of rice cultivation, and dietary culture became increasingly rice-based.

"They are living things, they are precision machines."*1 In the course of his own labors in cultivating rice, the poet Kenji Miyazawa succinctly captured the essence of rice with this phrase. In Japan, rice is a hub that links real staples of life with culture. The intricate environmental systems that make possible rice and its associated elements of culture possess many clues that bring us closer to the essence of design, clues from which we should learn. These clues will doubtlessly lead to many new forms of aesthetic "sustenance" that will define new futures.

As we enter a transitional period marked by volatile changes in the global environment, individual life style and collective values, and as rice’s position as the key staple food in the Japanese diet teeters, this exhibition aims to take a fresh look at rice as the foundation of Japanese culture. Therefore, the goal is to engage exhibit visitors, compel them to take a new look and rethink rice as an important subject of Japanese society as a whole, and to get them to think about the future of rice.

*1 Excerpt from "The Breeze Comes Filling the Valley," Spring & Asura, Poems of Kenji Miyazawa, Translated by Hiroaki Sato, Chicago Review Press (1973).

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