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Case Study
Lateral Expansion of Culture Strategy
Miho Takechi

Studio Azzurro of Milan, an artistic group produced by Takechi, introduce their installation works and other pieces at the Society for Arts and Science. Not only does Takechi introduce overseas artists in Japan, she also actively holds events to raise awareness of Japanese artists worldwide.

 Art Producer
Miho Project

Miho Takechi

Kyoto hospitality captivates even prestigious European brands: Now it is extended worldwide

Producing numerous events from Kyoto for prestigious European brands such as L’Oreal, Chanel, and Cartier creates a business that makes the fullest possible use of the Kyoto spirit of ”guest entertaining,” to great acclaim both in Japan and overseas.
Miho Takechi was born and brought up in the Muromachi district of Kyoto. Her family was engaged in the production of Nishijin brocade neckties and other textile-related work, but Takechi herself had an overwhelming interest in art, and after graduating from university she went to study at the School of Art and Design Zurich. Here she encountered a salon-type atmosphere among cultural figures and their activities in support of culture, and also experienced how art could become a business. Later, in addition to amassing a range of artistic and cultural experiences in Germany and Italy, she also awoke for herself to the beauty of Kyoto’s traditional culture. Based on this in-depth Japanese and international experience, Takechi embarked on her career as a Kyoto-based art producer.

Brought up in Muromachi (a silk-weaving district of Kyoto), Takechi was familiar from an early age with the Kyoto manner of hospitality. She says that her grandfather would often hold tea ceremonies at the family home, and that she remembers this experience. She knew the best way to set things out according to the season, and also says that as she was brought up in Kyoto it is easy for her to enter this sort of world. She began to think it would be possible to do something interesting by offering the sort of ”enjoyment” or ”fun” that lies hidden in Kyoto’s inner depths as hospitality directed to outsiders.
One of the works Takechi has produced recently was the ”Japanese Rouge” presentation. The French company Chanel held this event for magazine editors and others to publicize shades of red lipstick available exclusively in Japan, and over 100 people gathered in Kyoto from both Japan and overseas for the occasion. A series of events was held on the theme of red in Japan, not just the Japanese Rouge presentation but also including a lecture inside a traditional Kyoto machiya house. In addition, she set out the ReizeikeHouse, the oldest court noble’s house in Japan, with a red motif and planned events such as a lecture by the Reizeike on ”Red in waka poetry.” A tea ceremony was also held at the Hyotei, one of Kyoto’s most famous ryotei high-class restaurants.

Takechi points out that Kyoto people have not tended to offer this sort of hospitality actively to outsiders of their own accord. They have a characteristic attitude that ”There are some genuinely good things in Kyoto, but it’s good enough for us to enjoy them here for ourselves.” She says this is the reason that she doesn’t receive any requests from within Kyoto itself for work making use of Kyoto culture.
This may be a great loss for Kyoto. Effective use of hospitality for the ”lateral expansion” of Kyoto culture internationally would contribute not only to the city’s vitalization, but also to making its presence known on the international stage, something that would link directly with Japan’s ”soft power.” The new shoots of creativity that are being generated by the activities of this single art producer promise to lead to a strong leap forward in the”lateral expansion” of Kyoto’s cultural capacity into the international arena.

For the past few years Takechi has been working on cultural exchanges between Kyoto’s Nishiki Market and the Central Market in Florence, and in 2006 she arranged their affiliation in a sister relationship. Her aim is the creation of a new gastronomic culture by linking the ”kitchens” that play such an important role in the food cultures of both east and west.

Takechi’s office-cum-salon is called ”yu-an”. This machiya Kyoto merchant’s-style house acts as a hideaway where up-and-coming artists and cultural figures can gather and discuss the new Kyoto culture, with Takechi as their host.
Events produced by Takechi

L’Oréal: Art and Science of Color Prize, Kyoto University of Art and Design.

Chanel: “Japanese Rouge” Presentation, Doshisha Kanbaikan.

Cartier: Ettore Sottsass Exhibition, Daigo-ji Temple.

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