Koebi-tai: Volunteerism behind Setouchi Triennale

By Simon S. H. Tu.

Published by The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: June 17, 2016 $US5.00

The objective of this paper is to present an ethnographic account of Koebi-tai, a volunteer group primarily supporting the preparation and daily operations of Setouchi Triennale, Japan. Besides such questions as who these volunteers are and what they do as volunteers, the primary concern of this paper is how the decisions of Koebi-tai members to participate as volunteers in the art festival have come from personal negotiations with the institutionalized agenda. This agenda consists of the promotion of contemporary art, revitalization of local communities, and the "restoration" of rural Japan. Primary ethnographic data is to be analyzed in different dimensions under the sociocultural context of contemporary Japan, which entails a further set of questions: how this particular volunteering activity be contextualized within the consideration of the phenomenon of volunteerism in recent decades, the social role of art, and the cultural imagination of rural Japan as a form of consumption for urbanites?

Keywords: Art Festivals, Art and Society, Japan

The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review, Volume 11, 2016, pp.41-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: June 17, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 755.732KB)).

Simon S. H. Tu

MA, Japanese Studies, The Graduate Program in Global Studies, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan