Armed with trash, Chinese demonstrators demolish Asia-themed art exhibition in Japan

TOKYO – Tensions are rising again between Japan and China over an art exhibit featuring art works portraying the strong bond between the two countries.

According to the Japan Times, residents of the regional city of Porto Empedocle, southeast of Kyoto, have voted to host an exhibition dedicated to bringing together Japanese and Chinese artists in the city.

Even though the gallery is only about 100 yards from the Japanese embassy in Beijing, its opening was met with a “disregardful” demonstration by local demonstrators who did not want “artistic manifestations with a Chinese flavor entering Japan,” according to a news release on the Artists Forum website. One protester claimed the artists represented by the exhibition were using “marihuana” – a phrase implying Japanese officials are engaged in illegal activities.

The demonstrators broke out in applause and whistles when the Japanese artists arrived.

Since China and Japan are still facing many challenges, their culture do not have much to do with their history, thus these performances can be almost provocative in their expression. However, currently cultural exchanges between Japan and China remain quite limited.

The art exhibition has been described as a “mixed piece of both Chinese and Japanese art,” although it is a canny idea to add Chinese characteristics to an otherwise Japanese exhibition. The exhibition titled “Unbound” is made up of 22 artworks by 20 Chinese artists, including stone carvers, traditional craftsman and fishmongers, whose common contribution was that they brought together traditional Chinese works of art with other pictures of Chinese flora and fauna, according to the artists’ forum website.

In contrast, “Impaler Palace” was described as Chinese people “traveling through time” and visiting Japan to “meet each other for some brief encounter.”

According to the artists’ forum, the exhibition has nothing to do with its theme about modern Japan and China.

The “Unbound” is a treasure by the way, having been packed off to Kyoto for a permanent residence, and it clearly belongs to the permanent collection of the Museo del Prado. Though the pieces are on loan to Japan, locals are happy to host such a rare show, considering how Japan still has a thriving art scene, reports The Japan Times.

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