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3331 Arts Chiyoda - a place to encounter multiple expressions

Based in the renovated Rensei Junior High School 3331 Arts Chiyoda creates a space in which leading artists and creatives have the freedom to present their diverse expressions. 3331 brings together cutting edge art with the familiar everyday.

The first floor gallery presents an exciting range of exhibitions highlighting 3331's unique vision of the art scene. 3331 aims to break the barrier of inaccessibility often associated with art museums and instead create an art space which everyone can enter at ease, including a wide range of spaces which visitors can enjoy for free. While walking throughout the arts centre you can sense the creative energy which makes up 3331 through the diverse range of artists and creative practitioners based here.

Statement from the Director

10 years ago, before opening 3331 Arts Chiyoda, I wrote the statement below.

"The creativity of the city is equal to the very energy gathered from artists' expressions. Art is made not only by the artist himself, but by the creativity of the community cultivated through its history and economy. In other words, an artist is someone who holds the creativity and human power to visualize the city's unseen energy. For that reason, there needs to be an organization – as a body of integral activity – which links specialization and determination, facing challenges together with artists and fully understanding the joy of creation."

So, what kind of art center has 3331 Arts Chiyoda become? How has the above vision from 10 years ago been realized?

From a closed school nobody knew about, 3331 Arts Chiyoda has grown into a creative hub that is the most active independent art center in Japan. Today, the center welcomes more than 850,000 visitors and 1,000 events a year. From exhibitions relating to local festivals to the gathering of edgy contemporary artists during its art fair, PR events based on tourism and local culture to international academic symposiums, 3331 carries out diverse and unique creative programs daily as if it were one city itself. Our free space has become a scene in which children do their homework, groups hold serious meetings, and local workers stop to eat lunch at the shared tables, serving as a safe and relaxing place for anyone to enjoy. Moreover, in extreme cases of disaster 3331 functions as a shelter, which has been proven during the 3.11 Great East Japan Earthquake and when major typhoons have hit. The space is a 24-hour facility for both creation and disaster response.

Carrying these 10 years, the forthcoming key words for 3331 Arts Chiyoda are "open-mindedness" and "criticality". In an age where our expressions are increasingly managed and self-contained, 3331's role will be updated as an open-minded place which receives all progressive forms of thinking. Especially in our current post-coronavirus era, it is essential to shift our perspective from short-term to long-term sustainable structures in society. 3331 Arts Chiyoda will become an accepting place for all activities, while breaking ground with the spread of critical thinking. Furthermore, the center will allow the creativity of individuals to synchronize with that of the city, continuing to run as a creative engine that builds new values for tomorrow's age.

Masato Nakamura, 3331 Arts Chiyoda Supervising Director
(Artist, Professor at Tokyo University of the Arts)

About our logo

We had a good story behind our center's name at the time it was decided but turning it into a symbol was quite a challenge. I tried sketching from all angles, yet nothing seemed to work. As I was running out of ideas, I continued to move my hand – then my eyes stopped at the simplicity of the parallel lines in Chinese numerals. Putting together the "3331" (in Chinese characters: 三三三一) I discovered that I could distort the shapes while still maintaining their legible balance. The "3's" add up to "9" which has the phonetic sound "ku" (same as that of "pain"), to which adding "1" becomes a single stroke to change the character into "maru" (circle), signifying peace. This was the final element that wrapped up the structure of the design. The mark that first appeared somewhat odd, now makes sense as it has been used for 3+3+3+1=10 years.

Naoki Sato, 3331 Arts Chiyoda Design Director
(Art Director, Artist, Professor at Tama Art University)

The origin of 3331

The name "3331"is the traditional Edo Ippon Tejimehandclap translated into numbers.
Traditionally used when people want to share their happiness an dencourage each other, the Edo Ippon Tejime is one of the old yet immaterialtraditions inherited from the Edo period. When a leading voice says "Iyo'o!"(supposedly a contraction of「祝おう」iwaou:let's celebrate), 3 sets of 3handclaps answer "da-da-da da-da-da da-da-da", adding to become 9,which stands for stress or labor (as「苦」ku:the pain, has a pronunciation similar to「九」kyu, ku:9 ). Then a final single handclap "da" comes to expel all that stress (as a single stroke added to the kanj「九」transforms it into「丸」maru:the achievement). Taken as a symbol of the Edo Ippon Tej ime,"3331" visually evokes an images of rhythm as well as distilling a sense of people's gratitude and positive feelings.
1.Ote wo haishaku:lit.Borrowing[your]hands
2.Iyo'o clap clap clap,clap clap clap,clap clap clap,clap
3.Arigato gozaimashita:thankyou Everyones applause

Led by the voice of Tomisaburo Kubota, the chairman of the alumni association of Rensei Junior High School, people from the local community, artists, and 3331 staff join to perform the "Edo Ippoin Jime" all together to celebrate the grand opening of 3331 Arts Chiyoda.

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