Symbols of Inujima Island, crumbling brick smokestacks tower over their surroundings.
Inujima Island is located about 45 minutes drive from central Okayama city, and 10 minutes from Hoden Port by boat.
A very photogenic island that makes you want to take plenty of photographs, even among the islands of the Seto Inland Sea, it’s remarkably unique.
In more recent decades the island prospered by refining copper, but Inushima has always been known for its granite production. Though copper refining ceased in 1919, during the island’s golden age, its population reached around 6000. Only about 50 people are resident on the island these days…
The smokestacks are at the site of what once was the refinery. They are a symbol of the island’s glory and its decline.
However, in 2004, when an art project called “Inujimajikan” (‘Inujima Island Time’) started, the island began to once again gain attention.
Held every year during the Japanese Golden Week, the event started with Daisuke Aochi’s lead, a photographer from Okayama prefecture who pioneered the idea of utilizing vacant houses for art events. This year, 2015, marked the 12th consecutive year of the event.
Depending upon the angle from which you view them, the color of these colorful skulls change.
So mysterious, I want them!
A doll in a traditional Japanese house… It’s a little bit scary!
A crab. There’s also an ant.
After this, the Fukutake foundation, which has been active with Benesse Art Site Naoshima together with Benesse Holdings at sites such as Naoshima Island, planned an art project using the remains of the copper refinery.
The refinery that was once the symbol of the island’s glory and decline was reborn in 2008 as the Inujima Seirensho Art Museum.
In 2010, galleries were opened for special displays as a part of the Inujima “Art House Project”. Chosen as a site for the Setouchi Triennale, the island is heading towards a new era as an art island.
Architecture: Kazuyo Sejima Art: Haruka Kojin “ reflectwo” 2013
Inujima “Art House Project” A-Art House.
The flower motif arranged within a transparent acrylic corridor is vividly colorful.
Architecture: Kazuyo Sejima Art: Haruka Kojin “contact lens” 2013
Inujima “Art House Project” S-Art House where you can see island scenery and houses through the lenses.
There are many art islands in the Seto Inland Sea area, such as Naoshima and Toyoshima, but the advantage of Inujima Island is that you can tour it on foot.
You can tour the Inujima Seirensho Art Museum, and the Inujima “Art House Project” works, etc. at your own pace without worrying about bus timetables.
After a walk around the island, it’s time for a meal.
This is the quiche offered at the Inujima ticket center’s café. They also serve tako-meshi (mixed rice with octopus) and deserts so do drop by while waiting for your boat.
Inujima Island Guide (Benesse Art Site Naoshima):
http://www.benesse-artsite.jp/en/inujima/ (English site)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writers: Asami Asai / Katsutoshi Asai (Kokohore Japan)
Katsutoshi Asai Producer and member of the Setouchi Regional Revitalization Association. Born in Yokohama in 1974, Katsutoshi is married and has a young son. Although he started his career with an advertising agency, he went to join the Tower Records team. Katsutoshi was involved with brand management, sales campaigns, collaboration work, and live events. Through his career, he experienced being the Sales Promotion Manager, and the Manager of the Live Entertainment Department. However, in 2012, Katsuyoshi retired from Tower Records and moved to Seto city, Okayama prefecture - a place where he had no prior friends, connections or relatives. Soon after moving, he joined the Setouchi Regional Revitalization Association, and in July 2013 founded Kokohore Japan and began a number of projects to re-task old traditional buildings, invent new specialty products, and work on regional branding. Website: Kokohore Japan http://kkhr.jp/ Asami Asai Editor & Writer I mainly write about social news, music, and lifestyles. I was born and raised in Tokyo, but in 2012 I decided on a whim to move to Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture. I contribute to magazines such as Liniere, Inakagurashi no Hon, and ku:nel. I publish books for my 'interesting' friends, too, and direct and write for programs at FM Okayama. Everyday I write about people and things for both readers and listeners. Website: Kokohore Japan http://kkhr.jp/
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