Inspiration file 95
Report on the award ceremony for the 4th Kokka Print Textile Competition

Continued from the last article, here is a special report on the award ceremony for the 4th Kokka Print Textile Competition held on August 22 at Yoyogi Uehara CASE gallery, Tokyo.


The prize-winning artworks were displayed on a white wall. In the picture below, the first one to the left is the grand prize winning work by Kurara Omichi. The second to the left is by the runner-up, Ako Sakamoto.


These are the works given honorable mention: (from left) by Mei Tanifuji, Haruka Yamamoto and Chisaki Furuta.


Another four honorable mention winning works: (from left) by Kili Fukugawara, MAKINANO, Darlings and Yoko Morita.


The award ceremony started with a speech by Kazuhiko Okada, the president of KOKKA Co., Ltd. Okada excitedly addressed, “We intend to vitalize the textile industry by bringing a new perspective through this competition. In that sense, any applicants including undergraduates or even those who are from other industries are welcome!”


Then the observations of the 4th competition were made by Masahiro Tobita and Masafumi Arita on behalf of the jury. Tobita recalled the judging process and talked quietly to the winners. “According to the current trend, designers should remember to express themselves through their projects. That is what I was most concerned with while reviewing and judging entries. I know that self-expression is not easy. Perhaps it is like the awkwardness of expressing your love to someone. But it is important to show through your creation who you are or how you feel, even though your technique is not good enough to express it.”
It was interesting that Tobita explained the imperfect way of self-expression in the art by making an analogy to the unpolished confession of love.


Arita followed, “Looking back to the past competitions, the quality of entries has become refined.” By using the word “fermentation”, he described how textile has been gradually developed, ripened and integrated into people’s daily life with its distinguish feature, “wearable”.

Ms. Kurara Omichi, the grand prize winner.

In her application, Omichi had written, “I try to keep in mind to listen to my own thoughts, depict what comes from my heart, and integrate my feeling into textile.”
Her speech at the ceremony was impressive. “I would like to trust my instincts, get more sensitive to what I feel, and respond quickly to my sensibility.”

Here are Omichi’s design portfolios for the competition.

“Front side of the back of the Mountain”, “Say O-ta-ma-ja-ku-shi*)”…. The titles she gave to her artworks are unconventional. Where do such unique titles come from? The answer is her hobby of writing a Tanka that is a traditional Japanese poem. She is used to playing with words through composing poems. According to her, it sometimes happens that a word pops up in her mind first then she starts drawing design inspired by the word.

Ms. Ako Sakamoto, runner-up.
Sakamoto is a bread-freak who loves to eat out from one bakery to another. Her favorite was transformed to such a yummy-looking artwork titled “Pain de campague”. Another designs in her portfolios named “Cream bun” and “Curry bread” were not displayed at the venue of the award ceremony, but here they are.


Commemorative get-together photograph was taken at the end of the ceremony.
After the award ceremony, everyone had a delightful time and refreshments served by CASE gallery. Although it was the first meet-up for most of attendees, they enjoyed chitchat with the common topic, “textiles”.

*1) Otamajakushi = tadpole