For several years now, I’ve been based in both Tokyo and Jakarta.
For the first year, I was immersed in the chaos of Jakarta life.
The intense humidity, the weather, the rain, the endless traffic jams, the feeling of loving wasted time.
Very close friendships, shifting alleys and blatant politics. And several infections.
When I returned to Japan after a year, life in Tokyo, which I had been used to all my life, began to suffer.
It's a new kind of disgust that's different from what I've been feeling so far.
It's not just a complaint that behavior that's possible over there isn't tolerated at all.
I'm afraid that we may become unconscious of the fact that what we take for granted here is actually quite strange.
When abandon one and try to fit in with the other,
Or, when you rebel in the midst of one and try to remain the other,
the "I" which already contains ambiguity has been silently eliminated.
There is a sensory dilemma that arises between two different countries and cultures.
In order to overcome this personal problem, I decided to look for Indonesian people living in Japan.
I wanted to meet someone who could relate to this issue.
The reason why I headed to Oarai Town along the coast to run my errands in Mito was because I learned that among the foreigners
who work in the fish processing industry in this town, there are many Indonesians and that there is a community of about 300 people.
As I walked aimlessly through the harbor, I met a young man from Java.
During the hour I was sitting on the bench talking to him, I was aware of the change in language, behavior and tension.
My "other" self has not shown its face in a long time and crossed the country.
He told me.
Gudang Garam is sold at a convenience store just down the street,
and the grueling daily grind of earning rent to live in Japan while attending language school, and also the silence on the street.
He said “I will leave this town and go to Nagoya sooner or later. I have a friend in Java”.
At the same time as the surprise of meeting and the pleasure of talking about it, I felt the rawness with which private issues are connected to social issues.
It's not just the two of us.
I'm sure that many people in this society are feeling the same dilemma.
Since deciding to do something at YCC, I've been walking around Yokohama from time to time.
Is it because of an inexplicable connection with Yokohama and the world that I see foreign characters here and there,
or is it just that I naturally pay attention to things that interest me now?
Just recently, I knew that about 15,000 people, about 10% of the population in Naka-ku, Yokohama, are foreign residents.
As I looked at the statistical data, I wondered how these people lived on the fringes of countries and cultures.
I want to do something with them.
I am imagining that they are my companions and seniors who have never spoken to me.
That "they" is the so-called "immigrants".
By meeting the foreign residents of Yokohama and gathering their memory of "home" together,
the foreign countries right next to our daily lives will come to the surface.
Let's temporarily construct such a "homeland of hodgepodge" in the internal space of YCC.
The foundation is the "street" of his hometown, as the young man who I met at Oarai town described it.
I want to be liberated from invisible oppression in the temporary streets where haphazard activities come and go right next to each other.
I don't know if they'll like it or not, but when they own that land that I named 《NEIGHBOR'S LAND》
and project their homeland, the land becomes a country, and at the same time it goes beyond the country.
If there is another dilemma that arises,
it may be when the "Japanese behavior" of the "we" who have stepped into the land is revealed and we feel that we have nowhere to go.
photo by Ken Kato
This art project and exhibition by Jun Kitazawa focuses on various “foreign nationals” who live right next to Japanese people as true “Neighbors” in same Yokohama. Although we live in the same city, Yokohama, there is no many chances to know about neighbor’s country, culture and custom. In this exhibition, “NEIGHBOR'S LAND” is created by diverse neighbor’s country background and culture at YCC’s exhibition space. “NEIGHBOR'S LAND”, which looks like somewhere’s “Town” not like town in Japan but actually located in Japan, consists from various foreign national’s activity, people, cultural things and daily goods. “NEIGHBOR'S LAND” is going to be where you can meet diverse foreign nationals and also you can find out foreign country’s culture, sense of values, traditional customs and daily life. Through a research by the artist himself and meetings and discussions with foreign nationals living in Yokohama, “NEIGHBOR'S LAND” is created by collaboration with foreign nationals and the artist.
Period : 27 April - 10 June 2018 Location :YCC Yokohama CreativeCity Center, 3rd floor
“NEIGHBOR'S LAND” Direction: Jun Kitazawa
“NEIGHBOR'S LAND” Participation & Special Thanks: Participating Foreign Nationals in Yokohama Ageng Sadnowo（Indonesia) Aisha Sadnowo（Indonesia) Alvian Safrizal (Indonesia) Aman Gupta (India) Amol Shekatkar (India) Anna Andriana (Indonesia) Cendikia Luthfita (Indonesia) Chan Hanae Chiang Po-Yen (Taiwan) Danica Young (USA) David Nagai (USA) Dessaules Frieda (Germany) Elena Galofaro (Italy) Florince Flo (Indonesia) Giulia Coccoli (Italy) Helen Chew (Malaysia) HowSiong Thong (Malaysia) Kini Syou (China) Kuji Cecilia (Philippine) Kuji Kyoko Kuji Takuya L.K.Pranav P (India) Ma Sumika Nareswari Worohapsari (Indonesia) Nining Purwasih (Indonesia) Prasetia Utama (Indonesia) Sumaira Erum (Pakistan) Wika Purwasih (Indonesia) Yuva Kumar (India)
“NEIGHBOR'S LAND” Cooperation & Special Thanks: Students of Minato Sogo High School