Part One
Performing Arts and Cultural Activities in FestivalGate

Shinohara Masatake
(doctoral student, Department of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University)

In fiscal 2002, between July and the following February, I visited several sites where performing arts and other cultural activities are underway in Osaka. After surveying the situation at each location, I wrote a series of reports. This year I am continuing to report my findings. In publishing these articles, I touched upon the following fundamental issues in each situation.

This fiscal year I hope to delve deeper into my examination of "culture." What exactly is culture? How is it different from entertainment? What conditions are necessary for culture? I would like to consider these questions as best I can using concrete examples.

The main theme of this installment are the cultural activities ("The Shin-Sekai Art Park Project") currently being organized at the FestivalGate amusement complex in Osaka's Naniwa Ward. FestivalGate, which was originally designed as an entertainment facility, had begun to lose its attractiveness, and as a result, could no longer draw as many customers, to the point that it is currently operating under a heavy deficit. The vacant commercial spaces have now been leased to culturally active NPOs at no cost. The objective behind the decision was "to increase the number of art-related NPOs and create a regular urban art community in a commercial facility based on the premise that average citizens would be free to visit." The project is a pioneering example of the City of Osaka's cultural policies. I decided to take a closer look at the project. First, I would like to discuss the NPO, remo: record, expression and medium-organization, about which I will gradually provide more details in future articles.