The Other Geisai

You’ve all heard of the Takashi Murakami event but what about the Geidai (Tokyo University of the Arts) festival?

In Photo Reports by Kenneth Masaki Shima 2009-09-11

Over the weekend September 4, 5, and 6 the students of Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai) pooled their creative juices to make floats (omikoshi). They then proceeded to take to the streets of Ueno led by a samba band of music students.
Tokyo University Art School's student festival (Geisai) sported everything from huge handmade floats to experimental music and dance on the Ueno campus grounds.

Each float was made by groups of students from two to three departments within the school.

They paraded out of the university grounds and through Ueno Park.

The floats worked on themes of Osamu Tetzuka's classic manga 'Hi-no-Tori' (Phoenix), of 'Evangelion' and even Donkey Kong.

The students' floats were judged, with the first prize going to the daunting kabuki figure made by the Sculpture, Wind Instrument and Piano departments.

The parade ended with a tug-of-war competition.

Of special note for me, being a student at a Japanese institution myself, was the satirical Cafeteria Marm. Posed like a super-hero but brandishing a rice-speckled shamoji instead of sword, he was more intimidating than the other floats!

Kenneth Masaki Shima

Kenneth Masaki Shima. Born in San Francisco at the end of the 1970s, Ken migrated up the west coast of the USA to dwell in Seattle from 1999 and then moved to Japan in 2006. With a curiosity for film, literature and intellectual history from the 1950s, he now spends most of his time turning pages in a Japanese graduate department. Fascination with visual relations sometimes leads him to write about art, although his gaze is still seen through smudged cinematic glasses. He is often found rubbing elbows with cranky Ojisan in the dark of Tokyo's repertory theaters or searching the suburbs for rivers and architecture on his bike. Ken calls a thoroughly Showa styled house in sleepy yet literary Asagaya home. » See other writings


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