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JAPAN Culture Future Forum

Talk session with cutting-edge creators

  • Lecture / Symposium

A theme of the TOKYO SHINTORA MATSURI is“ Tradition & Innovation.” Local traditions that have been passed down (e.g., festivals, crafts, and culture) are treasures of Japan. To ensure that these traditions are preserved into the future, continuous innovations are essential. Taking “Tradition & Innovation” as its theme, the Japan Culture Future Forum invites creators who have constantly innovated and promoted the global spread of Japanese content, which has been one of Japan’s strengths, to speak about the kind of future we can build.


Opening Talk: “New Forms of ‘Matsuri’: Tradition & Innovation”

Seiichi Saito’s views on“ Tradition & Innovation” in festivals Seiichi Saito, planner of the Japan Culture Future Forum, has worked on projects such as Roppongi Art Night 2015 and Hyper Nebuta, and continues to explore new forms for festivals. What are his views on“ Tradition & Innovation” in festivals?
Speaker: Seiichi Saito (President, Rhizomatiks)
Seiichi Saito was born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1975. He is President and Creative & Technical Director of Rhizomatiks. After studying architectural design in the MSAAD program at Columbia University, he began working in New York in 2000. He then joined the creative team at Arnell Group before returning to Japan in 2003 after being selected as an artist for the Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale. After combining artistic activity with freelance creative work, he established Rhizomatiks in 2006. He uses logical thinking skills developed during his architectural training to produce 3-D representations and interactive works in both the artistic and commercial spheres. Between 2009 and 2013, he won numerous Japanese and international advertising awards. He is currently also a part-time lecturer in the Department of Architecture and Building Engineering, Tokyo University of Science. In 2015 he founded Rhizomatiks Architecture, which undertakes a wide range of town planning and facility development projects that use art as a community-building tool.

Talk Session 1: “Manufacturing” new computer graphics content inspired by Japanese sensibilities”

Speaker: Shuzo Shiota (President, Polygon Pictures)
Shuzo Shiota is a graduate of the Sophia University Faculty of Law, Department of International Legal Studies. After joining Nippon Steel Corporation in 1991, he went on to participate in the launch of Dream Pictures Studio in 1997. He moved to Polygon Pictures two years later and in 2003 assumed the position of President and CEO. As studio head he has spearheaded efforts to cultivate Polygon’s overseas presence, helping the studio to become a leading developer of TV series and content targeted at foreign markets. He has also served as a judge at major Japanese and international film festivals including Prix Ars Electronica (Austria) and SIGGRAPH (USA). In 2008, he was selected as one of the“ 25 Toon Titans of Asia” by popular industry publication Animation Magazine. He also presided as a judge at the 2016 Annecy International Animated Film Festival. He grew up in the United States and his hobbies include playing in a band.
Interviewer: Kei Wakabayashi (Chief Editor, Wired magazine (Japan edition))
Kei Wakabayashi was born in 1971 and spent his childhood in London and New York. He graduated from the French Studies Course at Waseda University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences. After graduation, he joined the publisher Heibonsha. As a member of the editorial staff for the monthly culture magazine Taiyo, he edited articles on everything from traditional Japanese culture to cuisine, architecture, design, and literature. After going freelance in 2000, he edited magazines, free papers, and corporate publicity materials as well as numerous exhibition catalogs and books. As a music journalist he has written music articles on a wide range of genres from free jazz to K-pop and undertaken consulting for record labels. He was appointed as Chief Editor of Wired in 2011. In his free time, he enjoys shopping for CDs in the Book Off chain of used bookstores.

Talk Session 2: “Game creative & beyond”
-Extending creativity by virtual reality and game engine-

The main speaker for this session is Tetsuya Mizuguchi, a creator who has developed many cutting-edge games including Rez Infinite, a shooting game combining graphics and music that was released in October 2016. He is now turning to new challenges, and as virtual reality technologies become more sophisticated, his theme for this session is synesthesia, or the blending of the senses. He will explore how humans relate to video games and the potential of virtual reality. In the second half of the session he will be joined by Takayuki Kawasaki, Territory Manager of Epic Games Japan, which developed the Gears of War series, to talk about the future of gaming.
Speaker: Tetsuya Mizuguchi (Creator and Game Designer)
Tetsuya Mizuguchi was born in 1965. He has a long track record of using technology to create interactive entertainment in fields such as video games, music, and video. He developed the video game Rez, released in 2001, and in 2002 won awards including the Special Prize at the Media Art Festival organized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and an Honorary Mention in the Interactive Art division of the Ars Electronica award. He went on to produce other titles including Lumines (2004), a music puzzle game, Child of Eden (2010), a rhythm action game that uses Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensing technology to enable players to integrate sound, vision, and touch while controlling the action, and the virtual reality game Rez Infinite (2016), as well as the Synesthesia Suit (2016), which enables players to experience tactilely virtual reality and music with their entire bodies. In 2006 he was selected as one of the“ Digital 50,” a list of global digital innovators chosen by the Producers Guild of America. He is CEO of the US company Enhance Games and a Specially-appointed Professor at Graduate School of Media Design, Keio University.
Guest: Takayuki Kawasaki (Territory Manager, Epic Games Japan)
Takayuki Kawasaki joined NEC in 1993, where he worked in overseas sales of telecommunications equipment. In 2002 the Japanese launch of the first-generation Xbox prompted him to move to the game division of Microsoft Japan. Since then, he has worked on development of Microsoft’s first-party titles in Japan as a business manager and producer. Leading titles include Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, Ninety-Nine Nights, Phantom Dust, Blinx, and the Halo Legends anime films.After leaving Microsoft, he was a producer at the Japanese video game developer Square Enix before helping to set up Epic Games Japan in December 2009. Making the most of his wide-ranging contacts in the Japanese video game and anime industry, he continues to promote widespread use of Unreal Engine tools for game developers and contribute to the further vitalization of digital entertainment in Japan.
Interviewer: Seiichi Saito


*Advance reservation required


2,000 yen

How to reserve

Please apply via the official website.


Tokyo Shintora Matsuri Executive Office
TEL: 03-5771-9686 (Weekday 11:00-17:00)


Toranomon Hills Forum, 5th Floor Main Hall


Organized by
Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture), TOKYO SHINTORA MATSURI Executive Committee (Shintora-dori Avenue Area Management Association / Quaras Inc.)
Subsidized by
Sponsored by
Shintora-dori Avenue Area Management Council
Special Cooperation
Tokyo 23 Ward All Nippon Collaboration Project (Tokyo 23 Ward・Metropolitan Tokyo mayors' Council)
Tohoku Rokkon Festival Committee, Minato Ward