Three times a year at the Komaba campus of the University of Tokyo, we hold a day-long performance-symposium event based on the theme “kids and art.” Most of the participants are children (infants as well as older kids) and their parents or guardians. Performers at the event include former staff members of the Children’s Castle (kodomo no shiro) in Aoyama, Tokyo, which invited children into the facility’s richly varied musical world for over 30 years, and a diverse range of creators who explore new possibilities for children and art in their various activities. We invite different lecturers to each symposium, and guide the participants into a world of ideas about kids and art from the perspectives of aesthetics and art theory, cultural policy, literature, philosophy, education, and more.
Music: former Children’s Castle staff members, Mayu Gondo, Kozue Katsuragi, Manami Kakudo, Yoko Yamaguchi, Baku Furukawa, Fumihisa Tanaka, Ken Sato, Haruo Kondo, Mari Sakamoto, Tatsuro Fukuzawa, Hitoshi Hamada, others
Actors: Yuri Nagoya, Niina Hashida (Seinendan / mamagoto)
Stage design: Ryoko Ando (design musica)
Promotional art: Soichi Suzuki
Symposia: Tanehisa Otabe (University of Tokyo, Department of Aesthetics), Mari Kobayashi (University of Tokyo, Cultural Resource Studies), others
OKOWA is an abbreviation of [ongaku (music) / kodomo no shiro (Children’s Castle) / watashitachi (us)]. OKOWA is a group that presents projects on the theme “kids and music.” Its principal founder is a mother who lives in Tokyo. Kodomo no shiro (Children’s Castle), for many years familiar to parents and kids as the country’s only national multi-purpose children’s center, was Japan’s largest base for kids’ art programs. Sadly, the center closed its doors in March 2015 on the decision of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. To prevent the loss of kodomo no shiro‘s 30 years of experience, OKOWA disseminates projects that continue/share the center’s art programs for children. In addition to inheriting existing programs, the group also focuses on carrying out new creative projects together with energetic young artists, and opening up the future of “music for kids.”
The University of Tokyo, Komaba Campus (Meguro City, Tokyo)