The city of Düsseldorf is home to around 8,400 Japanese citizens – the largest Japanese community in Germany and the third-largest in Europe after London and Paris. This community has left an imprint on the city’s art scene: since the 1960s, a total of 316 Japanese-born artists have graduated from Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. A large number of them have stayed on and chosen Düsseldorf or Germany as the center of their life and work.
The year 2021 marked the official anniversary of 160 years of friendship between Japan and Germany. This catalog and the accompanying exhibition held at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf celebrated this milestone by inviting five Japanese-born friends from different generations – plus five artist friends they were asked to invite in turn – to showcase their work. The positions included range from the minimalist sculptures of Takeoka Yūji, a regular documenta participant and long-time professor in Bremen, via pop stars such as Nara Yoshitomo and relatively unobtrusive artists such as the painter Murase Kyōko and the sculptor Andō Yukako to rising talent such as Kinoshita Ryō. The artist friends they invited were Karin Sander (Berlin), Nakahara Masao and Anca Muresan (Düsseldorf), Magdalena Jetelová (Munich) – a long-time lecturer at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf – as well as Arakawa Soya (Düsseldorf).