NIHONMONODiscovering Japan [Nihon] through authentic craftsmanship [Honmono]

Learning, creating, and communicating in Yamagata ”Tohoku University of Art and Design”

"Learning, creating, and communicating in Yamagata
”Tohoku University of Art and Design” "

The school overlooking Yamagata city

We found Tohoku University of Art and Design atop a small hill about 15 minutes away from Yamagata station by car. The main building with the gigantic roof was at the center of the campus, flanked by buildings for the various departments. There was an artificial pond in front of the main building with a vast amount of, water and an overwater Noh stage. It was obviously not a typical university.
Tohoku University of Art and Design is a university for a wide range of subjects ranging from art to industrial design, to even communication design. It is a relatively new school, having been founded in 1991, but known for its active involvement in regional projects, mainly in Yamagata Prefecture.

Choices to learn all kinds of fields

The university has sixteen different fields of concentration, largely divided between two departments. Arts including faculties of Art History /Cultural Property Repair, or Faculty of Art, Japanese Painting Course. And in the Department of Design Engineering, faculties of Architectural and Environmental Design, Graphic Design, Community Design and other faculties for learning design in detail.
In addition to regular classes, students are involved in autonomous creative projects, and extracurricular activities.
Our visit materialized because modern artist Tatsuo Miyajima, Nakata’s acquaintance, teaches at the university as a Vice President. Miyajima had participated in the REVALUE NIPPON PROJECT, a project organized by the TAKE ACTION FOUNDATION. Miyajima showed us around the school.

Active artists teach classes

We observed classes for graphic design, sculpturing, crafts, textiles, western painting, cultural assets repair, etc. We witnessed active artists talking and interacting with students as teachers. Sometimes with humor, and often with seriousness. Specialists and creators of all fields are invited to teach classes and take part in hands-on training. The workshop where students worked on their creations were quiet, but filled with young, energic passion. It was the kind of tension felt in places where creative work takes place.
As we walked, Miyajima spoke to us about the “importance of continuing to learn”. Art and design changes with the times. A creator needs to think deeply, delicately and perpetually about everything. We look forward to how these students will come up with new creations and cultures.
◆Photos courtesy of :Tohoku University of Art and Design


Tohoku University of Art and Design
3-4-5 Kamisakurada, Yamagata, Yamagata Prefecture