Mount Koya (Koyasan) is a 900 meter high plateau surrounded by eight peaks. The eight peaks are thought to represent the eight petals of a lotus in bloom, which is suggestive of the core of a mandala with its eight deities arrayed on the eight petals of a lotus, and with the central Buddha at the center of the lotus.
Mount Koya is the sacred center of Shingon Buddhism. In the year 804, Kobo Daishi (Kukai) crossed the sea to China in search of Buddhist teachings. In the capital of Tang Dynasty China he received the full transmission of a lineage of Buddhism relatively unknown in the Japan of his day called Shingo Buddhism. He returned to Japan in 806 and began teaching. In 816 he was granted permission of the Imperial Court to build a monastic complex at Mt. Koya.
The “Happymaker” Festival started with the idea from Ayako Utsumi and Shinobu Hada to bring people together with special interests in the art and bringing this art, which can have all kind of forms, into the local community to be enjoyed and experienced by young and old: “making everybody Happy”! This was the second year. It frees the mind and stimulates compassion and shows the beauty in all.
I got a wonderful place assigned for my exhibition at the Ekoin: such a beautiful place and lots of light and my work outside in the yard with the birds singing: being in harmony!
The entrance front gate of Ekoin.
The entrance of the temple.
The Koi pond near the entrance.
Walkway to my exhibition passing a big hall with beautiful sliding doors “Fusuma” with cranes “Shiratori” painted on them.
Two pieces in a little outdoor corner in between rooms.
The show with Horsehair ware and Kamakura Red ware.
Outside in the contrasting greenery: red and green being each other’s complementary color.
And in a little stream.
And a YOU TUBE video of my exhibition:EXHIBITION at EKOIN, KOYASAN.
We stayed at the Nan-in, the center temple of all festivities: meetings, eating, sleeping and performing art events.
The Buddhist service started every morning at 6.30am and after that we had breakfast. At 9am we had a staff meeting. Ayako-san and Shinobu-san , the founders of Happymaker, presided over every meeting after which we all went our seperate ways to our exhibitions.
Ayako’s father is the head monk of the Nan-in temple and the whole family including also her mother, two sisters and brother and wife helped with everything. Then there were lots of volunteers who helped either through an organization or just by reading it in the newspaper that they could help.
The exhibitions closed in general at 4pm, but most of the time I made it just back in time for dinner at the Nanin at 6pm. Then there was an event/ performance and at 9pm we had another meeting.
Breakfast in the men’s sleeping hall at 7.30am.
Morning meetings at 9am and evening staff meetings were also held in the men’s sleeping hall.
The women’s sleeping hall in which we slept sometimes with about twenty and surprisingly only two times I heard somebody snoring!
The opening party. The founder Ayako-san in the picture is the 3rd from the right and founder Shinobu-san is all the way to the left. Ayako-san, the collage artist, is introducing herself.
The opening party.
There were quite some events in the evening from which I only can post a few.
Takeshi-san and Veronique give their performance before the star gazing event.
Shomyo concert: a kind of Buddhist ritual chanting music in the Nanin and after that the rice-cake-throwing event.
The Crystal Bowl concert in which people relax their body and soul with the sounds of crystal bowls reverberating through the temple.
Everything was very well organized thanks to Ayako-san, Shinobu-san, Ayako-san’s family, the artists and all the volunteers and performers.
On Monday, we went with Takeshi-san from the International Coffeehouse and where I had lunch almost everyday,to Amano, a village on Koyasan which existed already before Kukai (Kobo Daishi) started his Buddhist monastic complex at Koyasan. Takeshi-san wanted Eriko-san, who is a photographer and who is very interested in old people, to meet some old people he knows in this village.
On the way to the village we stopped, because we were astounded and mesmerized by the beauty of the mountains engulfed by the mist after the heavy rains.
Takeshi-san plays the flute.
Thirteen families live in Amano village.
A small shrine.
An old lady. Her shoes and her husband’s.
Koyasan is beautiful. The temples are so nice and well maintained and the artwork especially the paintings, sumie on the sliding doors “fusuma” are wonderful and so exquisite.
My Japanese artist name is “Shiratori”: white bird and so, I have some extra interest in this bird.
Happy maker is an art festival in which works of different genres can be experienced while walking around Koya town. Many events have been organized for both adults and children. It’s exhibition space is Mount Koya which has a long history of artists. Beautiful art on folding screens,papered sliding doors,and on hanging scrolls in temples has survived from the past. Many treasures from architecture, paintings, sculpture and calligraphic works causes it to be called a mountaintop art museum.We would like you to feel this traditional heritage and the new wind that is blowing through it.
Installation by Shinobu-san.
Ceramic Raku installation by Chieko-san.
Ayawa music experience with hanging sound speakers.
Sound faucet installation by Eriko Iimura-san.
Photo from old couple by Eriko Koga-san.
Woodfiber Starlight installation.
Pastel Drawing by Kayo-san.
Artwork by collage artist Ayako Morisawa.
Imagery on the wall by Yosuke-san.
Photography by Yukiko-san.