About 2022 Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival

Statement on the 2022 Art Festival Project

Morito Yoshida, Producer / Sado International Art Promotion Organization

Sado Island is the largest outlying island in the Sea of Japan. It is sometimes called Butterfly Island due to its distinct shape: two parallel mountain ranges running from the northeast to the southwest—the Osado Mountains in the north and the Kosado Mountains in the south—and the Kuninaka Plain, which stretches across the space between. Due to the Tsushima Warm Current flowing off the coast of the island, its climate is cooler than the Japanese mainland during summer and warmer in the winter, making it the ideal home for a wide variety of plant and marine life.

In the past, Sado flourished as a gold mining center, playing a role in shaping not only the Japanese economy, but also the international economy. Flocks of Japanese crested ibis once flew gracefully in the skies above. It was also the island of exile for such historical figures as Emperor Juntoku (1197-1242), who was exiled after the Jokyu War (1221), and the playwright Zeami (c. 1363 - c. 1443), who had fallen out of favor with the shogun Ashikaga Yoshinori (1394-1441). Between the Edo period (1603-1867) and the Meiji period (1868-1912), kitamaebune merchant ships regularly transported goods to and from Sado as part of the shipping route connecting the west-central Kinki region, the northwestern Hokuriku region, and the northern island of Hokkaido. In these ways, Sado has been a port of call for people and goods throughout history. It is the birthplace of unique performing arts and culture, such as Noh theater and the masked dance of Ondeko. Much of that unique socio-cultural heritage remains today.

The 2022 Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival Project is about rediscovering the beauty of Sado through the lens of local and visiting artists. Their work will act as a window into the island’s nature and history, its folkloric tales and traditions, and its people.

There are many components that make up this year’s Art Festival Project, including site-specific art projects, artist-in-residence projects, performance projects, art tours, an art camp, a symposium, the Inclusive Society Promotion Project, and the Citizens Project.

In our site-specific art exhibits, we believe that learning about the historical background and local character of different locations throughout the island will give visitors a deeper understanding of the artists’ creative intent. Artist-in-residence projects will give artists an opportunity to reside on the island and nurture their creative vision to fruition. Both performance projects and our art camp will provide opportunities for the artists and festivalgoers to occupy the same space and time and take part in a unique, once-in-a-lifetime art experience. Our art tours will not only take you to see the artworks exhibited throughout the island, but also to off-the-beaten-path spots you won’t be able visit on existing sightseeing bus tours. Participants will discover a different side of Sado that is steeped in history and folklore.

The Inclusive Society Promotion Project is founded on a vision: “Realizing a future society that reaffirms each individual’s dignity and worth, allows participation by any of its members at any stage of their lives, and encourages the pursuit of purpose and creativity.” We aim to propose a new model for modern-day communities to connect people from all walks of life. The project will showcase artwork and performances by artists with disabilities and introduce them to a wider audience in the hopes of bringing about a society that celebrates those with disabilities as well as people from diverse backgrounds. Finally, the Citizens Project is a community fair run by the Festival’s executive committee that will host a range of cultural and arts-related events. As part of an ongoing effort to reinvigorate the cultural arts on Sado and nurture a vibrant local community, the Citizens Project will also support anyone looking to realize their own projects, from the beginning stages of planning to execution. We will provide project consultation, PR support, administrative support, and more. Through this process our aim is to involve and give autonomy to members of the community and foster the growth of small-scale cultural organizations.

While similar efforts are often undertaken to revitalize local/regional communities and promote tourism to these areas, we aim to spark a new kind of movement that focuses on breathing new life into communities through the arts. One such example is the late hanga artist Shinichi Takahashi, whose woodblock prints were exhibited as part of the 2016 pre-festival. Takahashi was not only an artist but a dedicated teacher of hanga , and during his lifetime he worked to spread the craft throughout Sado, establishing and serving as chair of the group Sado Hangamura. He devoted his life to energizing local communities through the art of hanga.

I encourage you to explore beyond the exhibits and venture around the whole of Sado Island. My hope is that through observing performances and works of art, visitors are inspired to turn their gaze inwards. When we become aware of that which resides within us, we reconnect with the sense that we are one with the natural world and the cosmos.

May this Festival inspire you to rediscover your inner self. May it serve as a place for the past to enter into dialogue with the future, setting all things into joyful motion.

“The Port of Return for the Past and the Future”

Sado was once a bustling port of call for the kitamaebune merchant ships that connected the west-central Kinki region, the northwestern Hokuriku region, and the northern island of Hokkaido. In these ways, Sado has been a port of call for people and goods throughout history. It is the birthplace of unique performing arts and culture, such as Noh theater and the masked dance of Ondeko. Much of that unique socio-cultural heritage remains today.

The aim of the 2022 Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival Project is to uncover Sado’s nature, history, and the various folkloric tales and traditions scattered throughout its land, to nurture new creative spaces shaped by influences from within and outside of the island, and to foster an appreciation of beauty that bridges past, present, and future, and encompasses the glimmer of the galaxy.

Exhibitions and art-related events will be held in various locations throughout the island.

The venues include a vacant store on a shopping street near Ryotsu Port, a temple, a shrine, a fishing port, an abandoned school building, a former boathouse, and a terraced rice field. We hope that exploring these lesser-known places will allow participants and visitors from on and off the island to gain a deeper understanding of Sado.



Various locations throughout Sado Island


To be updated.


August 7 (Sun) - October 9 (Sun) 2022


Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival Executive Committee / Sado International Art Promotion Organization / Earth Celebration Executive Committee / Sado City


Morito Yoshida


Noi Sawaragi/ Naohiro Ukawa/Hiroyuki Ogawa

Independent curator

Mikiko Kikuta

Past Art Festivals

Pamphlet Download

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Visit Sado. Cross Over to Sado.

Access the Sado Tourism Association Website

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