About Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival

Morito Yoshida, Producer

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.

sado island

The Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival has been cultivated annually since 2016. Now it’s time for the curtain to lift on the Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival 2021. Artists both local and from outside the island will act as intermediaries and interpreters, through whose works we will rediscover Sado’s nature, history, and folklore, and reconnect with the beautiful souls who inhabit the island. Sado has always been a place where different values have coexisted. For this festival it will be home to unconventional and boundary-pushing exhibition spaces that will give us an opportunity to think about the future of art.
Regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic, we will follow national guidelines and protocols throughout our venues to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Visitors will be asked to wear a face mask and practice social distancing. At entrances to venues they will be asked to sanitize their hands and undergo temperature checks. Festival staff will follow a strict mask-wearing policy and will also wear gloves or other additional protective gear where appropriate.

With the government encouraging self-restraint, many art museums and cultural facilities have explored online and virtual offerings. But I believe the real-world experience—visiting the exhibition spaces on Sado, experiencing the art, reacting, and reflecting—is the most valuable thing we can offer amid the coronavirus crisis. A number of major art festivals have already announced their postponement or cancellation for another year. We too have put a great deal of consideration into whether to go ahead with the festival this year. Ultimately, we’ve decided to go forward based on our belief that holding our festival and allowing the creative process to go on will promote the arts and culture, help support artists, and set an example for other art festivals to come.We encourage you to take this opportunity to not only visit the exhibition spaces, but explore the island itself—all the while maintaining proper COVID-19 precautions. Rediscover the things we’ve lost touch with. Make memories that will last a lifetime. And when night falls, take in the sky full of stars. May our festival be your escape from city life, where you can lose yourself to the island’s rhythms, and contemplate your place in this world.

Through the Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival, we aim to show the world a vision for art festivals in the post-pandemic era.
We kindly ask all visitors to Sado for their cooperation in practicing preventive measures against COVID-19, both for your safety and for the safety of local residents. In addition to wearing a mask, we ask that you consider additional measures such as undergoing a PCR test and checking your temperature regularly for two weeks prior to visiting.

Festival Philosophy

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

The mission of the Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival 2021 is to rediscover the nature and history of Sado, to unearth the folklore scattered throughout, to cultivate new creative spaces shaped by influences from both inside and outside of the island, and to foster the creation of brilliance and aesthetic value: to be a galaxy unto itself. Events and exhibitions will be held in a range of locations around Sado that showcase a side of the island that is different from its reputation as a tourist destination. Temples, the Noh theatre at Daizen Shrine (designated by the prefecture as a Tangible Folk Cultural Property), a boathouse, the terraced rice fields of Iwakubi (designated a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System), Important Cultural Properties of Japan, other historic sites, the Kitazawa Flotation Plant (designated a Heritage of Industrial Modernization). By visiting these spots, we hope that visitors will gain a deeper understanding of Sado Island.

Art Festival Project 2021 Info

Various locations throughout Sado Island
Artists (in no particular order)
Terry Riley, Takashi Homma, Syoin Kajii, Seikai Honda, KUJUN, Masahiro Usami, Ethan Estess, Naohiro Ukawa & DOMMUNE, The Nobuaki Furuya and Yuri Fujii Laboratory at Waseda University and Koiwa Kanaami Co., Ltd., JhonNam Ha, Ryusuke Yamai and Yokna Hasegawa, Kaoru Shibuta, Tatsushi Owa, RAURA EMMA SUZUKI, Culture Research Forum Sado, Sado Art Brut, Kazuo Umezz, Yayoi Deki, Kao Terada, and more
August 8 (Sun) - November 7 (Sun) 2021
Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival Executive Committee / Sado International Art Promotion Organization / Earth Celebration Executive Committee
Morito Yoshida
Noi Sawaragi, Naohiro Ukawa, Hiroyuki Ogawa
Independent Curator
Mikiko Kikuta
Lisa Yamai (Snow Peak, Inc.)
DOMMUNE Streaming Director
Naohiro Ukawa
PR Director
Toshihide Kimura

Past Art Festivals


The Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival is made possible by the support and cooperation of the many people involved. We are looking for companies, organizations, and individuals who can support our activities. If you are interested in making a donation or sponsoring our activities, or are simply interested in learning more, you can contact us via the link below.
About Sponsorship

About Sado International Art Promotion Organization

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