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photo: Neil Hartmann

Otaru Art Project 2015 <Freedom Desk>

This art installation was created to express homage to the Japanese scholars of proletarian literature who were suppressed for their innovative thoughts and ideas.


In the early 20th century, Japanese proletarian literary scholars dreamed of freedom of speech and transparency for their society. Aggressively challenging the government for their right to express thoughts and ideas through literature, they were  prohibited from using expressions that could be considered criticism of Japan’s government.


The exhibition location is in the historical architecture. It was originally the Otaru Branch  of the Hokkaido Takushoku Bank, Ltd. Constructed in 1923, it is well-known as the last place for most eminent proletarian writer Takiji Kobayashi (1903~1933) worked as a bank clerk. He was hiding in dressed as a bank clerk.

It is said that he died after being tortured by the police for his proletarian literary works at age 29.

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