About Deshima AIR

The Deshima AIR project is an initiative to promote the cultural exchange between the Netherlands and Japan.

Netherlands and Japan have more than four hundred years of trade relations with each other and have build a special cultural and scientific ties.
During a period of over 200 years until the mid-nineteenth century, the Dutch were the only Westerners who had access to Japan. On the island of Deshima in Nagasaki was a trading post established. Annually, a so-called court journey undertaken to the Shogun in Edo, now Tokyo. Deshima was Japan’s window on the West.
The Deshima AIR project wants this special relationship to continue and where possible expand it.

The Deshima AIR project calls artists and people with a creative and open mind in order to submit a project.
Projects with special attention to the geographical, cultural, historical or social situation of Amsterdam (Netherlands) are preferred. What would you learn from Dutch society and what would you contribute to Dutch society are main topics.

During Deshima AIR project you will stay in the heart of Amsterdam. As a resident you can better experience than a tourist from a hotel or guesthouse the everyday life in the city. In this way, a mutual exchange of Dutch and Japanese culture becomes reality.
The team of Deshima AIR project will guide you in Amsterdam and – where possible – support your project.
Of the participants is a large degree of independence, curiosity and flexibility expected.

a mutual exchange of Dutch and Japanese culture becomes reality

Yumi Ito – The letters of Isaac Titsingh

From the 1st of May till the 31st of May, fashion designer and textile artist Yumi Ito will participate in the Deshima AIR program. She will visit Amsterdam to do research on Isaac Titsingh, give a workshop about visualizing letters, and work on her artproject. When Ito became interested in Deshima AIR, she wanted to know more about the history and people of Deshima. She started her research by looking for cultural interactions between the Netherlands and Japan.

Isaac Titsingh served as a top level employee to the VOC and was director of the Japan-trade at Deshima during the seclusion period in Japan. Ito became especially interested in the letters Titsingh exchanged with Masatsuna Kutsuki, who was from the Daimyo of Fukuchiyama. Special about this letter exchange are the personal stories that are in them. As the relation between the two countries was pure business, this was an interesting and special cultural exchange for that time.

Ito explains the value of this contact: “It seems to me that the two men’s friendship reflects the good relationship between the two countries. By translating their letters into tangible objects, I want to express a small part of each country’s history. Creating something to remember and cerebrate the two countries’ companionship will give people in Amsterdam a chance to think about the importance of friendship. Also to provoke thoughts about communication between people from different backgrounds with different values.

Yumi Ito’s > Website <

For Whom

This AIR is open for Japanese artists and other creative people with an open mind.

Projects with special attention to the geographical, cultural, social or historical situation of Amsterdam (Netherlands) are preferred.
Of the participants is a large degree of independence, curiosity and flexibility expected.

What would you learn from Dutch society and what would you contribute to Dutch society are main topics.

Proposals outside this framework, will be discussed about and where possible be supported.

Period of participation
1st January – 31st July 2018

For whom
artists in the broadest sense, people with a creative spirit and open mind

Number of participants
1 – 4 a year

Length of stay
30 days up to 90 days

Deadline of application