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 <


Participation from the 31st of March till the end of June 2015

Ryoko Nishimura is an ‘ikebana’ (flower-arranging) artist from Kyoto, where she owns her own flower shop. She stayed for three months in Amsterdam and organized a huge flower exposition called the United Flowers on the Watergardens of Hobbemakade. Her project was mentioned in at least two different Dutch newspapers and also the Japanese ambassador paid a visit to her exposition.

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