Toshihiro Wakebe of Azuma-ya Bungu-ten stationary store leads the Scarecrow Contest that has continuously been held by the Fukagawa Shiryokan-dori Shopping Street Cooperative Association for 22 years. Every September, 150 scarecrows line this shopping street that stretches for about 800 meters. The application is open to “anyone from anywhere.” The three core themes for this year’s contest was “the Olympics,” “realism (realistic depiction of the subject),” and “freestyle,” to which 165 scarecrows were submitted.
Fukagawa Shiryokan-dori Shopping Street
Next Tokyo Discovery Squad!No.007
Shopping Street connects the Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station to the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. It was in this location that the Fukagawa Shiryokan-dori Shopping Street Cooperative Association began the Scarecrow Contest in 1998. Why did this take place in Kiyosumi-shirakawa, an area that has no connections to farming? We asked Toshihiro Wakebe, the man who started it all, about the event’s history.
During the 22nd Scarecrow Contest in 2019
A regional art contest the reflects the current social situations
The initial idea that led to the launching of the Scarecrow Contest came from Mr. Wakebe’s war experience.
When Tokyo was bombed in 1945, Mr. Takebe evacuated to Omiya City of Saitama Prefecture and lived there for three years. The area was surrounded by rice fields and farmland not found in Fukagawa. After the war, he had an acquaintance whose home was a farm send him some ears of rice plants, which he displayed in front of his store along with a scarecrow. The display was a hit among his neighbors, and this inspired the idea of holding a Scarecrow Contest.
Bringing together the community to vitalize this city of art
Although there used to be many stores selling fresh foods and produce in Fukagawa, only one remains today. But it is still as lively since it now has many new types of shops and restaurants. In addition to the scarecrow contest, another event that takes place here is the “MOT Satellite” hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. It is a project which holds art exhibits and events in the surrounding areas. Since this event’s first year, Wakebe has been offering his cooperation in various ways like providing information on empty shops that can be used as exhibition spaces. He says, “By promoting art in Kiyosumi-shirakwa, we are able to reveal the attractive aspects of this neighborhood.”
Japanese original text: Emi Sato
Photo: Shu Nakagawa
Fukagawa Shiryokan-dori Shopping Street Cooperative Association
|Address||3-8-5 Miyoshi, Koto-ku|
|Hours||9:00-14:00 (when the shopping street office reception is open)|
|Closed||weekends and holidays|
|[Inquiries about the event]||Tel：03-3641-3452（Azuma-ya Stationary Store）|