Big in Japan

2021, work in progress

video (20 min.),
Coin (acrylic resin, 15cm across)

Installation view at Barim, photo – Boeui Hong

“Big in Japan” is more or less an idiom in the Western world. It symbolises the idea of being successful in another country while remaining relatively irrelevant in one’s own homeland. In the work consisted of a video and an object, I question in reverse whether Japanese people can dream of becoming big somewhere else.

Along with the experience of designing a commemorative coin for dutch Judo champion Anton Geesink, I traced the history of Judo, a Japanese martial art which was adapted to the different social and cultural conditions in the world and became one of the sports of the Olympic games. Differently than this mainstream of the Judo history, Brazilian Jujitsu was derived from Judo through the work of Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese immigrant in Brazil, and contradictory, the Brazilian Jujitsu preserved the old form of original Judo which was lost in the renowned Olympic Judo.

In these process of changing, loss of detail due to translation was constant and it conducted complex result of becoming big. Alongside this video narrative, I realized a plastic golden medal which depicted the perfect circle of Judo from its original motto.