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 a Western idiom that symbolizes the idea of being successful in another country while remaining relatively irrelevant in one’s own homeland. My question arises here. Where can Japanese people dream of becoming big? 

Along with my experience designing a commemorative coin (Koninklijke Nederlandse Munt) for Dutch Judo Olympic champion Anton Geesink, the video tells the story of Judo – a Japanese martial art that became an Olympic sport by adapting to various conditions and contexts around the world. In the process of change, there was a constant loss of detail due to translation, leading to complex and significant outcomes of the Japanese dream of ‘becoming big’.

Along with this video narrative, I created a plastic gold medal with my coin design, depicting the perfect circle of the original Judo motto.