In April 2016, Kumamoto Prefecture was hit by two massive earthquakes in two successive nights. A vast area was devastated, including the iconic Kumamoto Castle. Reconstruction work is currently under way, described by local governments in the area as “Creative Reconstruction”. The reconstruction of the castle is particularly fascinating to watch, and is attracting large numbers of tourists from overseas.
The Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, was damaged, but most of the artworks were saved, and it was able to reopen within a month. Due to its central location, and the lengthy closures of other arts venues in the city, the Museum took on a role as a hub for various art forms, including performing arts as well as visual arts. Director of the Museum Takeshi Sakurai will talk about his work there both before and after the earthquake, as well as the progress of reconstruction in Kumamoto more broadly.
Takeshi Sakurai MBE
Takeshi Sakurai is the Director of the Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto. A Shizuoka native and Keio University graduate, Sakurai worked for the Tokyo Gallery in Ginza before studying at the School of Art Institute of Chicago. From 1971 to 2004 Sakurai worked as Arts Officer for the British Council in Tokyo, organizing the first visits to Japan by the Royal Opera House and National Theatre, amongst others. In 2004 he returned to Keio University as a Lecturer in Arts Management before taking up the position as the Director of Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, in 2008. He is the author of Creators of British Art (2002) and Museums in London (2008), both published in Japanese. Sakurai received an MBE in 1991 for his services to UK-Japan cultural relations.