Event report: talk series at Hikarie featuring Fram Kitagawa and Hiroki Azuma

2018 TRIENNALEEVENT REPORTPosted : November 29, 2017

The 7th series of talk at Shibuya Hikarie welcomed Hiroki Azuma, a philosopher and author of "Genron zero kankokyaku no tetsugaku" to talk about "tourisum" with Fram Kitagawa.

First of all, Fram Kitagawa presented how the rural revatalisation initiative in Echigo-Tsumari has brought people from outside to the region and then developed tourism which makes locals feel happy (kanko, the homonym of tourism). Tourisum became a founding platform as a billion tourists move across the globe and number of visitors to Japan from abroad exceeded 20 million as United Nations also promotes "International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development" this year. Echigo-Tsumari is playing a role in this phenomenon.


In response to the presentation by Kitagawa, Azuma talked about what brought him to write "kankokyaku no tetsugaku". As the tendency towards dividing "insider" and "outsider" of a community is accelerating, tourists who don't belong to neither could be a threatened existance to the establishment and thus they hold potential. However, there was no philosophy of tourisum as it has always been talked form practical perspectives. In the contemporary era when a society is easily devided by categorising people into ally or enemy, something undefined or inbetween is most radical. He argued it would be most important to keep such "no man's land" and Echigo-Tsumari where people from diverse backgrounds including locals, supporters, artists and visitors is indeed radical for that reason. It is interesting to observe such remote place in Japan has been naturally globalised as the festival has attracted supporters and visitors from overseas.

Although Azuma and Kitagawa had had opportunities to talk in public, this talk also presented inspiring views and perspectives they had. If Kitagawa said "you will find someone against with you when you work with local administration and that is exactly what opens up possibilities", Azuma responded "you can't pursuade other people. You can only gain trust by keeping doing what you said you do". They also talked about the venerability of "freedom of expression", issues of SNS and other forms of media and the roles of philosopher or director in the society.