In the presence of the Dutch Consul-General in Osaka, Marc Kuipers, the mayor of Okuizumo-Yokota, Yasunori Katta, and the people of Yokota the NIO-MON Festival 2021 in Yokota will be festively opened on 23 November. A Zoom meeting at 9 a.m. will allow you to be there at this special moment, which will be the start of a week full of special events and in which you can participate.

Early this year, the NIŌMON Foundation was established in the Netherlands with the aim of jointly building a gate for the Delft Blue Temple Guardians (NIO) who returned to Yokota in 2019 (see Issho-ni / Tomo-ni).

Much work has also been done in Japan: residents of Yokota have made a fantastic building (the Honmachi Kaikan) available to develop this gate (NIŌMON) in both physical and non physical way.  In Japan, too,
a foundation has been set up and subsidies have been obtained for the plan.

Because it is now impossible to travel to Japan due to corona restrictions, we cannot organise an Artist-in-Residency / AIR in Yokota this year. Instead, we have set up a five-day NIO-MON festival: a series of Dialogues between Japanese and Dutch in which
very diverse themes are addressed. All via Zoom, interactive and with translation. It is also the moment in which the Honmachi Kaikan, provided by the people from Yokota, will festively put into use.

In this way, we want to open the metaphysical gateway this year under the title: NIŌMON- A Portal A Home.

After the opening on 23 November, different Dialogues will take place every day from Wednesday 24 to Sunday 28 November. After the opening on 23 November, every day  a different Dialogue will take place. For example famous sword smith master Yoshihiro Kubo will enter into a dialogue with Mr. Bjørn Aris, expert in swordsmanship. And there will be a dialogue about the importance of an AIR for a village like Yokota and for the artists. The special combination 'iron mining and agriculture' will be discussed, as well as the differences in education systems in Japan and the Netherlands. See for the full program:

All meetings can be attended via Zoom. The link is to be found both in this email and on the homepage of
There is a 15-minute walk-in before the meeting starts. The language of discussion is mostly English, sometimes Dutch and always translated into Japanese. Take part, ZOOM-in.

See you then!

Jikke and both the Niōmon foundation boards in Amsterdam and Yokota.


TUE 23 NOV 9 am (NL) Opening Festival

WED 24 NOV 9 am (NL)
Dialogue on the special relation between iron mining and agriculture in Okuizumo: a cultural heritage.
With Cathrien de Pater, researcher and external PhD Candidate Wageningen University, the Dutch artists De Onkruidenier and Shungo Shishido from the Okuizumo-Yokota municipality.  

THU 25 NOV 9 am (NL)
Dialogue on craftsmanship: Monozukuri.
With Mr. Kubo on sword forging and Bjørn Aris on the rituals as part of the Japanese sword culture.

FRI 26 NOV 9 am (NL)
Dialogue on the origins of the book 'The temple guards from the Rijksmuseum'.
With artist/writer Harriet Impey and Menno Fitski, Head of the Asian Department of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

SAT 27 NOV 10:00 (NL)
Webinar on the Dutch education system.
With Naoko Ishikawa, Kana Nakamoto and Josha Sietsma, Corderius College Amersfoort
NB: only Japanese spoken

SUN 28 NOV 9 am (NL)
Dialogue about Artist-in-Recidence
With Mizuho Ishii (previously AIR ARCUS Project, Ibaraki, Japan), artists Sachi Miyachi and Jikke van Loon about the added value of AIR and a project like Issho-ni/ Tomo-ni for a place like Yokota as well as for artists.
9.45 (NL) Closure and a festive Kampai!

On Thursday 25th - Sunday 28th, you can watch the film ‘Carving the Divine’ by Yujiro Seki (ca. 1h 40 min) through this a link that will be made available.

A film about nowadays Buddhist Sculpture and modern apprenticeship.

This film won the Best Director of a Foreign Language Documentary Award at Milan International Filmmaker Festival 2019, and many other awards in many countries.