Operated as an art center by Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd., the exhibition venue BUG opened on September 20th, 2023. It is located on the first floor of the Gran Tokyo South Tower,  on the Yaesu South Exit side of Tokyo station. For over 30 years, Recruit operated the Creation Gallery G8 and Guardian Garden in Ginza. These two facilities mainly featured works from the fields of design, graphic art, and photography.


While the opening of BUG aligns with this trajectory, the scope of this center also expands beyond the aforementioned fields of artistic expression to the broader realm of fine arts. Furthermore, BUG is worth noting as a novel initiative that is set to support the future of cultural activities. This is because the public sector is undergoing significant shifts, and the endeavor must be considered within that context.


Before moving onto the content of the exhibition, I want to elaborate on this point.

As I already mentioned, Recruit has been developing infrastructures to support cultural activities for over 30 years. When we solely consider the field of fine art, historically, the presence of conventional artworks has long been supported in large part by museums and commercial galleries. However, particularly in the case of (public) domestic museums , funding has typically relied on tax revenue. The recent decline in Japan’s population, especially the working population, has resulted in a decrease in tax revenues, causing severe challenges for the operation of these institutions. In recent years, the active engagement of for-profit entities such as corporations has become more prominent, providing an alternative to non-profit organizations or public institutions. While there are art museums that are supported by non-profit foundations (such as the Artizon Museum, Pola Museum, Sen-oku Hakukokan Museum, and Seikado Bunko Art Museum), there is a growing trend of non-profit initiatives operated in a manner akin to BUG, which do not fit within that schema. For example, there is the CSR model where businesses contribute their services for social good, or the philanthropic approach, where these endeavors are conducted using the surplus capacities of the core business. It seems the new norm is that companies cannot gain the support of their consumers without partaking in such initiatives. Although I do not have space to delve into specifics here, BUG’s activities cannot be overlooked if one is searching for insight into the future of corporate social contributions, a domain that is rapidly gaining momentum. The policies presented by BUG further underscore their commitment. It is worth mentioning here that, in addition to gender equality, their dedication to establishing fair partnerships with artists is explicitly stated, along with the creation of a conducive environment for payments, including specified participation fees. In fact, BUG’s directive on “Ensuring Appropriate Partnerships” is defined as follows.


– Setting appropriate compensation for artists and curators.

– Providing explanations of contracts and confirming terms prior to entering an agreement.

– Ensuring that contracts are finalized before carrying out work, and including clear provisions in the contract which detail each party’s rights, including copyright, as well as remuneration and production expenses.

– Securing insurance coverage to address potential injuries or other issues concerning artists and art workers during the operation of exhibitions. (From


The fact is, there are very few organizations that clearly articulate such points. These efforts are likely to make a significant impact on the dismal financial conditions that artists face, including the artist fee.

Exhibition as Projection

This exhibition, , was organized by independent curator Kaho Ikeda. Participating are nine artists: Ryo Uchida, Mamiko Kakitsubo, Tappei Noguchi, Hirate, Akari Fujise, Yuka Hotta, Kohei Maeda, Koichi Mitsuoka, and Takuya Watanabe.

The following is quoted from the curator.


Art center BUG had its grand opening in September 2023. Accessible directly from Tokyo station and with an adjoining cafe, the scope for what this space will evolve into is boundless. To explore the new possibilities for the art center beyond just exhibiting and viewing, we will host BUG School: Let’s Move!, a limited-time 32-day experimental space for learning, in collaboration with nine artists born between 1989 and 1999.


The artists participating in this project center their work on using the body as a channel; they use the contingencies and unconsciously accumulated sensations within the body as departure points for creative exploration, or employ the body as a medium to reinterpret relationships with society, the environment, and others—all the while deepening the diversity of their perspectives. In addition to a compact exhibition featuring old and new works, the project unfolds primarily as a learning space, offering interactive programs where viewers can participate in dialogue or engage in activities using their hands and bodies. Within this program, instead of unilaterally presenting their technique or results to viewers, the artists share the stories, sensations, and ideas embedded in the creative process with participants—with the aim of fostering mutual understanding of each other’s values and perspectives.


The title “Let’s Move!” reflects how the artists’ practices are bound to stir the viewer’s senses and “move” them, while also expressing our hopes for the newly established art center BUG to resonate with people in a variety of ways through a diverse range of programs. We look forward to learning together at this temporary “school” appearing this winter.

(From )


As mentioned here, in addition to the exhibition of artworks, interactive programs were offered with each of the artists. The increasing prevalence of interactive viewing methods illustrates a shift towards sharing creativity between the artwork and the viewer, rather than the accumulation of knowledge being the only thing to span that distance. The primary focus in this context is not to garner expected responses, but provoke unexpected insights and discoveries.

While I cannot go into detail about each participating artist here, if we extract some of the words from interviews where their work is discussed, commonalities arise, despite the diverse formats and methods employed in the artworks.

First is the fact that all of the works deviate from the rules of so-called “fine art.” For example, some challenge the conventional methods typically associated with terms like painting or drawing, which might evoke notions of two-dimensionality. Others try to deviate as much as possible from the process of compressing the representation of certain attributes into a singular image as intended by the artist. It is also worth noting how the artists did not just exhibit their existing works unchanged, but applied new methods to their practice. When examining the notes I took from each of the artists’ musings, what left an impression was the fact that, rather than constructing their work along a pre-established trajectory, they start with throwing out the act of creating and exhibiting, which could be described as “projecting.” When humans are given life, they are thrown (or projected) into this world. This exhibition seems to suggest an existence that goes beyond constructing life in a seemingly systematic and orderly manner dictated by societal norms and constraints.

Ryo Uchida

Traditionally, paintings are regarded as representations. However, Uchida himself rejects the convergence of his painted images into single “pictures,” seemingly seeking instead to allow his work to be perceived in various forms depending on the viewer.


Mamiko Kakitsubo

Kakitsubo exhibits one-dimensional ceramics, each showcased on an individual platform. The ceramics are painted with a blue hue reminiscent of seascapes from the past, featuring a pattern evocative of waves.


Tappei Noguchi

Noguchi’s quintessential work Takomikoshi draws inspiration from the octopus. Scientific research in the past 20 years has revealed how octopuses are highly sensitive and intelligent creatures. While taking these findings into consideration, Noguchi interprets the octopus’ eight legs as independent entities, with their own intelligence. He uses this as an analogy for how the whole body of an octopus represents a society.



Hirate encourages the viewer to touch the dolls created by the artist herself. Hirate’s works are based on autobiographical memories related to the difficulty or impossibility of communicating with others.


Akari Fujise

Rather than drawings in the conventional sense—created with pen, pencil or charcoal— here, the artist creates work with hand-crafted paper and thread, using them not as tools to draw but for the message that these mediums themselves hold.


Yuka Hotta

A hand-held scanner is used to incorporate traces of the body into the supporting surface, then those traces are removed. Hotta deconstructs the body through the printing of scan-data.


Kohei Maeda

Maeda exhibits his deep attachment to rivers, attempting to create a physical experience and performance around an unnamed river.


Koichi Mitsuoka

Mitsuoka consistently places emphasis on locationality. Seeing a wall that resembles an altar leads to the idea of climbing it. Here, action is prioritized.


Takuya Watanabe

Watanabe interviewed tile factory workers and focused on the dissonance that comes from the physical and mental strain that arises in the process of production, or labor. The artist himself also takes on this physical load.


Rather than exhibiting a pre-established harmony, even the creators themselves are unsure of what lies beyond the actions. It seems as if they have embraced the idea of getting lost, anticipating unexpected encounters and landscapes.


In addition to exhibiting the works as objects, the exhibition featured a program of workshops, allowing visitors to have a multifaceted relationship with the artworks, with physical experiences that go beyond visual appreciation. This structure also aligns with the characteristics of the works, conveying the exhibition’s potential for continuous transformation.


Note: The term “projection” used here refers to German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s idea of moving forward from the present into the future, and thus projecting oneself into the future.