Gen Sasaki and Keiichi Miyagawa
Artist / Kitakyushu, Japan

BLASTED ROCK / The Happiest Place on Earth

Okinawa prefecture constitutes 0.6% of Japan’s land surface, yet as of 2017, about 70% of all United States Forces Japan bases are located on Okinawa, and U.S. military bases occupied about 18,609 hectares, 15% of the main island. Through its long history after Pacific War, issues have weighed on Okinawa inhabitants, such as troubled behavior of U.S. servicemen (1995 Okinawa rape incident, for example), accident and noise problem of U.S. military aircraft and so on.

Over the last five decades there have been various plans for the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, a United States Marine Corps base located within the urban area of Ginowan city. In October 2015, despite strong opposition in Okinawa, the Japanese central government began bank reinforcement work for reclamation to build the base in the Henoko Bay, in Nago city, as a relocation place. Around the construction site, protest campaigns have been given by various action groups such as leftist group, human-rights group and environmental group.

On 31st August 2018 the Okinawa prefectural government canceled its permission for landfill work citing illegalities in the procedure and the reclamation work was halted. The Japanese central government plans to file a lawsuit to suspend the cancellation. According to the plan of Okinawa Defense Bureau, blasted rock for the reclamation in the Henoko Bay will be 21 million cubic meters in the gross and transported from various regions in western Japan. 7.4 million cubic meters of blasted rock, 35% of the amount, will be transported from Moji area in Kitakyushu city.

The Call of Faraway Hills / Theme song of the film "SHANE" 1953
Music by Victor Young / Lyrics by Mack David
Performed by Tatuo Mihara on the main street "Kokusai Dori" in Naha, Okinawa, 2018

Gen Sasaki
Born in 1980, Gen is an artist based in Kitakyushu, Japan, and a member of GALLERY SOAP since 2004 (2004 - 2015: assistant director, 2016 -: curator). As an artist, he works with various media, images, movies, sound and text spread in the internet and real world. Taking such information as source of his work and re-mixing them, he attempts to shift contexts slightly and give different aspects. Ongoing projects include "HOTEL ASIA PROJECT", a continuing project in collaboration with an artist Keiichi Miyagawa since 2011 ( "E87", web and free magazine project in collaboration with an artist Hisao Sotoda since 2013.