<Exclusive interview with Miwa Komatsu> -Part1- A trip to Izumo with Miwa Komatsu

An exclusive interview with Miwa Komatsu, a contemporary artist who is active on the world stage, Part 1.
Ms. Komatsu is going to be part of the TV program Another Sky (NTV) on 5/27 (Ise episode) and 6/3 (Izumo episode) for two consecutive weeks.

In the program, Ms. Komatsu visited Izumo, where she dedicated her work “Shin-Fudoki” in 2014, and produced “Shin-Fudoki Part2”, which will be premiered in the program.

Miwa Komatsu is always looking to the future. And I was happy to have her in an exclusive interview with HYAKKEI. Her experience of the appearance of the “pillar of light” a few years ago at Izumo Taisha had a great influence on her work. We will approach her deep relationship with Izumo Taisha, the production of new art in the land of Izumo, and the origin of prayer at the center of her work.

In Interview Part 1, I will talk about “Izumo Taisha with Miwa Komatsu” based on the shooting scenery of the TV program Another Sky. Ms. Komatsu, who is full of love for Izumo, talked about it in a very natural way.

Photo: Keiko Kanba / Interview & article: Shin Kikuchi(HYAKKEI)

The highlight of this TV program Another Sky is her first public painting produced in the same old folk house as her work “Shin-Fudoki” in 2014. I will tell you more about it in Interview Part 2.

< Miwa Komatsu Profile >

Born in Nagano, Japan in 1984. She started making copperplate prints while she was a student at Joshibi University of Art and Design Junior College. In recent years, she has expanded her production area to acrylic paintings, 3D works, etc., and released works with the theme of gods and beasts with her powerful expressive abilities.

In 2015, she exhibited her Arita porcelain work at the Chelsea Flower Show held in London, and her award-winning works were stored in the British Museum. After that, she broke records in both mobilization and sales at solo exhibitions in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan.

The VR work “INORI ~ Prayer ~” in collaboration with HTC Taiwan has been nominated for the 76th Venice International Film Festival VR Division and the Raindance Film Festival in the United Kingdom. In 2020 she was in charge of designing the Chari T-shirt for Nippon Television’s “24-hour TV”. It is attracting a lot of attention at home and abroad.

Miwa Komatsu | Official site

TV program “another sky”
Nippon TV
May 27 (Thu) Ise edition 24:59 – 25:39
June 3 (Thu) Izumo edition 25:09 – 25:39

Another Sky Program Official Website

Visiting Izumo Taisha begins with removing sand from Inasa Beach.

Miwa Komatsu praying at Inasa Beach

- Thank you for taking the opportunity to let us interview you!
This is the first time that Izumo Taisha has been featured in HYAKKEI. It is a great honor to be introduced to Ms. Komatsu.

-Ms. Komatsu Thank you! Izumo is a really wonderful place, so I’m glad to introduce its charm. First of all, I would like you to go to Inasa Beach when you visit Izumo Taisha Shrine. This is the place where the myth of “Kuniyuzuri” was set. There is a small torii gate on the rocky area, so please pray if you like.

- It’s recommended that you start the tour from Inasa beach. When people think of Izumo,they usually think of a large torii gate and Shimenawa.
-Yes. However, I would like you to go to Inasa Beach first to get some sand. Don’t take a lot of sand from the beach because it will destroy the environment … Please bring it with you and mix it with the sand from Sogano Yashiro, which I will introduce later, and then take it home with you.

-This is a familiar landscape. You can see a big torii gate.
-The “The First Torii” can be seen in the distance. From there, Shinmon-dori extends all the way to the front of the shrine. It’s just the scenery seen from around 勢溜(Seidamari). Behind this is the “The Second Torii”, which is said to be the Otorii of Izumo.

The large torii gate of 勢溜(Seidamari), a place where the divine energy of Izumo Taisha gathers.

-I was ashamed to hear the word 勢溜(Seidamari) for the first time.
-This 勢溜(Seidamari) is a very important place. It is a place where the divine energy is accumulated, so I would like you to pass through here first.

-Is it a place where you can feel the energy?
-I really feel it! All the people who visited Izumo Taisha say so, and it seems that the local people always go through here. There is a place where sightseeing buses stop near the main shrine, and many people go to the shrine from a shortcut without going through Seidamari, but I always recommend to go through Seidamari.

Cleanse yourself at 祓社(Harai no Yashiro) and head to the precincts of Izumo Taisha.

-A quick visit to the small “Oyashiro” before heading to the main shrine.
-After passing through the Otorii gate of Izumo, you will finally reach the precincts of Izumo Taisha Shrine. After passing the torii gate, you can cleanse yourself by visiting the Harai no Yashiro on the right side. The correct flow is to cleanse yourself here and then head to the main shrine.

Go through the "The Third Torii" and head to the approach to the pine tree.

-You can see a beautiful row of pine trees.
-After passing The Third Torii gate, the rows of pine trees grow much longer, and you will feel better when you walk along them.

Finally arrived at the 拝殿(Haiden). Formal worship to the depths of Izumo Taisha Shrine.

-We have finally arrived to the Haiden of Izumo Taisha Shrine.
-The front of the main shrine is the Haiden. Of course, I will visit here. Although it is not well known, if you visit the shrine officially, you will be able to see the garden around the main shrine. Around the main shrine there is also a number of 摂社(Sessha shrines) inside.
(*摂社(Sessha shrines)=A shrine that enshrines a god who has a deep connection with Izumo Taisha)

Visit the main shrine (national treasure) of the oldest shrine architecture in Japan

-Well, this is the main shrine of Izumo Taisha.
-You can enter the main shrine if you apply for official worship. General worshipers can only enter the Yatsuashimon in front of the main shrine.

Surprisingly, I think that few people are officially worshiping. If you go inside, you can see the relationship with various shrines other than the main one. Formal worship is recommended because you can see the stories of “Okuninushi” and the various gods that appear in the old books “Fudoki” and “Kojiki”.

素鵞社(Sogano Yashiro), a shrine that enshrines Susanoo.

-You can use the sand from Inasa Beach here, right?
-Yes. Mix the soil under Sogano Yashiro, which enshrines Susanoo, with the sand taken at Inasa Beach, and bring it back a little less than the amount I brought. please. Then sprinkle the sand in your garden or at the front door, and bad things won’t enter your house.

The only place where you can touch the sacred Yakumoyama.

-I can feel its power being transmitted through the photo.
-Yakumoyama, which is behind Sogano Yashiro, is a forbidden land, and only priests can enter it. The only place where you can touch this mountain is behind Sogano Yashiro. That will be this rock. It seems that some people may not know it, so I hope you will feel the sacred power here.

A special place, 西野遥拝場(Nishino-youhaijyo)。

-This place of worship is very important! I think that there are many prayers in the hall of worship. I would like you to visit there as well, but the Kamukura in the main shrine is actually facing the west side, not the front.

-West instead of front? Oh, That’s a rare case.
-Yes. Nishino-youhaijyo is a special place where you can pray head-on to Okuninushi no Okami. The method of worshiping at Izumo Taisha is “Bow twice, clap 4 times, bow once more”, and there are many other special points that are different from other shrines. That is one of the attractions of Izumo Taisha, but I would like you to remember and worship at this Nishiharu worship hall.

神楽殿(The Kagura shrine) is a little far from the main shrine.

-Speaking of Izumo Taisha, this Shimenawa is famous.
-It’s the famous Kagura-den Shimenawa. A place for weddings and various Shinto rituals. It’s a famous place, but it’s actually a little far away from the site where the main shrine and worship hall are located, across the river.

2014 dedication work "Shin-Fudoki" is exhibited at "New Government Building"

-Where can I see the work “Shin-Fudoki” that you dedicated in 2014?
-You can see it at the “new government building” of the shrine. It’s a place you can go to see without officially visiting. If you ask the receptionist to see the Shin-Fudoki, I think he will show you with a smile! (Laughs) I would be happy if you could stop by and take a look. (* Shooting is prohibited)

-How do you feel frankly about the dedication of your work?
-Gratitude and happiness. It’s a place where you can connect for generations and generations … Given that, I’m really grateful to be able to dedicate to a place like this.

Originally, there were treasure halls in shrines and temples, and it was also the place where the best art of the time was dedicated and presented. Therefore, I think it should be the way art gathers in places like this.

White rabbits everywhere in the area

-Oh, cute rabbits.
-It’s a white rabbit from 因幡(Inaba). They all have different faces and are cute. There are rabbits everywhere in the area. In the legend, Okuninushi no Mikoto and Yakamihime are linked, so the white rabbit is also a symbol of marriage.

Ms. Komatsu's recommended Izumo soba "Tanakaya"

-Do you often go here?
-I always come here. There may be fewer people now because of the corona epidemic, but in the past it was a popular shop where there were always lines. It’s in front of Seidamari, so I think it’s easy to go after worshiping.

-It’s a photo that conveys the deliciousness (laughs)
-It’s very delicious (laughs)The characteristic of Izumo soba is to sprinkle soba soup from above, soba is not soaked in the soup. There are 3 boxes, so you can enjoy various flavors depending on how you put the condiments.

Matchmaking chopsticks "Hiranoya"

-A matchmaking chopsticks shop.
-It is the only chopstick shop that is officially authorized to use the name of Izumo Taisha. For example, if a woman buys chopsticks by herself and then brings her chopsticks with a good edge, she can get new couple chopsticks. What’s also interesting is that the unit of money is not “円( pronunciation is yen/en. meaning: yen)” but “縁(pronunciation is en. meaning: connection)”, so it feels good to pay the money.

-It’s not just about the relationship of love. I always ask for a job, and when I get a good job, I come back here to report. I also ask for relationships with animals. When we say “縁(en)”, almost all Japanese people have a strong image of a romantic relationship, but everything has a relationship.

The charm of Izumo that I can't talk about yet.

-So far, do you feel the difference between Izumo Taisha and Ise Jingu?
-It’s completely different! The air is completely different. Izumo in the region “黄泉比良坂(yomotsu-hira Slope)” and “猪目洞窟 (Inome Cave)” is connected to the underworld, and I can feel very close to it. God’s Okuninushi is also facing the west, and I really feel the soul of his ancestors to the west. Perhaps you may feel the soul of your ancestors/loved ones here.

-This time, We talked mainly about Izumo Taisha…
-It’s not really just Izumo Taisha. There are many places around the old book “Fudoki”, Okuizumo is wonderful, and there are many wonderful shrines that cannot be described in words. I would like you to introduce them all together (laughs). Izumo Taisha is a part of that. The souls of the ancestors who appear in the old books “Kojiki” and “Fudoki” dwell in each shrine.

-Izumo seems to have a charm that I still don’t know. Please tell us again. Thank you very much!

><Exclusive interview with Miwa Komatsu> -Part2- Approaching Miwa Komatsu as an artist, production of the Shin-Fudoki Part2, and “prayer” at the origin of her creation.



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