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SMAC! Web Magazine

The Artists Village Insider #02 – Unveiling The Artists Village

An Exclusive Tour Inside The Artists Village!

In today’s article, you’ll receive an exclusive tour INSIDE the Artists Village – a place with one single vision: to support young artists on their way to reach their dreams. For those unfamiliar with the Artists Village, I recommend you jump briefly to the introductory article and learn more about it. 

Make sure your seatbelts are tightened, trays upright, we’re flying to Takamori Town, Japan! 

Inside the Village – is a chamber of wisdom

Stepping inside the Atrium feels like entering a top-class building in Aoyama, a high-class fashion district in the heart of Tokyo. An impressive wooden library encircling the visitor area and a rug in the pattern of clock. The clock is a direct reference to the full name of the place: “Artists Village Aso 096k” – 096k is pronounced “O’clock” in Japanese. It is a direct reference to the Artists Village motto: “Ticking towards your Dreams.”

The bookshelves and the library selection is not just there for aesthetic purposes: it offers a rich collection of books donated by manga artists and creators. In this “tree of wisdom” you will find references to history, shapes that make up the world, science, world festivals, art books, novels, cooking books, plants classification books, etc.

A divine Bistro right under Olympus…well, Mt. Aso

Work is important, but so is good and quality food. Here at the Artists Village is a team of dedicated chefs from Kichijoji’s Zizoya who give you the impression that the Artists Village truly possesses a wondrous table that sets itself!

In the spacious Common Room across the hall you can also always grab a cup of coffee or jasmine tea and enjoy the serene tranquility of the view of Mt. Neko and a traditional Japanese garden. But don’t enter if the door is closed: aside from rest, the space is used for theater group practices or official meetings.

No theater in town? The Artists Village is a 2-in-1 theater AND a theater group

The Artists Village is true to its name: the vision is to support local talent, and with that in mind, COAMIX Inc. created the 096k Kumamoto Drama Company – an all-female theater group that trains in the same building where manga creators polish their drawing talents. The first floor has the Practice Room and even the Screening Room where the actresses can review their performances on the big screen. Not only acting, the actresses also use the Practice Room to practice dancing, singing, sword fighting and drum playing. Make sure to check out their trailer and see it for yourself: “Keiji’s Kabuki Adventure The Stage Play” trailer.

The Hall of Manga

Now comes the part that you’ve all been waiting for: manga! The hall leading from the Atrium up to the second floor is called “Gallery,” and it displays the foundations of COAMIX: “City Hunter,” “Fist of the North Star,” etc. and ZENON’s new hit manga (“Record of Ragnarok,” “Wakako-zake,” “Chiruran: Shinsengumi Requiem,” etc.) Here you can find special collections of manga series, the newest edition of our manga magazine Monthly Comic ZENON, and even SMA booklets! Moreover, the walls are not reserved just for manga from COAMIX. Here you can find the world’s most beloved current manga collections such as “Demon Slayer” or “Attack on Titan,” and a special row that displays manga only from Kumamoto artists such as “ONE PIECE,” or “Natsume’s Book of Friends.” Have you ever wondered how it would feel to have your work displayed next to the giants of the manga industry? Here is the opportunity for you to have your works displayed next to the legends of the manga world: enter SMA, give your all,  and show-off your masterpiece! The awarded works will be printed out and put on display!

 

The Art Studio – the place where the magic happens 

Lastly comes the second floor – the Art Studio! Just by walking up the stairs you’ll immediately notice the breathtaking calligraphy onlooking the art studio – reminding creators and editors alike about COAMIX’s foundation, the core essence of Japanese manga industry: The golden rule of storytelling, the technique as old as paper and ink, the secret ingredient that makes you read manga from page one until the very end: a breathtaking calligraphy etched on the wall and (hopefully) at the back of your eyelids: the “KI-SHŌ-TEN-KETSU” (奇承天結) story structure, but spiced with COAMIX’s own secret ingredients: a bizarre start (KI 奇), the story beginning to crescendo (SHŌ 承), a twist that no mortal under the sky (TEN 天) could predict, ultimately reaching the grand but absolute finale (KETSU 結). 

The Art Studio is wide and spacious, with just the right amount of contrast, being connected to the rest of the building while simultaneously being removed enough to create an environment to focus on the work. Here, you will find even more manga: COAMIX works translated into other languages, and we’re also very grateful and proud to have a very precious collection of works created by MasterClass

This little bee-hub in the heart of Kumamoto is a place that wants to support young talent. The space to learn, focus and grow. To support and learn from each other, to cry and laugh with other artists who are passionate about their dreams, a place where knowledge is gathered and shared. What we would like to share with you, however, is that not only the facility but also the people is what makes the Artists Village great. Stay with us to find out what exactly is being brewed in this house!

As you might have noticed, there’s something about Kumamoto that just inspires people to unleash their artistic talent and create wondrous masterpieces. I’m sure many of you already know the classics, but just in case: stay tuned for next week’s Kumamoto Reporter to learn more about Kumamoto’s manga!