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Manda Pit Artfes 2023

On this occasion, we will hold the first large-scale art exhibition at Manda Pit in Arao city.  From spring of this year, four contemporary artists with domestic and overseas experiences, have conducted their research and will exhibit works inspired from Manda Pit.  


Manda Pit Facility, opened in 1902 (Meiji 35), was developed as the main mine of the Miike Coal Mine, and with maximum support of the Mitsui Company, it supplied a large amount of coal to Japan and the world until 1951 (Showa 26).  After that, it continued to operate management of the water inside the mines until Miike Coal Mine closed in 1997 (Heisei 9).  After that, the historical importance of the desolate coal mine site was reconsidered and its value as a cultural property was recognized, and finally in 2015 (Heisei 27), it was registered as a World Cultural Heritage as a constituent asset of the Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining. 


There are various words to describe Manda Pit, including coal mine sites, remains, historic sites, and World Heritage Sites. Now, many coal mines in Japan have been cleared or other buildings have already been built, but the Manda Mine remains in a form that clearly shows the state of coal mining at that time. Of course, there are no coal miners at present and the facilities are not operating. However, when you actually visit this place, you are overwhelmed by the intensity of the everyday signs of the people who worked there. The participating artists have visited this place, which is a former site but still strongly conveys the lives of people, many times and have proceeded with production based on the stories of the area. 


This exhibition "Manda Pit Artfes: Contemporary Art Born from the Ruins” is a contemporary art exhibition presenting works born at Manda Pit exhibited throughout the former coal mine facility. The exhibition aims to be a way to present the possibility of a new perspective born from the intersection of cultural heritage and contemporary art and to reach as many of the local community by commemorating this event with the first day as free-entry for all citizens. 


General Director ・ Hanako Miyamoto


INOUE shuji


The Mitsui Miike Coal Mine was dug through all the way to the seafloor. The tunnel supported the modernization of Japan and many people moved through here for the purpose of coal mining. Similarly, the Sakuramachi Tunnel was built to pass through the Manda Pit site. This place was used as a part of daily life by nearby residents, and many people used it to come and go. I imagine a time when the two tunnels existed side by side with scales and purposes that seem like extreme opposites, layered with the present, providing me with a new perspective.

INOUE Shuji 

Born in Miyagi in 1995.​  M. F. A., Tokyo University of the Arts, Department of Global Art Practice(GAP) 2021. Main activities include One turn of a spiral looks like a circle AIR motomoto, Kumamoto, 2023. “Ocean” Hibari Coast  Hibari Coast, Miyagi, 2022. KAWAKYU ART Exhibition 2022 Hotel Kawakyu Hotel Kawakyu, Wakayama 2022. ART AWARD TOKYO MARUNOUCHI 2021 (TOKYO TORCH  2021). SDGs × ARTs Tokyo University of the Arts Museum, Tokyo, 2021. The Great East Japan Earthquake Photo Exhibition Irumashi Museum, Saitama 2021 among others.  

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USHIJIMA hitoshi


My parents run a small ironworks factory and create mostly playground equipment, such as slides and swings, for parks and elementary schools. Since my home and the factory were right next to each other, the tools of the factory like the screw drill and scraps of metal were just another toy to me.  When I look up at the Manda Coal Mine, my personal memories of my childhood rush back, the smell of steel when it is burning, the smell of dust mixed with iron, and other such things seem to spread across the sky. 


Born in 1963 and residing in Kurume City, Fukuoka.​ Graduated from the Graphic Design Department of Kyushu College of Art and Design in 1983. Main activities include Oku-Noto Triennale Suzu City, Ishikawa, 2023. When it is happen, it is happen 1 EUREKA Gallery, Fukuoka 2022. When it is happen, it is happen 2  Gallery SOAP, 2022.  Kaze wo matazu ni (Without waiting for the wind), The Practices of Murakami Satoshi, Ushijima Hitoshi and Sakaguchi Kyohei CAMK, Kumamoto, 2017. Wisdom Research Project ver. 6 Playground Equipment, Weapons, Playground Equipment Shimane Prefectural Art Museum, Shimane, 2008. His works are housed in permanent collections at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (Ishikawa) Kirishima Open-Air Museum (Kagoshima) and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (Fukuoka). 


NAGANO sakurako


The "workplace" seems to be a place where workers carried out maintenance of the machinery of the Manda Pit to function on a daily basis. After the pit closed, it also seems that the small building had succumbed to the power of nature, but the current "workplace" was created by disassembling and reusing as many of the items as possible. Though once broken after the mine closed, the "workplace" has returned to  its former self. For this exhibition, I have developed a video installation with the feel and the air of this place clearly etched in mind.

NAGANO Sakurako (anno lab)


Born in Fukuoka in 1988. 2016 Graduate School of Art, Hiroshima City University. Currently enrolled at the Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences. Main activities include WINDS OF ARTIST IN RESIDENCE 2022 Documentation and Expression —Pause, then start moving again Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, 2023. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely EUREKA, Fukuoka, 2022. Tsushima Art Fantasia 2019 Tsushima Art Center, Nagasaki, 2019. Screened at Fate de l'anime France, 2016. Punto y Raya Festival 2016 Germany, 2016. New Chitose Airport International Animation Festival Hokkaido, 2016. tricky woman 2017 Germany, 2017.

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Situated next to Manda Pit, there are some buildings left over from a factory called Aso Knit, which are no longer in operation. I heard that many widows who lost their husbands in an accident in the coal mines worked at the factory. Knitting the strings found at the Aso Knit factory, I have created a long string.  This string will pass through Aso Knit and Manda Pit to create a ring.


Born in Kochi Prefecture in 1994. Graduated with a BA from Textile Design for Fashion and Interior, Bath Spa University in 2019. Major activities include, Piercing the otherside, Art & Garden Nekoze, Oita, 2023  3331. Arts Chiyoda Special Exhibition - 3331 Transformed Art into " ", 3331 Arts Chiyoda, Tokyo, 2023. Genjitsu47, Oita Prefectural Art Museum, Oita 2022. In:Site Festival Revisited Birmingham Cathedral Square, Birmingham, UK,2021 among others.  Recipient of the Kazuko Koike Prize, 3331 ART FAIR 2022. 

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Artists' Comments

Related Events: Opening Talk

video and editing by SOTI Keisuke 

Related Events:
Hello Hello
Manda Pit
Smile Chimney
Tea Party

Artist:Ohgi Kanae 

Sweets Collaboration:

SPECKS Johannes x ​DONIKE Marie

Date and Time: November 3, 2023

13:00 to 16:00

*Will end as soon as supplies do

Place: The Manda Pit Chimney 

* In case of rain, the location will be at the coal mine train inside Manda Pit. 

Participation fee: 500 yen

Artist Profiles

ohgi kanae.jpg

Learn more:

Ohgi Kanae

From 1986 to 1993, she had solo exhibitions and participated in group exhibitions in the Tokyo area. In 1997, she changed her base of operations to Fukuoka and started site specific works and workshops. She branched out to participate in exhibitions in India, Singapore, Sweden, China. In recent years, she has started and held the moving Smile Tea Room, "Traveling Smile Project" both nationally and abroad. Furthermore she also participated in the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa's "Altering Homes," in 2018. 


Collaborating Artists: SPECKS Johannes x DONIKE Marie  Unit

In their individual practices and as a unit, Specks and Donike have made food and food culture a part of their focus and research while talking to farmers and consumers of the products. Through food culture, they have placed great importance on communication with many people.  In this residency, they have looked at the network connecting people in Arao to their local symbol, Arao-nashi, and Oseibo, the unique gift-giving culture of Japan. Their first solo exhibition in Japan will be inspired from their experiences and research of this network. 

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作家:井上修志 牛嶋均 長野櫻子 森本凌司

ゲスト 吉田政博
参加人数:20 名度(予約不要、先着順)

Related Events: Weave, Tie and Release


November 4th and 5th

Weave, Tie and Release

Artist: Morimoto Ryoji

Time:  13:00 to 16:00

Meet at the Coal Mining Train Exhibition Area
We will learn a knitting technique from the artist and then learn how to untie it at the end.

Step 1: Learn the knitting technique

Step 2: Find something to knit. 

Step 3: Try out the technique.

Step 4: Release the string

Partcipants: About 10 people

Can be reserved but also free to attend day of. 

Access and Pricing


Adults/University students/410 yen (320 yen), High school students/310 yen (240 yen), Junior high/elementary school students/210 yen (160 yen), Preschoolers/Free

*( ) is a group rate for 20 or more people *Discounts are available only for those with various disability certificates.

*If you are coming by large bus, please contact us in advance.

The exhibition will be held in the paid area of Manda Pit, as well as around the lawn square in front of Manda Pit. In addition, November 3rd (Friday/Culture Day) is a free admission day.

(Inquiries regarding attendance and fees)

Mandako Station TEL 0968-57-9155

200-2 Haramanda, Arao City, Kumamoto Prefecture 864-0001

● Opening hours: 9:30–17:00 (Admission until 16:30)

● Closed on Mondays

● Planning cooperation/AIR motomoto (grant/Nomura Foundation)


(Inquiries about the art festival)

Arao City Hall Cultural Planning Division TEL 0968-63-1274

Traffic access

● Go east from the Manda Nishi intersection on National Route 208. Enter the prefectural road Arao-Nankan line for about 2 km, on the left side of the prefectural road.

● About 10 minutes by car from JR Arao Station

● Route bus: Get off at Manda Koen-mae and walk for about 4 to 5 minutes.

Related Events: Gallery Tour 


November 12th (Sunday) December 17th (Sunday)
Title: Gallery tour
Person in charge: Hanako Miyamoto
Time: 13:00~15:00
Venue: Former Manda Mine Facility/AIRmotomoto
Contents: Director in charge of exhibition contents
Exhibition tour including the AIRmotomoto exhibition held at the same time
Number of participants: around 10 people
No reservation required, first come first served
(Limited to those who can travel by private car)
Participation fee: Free

Related events at AIR motomoto 11/12 only
Arao Nashi Lively Chat

Specks Johannes ​Donike Marie

Click here for more information

First Stage: miike echo 

[CS6]omote tomosada.jpg

miike echo


○ Exhibition Period: February 7 (Tue.) - April 2 (Sun.)

○ Venue:  Manda Coal Mine Station - Former Coal Mine

                  (World Heritage Site)

  〒864-0001 熊本県荒尾市原万田200番地2

○ Time: 9:30 - 17:00 Last Admission 16:30

○ Closed on Mondays

○ Entry Fee:

    Adults 410 yen (320)

    High School Students: 310 yen (240)

   JHS and ES students; 210 yen (160)

〇 TEL:  0968- 57-9115


Please see below for the flyer download. 





















現在と過去 、こことここでないどこか、用いられる素材のひとつひとつが、




( Ube Tokiwa Museum, UBE Biennale Secretariat in Ube, Yamaguchi )


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