A festival that highlights the everyday culture of East Asia
East Asia Bojagi Festival to feature diverse performances, exhibitions, and hands-on events by participants from Korea, China, and Japan
The 2018 East Asia Bojagi Festival (hereafter, “Daegu Bojagi Festival” or “DBF”), an innovative cultural festival based on a bojagi motif (representing the diversity and inclusiveness of the bojagi (wrapping cloth), which has long been a part of Korean, Japanese, and Chinese cultures) will be held from August 31 (Friday) to September 2 (Sunday) (3-9 p.m. each day) at Daegu Samsung Creative Campus.
○ Supervised by Daegu Metropolitan City, hosted by the Daegu Foundation for Culture, and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, this year’s Daegu Bojagi Festival is the second to be held so far. It was first launched in 2017, the year that Daegu was designated as an “East Asian Cultural City,” as a tripartite urban cultural exchange platform in cooperation with the cities of Changsa (China) and Kyoto (Japan). As a shared cultural element among the three countries involved, the bojagi was selected as the theme of the festival.
○ This year’s festival, held under the slogan “Cultural Festival of Three Countries Made One by the Bojagi,” will be comprised of three categories: performances, exhibitions/hands-on experiences, and events. The major events of the festival will be: 1) exhibitions of bojagi and other forms of fabric crafts from all three countries; 2) performances and traditional cultural experience programs of the three countries, including busking performances; 3) rock, paper, scissors contests; and 4) the Lee Hyo-jae Bojagi Show and performances by Intangible Cultural Heritages of Daegu Metropolitan City.
○ The first day will feature a Korean dance performance (“Bojagi, Encompassing the Heart”) as the opening ceremony; a rock, paper, scissors contest for Korean, Chinese, and Japanese participants; and a rock, paper, scissors contest for Korean participants, with prizes of trips to China and Japan. There will also be diverse performances by teams from all three countries (music performances by Korean and Japanese university students, traditional instrumental performances by the Kyoto Sankyokyu Association, a guqin performance by Changsa (China), etc.). The opening ceremony will be concluded with a “bojagi show” by bojagi artist Lee Hyo-jae.
▲ Bojagi artist Lee Hyo-jae
○ The DBF is a citizen-participatory festival that is organized for and by citizens. Last year, the paper, rock, scissors contest was especially popular for providing fun memories for all, with a total of 775 applications being submitted for this year’s contest. It will be divided into three categories (individual, couple (two-person teams), and team (five-person teams), and the top two winners of the individual category will win trips to Japan or China. Separate prizes are available for winners in the couple and team categories.
○ The Bojagi-Making Contest, which is being held for the first time this year, will display bojagi made by citizens. Anyone may participate (no limitations on age or sex), and each applicant may submit up to three bojagi, which will be displayed based on the decision of the judging committee. The seven applicants whose bojagi are selected will receive a gift.
○ There will also be an indoor exhibition featuring fabric crafts from Korea, China, and Japan. The first and second floors of the Daegu Intangible Cultural Heritage Training Center will display bojagi-related items made by Korean bojagi artist Lee Hyo-jae, Japanese fabric crafts (uchikake/kimono, etc.), and embroidery and fabric crafts from China. With such variety, visitors will be able to see and experience simple yet exquisite fabric crafts from all three countries. (Lee Hyo-jae will be giving bojagi classes on September 1 and 2.)
○ The festival will also have a “Three Countries’ Traditional Playground,” where citizens can try their hand at traditional games of Korea, China, and Japan. It will feature the Korean games of neotwigi (jumping see-saw), gulleongsoe (iron hoop rolling), and archery; the Chinese games of kong zhu, jianzi, ji xiang parangguo, and qi qiao tu (large-scale); and the Japanese games of daruma otoshi (large-scale), kendama, top-spinning, and pata-pata.
○ The area for Korea-China-Japan traditional culture experience booths will feature six booths on traditional Korean culture (folk painting, organic dye, traditional embroidery, etc.), while the Chinese booths will feature loom embroidery. The traditional Japanese culture experience booths will display fabric-making, furoshiki-making, and bracelet-making.
○ One new feature of the festival this year is the large symbolic sculpture of the DBF and the wide variety of photo zones. There will also be a large structure resembling stacked bojagi. The large photo zones with backdrops featuring local attractions of the cities of Daegu, Kyoto, and Changsa are expected to provide visitors with a wider range of things to see.
○ The trees near the festival venue will be decorated with traditional lanterns of the three countries to create a more distinct East Asian atmosphere. In addition, all booths in the experience zone will be decorated with colorful bojagi images to make them more visually attractive and create a general atmosphere that is conducive to photo-taking so that visitors do not necessarily have to visit a photo zone to take nice pictures.
▲ Performance by a Daegu Intangible Cultural Heritage
○ High-quality cultural performances from the three countries (traditional instrument performances and contemporary dance (Kyoto), guqin performance (China), performances by Daegu Intangible Cultural Heritages, etc.) will be held on the main and outdoor stages as well as in the busking zone. Performances of diverse artistic genres by local art groups (musical, dance, opera, fusion music, juggling, magic, etc.) will provide festivalgoers with a broad and diverse range of things to see and enjoy.
○ Cities that were named as “East Asian Cultural Cities” before Daegu (Jeju, Gwangju, and Cheongju) will each have a promotional pavilion that highlights the unique characteristics of each city. Gwangju’s pavilion will feature a virtual reality machine, Jeju’s pavilion will have a garot (hanbok worn in Jeju as working attire) experience area, and Cheongju’s pavilion will offer a chopstick-making experience (in conjunction with the 2018 Chopsticks Festival) and hands-on corner for educational toys.
○ Through a tripartite city pact signed last year, Daegu, Changsa, and Kyoto agreed to consistently cooperate on supporting exchange in the arts (youth exchange, cultural platform exchange, art group exchange, etc.) for the purpose of promoting the creation of cooperative networks in diverse areas and supporting sustainable cultural exchange among the three cities.
○ As part of the “Post East Asian Cultural City” exchange project, a local theater company made up of university students was sent to the Kyoto International Performing Arts Festival of Kyoto University in February. With the university student cultural exchange event hosted in Kyoto in August and this year’s DBF (and affiliated university student cultural exchange event), follow-up activities related to the East Asian Cultural City project are being conducted on a relatively consistent basis.
○ The DBF, which has been conducted by Daegu Metropolitan City since 2017 as part of the East Asian Cultural City project, began with the bojagi motif as a symbol of inclusivity and diversity that has inspired efforts by the three countries to understand and respect one another’s cultures. In the coming years, exchange activities among the three countries will be strengthened to support the creation of a new East Asian culture and expansion of cultural exchange projects to include industry and tourism.
○ Daegu Mayor Kwon Young-jin said, “Since Daegu was named an East Asian Cultural City last year, culture and arts exchange among our three cities has been very active—one result of which was the Friendship and Cooperation City Agreement between Daegu and Changsa in July. I hope that the Daegu Bojagi Festival helps our citizens better understand the cultures of Korea, China, and Japan and allows the citizens of each of the three countries to better understand one another. Going forward, Daegu Metropolitan City will do its best to make sure that Daegu becomes a globally recognized cultural center.”
○ The DBF, which was launched in 2017, receives an average of 38,000 domestic and foreign visitors. This large number of visitors is an indication of the high level of interest in bojagi culture in Korea, China, and Japan.
※ Inquiries: Festival Promotion Team (Culture and Arts Policy Division, Daegu City Hall) (053-803-4443) / Festival Secretariat (Citizen Culture Headquarter, Daegu Foundation for Culture) (053-430-1263~5)