Konbo-ya was a new artwork for the Setouchi Triennale 2022 that was located on Megijima. It was part of the “Little Shops on the Island” although it was in a separate location (right next to where Equipoise used to be if that rings a bell).
The project started in the summer when the artist, Motohiko Odani, was on-site most days to create his art. I know that not all artists can stay on-site to actually do art during the Triennale, but it’s always a good thing when they can. Unfortunately, the Summer of 2022 was so hot, and during a Covid wave, so I barely left my house during that time, so I couldn’t meet him, nor see him at work. Oh well.
During the autumn session, he was gone, but his art was still there to be enjoyed.
So what is this all about?
Well, I told you that the project is part of the Little Shops of the Island, the series of art sites on Megijima that are both art and shops, so Konbo-ya is a shop, as the name may have already hinted (the suffix -ya in Japanese usually hints at a shop or a restaurant). However, it’s a very particular shop, as it caters to a very peculiar kind of customer. You see, it’s a shop that exclusively sells to Oni!
If you’re familiar with Megijima, you know that the island is more or less considered to be Oni-ga-Shima (Oni-island) from the legend of Momotato, and it has taken the Oni as its symbol and mascot. If you’re not familiar with Megijima, now you know.
And you really don’t know what an Oni is, it’s basically a Japanese Ogre. The name is sometimes translated as “demon” but demons have this otherworldly dimension that Oni don’t have.
So there you have it, it’s a shop that only sells to Oni. And what does it sell? An Oni’s favorite weapons, of course: rods, clubs, and other other cudgels.
And here is what it looks like:
The entrance door is not really welcoming. It’s heavy, and the bars at the window as well as the big chain that rattles when you open and close the door can be a little disturbing, but remember, the place was not designed for you or me, but for Oni. I’m sure it’s their idea of an attractive shop.
Are you interested in a particular item?
As these two incomplete weapons show, they are in one piece, directly sculpted from the trunk of a tree.
A few more decorative items that will probably look very nice in an Oni’s cave:
Some of you may have noticed that I started talking about the place in the past, and continued in the present. The truth is that – just like with many new artworks from 2022 – I have no idea if it’s going to remain long term, or if it has already been dismantled. The first winter after a Triennale is usually full of surprises. Some art you thought to be permanent gets removed, and some you thought was going to last just a Triennale stays in place for longer. This one has a long-term feel to it – there is space for many more items – but honestly, I have no idea.
I’ll tell you as soon as I know.
In the meantime…
If you like what you read and you want to thank me, follow me, and more, please click below:
You can also