HAPPENINGText: Yoshihiro Kanematsu

There was an exhibition called “Merry EXPO in Tokyo” at Ginza Mikimoto in the middle of winter from Feb 2nd to 14th. This was the memorial exhibition for the release of a visual book “Merry EXPO – Book of global exchange” featuring “Merry EXPO” developed as a symbolic content for the earth plaza in Aichi Expo last year. The venue was filled with smiles from all over the world in a peaceful mood.

Merry Project” is the communication art featuring smile, by an art director Koji Mizutani. Asking “what is Merry for you?”, they get people’s smile and message towards the question. They have been launching the images and messages through various media such as films, posters, visual books, and free papers.

Since its start in 1999, the smile network has been spread into the world such as by “Merry in KOBE” after the earthquake disaster and “Merry in NEW YORK” after the terrorism, and “Merry EXPO” last year screened the smiles and messages from more than 20000 people (!) from 23 nations into a big screen in the earth plaza in Aichi Expo. The same slide was screened in “Merry EXPO in TOKYO” this time, with actual voices.

The cover of “Merry EXPO – Book of global exchange” with smiles from all over the world is handmade from corrugated cardboard used in the expo. If you turn over the pages of tender touched book, you cannot help smiling by looking at the brilliant smiles. The messages from 23 different countries were translated in Japanese and English, and it is simple enough to catch the deep meaning of world from the poetry like various messages such as “Raining” and “today is my birthday! That is all!”!

Mizutani says, “Since smile is a world common communication, it is possible to lead better world in near future”. Once we turn on a TV we see miserable news and languid faces, but Merry Project might remind us of that all of us have smile, which is a matter of course.

Natural smiles coming from pleasure have strong potential to get over race, generation, or history. I cannot wait to see the next Merry Project that has been producing the full of smile place.

#I also joined the process of filming the eventful diary traveling all over the world for a half year. You can look at here.

Merry EXPO in Tokyo
Date: February 2nd – 14th, 2006
Place: Mikimoto Hall
Address: 6F Ginza Mikimoto, 4-5-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

Text: Yoshihiro Kanematsu
Translation: Yukino Kotake
Photos: Yoshihiro Kanematsu

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