Agency for Cultural Affairs, Goverment of Japan
Creator’s Voice Crafts × MIZUE Mirai

Integrating the development of traditional crafts from Kyushu into a mandala

For this creation, MIZUE Mirai toured four areas in Kyushu (Fukuoka, Goto in Nagasaki, Kumamoto, and Kagoshima) to deepen his understanding of traditional crafts. In this project, he uses his abstract animation to create three-dimensional artwork based on the motif of patterns from crafts in these four areas. After the tour, we asked him about his feelings going into the project and ideas for the artwork he’s planning.

—Please share what impressions you had from the onsite tour.

I went around looking at traditional crafts from various areas--Hakata-ori textiles (Fukuoka), Baramon kites (Goto, Nagasaki), Yamaga lanterns (Kumamoto), and Satsuma kiriko cut glass (Kagoshima). The weaving loom I saw at the Hakata-ori workshop was stunningly impressive, and the sight of the Baramon kites flying in the blue sky rising up from the mountaintop was mystical. I was also inspired by the stories I heard from the artists who continue traditions such as Yamaga lanterns and Satsuma kiriko, while at the same time bringing something new to the crafts.

MIZUE tours the Nishimura Orimono workshop to learn about Hakata-ori textiles.
MIZUE flies a Baramon kite at Goto in Nagasaki.

—Please tell us about the artwork you are planning to create.

I plan to use the abstract animation I’ve been working on to create an artwork imagining the development of patterns from each of the traditional crafts. I’ll imbed several monitors in a large mandala and make three-dimensional, animated objects. The piece will be placed in the airport, so my goal is to create public art that will have an impact even when viewed from far away and that looks quite different.

An illustration of MIZUE’s artwork to be exhibited.

It’ll be the first time I create a three-dimensional object imbedded with video, so I’m excited. I think at the airport many people will be walking by quickly, so I hope to deftly apply the small-scale GIF animation I’m used to working with so I can grab the attention of people in a short time. I hope the setting for the artwork will become an impactful space and a meeting spot in the airport.

Design illustrations by MIZUEfor video based on the crafts (Top Left: Hakata-ori textiles; Top Right: Baramon kites; Bottom Left: Yamaga lanterns; Bottom Right: Satsuma kiriko cut glass).


Born in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1981, MIZUE Mirai is an animation director who creates non-narrative pieces with cellular and geometric motifs. Known for his unique, eye-catching abstract animations, MIZUE is involved in a wide variety of projects that include independent animation and music videos. Nominated at all four of the world’s top animated film festivals (Annecy, Ottowa, Hiroshima, and Zagreb), his most famous work, MODERN No. 2 enjoyed its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and won the Original Music Prize at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. The world premiere of MIZUE’s Wonder took place at the Berlin International Film Festival and went on to win the CANAL + Creative Aid prize at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. He is currently working on his first full-length animation, tentatively titled Mirai Mizue’s Journey to the West.