art projects
5 February - 21 March 2022
Tokyo Arts and Space Hongo

Jobcentre Hongo

Humans spend one third of their lifetime working. Labor is a type of activity that is immensely meaningful for us humans, but it has become such a self-evident part of daily life that we rarely face situations that inspire us to think about its meaning. When we do, they mostly come as situations in which we are forced to look for (new) employment, and even though this means that we need to think about our job, we are so busy finding one that we have little time to sit back and reflect on its meaning. To those who are diagnosed with a mental disorder, doctors and therapists provide the necessary care, but there exists no such illness as “not understanding the meaning of working and of living,” so there are few people that we can rely on for these kinds of things. Set up at this exhibition is a different kind of employment agency that focuses on “the meaning of labor,” a matter that isn’t being cared for properly even though it is an important mental problem for the contemporary human.

Those who visit the Hongo Employment Agency first watch footage of interviews on the meaning of labor, compiled by the artist, before sharing their own ideas on this matter in “job interviews” with “employees” of the agency. Those interviews are filmed as well, and if desired, included in the visual projections at the exhibition venue, to inspire others to reflect on the meaning of their own labor as they listen and speak in front of a camera. The TOKAS Hongo building, established in the early Showa period as an employment agency, turns into a stage for a different kind of “employment agency” for the modern society. The setup of that agency, along with its “operation” for a month and a half, together make up the work that is presented here.

Jobcentre Hongo – Website


Artist: Daisuke Nakazawa
Organiser: Tokyo Arts and Space (as part of the exhibition TOKAS ACT Vol.4)
Coordinator: Junko Ono and Mariko Tsuji
Performer (as interviewer and staff of the employee agency): Tsutomu Ohashi, Rumi Takata, Haruka Toyoshima, Chieri Miura, Momoko Yajima and Yukiko Watanabe
Researcher: Takeshi Okahashi
Set design and construction: HIGURE 17-15 cas
Online Experience: Takaaki Sukegawa (Penne)
Filming and lighting support: Ryo Mikami
Special Thanks: Sotaro Ota, Hiroko Haji, Teruyuki Kuchu, Eriko Kuchu, Yusuke Satomi, Mashu Ohashi and Yukie Nagasawa
Photo: Ken Kato (photo courtesy of Tokyo Arts and Space)