OkiTen is the largest art exhibition in Okinawa. Artists from Okinawa and other places in Japan can submit their art to be in the exhibition. If you are an artist living in Okinawa, it’s a good way to show your work and be a part of the art community. But, if you don’t know Japanese, it can be hard to submit your art.
I have been an OkiTen veteran for the last five years, I want to share my experience on navigating my way into the contest.
- Check the eligibility: Make sure you are at least 16 years old and you are an artist living in Okinawa.
- Understand the submission process: The submission process is divided into different categories and has different submission dates. There is also a submission fee depending on your age.
- Look for more information: Visit the OkiTen website to find more information and the online application guideline in English: https://okiten.okinawatimes.co.jp/cms/guide_en/
- Prepare the application form: Download the appropriate application form from the website. The form is only provided in Japanese, so you may need help filling it out. You can use Google Translate or ask someone who can read Japanese to help you.
- The staff at the submission office can help you complete the form, but make sure to have a name for your artwork, your ID, and the size of your artwork ready.
- Read the instructions carefully: Go through the application form and the online guidelines carefully, and make sure to follow all the requirements.
On Submission Day
- Go to the reception on the 3rd floor of the Okinawa Times building. Paid parking is available beside the building. Parking meter only takes cash in yen. The cost is 100 yen every 20 minutes.
- Get a physical copy of the form. If you don’t have a printer, there is a convenience store called Lawson on the first level where you can print it. You can get the form from the website and save it on a USB or SD card and then print it at Lawson. You have to use cash to pay for the printing service at Lawson and you have to do it yourself.
- When you go into the building, a security guard will say hello to you. Tell him OkiTen and he will show you where to go to take the escalator or elevator.
- Go up to the 3rd floor and look for signs that show you where to turn in your artwork. They will check your artwork and papers. If everything is okay, they will take your artwork to the back. Pay the fee and they will tell you some important dates.
After The Drop-off
If your artwork is chosen or wins an award, it will be shown in a mall in Urasoe. You will get a free ticket to see the show in April in the mail. After the show is over, you can pick up your artwork a few days later. If your artwork is not chosen, you can pick it up at the same place where you dropped it off. The results will be in the Okinawa Times newspaper 4-5 days later or online the day after.
If you need more help, join the Okinawa Art Events & Galleries group on Facebook . There are many people who have done this before who can help you.
- Each category has a size limit, so make sure your artwork is big enough to be noticed. If it’s small, put it in a big frame.
- If your artwork is chosen, you won’t get money, but your name will be in a special yearbook, which you will receive in the mail. You can also win up to 50,000 yen, and your name and a picture of your artwork will be in the book. Usually, the prize goes to the OkiTen club members. As a member, you can enjoy benefits like invitations to other art shows and the chance to show your work in other parts of Japan. If that is something you want to pursuit, consider becoming an OkiTen member.