NAMAHAGE Tokyo is an attempt to reinterpret the functions of traditional deities and folklore, and implement these in the city of modern era. Focusing on the contemporary urban relevance of the NAMAHAGE ritual, NAMAHAGE in Tokyo seeks to reconstruct and implement the NAMAHAGE system in a modern city. It translates and reinterprets for the urban context the ritual’´s functions, including maintenance of community through mutual surveillance, initiation into adulthood, and reinforcement of family bonds. Making the city their habitat and evolved in adaptation to individual areas, the “urban NAMAHAGE” identify “bad children” (=adults in need of discipline) in each neighborhood based on the data accumulated by mutual surveillance via social media as well as other networks of surveillance spread across the city. These NAMAHAGE enforce discipline by mind hacking, taking full advantage of sensing and VR technologies and bringing growth, happiness and blessings to the people of the city.

Etsuko Ichihara (JP)
Etsuko Ichihara is a Japanese new media artist. She has been creating artworks that interpret Japanese culture, customs and beliefs from a unique point of view, and present new, technology-based approaches. Thanks to their strong impact, these works have been introduced across a wide range of media all over the world, such as newspapers and TV programs and magazines. Ichihara’s works were included the Excellence Award at the 20th Japan Media Arts Festival, Entertainment Division in 2017, and in 2016, chosen for the INNOvation program from The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. She won Honorary Mention (Interactive Art+) in PRIX Ars Electronica 2018 and received a STARTS Prize Nomination in the same year. She has recently presented her works in exhibitions such as ‘Digital Shamanism: Japanese Funeral and Festivity’ at NTT InterCommunication Center [ICC], ‘Cyber Arts Exhibition 2018’ at Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Japan Media Arts Festival.