Year founded: 2007
Organiser: Organization Committee for KOBE Biennale


KOBE Biennale aims to rally the ability of Art Culture and use it not only to promote art and culture, but also to contribute to the enrichment and environment of Kobe.

Kobe has long thrived as a land and sea transport hub and, as one of Japan’s designated international ports, was once a rare and valuable point of interaction with the overseas. The opening of the Port of Kobe for contact with overseas in the Meiji era (1868-1912) was a particularly significant development, sparking the city’s long history of exposure to and translation of other cultures, and making Kobe a pioneer hub of people, goods, and information, which led to a distinct culture of diversity.

As the people of Kobe struggled to recover from the disaster of the 1995 Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake, the city experienced first-hand how art and culture can heal our hearts and minds, encourage us and remind us of the importance of kindness to others. In light of the city’s history and collective experiences, Kobe made its Declaration of Culture Creation City on the 10th anniversary of the earthquake, and has since made it known to all that Kobe will try to affect the art and culture to promote the city to greater progress and vitality.

Part of that effort has been the establishment of the KOBE Biennale, a biennial celebration of art and culture that not only promotes the arts but also contributes to the enrichment and environment of Kobe.

From these backgrounds, KOBE Biennale takes a unique stance. It offers several open-call competitions for new artistic fields (Art in a Container, Green art, SHITUARI art, etc.) by utilizing diversity and an innovative image of Kobe. Also, it offers to re-evaluate the local identity, including citizens’ arts and cultural activities, and is blessed with environmental resources. These concerns have greatly contributed to producing innovative works as well as to activate the sites.