KANAZAWA COLLEGE OF ART
HISTORY AND ACADEMIC ENVIRONMENT AND STUDENT LIFE
The manifested ideals of the college are, in respect to the fine and applied arts, to educate creative talents, developing an artistic mind and a rich humanity, while bringing national and international cooperation into fruition, and consequently to contribute to the developement of art and culture in our society.
Kanazawa is located in the middle of the Japanese archipelago. Kanazawa College of Art embodies a blending of rich Japanese tradition dating back hundreds of years with harmonious natural surroundings.
In the late 17th century, Kanazawa functioned as the capital of Kaga Han, which was the local government and exploited a policy of culture including various arts in order to avoid confrontation with the central government. This history led to the foundation of culture in Kanazawa which flourishes even today. For the past few centuries, Kanazawa has been the center of art and science along the coast of the Sea of Japan. Many universities, cultural institutions and hospitals are located in this city with a population of 450,000.
There is one more major reason that the city has cherished its own rich culture and is heralded as a center of art and traditional crafts. Kanazawa was one of a few historical places undamaged during World War II. Thus, we can learn from important heritage sites such as old houses and streets, not simply just works of art. With this rich and valued historical background, Kanazawa residents show their support for Kanazawa College of Art (the school is locally known as Bidai). Bidai brings together students from across Japan and overseas and gives a new vista to the artistic city for the future. Due to its location in such a historical city like Kanazawa, Bidai has attracted much attention from the art and culture community abroad.
The college was established in 1946, immediately after the end of World War II. Some artists yearning to create a peaceful country by art started the school by working on the Kanazawa municipal authority which led to the foundation of Bidai. The movement was supported by citizens who were proud of the cultural climate of appreciating arts and crafts.
Bidai is blessed with an ideal study environment. There is a high teacher to student ratio, which means the feasible fostering of student and teacher communication, interaction and mentoring. Enrollment in programs is opened annually to 145 undergraduates, 32 for the masterís program and 7 for doctoral program participants.
Programs and Courses
In the under graduate level, the following programs and courses are offered.
Courses for Japanese Painting, Oil Painting, Sculpture, Aesthetics and Art History, Visual Communication Design, Industrial Design, Interior & Architectural Design and Crafts. (ceramics, metal works, urushi and textiles)
Programs last four years for undergraduates, two years for masterís enrollees and three years for doctoral participants. In 2005 Fashion Comprehensive was inaugurated in the Master course to add a new vista to the design field.
Students from Asia, Europe and the Americas have studied at Bidai in graduate programs or his or her specified status. Foreign students have had a variety of cultural experiences through encountering Japanese students and instructors. For example, some students tried to apply Japanese traditional ways of creation to non-Japanese concepts. These young creators serve a missionary function bringing back home what they obtained in Japan.
Among foreign students, 30 have so far earned master degrees and 3 people received doctoral degrees since the program started.
STUDENT LIFE IN KANAZAWA
Students enjoy their lives in historical Kanazawa. For instance, galleries and performance spaces are available for students at inexpensive rates. There are studios run by artists (Bidai graduates themselves), craft museums and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art which is affiliated with Bidai. This artistic atmosphere in Kanazawa is unique to Bidai when compared to other art schools in Japan. People appreciate variety of arts including music and performing art. From classical ensembles to live jazz, and from theater to Japanese traditional performance art such as Noh plays, Kanazawa is truly a haven for the arts.
Local residences offer a great hospitality and encourage students to put forth their potential ability. Housing is also inexpensive and the Ishikawa prefecture dorm for international students is one of the lodging choices. Daily living costs are lower than in other big cities. It is easy to cook for yourself, since markets sell not only fresh local foods but also grocery items of Chinese, Korean and European origin.
Geographically, Kanazawa is bordered by mountains and the Sea of Japan to the west. The city is built upon a hilly landscape, bisected by two rivers Sai and Asano, both of which host a variety of wetland plants and songbirds.
Kanazawa enjoys dramatic seasonal weather. Especially beautiful are the spring blooms while the fall foliage season features brilliant colors and comfortable temperatures. Most extreme is winter, because of the scenery of the city landscape blanketed in snow. A cold air mass from Siberia delivers snow and thunder along the seacoast. Although it snows a lot, the temperature does not go low. The temperature rarely dips below 0 degrees Celsius. Thanks to the climate, winter sports in nearby mountain areas are popular.
It is easy to reach Kyoto and Nara from Kanazawa by bus or train so that you have a great chance to learn from Japanese historical sites.