Hotel Gajoen Tokyo

Manager, Cultural Property Event Projects

Mr. Kei Yunoki

Wa no Akari x Hyakudan Kaidan 2021 Lights from Japan, Light for the Future

Hyakudan Kaidan, a Tokyo Metropolitan Government designated Tangible Cultural Property in Hotel Gajoen Tokyo, Meguro-ku, Tokyo

Location

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Hyakudan Kaidan is a wooden structure built before the war, in 1935, in Meguro Gajoen, the predecessor to the current-day Hotel Gajoen Tokyo. Its seven banquet rooms are connected by a long, 99-step staircase. The ceilings and transoms of each room depict beautiful worlds created by the most prominent artists of the era of its construction.

Often described as the “Palace of the Dragon King of the Showa Era,” the Meguro Gajoen of those days was unique for the unprecedented opulence of its decor.
Recent studies have variously attributed that opulent decor to the Momoyama style, to the same school as Nikko’s Toshogu Shrine, and even to the kind of Edo culture seen in Kabuki theater. Hyakudan Kaidan, with its particularly gorgeous decor, is said to display the very pinnacle of Japan’s traditional aesthetics. In March 2009, it was designated as a tangible cultural property of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Introduction

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Stanley Electric has a long association with Hotel Gajoen Tokyo, having held our General Meetings of Shareholders there for many years, and our LED floodlights’ outstanding narrow-angle light distribution and linear light distribution make them suitable to event projects, so we were honored to assist with the Wa no Akari x Hyakudan Kaidan 2021 event with light from our LEDSFOCUS LED floodlights.

Wa no Akari x Hyakudan Kaidan 2021

Mr. Kei Yunoki

Hotel Gajoen Tokyo

Manager, Cultural Property Event Projects

Mr. Kei Yunoki

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The Jippo Room

“Wa no Akari” or Japanese light, born of unique Japanese sensibilities and technologies, bring color and spectacle to cultural properties.
This annual event, a highlight of Hotel Gajoen Tokyo’s summer calendar that had attracted a total 350,000 visitors until 2019, has returned in 2021 after a two-year absence. A variety of artworks by diverse artists from different genres, united by the common theme of light, are on display.

We spoke to the person in charge of the event.

Kei Yunoki, Manager, Cultural Property Event Projects, Hotel Gajoen Tokyo

Thank you very much for choosing our floodlights for this event.

Mr. Yunoki: Not at all. Thank you for your assistance with the LED floodlights.

Could you first tell us a little about Wa no Akari x Hyakudan Kaidan 2021?

Mr. Yunoki: At Hotel Gajoen Tokyo, we use Hyakudan Kaidan to hold six to eight special exhibitions a year. Wa no Akari has become particularly popular as a one of our summer traditions. Last year, after preparing for the event, we were very disappointed to have to cancel at the last minute due to COVID-19, but we are thrilled to be able to hold it for the sixth time since the inaugural event in 2015. A total of 350,000 visitors have come through the past five Wa no Akari events, including 70,000 in 2019. We hope this exhibition gives visitors an escape from the everyday and a feeling of solace.

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The Jippo Room

Mr. Yunoki: There is also great significance in this fusion of the historical Hyakudan Kaidan and the many artworks in this location. We came up with a variety of ingenious measures to bring a sense of “story” to the exhibition that would give visitors an escape from the everyday and a feeling of solace in these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors are permitted to take photos and videos inside the venue, so they can take their memories home with them. This year, we have works from 34 locations in 23 prefectures, so visitors can enjoy a variety of light from all over Japan.

It really is a wonderful exhibition, filled with hope. Besides the appeal of the works themselves, we hope that visitors will enjoy the exhibits that make use of the Hyakudan Kaidan space and that they will experience that “escape from the everyday and feeling of solace” with all five senses through the accompanying music and aromas.

Mr. Yunoki: This year, we chose Stanley Electric’s green LED floodlights for the Jippo Room. The lights express the deep green of the forest as a background to the exhibited works. Shining the floodlights at an angle makes the intricate kumiko woodwork patterns on the shoji screens appear slightly three-dimensional. Incidentally, this room’s sounds incorporate birdsong and the sound of running water recorded in the Okutama area (laughs).

We can really sense your passion for this project down to the finest detail. LEDSFOCUS PRO single-lamp green floodlights are shone from the side of the room. Because of the narrow angle of the light, there is little light distortion, so it looks like it is being shone from the front.

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Staircase linking the Seisui Room and the Seiko Room

Mr. Yunoki: We have also used green light that shines in a linear form on the staircase linking the Seisui (still water) Room and the Seiko (star light) Room along the way. The lighting effects make the exhibition feel very special. Given the nature of this facility, construction work is difficult, so we created a tunnel of light simply by placing the lights to the side of the staircase. The staff involved in setting up the lighting said that they hoped to use this technique for stage lighting if they ever had the chance.

You chose our LEDSFOCUS LINE for this. This product shines a sharp, linear light from a single, compact light source. For example, from 2.5 meters away, the line stretches 6 meters long.
Placing these lights at the edge of the stairs has created a kind of staging that has not been done before, even amid the restrictions placed by the uneven surface of the walls.

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We imagine you have been involved in planning many events over the years. What is the most rewarding thing about your work?

Mr. Yunoki: Seeing what I planned at my desk take concrete shape is my greatest delight.
I am also encouraged by the many fans who look forward to the event.

It is about planning ability and the ability to take action, isn’t it? As a company with its head office in the same Meguro-ku, we are thrilled to have had this association and to assist with this wonderful special exhibition. Finally, could you give us your impressions of our LED floodlights after using them for this event?

Mr. Yunoki: Stanley Electric’s LED floodlights highlight the works and the venue and provide very effective staging to make them look even better. More than anything, I was surprised by the advances in technology hidden in those small floodlights. I sensed a different quality of light from any lighting I have experienced before. I understand that they are landscape lighting, but I can imagine them being used for many different applications, like our event.

Mr. Yunoki, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us.

There are many other works exhibited in the other rooms along the Hyakudan Kaidan.

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Top left and right: Two 9-lamp floodlights used
Bottom left: Three 9-lamp floodlights used

Stanley LED floodlights have also been used in other parts of the hotel in conjunction with the special exhibition at Hyakudan Kaidan.

- Waterfall behind the front entrance
Two LED floodlights illuminate the waterfall that flows down the rockface in the garden. At night, the lighting highlights the otherworldly appearance of the waterfall.

- Greenery beside Cafe & Bar YUI-AN
Three LED floodlights light up the greenery next to the café’s outdoor seating. The lighting, which highlights the green of the garden even at night, creates a space with a sense of coolness on a summer’s evening. (These lights may not be turned on some occasions due to state of emergency and other considerations.)

HOTEL GAJOEN TOKYO

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Left: Hyakudan Kaidan is reached from the dedicated elevator beside the hotel entrance.
Right: The Museum Shop has a variety of merchandise related to the exhibition.

Carrying on a tradition of more than 90 years, Hotel Gajoen Tokyo is a unique Museum Hotel adorned with 2,500 Nihonga paintings and worlds of art and craft. The hotel’s suite rooms, all at least 80 square meters, each have their own steam sauna and whirlpool bath.
Step away from the everyday and enjoy Japanese beauty in the city at Hotel Gajoen Tokyo. For more details about Hotel Gajoen Tokyo and its special exhibitions, visit the official website below.
https://www.hotelgajoen-tokyo.com/

The Hyakudan Kaidan special exhibit “Wa no Akari x Hyakudan Kaidan 2021 Lights from Japan, Light for the Future” is open every day until Sunday, September 26, 2021. General admission is 1,200 yen. Special student admission of 600 yen for all students, from elementary school to university.

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