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- a blind-date event for the other senses inspired by The Tale of Genji -

participatory installation for the other senses (2015)

DATE: 19 Dec 2015 [premier]

VENUE: Kyoto Art Center (

CONTEXT: Les cheveux noirs et la madeleine (Black tresses and the madeleine) Exhibition

CURATOR: Yoko Iwasaki

SUPPORT: Kyoto Saga Art University(





Once upon a time, a man fell in love with a woman just by sensing her atomosphere behind bamboo curtains.  He used all the other senses than the sight just to synthesize the whole vision of her as a person. Subtle information as the scent of incense and her silk kimono carried by the wind, and the friction sound of her touch, was already enough for him to fall in love with her.

Back then in Japan, women were not allowed themselves to be exposed to public.  She was kept behind curtains her entire life, not even allowed to give a word to a man that she liked. The Tale of Genji is a classic work of Japanese literature in the early years of the 11th century that illustrates such unique depiction of the lifestyles of high courtiers during the Heian period. 

This event started from a question: "Can we also fall in love like that?"  

Modern communication is a lot thru by the sight so sex appeal is often made visually.  But in this event, the dating setup simulates the world of this novel, in the context of olfactory art. 



- Waiting rooms are completely isolated visually, but sound-wise not (Japanese room is often made with paper)

- A man prepares a haiku poem related to the season and seasonal flowers. A woman gives permission to meet him if she likes it.

- They meet behind the curtains for 10 min.  The man may speak a word but the woman not. Her maid intermediates instead.


  “I experienced re-construction of the senses.  When you have the sights, scent is just  simple additional information.  But in this setup, when imagination becomes delution, you lose control. I was in total confusion: Any tiny information becomes sex appeal.”

M to F sex appeal examples:

-smell (perfumed on hair and kimono)

-letter (poem, calligraphy, flowers, scent on paper)


-play music

-the subtle sound of silk clothes and tabi socks


F to M sex appeal examples:


-smell (perfumed on hair and kimono)

-letter (poem, calligraphy, flowers, scent on paper)

-words carried by the maid

-the subtle sound of silk clothes and tabi socks