Kobe has long thrived as a land and sea transport hub in Japan and has developed as one of Japan’s designated international ports. The opening of the Port of Kobe in 1868 made Kobe a pioneering hub for people, goods, and information, which has led to its distinct culture of diversity. After the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake of 1995, as the people of Kobe struggled to recover from the disaster, the city experienced first-hand how art and culture can heal our hearts and minds, encourage us, and remind us of the importance of showing kindness to others.
In light of such history and 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 is committed to creative urban development that draws upon culture. Part of that effort has been the establishment of KOBE Biennale, a biennial celebration of Art Culture that aims to rally the capability of Art Culture from across Japan and overseas and use it not only to promote arts but also to contribute to the enrichment and environment of Kobe.
Over the past eight years, the city has hosted four Biennale celebrations. Each time, KOBE Biennale provided more opportunities for people to experience the attractiveness of Art Culture, increased the levels of quality as an arts festival, and placed more emphasis on local lifestyle culture and characteristics, such as diversity and enterprising spirit. As a result, this festival has evolved into a unique Biennale that only Kobe can offer.