K27Art Project

We are Kao no Waishatsu

Masato Nakamura

Kao no Y shirts


“Kao no Waishatsu” (business shirts with a face) is a store specializing in order-made shirts, established in 1920. It is said that the giant face on the signboard is based on a portrait of the first owner, Kaji Eimatsu, in his youth. Located at the Kanda-Ogawamachi intersection, “Kao no Waishatsu” has retained a deviating presence for over a century as unparalleled sign architecture. 

This project is an attempt to historicize and preserve the existence of “Kao no Waishatsu.” Architecturally, the building is scheduled to be demolished for redevelopment in the next few years, so what the project aims to preserve is the “face” signboard and the memories of “Kao no Waishatsu.” Commencing in July 2021, the process of opening the doors of “Kao no Waishatsu” to the town will begin concurrently with the start of Tokyo Biennale. Despite being an exhibition venue of the Biennale, the first stage will involve maintenance of the site, which will be open to public view as part of an ongoing process. Starting first by cleaning the building, followed by basic renovation work to make it safe and clean, the venue will then be transformed into a shop and production studio. An exhibition of “kao” (face) works is planned in the shop on the ground floor in August. Given the name “We are Kao no Waishatsu,” the project encapsulates the concept of the Tokyo Biennale, “from me to us” and the notion of building co-creativity in the community. If you would like to participate in the project, please contact the Tokyo Biennale Secretariat. 

Artist: Masato Nakamura (https://tb2020.jp/project/yubido-restoration-projectnikui-hodo-yasashi/)

Kao no Waishatsu
101-0052 Tokyo, Chiyoda Ward, Kanda Ogawamachi 2-chome-1

(As of June 2021)

1: 顔のYシャツ店外観
2: 内観
Photo by Masato Nakamura


Masato Nakamura (TOKYO BIENNALE 2020 General Director, Artist)

Born in Odate City (Akita, Japan) in 1963. Professor at Tokyo University of the Arts (Department of Painting). A socially conscious artist who actively develops art projects with focus on “art x community x industry”. In the early 1990’s, he set up guerilla art projects such as“THE GINBURART” in Ginza and “Shinjuku Shonen Art” in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district (1993). From 1996 on, the artist caught global attention by transforming corporate identities into artworks, one major example being the McDonald’s golden arches. In 1997, he formed an alternative artist initiative called “Command N”. Activities of this group include the international video installation “Akihabara TV” held in 1999 and 2000. His work was displayed in the 49th Venice Biennale (2001) Japan Pavilion “First & Slow” exhibition. He is the founder of numerous art projects including “himming” in Himi (Toyama Pref.) and “ZERODATE” in Odate (Akita Pref.). In 2010, he also founded 3331 Arts Chiyoda as an independent and sustainable art center. Through Command N and 3331, Nakamura has initiated 10 art bases and held 740 art projects, in addition to overseeing close to 3,100 events involving the collaboration of 2,000 artists, 180 core staff members, and 1,350 supporting staff/volunteers. With an extensive background in a variety of expressive activities, starting in summer 2020 he is taking on the challenge of developing the Tokyo Biennale, an art festival that will harness the cultural and artistic resources underlying the city of Tokyo.



2-1 Kanda Ogawamachi Chiyoda-ku Tokyo


・1 minute walk from “Ogawacho” Station Exit B5 on the Toei Shinjuku Line.
・3 minutes walk from “Awajicho” Station Exit A5 on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line.


(Tokyo Biennale Executive Office)