The Sapporo Snow Festival is considered one of the most celebrated winter events in Japan.
Lapland will represent Finland at the Sapporo Snow Festival 2019, scheduled for February 4–11 in Japan, through the prestigious Lapland University as a mark of cultural exchange and international cooperation.
The arrival of snow in Japan goes beyond just a sport. The Sapporo Snow Festival is held for a week every February in Hokkaido’s capital. It is considered one among the most celebrated winter events in Japan.
This year, Antti-Jussi Yliharju, a lecturer in industrial design in the University of Lapland, will grace the snow festival. Antti-Yliharju, who has worked with the university for eight years, will play the role of a project coordinator and artist at the event.
The lecturer said that a group of third-year students who have enrolled in in the Arctic Design Project 2018–19 and some others having talent in technology and coding would accompany him.
Yliharju said that he has the experience of working as a sculptor in a smaller winter festival in Japan. It has been his long-cherished dream of taking part in the largest of Japan’s festival — Sapporo Snow Festival.
He was excited at the thought of taking part in “Suoja”, an interactive snow and ice installation process that would connect Rovaniemi and Sapporo in real-time through snow and media art and technology.
Yliharju pointed out that the number of visitors to the festival, based on the information he was given by the event organisers, would be around 2.5 million.
“In the event, massive snow and ice sculptures are constructed around the city and the largest snow constructions are projection mapped with digital content.”
As a lecturer, artist and industrial designer, Antti-Jussi Yliharju was thrilled to have been able to organise the Suoja project and, especially, to take several university students to Sapporo which would be a fruitful learning experience for the team.
Attending the event on a general note highlights the international nature of the University of Lapland and its ability to give students a global exposure. The participants will also have the chance to exchange skills between Japan and Finland as the two countries will display their best in industrial design and creativity in snow work.
The Sapporo Snow Festival began in 1950 with some high school students who were experimenting with a few snow statues in Odori Park. It has since then turned into a commercialised national event. People from all over the world throng the venue to have a glimpse of the great sculptural snow works.
This year one of the big sculptures at the festival will be the Helsinki Cathedral. Photo: Taro Mori
City of Rovaniemi- Daily Finland Report