Sean Roe invited me out to this place ages ago. “￥380 a beer,” he said. Very hard to resist. So I went. And here’s what I found:
Kanso is a bar, and an art installation combined. Its concept can be roughly summarized as
drink x cans = fun
The art here is nothing precious, consisting as it does of cans. Big cans that you sit at like tables and walls of cans to dazzle your eye.
Here you will find cans from Japan and from overseas, cans familiar and unfamiliar, and some cans may even surprise or shock you.
All the cans are all technically for sale too, though that is not their primary purpose – their primary purpose is to please you with their variety. Though doubtless not all their content will please everybody.
Kanso is the brainchild of the artist Yoshihito Kawabata, director of Clean Brothers Inc. He writes:
Clean Brothers is a group of people who have broken free of the economic system that has traditionally underpinned art, namely the staging of exhibitions and the distribution and sale of works of art. Rather than this, what the group seeks to do is to include art and the artist in the provision of services and financing, areas that would on the face of it seem to have nothing to do with art. In this way, the members hope to put back into the community some of the power of art, thereby not only opening up the possibilities of art, but also bringing greater diversity to our economic system. LINK
Another Clean Brothers art/business project is the Camp Camp restaurant in Osaka – where you can eat outdoor food cooked on camping equipment. And the company also provides cleaning services in return for gallery space – hence the name.
Getting back to the bar though, Kanso’s drinks menu is a little bit limited. Though they have beer on draft, the other drinks they have available are all, quite naturally, in cans. Also, judging by the website, it does seem like “Kanso” bars tend to move with the wind, closing down in one area only to magically reappear in a new location. So you might just want to call ahead to make sure it’s still there. Last time I looked though, Kanso was on the east side of Kawabata between Oike and Nijo. Here is a map. Beside the bar is a kind of hole in the wall looking into a white room. It’s a gallery space called galerie weissraum and it’s also worth a look.
Monday to Saturday 17:00～5:00 a.m.
Sundays and holidays 17：00～23：00