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With baguettes strapped to faces, 'Bread Man' parade celebrates contemporary art

Contemporary artist Tatsumi Orimoto, far right, leads the "Bread Man" parade from JR Onomichi Station in Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, on Sept. 23, 2017. (Mainichi)

ONOMICHI, Hiroshima -- As part of an art performance, 36 people both young and old gathered to walk around the Onomichi Hondori shopping district and other areas here -- with baguettes strapped to their faces.

    The event "Bread Man" was held on Sept. 23, part of a domestic and international performance organized by contemporary artist Tatsumi Orimoto. This incarnation attracted 36 bread people ranging from children to at least one university lecturer, aged between 5 and 71 years old.

    "Bread Man" was one of the events of "A Corridor of Art through the Mountains and Seas" put on by the Hiroshima Prefectural Government and municipal governments, such as that of Onomichi, to celebrate contemporary art. Orimoto came up with the idea for Bread Man as one method of communication, and has reportedly held the performance over 200 times so far.

    The parade of people with three to five baguettes strapped to their face or body departed from in front of JR Onomichi Station led by Orimoto. The group crossed to Mukaishima Island by ferry, but took a U-turn back to Onomichi without disembarking from the ship. From there, the group walked around the city's shopping district.

    Orimoto would yell, "We are Bread Men. We are not human," in Japanese and English, making shoppers in the district aware of the group's presence.

    "It's bizarre, isn't it?" said a 63-year-old housewife from Fukuyama who witnessed the spectacle. "It was probably shocking and good for tourists who are familiar with the contemporary art event." Sae Harui, a 25-year-old third-year student at Onomichi City University who became a "Bread Man" said, "It was hard to walk with my vision blocked (by the bread), but I got to see a world completely different from normal."

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