Tea Politics

Coming to Australia, I found people very free with improvisation, which was very liberating. I met a few people who did open performance not according to a defined style of dance. So, I was very intrigued by that. And comedy, a strong sense of comedy. People say Melbourne is the capital of comedy in Australia. I was really excited to see a sort of essence of humour. Read more...

Butoh as De-Self-Isation

What matters the most? There are lots of ugly problems, very painful issues in society. I wonder how we can become less selfish, a sort of de-self-isation. There’s a lot of pressure for every individual to be “me” and to claim whatever one is entitled to. But if we can be one with the universe, I know it sounds cliché but it’s like not really go to the front but recede and go to the back. Go from your back to the wall behind. Go up to the ceiling and come back here to the opposite wall and circulate. It is a very concrete dance awareness too, the space awareness. Rather than you become the center of the space and dominating it, but let this whole thing balance and be rich in. Read more...

In the pursuit of ma

Time flows differently in all things Japanese. In January/February 2019, I was the lucky recipient of a Saison Foundation Fellowship for Arts Managers. This is one of the very few artist-modelled residence opportunities offered to us, arts worker, non-artists. The Saison Foundation founder, Seiji Tsutsumi, owner of the Saison Group, established the foundation with his own funds in 1987. Behind the extraordinary philanthropist was a writer and poet known under the pen name Takashi Tsujii. The vision of the foundation was to reinvigorate the creative soil of Japan by opening it up to international cultural exchange in order to regain international perspective. Soft diplomacy before it became hype. True philanthropists before they became commodified. Read more...

Japanese Contemporary Dance, from Past to Present

At a time when Melbourne is inundated with Asian productions as part of its Asian Arts Triennale ASIATOPA, we can ask ourselves, where is Japanese contemporary dance now? In this article, I will focus in particular on the relatively unknown aspects of Japanese contemporary dance. I’ll start by taking us through its historical context, then examine its particularities, before considering its future. Read more...

My Issue with Japan

Although I love visiting Japan, it is no easy matter writing about Japanese culture. How can I put this? I write from the outside looking in. Like Commodore Perry, I enter the waters of Japan from far away. Although my intentions are not imperialistic as such, my understanding, perception and movement is informed by everyday norms which hail from somewhere else. These taken for granted habits of thought underlie the manner in which I encounter that which is different. They filter its perception, the perception of the subject presumed to know. And yet, the encounter is an event, the relational means whereby new modes of thought come about. We are no longer the same. Read more...