The two of you first met during the planning of last year's KANAZAWA FRINGE. First, tell us about the impressions you had of each other.
I've been indebted to director Akane from last year to this very day. It's been precisely ten years since I started the Sokerissa! dance group comprising people who have experienced living on the street. At the focal point of our activities is dance created from the embodiment of our daily need to focus on living. Since Akane seems to have thoughts related to this subject, I felt she was someone who could find and expand upon the possibilities of our group.
After watching the group dance in Kanazawa as part of pianist Saho Terao's 2015 tour of "Oval Dream", I was very impressed by their dancing that seemed to directly convey a feeling of "life force". And meeting them again in Tokyo to ask about becoming involved in KANAZAWA FRINGE, they stood out with a unique presence even among the mass of other talent there. As Yuuki always says, the history of the lives people have led appear in through their body and living life according to one's true colors can be elegantly expressed as such.
Yuuki said that Sokerissa! is a team consisting of men who live or who have experienced living on the street. However, since we rarely see people living on the street in Kanazawa, the issue is honestly never raised. So how does it feel to perform as Sokerissa! in a place like Kanazawa?
When speaking about the people of Kanazawa, they are often generalized as conservative and cagey, concerned about appearances, and there being differences in what they think as opposed to what they say. As a consequence, many people who didn’t fit in and thought of themselves as outsiders have left. That's why I think KANAZAWA FRINGE, which focuses on the fringe outside the mainstream, and Sokerissa! together can serve as a way for Kanazawa to accept different culture.
Just like Akane says, none of us have lived in Kanazawa and our group was not started in Kanazawa. So we're conscious of the fact that we may be perceived as being out of place in the city. But instead of taking that negatively, we should reinterpret that out-of-place presence as simply that we are "strangers" and aim to become involved with the city and its people. I think this approach allows people who actually live the culture established in Kanazawa to experience new perspectives.
Last year your group held unexpected performances not only at the museum but also shopping districts, the castle, parks, and other locations. Even in Kanazawa where street performances are uncommon, it was memorable that many passersby stopped in their tracks as they were captivated by the dancing of the group's members. What kind of style are you planning this year?
In Kanazawa, there is a old ritual known as "crossing the seven bridges" in which people cross seven bridges over the Asano river in the middle of the night during the spring or autumn equinox in order to have their wishes granted. Themed on this folk belief, we're planning a performance titled "The House of Asanogawa" expressed by the group members through dance that uses the bridge crossing tale as the point of departure and centers on an empty house located near Tokiwa bridge. While the tale of the seven bridges was also known as a pseudo experience of death leading to heaven as well as a ritual of reincarnation, for the members of Sokerissa!, it is also the actual experience of living on the street that they put themselves in as well as the environment in which life and death are side-by-side. I think it’s also an opportunity to reconsider the self and others as well as the self and society. That's why I think there's a certain strength only possessed by people who have experienced living on the street. By participating in this extraordinary ritual in which the group's members are "strangers from the next world", visitors may reach some sort of sublimation and experience a kind of rebirth. If we can realize such a work I think it will turn out to be very interesting.
We are planning to stay at the house on which this work is centered for a few days until the performance starts. Each member of Sokerissa! plans to spend this time as strangers from the next world. I think this will become an important process in order to create a repose of souls in dance and help us naturally undertake the role of strangers. However, we must not forget that nature and the river are indispensable for a repose of souls dance. While the current generation tends to be imprisoned by society's constraints, it is important for people to feel nature and be conscious of the nature that comes from within us. I think this is a very important idea in life regardless of where one lives. To me it seems like the perfect event for a city such as Kanazawa, which has two large rivers flowing through it.
When thinking about the phrase "people who live on the street", many people's impression is one of fear or misunderstanding. From the perspective of the "bodies" of those that live on the street, there aren't any other "bodies" that confront nature and society to this extent and survive. In regard to KANAZAWA FRINGE, which aims to change such perspectives, can you both tell us how you feel about the project?
By watching our repose of souls sublimation ritual in dance at the house on the Asano river, perhaps it will cause something in the hearts of visitors to overflow, enter and become one with the river, and return to the sea. In other words, by becoming aware of the nature that is common between ourselves and others, we may realize that we are all strangers in the world and only here for an instant.
As described by the great writers of Kanazawa, the inspiration obtained from casting one's eyes on the fantastical, the uncertain, the small, the weak, the poor, and the wretched invites us into deep speculation and contemplation, and expands our imagination infinitely. The KANAZAWA FRINGE project also touches on existing culture native to Kanazawa while providing the opportunity to confront new creations. I am looking forward to a Kanazawa that recognizes a wide variety of values and with an adult maturity able to tolerantly accept others.