"Landscape of Mahoroba 2018," Photo courtesy of Naoko Azuma
“Landscape of Mahoroba 2020”
Written and directed by Akinori Yaginuma
Karasuma Stroke Rock (KSR) - Kyoto based performing company, established 1999. Highly acclaimed for its distinct creative style, KSR painstakingly develops its chosen motifs for years through in-depth research and experimentation. 2020 will see KSR's most recent of its masterpiece series "Landscape of Mahoroba," tour scheduled nationally at 4 cities including the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre, Jan-Mar.
"Landscape of Mahoroba" began with intensive interviews on the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. 2011 is unforgettable, even for earthquake-prone Japan, and has unmistakably changed the way many Japanese view life.
What became clear through KSR's research, however, was not necessarily a regional tale on the horror of natural disaster or the tragedy of loss. It was of the sheer solitude of modern individuals living in Japan, struggling to survive despite being hopelessly out of touch with themselves and their surroundings.
To portray this current disconnection, KSR reaches back in time -as far back to Japan's most ancient performing art 'kagura' and the culture it once supported.
Music & Cello | Yuki Nakagawa
Cast | Maki Sakamoto, Masanori Sawa, Abeyu (of Kofuku Gekijo), Hiroshi Kosuge (of Dainana Gekijo), Akihiro Kohama (of Tankyori Dando Missile)
2020.02.16(Sun) -02.23(Sun) Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre East
2.16 Sun 13:00 / 18:00
2.17 Mon 13:00
2.19 Wed 19:00
2.20 Thu 13:00
2.21 Fri 19:00
2.22 Sat 13:00
2.23 Sun 13:00
2020.01.25(Sat) -01.27(Mon) Itami City AI HALL
2020.02.29(Sat), 03.01(Sun) Mie Prefecture Mie Center for the Arts Cultural Hall
2020.03.06(Fri) -03.08(Sun) Hiroshima City East Ward Citizens’ Cultural Center
Landscape of Mahoroba
The series, "Landscape of Mahoroba" began in Sendai(*), 2017.
Interviews and artist-residencies yielded several experimental short pieces, finally culminating in a full length act at the Rohm Theatre Kyoto and the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre; "Landscape of Mahoroba 2018." Talented actors and staff converged from Sendai, Mie, Kyoto and Tokyo to build a timeless piece depicting the pervasive sense of vulnerability that has stayed with many of us since 2011.
*Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan -- a city among the central areas to be hit by magnitude-9 Great East Japan Earthquake and its following tsunami in 2011, causing more than 15,894 casualties and the level-7 meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Original short piece, "Landscape of Mahoroba" in Sendai, 2017. Photo courtesy of Yusuke Aizawa
"Celebration of Feast Day," Photo courtesy of Yusuke Aizawa
After "Landscape of Mahoroba 2018," KSR returned to Sendai for further research and training on the local kagura and rural mountain worship (*).
Soon after, a pivotal short piece of the Mahoroba series, "Celebration of Feast Day" was developed. Elements of kagura -song, dance, drama were integrated; the mountain worship monks that performed kagura now became a focal point. In the past, these monks acted as an indispensable link between the people, connecting otherwise isolated rural regions on long, grueling pilgrimages that lead them village to village, mountain to mountain.
"Celebration of Feast Day" was unique not only in the new emphasis on kagura, but in how it touched on the inner world of a modern practitioner post-2011, suddenly tasked with connecting the mortal to the sacred, mankind to nature, people to people.
Integrating all such previous performances, "Landscape of Mahoroba 2020" will reach theatres Jan-Mar, 2020.
*Kagura -- a sacred composition of music, dance and drama dating back to the 8th century. It is said that the monks of mountain worship carried kagura with them on their pilgrimage through villages and sacred sites, thus spreading the ritual country-wide despite Japan's mountainous terrain.
*Mountain Worship/Shugendo -- an amalgam of pre-Buddhist mountain worship, Shinto, Taoism and Tantric Buddhism. Monks seek their way to spiritual power through training in the sometimes harsh terrain of Japan's sacred mountains; power which is then used to help the general people through various activities such as rainmaking, fire rituals and prayers for good harvest and longevity.
After losing his homeland in the 2011 tsunami, Yousuke Fukumura's life changes upon seeing a literal 'Paradise built in Hell'; complete strangers cooperating amidst disaster. He begins traveling all over Japan to volunteer at other disaster-stricken areas, whilst working in a facility for the intellectually disabled to make ends meet. Despite the scorn he faces for his unstable lifestyle, Yousuke is content. At the various disaster sites, he can reconnect with the paradise of 2011. At the facility, he has grown close enough to build a nonverbal rapport with one of the patients, Kazuyoshi Moriyama.
Things fall apart when Kazuyoshi suddenly disappears.
Yousuke leaves everything behind on a journey to find Kazuyoshi, traveling an endless mountain range reminiscent of his homeland in the morning mist...
Karasuma Stroke Rock (KSR) is a rebel with a cause, and people have noticed.
KSR defies the current small-theatre trend where new scripts are performed and expended at neck-breaking pace. Chosen motifs last years, beginning with an extensive span of short piece experimentation and local research from multiple angles, which then finally culminate in full-length scripts.
KSR's director and scriptwriter Akinori Yaginuma is also working with multiple municipalities; teaching, directing, and exploring how to make performing arts sustainable for rural communities. "Neo Peace," the finale of his 3 year term with Hiroshima actors will be performed in New York 2020.
Translated by Yukako Tomita
Production Manager, Asuka Tomita (quinada)