Translating Japanese

Kazuko Mogami 1

Kazuko Mogami is a Butoh practitioner. Her Butoh is named Gensho (“primitive”) Butoh. After working at offices and then as a nurse, she has started her journey in Butoh. Gensho Butoh aims to dance from our inner being. She runs a small space to share Butoh practice with interested students.

Kazuko Mogami had refrained herself from performing in public after 2017, finding little meaning in public performances. I read her book which was a dialogue on body with her brother, a worldly-renown film maker Mamoru Oshii. Her words mesmerised me and made me so thirsty to see her dance in real life, I contacted her and asked if she would by any chance be able to do performance if I organise everything. The answer was yes, and it happened on September 2019 at Cafe Muriwui in Tokyo, a very special space that has helped many artistes.

Below are some translation of her inspiring tweets.

28th May

Not everybody is comfortable to hear ‘spiritual body’, but body has levels of spiritual body, and I think good dance is done by spiritual body. Such dance is very rare, but I imagine Japanese body used to have strong tendency of that.

But since the introduction of Western physical view, it disappeared. Now people think only the surface physical is the body, and are overconscious of appearance. That surface physical is only the entrance of our body, so that is why Butoh practises in the wish to reach the spiritual body; that is how I think.

A good dance has many layers of spiritual body behind the movement, even just standing. I was enraptured by Butoh when I saw this, and decided to do it myself.

To get old is also to come closer to the spiritual body, so you get lost when you only try to appear younger. Even if you appear younger, you are actually not young, so I feel it is much better to walk the path of becoming a spiritual body… no?

This spiritual body, when I first saw it, I was so stunned and thought over for a long time what it was. It was kind of not in alignment with the physical body (kind of like, slipped), always swaying, but then it can suddenly disappear.

After I started dancing, I began to experience that ‘slipped’ moments. This something that slips and gets peeled off. The kind-of sensation of the skin is very, well, erotic LOL. It happens on the surface of the skin, but is not the skin itself.


29th May

Ever since I started Butoh, it was important to me that the space appears warped, the distance goes out of tune, or the spirits are seen. Many who had the same kind of experience would soon forget or did not take it serious. So I thought I might be mad, but I could not leave it just like that.

I was careful not to fall into the easy temptation of occult, but I pursued what mattered to me, and I’m glad I did. It was not a simple journey to keep this interest, but it was much more interesting for me than any Sci-Fi or fiction.

I was interested in the fact that there was another layer of reality other than this reality, not as a fiction in Sci-Fi novels. It was not interesting for me to make expressions in this layer of reality. To shift between layers was my saviour; to go outside of this world.

It was really hard to live this interest, because I understood that from certain perspectives, it is a ridiculously childish commitment.


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