By Barbara Thornbury
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Ensembles from Japan, “is as diverse and confusing to the Western eye as the rest of Japanese culture may seem. ”76 Butoh demonstrates the potency of labels as markers of cultural heritage. 79 Contemporary theater from Japan is a segment of the cultural heritage/cultural lineage category in which language barriers and other sociocultural issues of translation sometimes seem even more daunting than 20 America’s Japan and Japan’s Performing Arts in the case of the traditional genres. The most frequently staged works (in both English and Japanese productions) are Yukio Mishima’s modern noh plays.
80 Playwright- directors with a growing US reputation in the twenty-first century include Yoji Sakate and Toshiki Okada. Their work has been presented in Japanese (at Japan Society by their own Japan-based companies) and English (at other New York venues by American directors and actors). ” Internationalists are those who work in what is typically regarded as a Western cultural idiom (as ballet dancers, for example). Flexible-citizen artists, a term I adapt from the work of Aihwa Ong,82 form two subgroups.
Jowitt has written that Chuma “considers herself a citizen of the world, and she turns a penetrating and concerned eye on societies in turmoil and on the depredations of war. S. ”94 Chuma was the first performing artist not living in Japan and not doing “Japanese” work to receive a commission from Japan Society. The resulting piece was the 1984 Eager Witness—the success of which helped further Chuma’s career in the New York dance scene and, at the same time, metaphorically “return” her to Japan within the institutional framework of Japan Society.