Japanese Art in NY: from hairdressing to butoh
New York is full of Japanese art, and I am not only referring to the Asia Week NY or the architecture (New Museum’s SANAA, MoMA’s Yoshio Taniguchi, Japan Society’s Junzo Yoshimura…), interior design (Megu’s Yasumichi Morita, Morimoto’s Tadao Ando, Louis Vuitton’s Jyun Aoki…), sculpture (Red Cube’s Isamu Noguchi…), art collections (MET, MoMA, Japan Society, Morgan, Rubin…), food (Yasuda, Kajitsu, Minamoto Kichoan…), or shops (Makari, Toy Tokyo, JCC…).
Yesterday I had a chance to see two rare forms of Japanese art in NY.
First I watched amazingly humble (for a guy that has cut Cindy Crawford or Nicole Kidman’s hair, and has seen his work featured in Vogue Magazine or Calvin Klein ad campaigns) Manabu Unno (Garren) cutting a hair in the most delicate way possible. He danced around it, moved with every cut, and approached hair as in maintaining a dialogue with each strand. Absolutely amazing.
Then, at the Asia Society, Kamotaro Mukai performed an incredible butoh version of the popular Lafcadio Hearn’s (a.k.a. Yakumo Koizumi) “Koichi the Earless” kwaidan ghost story, accompanied by Kiyoshi Ohira (playing the saz) and Akiko Sakurai (narrating and playing the satsuma biwa), showing once again that in order to display a powerful and beautiful performance, you do not need a lot of props and decoration in a stage.