This research project examines how visible natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, and invisible human disasters such as radioactive contamination are represented (or not) in the Japanese performing arts since 3.11.2011. Our purpose is to examine the social role of performance in mediating catastrophe, a phenomenon whose trauma often seems to exist beyond representation or repair.
The mountain of debris left in the wake of the Great East Japan earthquake and radiation releases from the ruptured Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, triggered memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and prompted reflection on why the only country to have witnessed atomic bombings, and one of the world's most earthquake-prone lands, became one of the world's leading nuclear-powered societies.
The driving question behind this project is how the performing arts, which are representational by nature, have portrayed this invisible catastrophe by twisting, distorting, transforming, sublimating, concealing, and also resisting and protesting the discourses surrounding its presence.
Mika Eglinton: Mika is a performing arts researcher, critic and journalist. She is professor of English theatre and cultural studies at Kobe University of Foreign Studies. She is also actively involved in the creation of theatre as a translator, dramaturg and facilitator.
Andrew Eglinton: Andrew is a theatre writer, researcher and lecturer in performance studies at Konan Women’s University. He is a regular contributor to the Japan Times culture section.
This work is supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 16K13190