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Michiyo Kagami is an English-speaking daikagura performer who also gives lectures on the traditional performing art.
“So much of daikagura is rooted in traditional Japanese culture. The art goes back 1,300 years. I’m always pondering how best to explain concepts like medetai and goen to non-Japanese audiences.”
She talks about the time she explained to a French audience that daikagura is about “praying for your (the audience’s) happiness through the performances.”
“One of them later told me they didn’t get it because for them, praying is a religious act and usually done in a church.”
Kagami encountered English at a young age, when she befriended a girl in her neighborhood whose mother was American.
“This girl was home-schooled, with textbooks being sent from the U.S. She taught me some conversational English and gave Halloween parties, which in those days was a novelty. I was so enthralled.”
Kagami’s strong interest in the world outside Japan continued.
“In my teens, I wanted to work overseas and marry a foreigner,” she says, laughing. (Kaori Shoji)
To be continued…
This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.