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Continued from Part 1…
Though she never had the opportunity to study English abroad, she did go on an exchange program to Nantes, France, during high school. When she returned, she says she sometimes felt closer to French than English.
“I would hear someone talking on the street in French and I could understand it almost like I was hearing Japanese. I never had the same experience with English.”
By the time Kagami got to university, she was clear about what she wanted to do with her life.
“I wanted to promote Japanese culture to the Western world and at first, I thought I would try to get into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When that didn’t work out, I found employment at a PR agency.”
When she was 29 years old, Kagami surprised everyone by quitting her job and embarking on a journey to become a daikagura performer.
“It was like studying abroad, but right in Japan. It was an intense, full-immersion learning course in Japanese culture and tradition.”
In pre-pandemic days, Kagami would go on performance tours abroad. She took her young son to Canada once.
“I hope I can do that again when travel opens up. I would love it if my son and I could communicate in English.”
In the meantime, she is keeping busy, conducting lectures online and polishing her performing skills.
“I also created a daikagura performance video specifically geared to a foreign audience.” (Kaori Shoji)
This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.