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field research


From Dawn to Dawn: A Hyper Pop-Art Stand Play

2020 / Hyper Popular Art Stand Play 2017- /

In 2019, Olta delved into research on Sumida Ward, having been invited to “Fantasia! Fantasia!: A community where lifestyles are made real,” a project based in the northeastern part of the area. The Higashi-mukojima neighborhood, which is close to Hikifune, was once called Tamanoi and featured private brothels; even now, sparse traces remain of its “cafe architecture,” a building style associated with red light districts. Sandwiched between the Sumida and Arakawa Rivers, this area is home to a leather factory that was relocated from Asakusa due to odor pollution. It was also learned that the 1911-1930 construction of the Arakawa spillways saw the river enormously expanded by human hands, particularly Korean and Chinese immigrant workers. Many Koreans were then murdered as false rumors spread in the immediate aftermath of the Great Kantō Earthquake of September 1, 1923. The Tokyo Skytree has brought big changes to this urban landscape, which is now packed with condominiums. Its inner workings remain, built on racial and economic divisions and a history of many people’s hardships.
For this work, Olta created a script that interwove recreations of interactions experienced in the area with stories and records from literary figures, folklorists, and film directors, including Nagai Kafū, Shaku Chōkū, Takehisa Yumeji, and Ozu Yasujirō. It was then filmed in an abandoned factory. The set references the sketches collected by Kon Wajiro of temporary barrack structures built in the wake of the Great Kantō Earthquake, as well as the stage design by Murayama Tomoyoshi for a production of Georg Kaiser’s “From Morning to Midnight” (dir. Hijikata Yoshi, starring Senda Koreya) — featuring work by Kon Wajiro and his team, “From Morning to Midnight” was staged at Japan’s first dedicated theater for “Western-style” shingeki plays, Tsukiji Shōgekijō, which was built in Taishō 13 (1924), the year after the earthquake. As we walk through the city, the memories of the neighborhood, its origins, testimonies from the Kantō Massacre, and the gestures of its modern residents gradually come to light, forming the basis for a multi-layered narrative of events across the past to the present told through acting, narration, comics, and more.
Performers: Tagami Aoi, Hoshi Budō, Saitō Takafumi, Kawamura Kazuhide, Inoue Tōru, Yonezawa Erika, Nakajima Yurie, Endō Jun’ichirō, Hasegawa Yoshirō, Meguninja
Stage design, CG design: Hasegawa Yoshirō
Stage production, Props, Wardrobe: Olta
Landscape photos: Hoshi Budō, Meguninja
Manga: Satō Tanshō
Sound, Recording: Inoue Tōru
Filming, Film editing: Agata Kenji
Scenario, Film editing: Meguninja
Direction: Jang-Chi
Nagai Kafū, Bokutō kidan (A Strange Tale from East of the River), Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2000, pp. 29-35, 55, 69-72.
Nagai Kafū, “A Strange Tale from East of the River,” Kafū the Scribbler, The Life and Writings of Nagai Kafū, 1879-1959, trans. Edward Seidensticker, Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 1965, pp. 286-87, 295, 301-02.
Shaku Chōkū, “Suna keburi-ni” (Sand and Smoke II), Shaku Chōkū zenkashū (The Complete Tanka Poetry of Shaku Chōkū), Tokyo: Kadokawa Sofia Bunko, 2016.
Nagai Kafū, “Nigiri-meshi” (Rice Balls), Aozora bunko,, Accessed 12 Oct 2020.
Takehisa Yumeji, “Jikeidan asobi” (Vigilante Possy Play), Tōkyō sainan gashin 6, Miyako Shinbun, 19 Sep 1923.
Nagai Kafū, Tekiroku danchōtei nichijō (Summary, Diary of Daily Happenings at Danchō Manor), ed. Isoda Kōichi, Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2015, vol. 1, p. 274.
Ozu Yasujirō, director, Kaze no naka no mesudori (Hen in the Wind), starring Tanaka Kinoyo and Sano Shūji, Shōchiku Studios, 1948.
Ozu Yasujirō, director, Tokyo monogatari (Tokyo Story), starring Ryū Shichū, Higashiyama Chieko and Hara Setsuko, Shōchiku Studios, 1953.
Nagai Kafū, “Terajima no ki” (Memories of Terajima), Nagai Kafū zuihitsu shū (jō) Hiyori geta, hoka jū-roku-hen (Collection of Essays by Nagai Kafū, vol. 1 “Hiyori geta” and 16 Other Essays), edited by Noguchi Fujio, Tokyo: Iwanami Bunko, 2018, p. 252.
1h 11min.
“Chōshū geijutsu sutando purē: Yoake kara yoake made” (From Dawn to Dawn: A Hyper Pop-Art Stand Play), Fantajia! Fantajia! Ikikata ga katachi ni natta machi (Fantasia! Fantasia! Cities Formed from Ways of Living)
When: 7-29 Nov 2020
Where: Hōjō Kōmuten Tonari (3-22-10 Higashi Mukōjima, Sumida Ward, Tokyo)
Support: Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture), Ureshii yokan, Ltd.



1-4 Photo: Agata Kenji