FEARLESS AT 90 a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Photo by On Lim Wong

FEARLESS AT 90 a poem by Yuri Kageyama

I am fearless at 90

Wrinkles deep as the Nile

Hair translucent spiderwebs

Varicose veins throbbing blood

A map of fate on a carcass of skin

I am fearless at 90 

I rap poetry with my dentures

Jazz dance with my wobbly knees

I rock like Jimi Hendrix

We Boomers invented Revolution

I am fearless at 90

I’m so close to the pearly gates

I’m on speaking terms with the angels

I’m so near-sighted I read minds

My fungus breath slays dragons

I am fearless at 90

My wheelchair zips Ferrari-style

My voice resonates five octaves low

My cane duplicates as a samurai sword

My hearing aid just blocks out noise

I am fearless at 90  

I have no appointments to keep

No bosses to please

No dates to impress

No one can put me down

I am fearless at 90

I barely remember what’s up or down

Or who is where anymore;

Beyond gender, race, class,

Or even age

I am fearless at 90

My skin like washi paper

My fingers gnarled like a witch

I am neither man nor woman

White, black, brown or yellow.

I am just 90, and fearless:

Those days are long gone,

Not trusting anyone over 30,

I’ve given birth to a thousand children

And have a million grandchildren

I am fearless at 90

Although death is around the corner,

I’ve seen war and peace

Endured abuse to survive;

Don’t expect or need respect

I’m proud to be fearless at 90

^___<

Note from the poet:

I am not yet 90, but I feel this way and wrote this poem.

When I’m 90, I will write my real fearless at 90 poem.

NOTHING HAPPENS A poem/song by Yuri Kageyama

NOTHING HAPPENS なにもおこらない

A poem/song written and read by Yuri Kageyama

Featuring Tea on vocals and the YURICANE band with Hideyuki Asada (guitar, arrangement, audio mastering), Hiroshi Tokieda (bass) and Takuma Anzai (drums).

Photo by On Lim Wong.

I started working on this song in February 2019. It’s finally finished in 2023, as a recording, with singing and music. The piece is about how people like to talk about “what’s happening” or what’s going to happen. But most of the time, nothing happens. And nothing needs to happen. If anything, it can be a good thing when nothing happens. With the pandemic unfolding, the song became for me more pertinent than ever. I reworked the song to reflect that. In June 2020, I added the rap section in Japanese that refers to the death of George Floyd. We must not forget how precious those moments are when horrible things that can happen don’t happen, and we can just sit back and enjoy the passage of time, when utterly nothing happens.

Nothing happens なにもおこらない

_ a poem/song by Yuri Kageyama

(1)

Nothing happens

Bombs no longer falling

Nations aren’t killing

Nothing happens

^___<

(2)

Nothing happens

Women aren’t screaming

Children aren’t starving

Nothing happens

^___<

(BRIDGE)

なにもおこらない

このきもち

なにもおこらない

しずけさ

^___<

(4)

Nothing happens

The stars will shine  

Behind clouds that hide   

Nothing happens    

^___<

(5)

Nothing happens

Birds, blossoms remind

The passing of time

Nothing happens

^___<

(rap section)

Nothing happens

We took it for granted

Nothing is boring

Nobody up to no good  

Looking for something

Something to happen

Before the coronavirus   

Now we wake up to numbers

Pray the curve gets flattened  

Pray it’s no one we know

Waiting for a vaccine

Scared by the sirens

Italy, New York, Spain, Wuhan, Tokyo

Now nothing else happens

Nothing else can happen

Now you know it:

Now you wish you didn’t wish it

Now you know for sure you like it

When Nothing happens

Yeah, Nothing happens

なにもおこらない

死ぬまえ

のこる生命で

えらんだ言葉

息ができない

彼のおもい

アメリカの差別

歴史のおもい

すべてすごくて

言葉がない

息ができない

息ができない

You know that’s the view:

No news is good news,

It’s so quiet you can hear it

Silence is the music

When NOTHING HAPPENS

^___<

なにもおこらない

このきもち

なにもおこらない

しずけさ

^__<

Nothing happens

The Virus descends     

Like a stranger of death     

Nothing happens

^___<

Nothing happens

We can forget the rest  

How we miss those days   

When Nothing happens

^—–<

And this is how the song all started; the clip below is from while it’s in the works (Artwork by Munenori Tamagawa):

Yuri Kageyama · NOTHING HAPPENS a poem/song by Yuri Kageyama with guitar/arrangement by Hide Asada

My other Virus Song (a side B to NOTHING HAPPENS if this were a CD like back in the good old days)

I AM THE VIRUS a poem written and read by Yuri Kageyama with piano by Nobutaka Yamasaki

photo by Ong Lim Wong

I am the virus

I thrive on mossy envious egos

They keep showing up

Offices, clubs, picnics,

Choosing being seen, hoarding

Over social dis-tan-cing

I am the virus

I fester in corona-shaped clusters

Commuter trains, cruises, crowds  

Peering at the Olympic torch,

I love the naming “Chinese virus”

The taunts, attacks on slant-eyed people

I am the virus

I cower when folks stay in

Takeout food, work from home,

A meter apart on solitary walks,

Wearing masks, washing hands,

Mixing aloe and alcohol

I am the virus

The crazy evil devoured

By doctors, vaccines, canceled concerts

Turning into live-streamed music,

People who remember to tell those they love

How much they really love them.

My 2015 Story on the Kamikaze

I still like this Story I did for The Associated Press some time ago when I interviewed a former kamikaze pilot. It was still online at The Detroit News.

MY FILM, POETRY AND MUSIC IN TOKYO

News From Fukushima _ Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet,” directed by Yoshiaki Tago, gets a screening at Libra Hall in Tokyo SUN April 23, 2023, followed by My Poetry With Music.

The film documents a theater performance in San Francisco in 2017, directed by Carla Blank, starring Takemi Kitamura, Monisha Shiva and Shigeko Sara Suga with music by Stomu Takeishi, Isaku Kageyama, Kouzan Kikuchi and Joe Small. Lighting by Blu. Video by Yoshiaki Tago. Written by Yuri Kageyama.

Poems in order of the reading: “I Am The Virus,” “Hiphop Fukushima,” “Nothing Happens,” “ode to the stroller,” all written by Yuri Kageyama with music by The YURICANE band featuring Nobutaka Yamasaki (piano), Takuma Anzai (drums), tea (vocals), Hiroshi Tokieda (bass) and Hideyuki Asada (guitar).

Yuri Kageyama · I Am The Virus _ a poem by Yuri Kageyama with piano by Nobutaka Yamasaki

I AM THE VIRUS

a poem by Yuri Kageyama, read with piano by Nobutaka Yamasaki

I am the virus

I thrive on mossy envious egos

They keep showing up

Offices, clubs, picnics,

Choosing being seen, hoarding

Over social dis-tan-cing

I am the virus

I fester in corona-shaped clusters

Commuter trains, cruises, crowds  

Peering at the Olympic torch,

I love the naming “Chinese virus”

The taunts, attacks on slant-eyed people

I am the virus

I cower when folks stay in

Takeout food, work from home,

A meter apart on solitary walks,

Wearing masks, washing hands,

Mixing aloe and alcohol

I am the virus

The crazy evil devoured

By doctors, vaccines, canceled concerts

Turning into live-streamed music,

People who remember to tell those they love

How much they really love them.

Nobutaka Yamasaki. Photo by On Lim Wong.
Yoshiaki Tago, film director for NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA. Photo by On Lim Wong.
Hideyuki Asada. Photo by On Lim Wong.
Takuma Anzai. Photo by On Lim Wong.
Hiroshi Tokieda and tea. Photo by Ong Lim Wong.
Nobutaka Yamasaki. Photo by On Lim Wong
From L to R: Toshiko Okada, Nobutaka Yamasaki, Yuri Kageyama, tea, Takuma Anzai, Hiroshi Tokieda, Hideyuki Asada.

PHOTOS by On Lim Wong.

FILMS BY ABOUT AND WITH YURI

FILMS BY ABOUT AND WITH YURI SAT Feb. 11, 2023 in Tokyo

Five films, all featuring bilingual/bicultural poet/storyteller YURI KAGEYAMA, were shown at a tiny Tokyo club. Among the works are two directed by YOSHIAKI TAGO: A performance by American-based actors and musicians in San Francisco, and a documentation of Kageyama’s reading in Japan. Stop motion artist HAYATTO has painstakingly created animation of Kageyama’s short story. SAT Feb. 11, 2023, from 2 p.m. ShimoKitazawaTei https://shimokitazawatei.com/ FREE ADMISSION

詩人カゲヤマユウリが関わった5作品が東京で上映された。映画、テレビドラマなど数多くてがける多胡由章監督のニュースフロムフクシマとトーキング太鼓の他、国内海外活躍のストップモーションアーティストHAYATTO のアニメなどが下北沢亭 https://shimokitazawatei.com/

2月11日(土) 午後2時 入場無料。

Photo by On Lim Wong

ARTIST BIOS プロフィ―ル

YOSHIAKI TAGO directed “Sabai Sabai,” “Women at the Cash Register,” “Worst Contact,” as well as many Japanese TV drama shows, including “Atomu No Ko.” He won an award at the Yasujiro Ozu Memorial Film Festival. A graduate of the prestigious Japan Institute of the Moving Image, founded by Shohei Imamura, Tago has worked with Nobuhiko Obayashi, Takashi Miike, Takashi Murakami and Macoto Tezuka.

多胡由章監督は映画「サバイサバイ」「夜の底で魚になる」「レジを打つ女」「ワーストコンタクト」 他「アトムの童などテレビ番組も数多く手掛ける。小津安二郎記念蓼科高原映画祭受賞。日本映画大学卒。大林宣彦、三池崇史、村上隆、手塚眞とコラボ

HAYATTO specializes in stop motion film, in which the figures he makes by hand are moved, with a minimum of eight frames needed per second. His credits include “Box Cats,” as well as advertising for T-fal and Mitsui Sumitomo.

HAYATTO が特化するストップモーションは手造りのフィギャーやパーツをすこしづつ動かし少なくとも一秒8フレームで表現する愛あふれる作品。ショート「ハコネコ」やT-falや三井住友の広告で活躍。

YURI KAGEYAMA is a poet, writer, journalist and filmmaker born in Japan and raised in Maryland and Alabama. Her books include THE NEW AND SELECTED YURI (Ishmael Reed Publishing Co.). Her works are in KONCH, Bigotry on Broadway (Baraka Books), Life and Legends, Tokyo Poetry Journal and many other literary anthologies and magazines.

カゲヤマユウリ(影山優理)は日本生まれアメリカ育ちの詩人、ものかき、ジャーナリスト、ビデオ作家。

著書にはTHE NEW AND SELECTED YURI (Ishmael Reed Publishing Co.) など数多くの文芸雑誌や文集に掲載。      

                          ^______________________<

FREE ADMISSION Free Drink And Come/Leave As You Wish.

入場無料      出入り自由    無料ドリンク付き

下北沢亭 https://shimokitazawatei.com/

東京都世田谷区代沢5−29−9 2F  

5-29-2 Daizawa Setagawa-ku Tokyo

SAT Feb. 11, 2023  2 p.m.  ~  5 p.m.

2023年2月11日(土)午後2時 ~ 5時   

上映順と時間 Works in order of screening and duration:

I WILL BLEED, STORY OF MIU by Yuri Kageyama 2 min, 6 min

THE VERY SPECIAL DAY by HAYATTO 12 min

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA by Yoshiaki Tago 1 hour 15 min

Q&A with the artists 作者達との談話 20 min

TALKING TAIKO by Yoshiaki Tago 44 min

Photos by On Lim Wong
Kouzan Kikuchi a musician in the films at the screening. Photo by On Lim Wong
All photos by On Lim Wong
With Munenori Tamagawa, a visual artist and collaborator. Photo by On Lim Wong.

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet _ now a film

Fukushima is the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. It will take decades and billions of dollars to keep the multiple meltdowns under control. Spewed radiation has reached as far as the American West Coast. Some 100,000 people were displaced from the no-go zone. But now, years later, the 3.11 story hardly makes headlines.
Journalist Yuri Kageyama turns to poetry, dance, theater, music and film, to remind us that the human stories must not be forgotten. Carla Blank, who has directed plays in Xiangtan and Ramallah, as well as collaborated with Suzushi Hanayagi and Robert Wilson, brings together a multicultural cast of artists to create provocative theater. Performing as collaborators are actors/dancers Takemi Kitamura, Monisha Shiva, Shigeko Sara Suga and musicians Stomu Takeishi, Isaku Kageyama, Kouzan Kikuchi and Joe Small. Lighting design by Blu. Video projected on the stage is by Yoshiaki Tago, who has turned the performance into an award-winning film.
NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA is a literary prayer for Japan.
It explores the friendship between women, juxtaposing the intimately personal with the catastrophic.
The piece debuted at La MaMa in New York in 2015, with music led by Melvin Gibbs. An updated version was presented at Z Space in San Francisco in July 2017. The film was completed in October 2018.

“A powerful reflection on the corruption and greed of men and their indifference to human life.” _ ISHMAEL REED

OUR “NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA” honored at festivals around the world:

AWARD WINNER Mars International Film Festival in Marseilles, France, November 2023. 

OFFICIAL SELECTION Snow Leopard International Film Festival 2023.

OFFICIAL SELECTION LA Indie Film Festival 2023.

SEMI-FINALIST Montreal Arthouse Film Festival October 2022.

AWARD WINNER BEST NARRATIVE DOCUMENTARY Official Selection Bright International Film Festival August 2022.

FINALIST BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM Official Selection Indiefare International Film Festival August 2022. 

FINALIST Official Selection with online screening Crown International Film Festival August 2022.   

EXCEPTIONAL ACHIEVEMENT BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM Official Selection Multi Dimension Independent Film Festival Nov. 25 ~ 30, 2021.

BEST ART FEATURE FILM Official Selection Universe Multicultural Film Festival Oct. 29 ~ 31, 2021.

AWARD WINNER BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE Official Selection EdiPlay International Film Festival.

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT Best Experimental Film Official Selection Swedish International Film Festival Oct. 28 ~ 31, 2021 online screening.

Official Selection International Migration & Environmental Film Festival Oct. 9 ~ 16, 2021 streaming online on Xerb TV.

Official Selection Los Angeles Asian Film Festival 2021.

Official Selection Jade Jaguar Cinema Festival in Brazil Aug. 22-31, 2021.

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE WRITER/SCRIPT DOCU-DRAMA FEATURE Official Selection WRPN Women’s International Film Festival Spring 2021.

FINALIST Official Selection New Year Film Festival February 2021.

FINALIST Official Selection Athens International Monthly Art Film Festival February 2021.

HONORABLE MENTION Official Selection London International Monthly Film Festival February 2021. 

BEST ECOLOGY DOCUMENTARY Official Selection Best Film Awards January 2021.

Official Selection FINALIST Beyond the Curve International Film Festival January 2021.

SEMI-FINALIST Official Selection Jelly Film Festival January 2021.  

Official Selection Vancouver Independent Film Festival January 2021.

Official Selection Toronto International Women Film Festival January 2021.

BEST DOCUMENTARY Official Selection Rome International Movie Awards January 2021.

FINALIST Official Selection Flixze Film Festival Jan. 5 ~ 6, 2021.

Official Selection Kalakari Film Festival May 15, 2021.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE WINNER Royal Wolf Film Awards December 2020. 

NOMINATED BEST DOCUMENTARY BIMIFF – Brazil International Monthly Independent Film Festival November 2020.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE Madras Independent Film Festival October 2020 Edition.

BEST EXPERIMENTAL DOCUMENTARY Sicily Independent Film Awards August 2020. 

FINALIST Official Selection Montreal Independent Film Festival September 2020.

Official Selection Motion Pictures International Film Festival November 2020. 

Official Selection Silent River Film Festival in California August 2020.

Official Selection Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival June 2020.

SELECT SHOWCASE Official Selection at the Guam International Film Festival (2019~2020), aired on PBS Guam June 2020.

Official Selection ARTS X SDGS film festival New York April 2020.

Official Selection 2020 Oniros Film Awards in Italy.

GRAND FESTIVAL AWARD – CINE DANCE POEM and WORLD PREMIERE at the Berkeley Video & Film Festival SAT Nov. 2, 2019, 6 p.m. East Bay Media Center Performance Space.

FINALIST BEST ASIAN FEATURE FILM at the New Vision International Film Festival in Amsterdam September 2019.   

Online Screenings:

Screened online at the Swedish International Film Festival Oct. 28 ~ 31, 2021.

Screened online at the Japan Writers Conference Oct. 16, 2021. 

Screened online at the Toronto Film Channel Aug. 31, 2020.

Screened online at the Brazil International Monthly Independent Film Festival Dec. 9, 2020 through Dec. 15, 2020.

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet
Written by Yuri Kageyama | Directed by Carla Blank

Film directed by Yoshiaki Tago with camera work by Tago and Kate McKinley. Editing by Eri Muraki.

 “Yuri, you did a great job. Stay hard and blunt and don’t mince words. Yours was a powerful reflection on the corruption and greed of men and their indifference to human life.” _ Ishmael Reed.

Photo by  Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dofrman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dofrman

For the San Francisco performance, we had genuine Bon Daiko drum music performed by Isaku Kageyama with shakuhachi and fue by Kouzan Kikuchi, joined by Joe Small (taiko/percussion) and Stomu Takeishi (bass), delivering mesmerizing renditions of Bon and minyo from Fukushima, as well as other Japanese tunes. The Bon idea of the dead’s homecoming and the abstracted repetitive dancing in a circle serve as a symbol of the piece’s message of death, yearning for family and future generations, and gratitude for the harvest and peaceful everyday life. Juxtaposed with the experimental choreography by the director Carla Blank, incorporating collaborations with the performers, Takemi Kitamura, Monisha Shiva and Shigeko Sara Suga, Bon dance was transformed on the American stage, and presented as a dignified and artistic motif of modern movement. Bon Odori continues to bring people together in the Japanese American community _ and communities all over Japan.

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

From the director CARLA BLANK
“This performance is a collaboration among all its participants, some who have worked together since 2015, and some who in 2017 helped create this new development of the piece. Through email conversations and intensive rehearsals we arrived at our choices of the particular dramatic scenes, music, video, dances and other action you will see. The Bon Odori dances and music, which provide transitions between the scenes, are based on traditional celebrations that occur throughout Japan during the late summer to honor the ancestors: Soma Bon Uta and Aizu Bandaisan from Fukushima, Yagi Bushi from Tochigi and Gunma near Tokyo, and Tanko Bushi from Fukuoka, besides Tokyo Ondo, which continues throughout Bon Odori (The Death Dance). Great thanks to Takemi Kitamura, who taught us the four dances you will see and who also created the movement for the Prologue solo and Epilogue trio, inspired by a line dance from Aizu, the westernmost region of Fukushima, where annually it is offered in remembrance of 19 of the over 300 Byakkotai warriors , teen-age sons of samurai in the White Tiger Battalion who in 1868, during the Boshin Civil War, committed ritual disembowelment (seppuku or hara-kiri) because they mistakenly believed a fire had consumed their lord’s castle, which would mean their city had been captured and their families killed. For me, this dance particularly resonates because of where it comes from, how contemporary its formal choices appear, and how as the strokes of the blades go every which direction, it becomes a metaphor for the ways life can slice us also. It has been my great pleasure to realize Yuri Kageyama’s work with all these wonderful, dedicated performers.”

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Ishmael Reed came up with the title for the performance piece: “NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet.” As that suggests, the piece is about my vision as a poet. My spoken word pieces, delivered to accompaniment of various kinds of music, address racism, stereotyping, sexism and the search for love. They seek to address what society sees as “bigger” issues, such as the Fukushima accident, the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and the journalistic mission. For me, they are all connected.

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

All those themes provide the driving force in my storytelling that has over the years always sought to bring closer to home the perennial repetition of people’s betrayal, selfishness and smallness.
The Fukushima disaster is the biggest story of my life _ both as poet and journalist, those sides of my writing identity which have in the past remained so painfully separate. They have now come together. We have all come together in this effort _ all of us, of different backgrounds, cultures and disciplines. We have become one. It is clear we have each done our best to share our talent, our passion and our lives, to raise questions, to connect _ and to bring hope.

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

What people are saying about NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: MEDITATION ON AN UNDER-REPORTED CATASTROPHE BY A POET.

Yuri Kageyama, with her epic poem, has earned a place among the leading world poets. This work proves that the poet as a journalist can expose conditions that are ignored by the media. _ Ishmael Reed poet, essayist, playwright, publisher, lyricist, author of MUMBO JUMBO, THE LAST DAYS OF LOUISIANA RED and THE COMPLETE MUHAMMAD ALI, MacArthur Fellowship, professor at the University of California Berkeley, San Francisco Jazz Poet Laureate (2012-2016).

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA is a commentary on what it means to be human in the 21st Century. While we are divided by race, ethnicity, language, geography and culture, the essence of our humanity remains constant. In NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA, the cast, director and playwright all come together to create a montage of courage, uncertainty and hope in the face of disaster. _ Basir Mchawi producer, community organizer and radio show host at WBAI Radio in New York, who has taught at the City University of New York, public schools and independent Black schools.

Awesome music and dancing! The haunting drumming, dazzling satire and the golden heart of a poet in protest. Nothing is under control when the environment is under siege. Aluta! _ Sandile Ngidi poet, Zulu/English translator, journalist and critic.

Her collage-like piece weaves together lyrical monologues, sword dance, film and live music that blends jazz, taiko drumming and minyo folks songs. In the Fukushima of 2017, goes one line late in the play, “the authorities say they are playing it safe, when no one really feels safe.” _ Lily Janiak writer for The San Francisco Chronicle.

A vital story of our times. Spoken word and music from a talented multicultural ensemble. A beacon of light in a darkening world. _ Paul Armstrong artistic director at International Arts Initiatives, a Vancouver-based nonprofit for cultural advancement through the arts and education.

I welcomed NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA _ into my consciousness, with deep gratitude, seeing it twice, two days in succession _ all the while marveling at the tough yet faithful production and its dedication to truth-telling. _ David Henderson poet, co-founder of Umbra and the Black Arts Movement, author of ‘SCUSE ME WHILE I KISS THE SKY. JIMI HENDRIX: VOODOO CHILD.

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA echoes the mourning of Bon Odori dance to warn us again and again that the nuclear age of post-World War II Japan has never ended. _ Hisami Kuroiwa movie producer and executive for “The Shell Collector,” “”Lafcadio Hearn: His Journey to Ithaca,” “Sunday,” “Bent” and the Silver Bear-winning “Smoke.”

Strong threads of a woman’s point of view …. Excellent ….The issue of motherhood in looking at Fukushima is well done. And the candid shots of Obon in Japan are fantastic in the background. As are the shots of rows and rows of radioactive materials in plastic bags, just left in rows upon rows in Fukushima. I thought the production was very good, technically excellent, and very illustrative of a Japan we don’t hear about after the 2011 triple disaster. Go see it. _ Peter Kenichi Yamamoto poet in San Francisco and coordinator at the National Japanese American Historical Society.

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA is a memorable performance with well-researched narratives that throws you into a quest for humanity. _ Midori Nishimura Stanford University professor and medical doctor.

A powerful message not to forget: Fukushima. _ David Ushijima San Francisco business professional in retail, mobile, sensor-based and connected devices, Internet of Things.

It’s the kind of piece that keeps this from being forgotten. With all the other things going on in this world, we can forget about this, and we have a distance from them. But this kind of piece can remind us to return to it and continually reconsider the choices we make in our society. _ Adam Hartzell writer at koreanfilm.org

Great music …. It left such an impression. A splendid performance. _ Seiko Takada musician, “Kaizoku” vocalist/guitarist.

NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA is a powerful artistic response to disaster, informing us and inspiring us to compassion. _ Ravi Chandra San Francisco-Bay Area poet, writer and psychiatrist.

A truly emotional experience. _ Liliana Perez child psychologist and Ph.D.

Fukushima: Excellent musical accompaniment to poignant poetry, with minimal yet imaginative staging and choreography. _ Nana pianist and New Yorker.

What a delight …. See this show and be transported magically. _ George Ferencz co-founder of the Impossible Ragtime Theater, resident director at La MaMa (1982-2008), who has also directed at the Actors’ Theater of Louisville, Berkeley Rep and Cleveland Playhouse.

News that enraptures and engages through Sound. A Poet sings of the unreported calamity at Fukushima. _ Katsumi a Japanese living in New York.

The arc of history in every nation has its sadly forgotten men, women and children. Hauntingly powerful, NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA draws our eyes and hearts back to an ongoing, under-reported tragedy. _ Curtis Chin Milken Institute fellow and former U.S. Ambassador.

Everyone who took part in this performance, and those who came to see it, although of different races and thinking, all felt clearly the existence of what we know is so important …. I have lived to see many people who hurt others out of selfishness, betrayed others without qualms, and then went on to hide what they had done. But in the end, what is desired is not achieved, leaving only hunger, and, because of that, the cycle gets repeated …. I pray more people will be able to feel love through seeing this performance. _ Toshinori “Toshichael Jackson” Tani dancer, member of TL Brothers and instructor.

“News From Fukushima” gave me shivers for an hour. _ Michael Frazier, poet and educator.  

A true masterpiece. _ Mitsuru, poet and author of “Akai Geisha.”

Bios of the artists in
NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet

Cast, crew, filmmakers, director and writer of NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA

Cast, crew, filmmakers, director and writer of NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dofrman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dofrman

THE PLAYWRIGHT
YURI KAGEYAMA
is a poet, songwriter, filmmaker, journalist and author of “The New and Selected Yuri” and “The Very Special Day.” Her spoken-word band the Yuricane features Melvin Gibbs, Eric Kamau Gravatt, Morgan Fisher, Pheeroan akLaff and Winchester Nii Tete. She is published in ”Breaking Silence,” “On a Bed of Rice,” “Pow Wow,” Cultural Weekly, Y’Bird, Konch and Public Poetry Series. http://yurikageyama.com/

 

Carla Blank

Carla Blank

THE DIRECTOR
CARLA BLANK
is a writer, editor, director, dramaturge and a teacher and performer of dance and theater for more than 50 years. She worked with Robert Wilson to create “KOOL _Dancing in My Mind,” inspired by Japanese choreographer Suzushi Hanayagi. She directed Wajahat Ali’s “The Domestic Crusaders” from a restaurant reading in Newark, California, to Off Broadway and the Kennedy Center. http://www.carlablank.com/bio.htm

THE ACTORS

Photo by Tennessee Reed

Photo by Tennessee Reed

TAKEMI KITAMURA, choreographer, dancer, puppeteer, Japanese sword fighter and actor, appeared in “The Oldest Boy” at Lincoln Center, “The Indian Queen” directed by Peter Sellars; “Shank’s Mare” by Tom Lee and Koryu Nishikawa V; “Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed” by Dan Hurlin and “Memory Rings” by Phantom Limb Co. She has worked with Nami Yamamoto, Sondra Loring and Sally Silvers. http://takemikitamura.com/

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

MONISHA SHIVA is an actor, dancer, choreographer and painter, appearing in “The Domestic Crusaders” and “The Rats,” for theater, and independent films such as “Small Delights,” “Carroll Park,” “Echoes” and “Ukkiya Jeevan.” A native New Yorker, she has studied classical Indian dance and Bollywood, jazz and samba dancing, and acting at William Esper Studios and Studio 5. http://www.monishashiva.com/Monisha/home.html

Shigeko Suga Sara. Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Shigeko Suga Sara. Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

SHIGEKO SARA SUGA, actress, director, artistic associate at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, and Flamenco and Butoh dancer, has performed in 150 productions, including Pan Asian Rep.’s “Shogun Macbeth” and “No No Boy.” She dedicates her performance to her nephew Ryoei Suga, who volunteered in Kesennuma after the 2011 tsunami and now devotes his life there as a fisherman and monk. www.shigekosuga.com

THE MUSICIANS
STOMU TAKEISHI is a master of the fretless electric bass and has played and recorded in a variety of jazz settings with artists such as Henry Threadgill, Brandon Ross, Myra Melford, Don Cherry, Randy Brecker, Satoko Fujii, Dave Liebman, Cuong Vu, Paul Motian and Pat Metheny. He tours worldwide and performs at various international jazz festivals.

Kouzan Kikuchi (L) and Stomu Takeishi. Photo by Annette Borromeo Dofrman

Kouzan Kikuchi (L) and Stomu Takeishi. Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

KOUZAN KIKUCHI, shakuhachi player from Fukushima, studied minyo shamisen with his mother. A graduate of the Tokyo University of the Arts, he studied with National Treasure Houzan Yamamoto. He has worked with Ebizo Ichikawa, Shinobu Terajima and Motoko Ishii. In 2011, he became Tozanryu Shakuhachi Foundation “shihan” with highest honors.

Joe Small (L) and Isaku Kageyama. Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

Joe Small (L) and Isaku Kageyama. Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

ISAKU KAGEYAMA is a taiko drummer and percussionist, working with Asano Taiko UnitOne in Los Angeles, film-scoring extravaganza “The Masterpiece Experience” and Tokyo ensemble Amanojaku. A magna cum laude Berklee College of Music graduate, he teaches at Wellesley, University of Connecticut and Brown. http://isakukageyama.com/

JOE SMALL is a taiko artist, who is a member of Eitetsu Hayashi’s Fu-un no Kai and creator of the original concert, “Spall Fragments.” He has apprenticed for two years with Kodo, researched Japanese music as a Fulbright Fellow and holds an MFA in Dance from UCLA. He teaches at Swwarthmore College. www.joesmalltaiko.com

THE LIGHTING DESIGNER
BLU lived in New York for 20 years and was resident designer at the Cubiculo and La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. A Bessie Award winner, he was lighting designer for renowned dance theater artists such as Sally Gross, Eiko and Koma, Ping Chong, Donald Byrd, Nancy Meehan and Paula Josa Jones.

THE FILMMAKER
YOSHIAKI TAGO, whose video was part of the live performance, has made NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA into a film. Tago also directed “A.F.O.,” “Believer,” “Worst Contact,” “Meido in Akihabara.” His short “The Song of a Tube Manufacturer” won the runner-up prize at the Yasujiro Ozu Memorial Film Festival in 2013. He served as film adviser for Takashi Murakami, and has worked with Nobuhiko Obayashi, Takashi Miike and Macoto Tezuka. He is a graduate of the prestigious Tokyo film school founded by Shohei Imamura.

YOSHIAKI TAGO

YOSHIAKI TAGO

From the playwright YURI KAGEYAMA

“The two sides of who I am _ poet and journalist _ have long been separate. I am a poet, first and foremost, I felt, and reporting is what I do for my job. But the 2011 Fukushima disaster brought those two sides together in a way that was undeniable, imperative and honest. I am filled with gratitude toward my collaborators, who have turned my words and ideas into a moving, convincing and honorable piece of theater. In this work, we defy the boundaries of cultures, race, generations and genres to tell the story about how our world has created a catastrophe. We don’t pretend to have all the answers. But it’s an important story.”

Acknowledgements
Thanks to Akiyoshi Imazeki for photographs of Fukushima for video by Yoshiaki Tago for “Decontamination Ghosts;” Z Space, especially Drew Yerys, Minerva Ramirez, Wolfgang Wachaolovsky, Jim Garcia, Julie Schuchard and Andrew Burmester; Alex Maynard and Adam Hatch for the use of Starline Social Club for rehearsals; Mark Ong of Side by Side Studios for the poster design; Annette Borromeo Dorfman for program design and photographing the performance; Sally Gross, Ping Chong and Meredith Monk for help finding our cast; Ishmael Reed for ongoing support and Tennessee Reed for photography; Hisami Kuroiwa for her wise counsel, filmmaker Kate McKinley; LaMaMa Experiemental Theatre for showing the work in New York in 2015; Melvin Gibbs, Sumie Kaneko, Hirokazu Suyama and Kaoru Watanabe for the music at La MaMa; Bob Holman for presenting an initial reading at Bowery Poetry Club with Yuki Kawahisa, Pheeroan akLaff and Tecla Esposito; Makoto Horiuchi; Yoichi Watanabe and Hiromi Ogawa of Amanojaku taiko in Tokyo; all the members of the Yuricane spoken word band who inspired the poems and stories that developed into this work, and, last but not least, the people of Fukushima.

Yuri Kageyama reports from the no-go zone in Fukushima. Photo by Kazuhiro Onuki.

Yuri Kageyama reports from the no-go zone in Fukushima. Photo by Kazuhiro Onuki.

A World Premiere screening at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival Nov. 2, 2019.  From left to right: Festival founder and organizer Mel Vapour, director Carla Blank, writer/poet Yuri Kageyama and camera-person Kate McKinley. Photo by Tennessee Reed.

Accepting the award at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival Nov. 2, 2019. From left to right: Camera-person Kate McKinley, director Carla Blank, festival founder and organizer Mel Vapour and writer/poet Yuri Kageyama.
Photo by Tennessee Reed.

With director Yoshiaki Tago at the red carpet event.

In Amsterdam in September 2019 for the New Vision International Film Festival, where News From Fukushima was a Finalist Best Asian Feature Film.

more gala shots
News From Fukushima an Official Selection at the ARTS X SDGS festival

I talked about our film and all my great collaborators at the Silent River Film Festival, which screened NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA August, 2020.

https://www.facebook.com/SilentRiverFilmFestival/videos/644827306160921/

https://www.facebook.com/SilentRiverFilmFestival/videos/1021079638326778/

THE VERY SPECIAL DAY A VERY SPECIAL FILM

THE VERY SPECIAL DAY BECAME A VERY SPECIAL FILM IN 2019.

Film by Hayatto.

Story written and read by Yuri Kageyama.

An Award Winner and Official Selection at this film festival in San Francisco Oct. 27 ~ Oct. 30, 2022, the San Francisco International New Concept Film Festival. THE VERY SPECIAL DAY screened at the San Francisco Public Library Oct. 29, 2022. 

At Herbst Theater in San Francisco to accept the award Oct. 30, 2022.

Ishmael Reed and Carla Blank kindly came out to the award event. Thanks always to Ishmael and Carla for believing in me and my poetry. “Yuri Kageyama strikes again,” he says.

THE VERY SPECIAL DAY is an Official Selection at the Snow Leopard International Film Festival January 2023, Award Winner Best Animation at the San Francisco International New Concept Film Festival Oct. 27 ~ Oct. 30, 2022, Official Selection Honorable Mention at the International Migration & Environmental Film Festival Oct. 9 ~ 16, 2021, Semi-Finalist at the Serbest International Film Festival and Honorable Mention France International Film Festival and Monza Film Fest September 2021, Official Selection at the Big Sur Film Festival April 2021, Winner in Best Animation at the Beyond the Curve International Film Festival February-March 2021, Official Selection at the Phoenix Shorts Festival March 2021, Nominated Best International Short Film at the Brazil International Monthly Independent Film Festival, Finalist Official Selection Paris International Short Festival, Official Selection New Year Film Festival and Hollywood International Golden Age Festival, Honorable Mention Official Selection London International Monthly Film Festival, all February 2021, Quarter Finalist at the Jade Jaguar Film Festival in Brazil in August 2021, won Best Animation at the New Wave Short Film Festival, Milan Short Film Festival, Madras Independent Film Festival, Award of Excellence in Animation Directing at the Montreal Independent Film Festival, Finalist Best Children’s Film at Indie Short Fest (Los Angeles International Film Festival) and the LA Sun Film Fest, in 2020, Official Selection Finalist Seoul International Short Film Festival, Semi-Finalist Jelly Film Festival and Finalist Official Selection at the Tokyo International Short Film Festival, in January 2021, Best Animation Short Winner at the Royal Wolf Film Awards and Special Jury Selection at the Roma Short Film Festival, both in December 2020, Official Selection Kalakari Film Festival May 15, 2021, Cyrus International Film Festival, New York Tri-State International Film Festival and the Silicon Beach Film Festival, Nominated Best Animation the Motion Pictures International Film Festival, Finalist Official Selection at the Sicily Independent Film Awards, the Pune Short Film Festival, Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival, Grand Jury Award Oniros Film Awards in Italy, Finalist Official Selection at the Košice International Monthly Film Festival, all in 2020. It won the Silver Award Spotlight Short Film Awards, Honorable Mention Los Angeles Film Awards, New York Film Awards, Festigious International Film Festival and Top Shorts Film Festival, Award of Distinction Canada Shorts Film Festival, Best Animated film at the Hollywood Blood Horror Festival and was part of the Best Global Shorts film festival, in 2019.


“Your film brought us enormous pleasure and exhibits excellence in artistry and craftsmanship in noteworthy fashions.” _ Hans Krause, New Wave Short Film Festival.

“Brilliant concept and excellent execution. The structure works well.” _ Nami, Roy and the Los Angeles Film Awards team.

“This movie is a true wonder. All marvelous: The drawings, the music, the story, the narration. It’s like a wonderful dream. Your creative universe is magic.” _ Mitsuru, writer and poet, author of “Akai Geisha.”

A birthday is very special for any little boy. And a little boy is very special for any parent.

This is an everyday but very special story about the trials and joys of growing up in an imperfect world.

A story that’s a bit sentimental but honorable and true, written for all the children in the world.
May they stay safe, may they enjoy peace, may they find love and may they know who they really are.

Music by Kouzan Kikuchi, Hiroshi Tokieda, Ryan Carter and Isaku Kageyama.

Copyright All Rights Reserved by the Artists. August 2019.

“All my works deal with the theme of love, and I put a lot of love in my work. As soon as I saw Yuri’s THE VERY SPECIAL DAY, I felt the same kind of love in the story and knew at once it should be made with my stop motion. Stop motion requires arduous time: Each item is made by hand and moved a little bit at a time to create movement on film. A minimum of eight frames is needed per second. The number of handmade parts is considerable. I make everything myself_ alone but with love. Although, or perhaps because, it requires so much work, time and love, stop motion relays a nostalgic sense of warmth and frailty. When finally completed, it fills me with an emotion that makes me forget all the hard work that went into it. People will likely react in different ways to THE VERY SPECIAL DAY, but I can say it is filled with love. After all, everyone has his or her own ‘special,’ and everyone realizes that what makes for this special ultimately is love, the greatest amorphous theme for humanity. I hope my work will help people around the world rediscover the meaning of love.” _ Hayatto

ONLINE SCREENINGS:

International Migration & Environmental Film Festival Oct. 9 ~ 16, 2021 on Xerb TV

Serbest International Film Festival Sept. 23 ~ Sept. 30, 2021.

France International Film Festival Sept. 15 ~ 21, 2021.

Beyond the Curve International Film Festival FRI April 23 ~ TUE April 27, 2021.

Brazil International Monthly Independent Film Festival MON March 8 ~ MON March 15, 2021.

Silicon Beach Film Festival FRI Nov. 13 ~ THU Nov. 19, 2020, extended through Thanksgiving.

TUE Nov. 10 ~ WED Nov. 11, 2020 at the Motion Pictures International Film Festival.

HAIKU FOR MY FATHER by Yuri Kageyama

HAIKU FOR MY FATHER by Yuri Kageyama

A dead man’s desk

Snacks he’s forbidden to eat

Magic tricks for grandchildren

My father died in his 70s, a big man with big ambitions, prone to cruelty and violence but just as quick with his brilliance, generosity and humor. He calmed down a bit with age. And it was natural he was far more loved by his grandchildren, who found him just hilarious, than by his daughters, who had found him oppressive. His desk upstairs had to be cleaned out after he died. My mother found bags of treats like nuts and kakinotane he was secretly eating, because his doctors had put him on a strict diet for his heat condition. She also found toy magic tricks he had also bought secretly and had been practicing to impress his grandchildren. They adored him, played games, ran around outside with him, going fishing or going on goofy rides at a tiny park. They would laugh and laugh with this old roly-poly man, who was really just one of them, never mind he was a former NASA engineer and university professor. My mother used to say my father always acted as though he couldn’t care less if his grandchildren visited or not. She wondered why he would say such an obviously untruthful thing. That was my father, too proud and too big and strong to admit to any weakness, like missing his grandchildren. There is nothing as heartbreaking as love because even love must come to an end with death. But love that can’t be expressed openly, and must be stashed away like magic tricks in the drawer of a desk. I don’t know what to call such love. But it is love.

LOVE SIMPLY a love poem by Yuri Kageyama

LOVE SIMPLY a love poem by Yuri Kageyama

To be near hurts

To be far hurts, too

Love simply hurts

To live hurts, to die hurts

Watching you die hurts even more

Love simply hurts

To know you hurts

To have known you hurts

Love simply hurts

But to not know you, not hurt for you

Is simply not a choice

It’s simply love, simply love

Haiku For Toru by Yuri Kageyama

Haiku For Toru by Yuri Kageyama

deleting emails

name of dead colleague pops up

i’m thinking of you

^___<

Funny how the most unpoetic of activities can become all of a sudden emotional. That, to me, is a haiku moment. And I tried to capture that, as well as honor and express my gratitude for the long years of working with this colleague. I know I will think about him, now and then, like today. Feb. 9,2023.