Talking about Japanese culture is immersing yourself in a civilization as ancient as it is patriarchal. Far from causing a break, these characteristics continued with Japanese immigration. In the case of Peru, for 123 years few things have changed for the community nikkei and particularly for the women who make it up. It is this inherited feminine universe that has given life to “Raíces, memorias, silencios. Three Nikkei women tell”, sample in which three ‘yonsei’ or fourth generation artists expose the ties that unite them to their ancestors and the evolution of what it meant to be a woman then.
“More than macho, Japanese culture is patriarchal, because it does not necessarily exercise physical force but rather power. It does not allow autonomy. You have to obey blindly, because the patriarch is God”
What custom could link ancient Japanese aristocrats and today’s Nikkei women? The comparative exercise carried out by Tomiko Takagi revives the Ohaguro or “black teeth”, a practice that for nine centuries spread in Japanese society, and that today has left a clear legacy, the female habit of covering her mouth when she wants to express happiness and / or freedom. In “Ha, ha, ha”, the photographer sees in this tradition a limitation of bodily expressions. Or as Doris Moromisato, Director of Kimochi Gestión Cultural and coordinator of the exhibition, says, “Although it is said that it was a matter of aesthetics, the reality is that it was intended that women not have any type of social participation and assume a passive role”.
Harumi López Higa, for her part, intertwines the testimony of Catalina Oshiro de Kuniyoshi, a second-generation Nikkei, with the strength of the roots and their ability to survive in the face of adversity. For this, she uses the water resource, which represents not only adaptation but also the pain and journey that life means. “While the audio progresses with Kuniyoshi’s story, the image of the root becomes entangled. “What the artist wants to show is how life entangles you and/or that getting entangled is part of life, but your roots are always present”says Moromisato.
The third installation is called “Wishes have form and function” and arises from the poem “My mom says” by Adriana Miyagusuku. The verses are transformed into poetic images that allow the viewer to delve into the beliefs and aspirations of women. Sounds related to household chores are heard through three headphones and at the same time three other monitors project daily activities clad in pink gloves.
The central idea of this powerful video art could be summed up in two sentences. The first is “girls learn that love is submission”eight words with which many mortgage their entire lives and “It summarizes not only the life of Japanese migrants and many of their descendants, but also that of thousands and thousands of women today who put aside their autonomy”, notes the coordinator of “Roots, memories, silences.” A second statement made in the poem rounds out the perverse circle of patriarchy, “he learned by habit the rituals to dispossess”. Morimisato opportunely clarifies this point by emphasizing that “More than macho, Japanese culture is patriarchal, because it does not necessarily exercise physical force but rather power. It does not allow autonomy. You have to obey blindly, because the patriarch is god”.
To recap, the artistic visions of Tagaki, López Hiha and Miyagusuku, members of the Bugeisha Collective -which rescues the figure of the Onna Bugeisha, warrior women or samurai of ancient Japan-, are part of the same unit. That holistic look, as Moromisato puts it, “It is a point that reflects the feminine, like an aleph or a satori, a place where all women of all races, nationalities and ages can be seen reflected. The history of women is also the history of continuity, there is a brotherhood in conquests and defeats”. It is necessary to emphasize that this is the first time that the Japanese Peruvian Cultural Center exhibits an artistic exhibition of feminine demands, focused above all on immigrants and their rescue from oblivion.
“Roots, memories, silences. Three Nikkei women count”
Place: Gallery of the Japanese Peruvian Cultural Center. Address: Av. Gregorio Escobedo 803, Residencial San Felipe, Jesús María. Schedules: Until April 9. From Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 8 pm Income: free.
This March 23, at 7:30 pm, the Jinnai auditorium of the Peruvian Japanese CC will host a round table with the participation of the artists from the show.
IT MAY INTEREST YOU
I have worked as a journalist for over 10 years and have written for various news outlets. I currently work as an author at 24 News Recorder, mostly covering entertainment news. I have a keen interest in the industry and enjoy writing about the latest news and gossip. I am also a member of the National Association of Journalists.