Japan Expo 2012
by Rebecca Silverman,
The Kojiki is, in essence, a Shinto bible - a collection of stories explaining the origins of Japan and how the world came to be. It could also be termed a collection of myths and legends, or, as the introduction to the presentation put it, the oldest history book in Japan. Whatever it is, The Kojiki is celebrating its 1300th birthday this year, which is partly behind this show. The other reason is explained by the opening video, which shows imagery of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan last March. The English overview that accomapanied the video, which may or may not have been fully grasped by the Francophone audience, spoke of the "Japanese spirit" that was rediscovered in the wake of the disaster, and the implication was that the tales in The Kojiki would help to foster that.
The show itself was brief, lasting a bare twenty minutes. It recounted part of the myth of the sun goddess Amaterasu, specifically the part where another goddess performs a sexy dance to entice her out of the cave. Accompanied by a flautist, a samisen player, and a keyboardist/bell ringer, a modern dance performed the dance with some modifications, although she did remove parts of her costume. The second act featured a young woman representing Amaterasu in a bright knee length kimono with crinolines under it singing a pop song about the return of the sun. Afterwards she happily posed for pictures, signed complimentary fans, and noted that a visit to the Japan Tourism booth could result in free glittey gold body art such as the dancer sported. The audience was very appreciative, and it was clear that a few had been to see the show multiple times.