No one knows how many Japanese women are living in the UK
No one knows why they came
No one knows how long they have been here
No one knows their stories
Tsunagu/Connect is a multi-phased, multi-year project that starts with the gathering of oral histories of Japanese women living in the UK since 1945. Commencing with oral history interviews in the spring of 2020, it culminates in a live immersive production, virtual reality installation and exhibition in 2021.
The stereotype of the Japanese woman is of a submissive, stay-at-home, model wife and mother. We are keen to get beyond this, to humanise this often misunderstood and hidden community. With the help of volunteer interviewers, we will gather the true stories of these brave and pioneering women who risked family shame and security to travel halfway across the globe to settle in a country where they barely knew anyone and were not always welcome.
Based on these interviews, we will create an immersive performance piece that speaks of inner and outer lives, of personal and public and of the tensions that lie between. This groundbreaking production will use VR technology to provide an intimate glimpse of domestic interiors with a twist, with acclaimed performance artist Kazuko Hohki as compere and guide.
Tsunagu/Connect is a project led by Yellow Earth Theatre and held in partnership with the Japan Society and the Museum of London. It is part of the Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019-2020.
On Sunday 26 January 2-5pm at the Museum of London, Tsunago/Connect will have its official launch. Come and find out more about the project and how you can get involved. Alongside an introduction to the Tsunagu/Connect project by Kumiko Mendl, Artistic Director of Yellow Earth, there will be a short illustrated talk by writer Keiko Itoh author of The Japanese Community in Pre-War Britain: From Integration to Disintegration and an opportunity to explore Japanese museum collections and influence plans for the new Museum of London (opening in 2024).