What we do

Genealogy of itinerant performer in Asian traditional culture

  • Organization : Monten Co.
  • Section : None
  • Type of Grant Program : Single
  • Art Forms : Japanese Traditional Art


In elucidating Japan’s spiritual culture, we cannot forget its aspects of vagrancy and itinerancy. Vagrants and itinerant people comprised not only a lot of religious people, waka and haiku poets, but also performers such as goze (Japanese historic term referring to visually-impaired Japanese women, most of whom worked as musicians) and e-toki picture tellers. This event places renewed focus on the culture of drifters who placed themselves at the heart of the joys and sorrows of ordinary people, and supported society from a lowly position. The event will also include as guests overseas researchers in itinerant peoples, and explore common horizons.

Series direction by Yoshio Ito/ Production by Yaeko Kurosaki

May 5, 2015 (Sunday)
1st session: “Why do we journey?”
Screening: “I hear the goze song ” (34 minutes, made in 2009, directed by Yoshio Ito)
A film documentary of the lives and final journeys of the Echigo-Takada goze, custodians of traditional performing arts who have also been selected as an intangible cultural property.

Lecture: Why do we journey? Japanese culture and the genealogy of itinerant performers/Masahiko Hayashi (Japanese history of ideology, folklore)

Stage: Nagaoka Kuzu no ha kai (Nagaoka Goze-uta songs by a sighted group carrying on the traditions of Nagaoka Goze-uta) Keiko Yokokawa, Mamiko Kanekawa

Symposium: (speakers) Masahiko Hayashi, Keiko Yokokawa, Mamiko Kanekawa, Yoshio Itoh
Facilitator – Hiromi Saito

September 13, 2015 (Sunday)
2nd session: “The world of E-toki picture teller in the present days – from mandala to kamishibai paper theater”
-Screening: From “Patua, Painters of Bengal” (made in 1995, produced and directed by Minao Kitamura and Yoko Miura)
Clip exploring the depths of Indian culture through Santhal picture storytelling from West Bengal.
-Stage: “Zenkoji nyorai eden” with e-toki picture-telling by Asako Hayashi (Researcher at Shodo culture research institute)/ India compilation and Patua by Kenichi Higashino (Patua performer)
-Lecture: The history and significance of e-toki/ Masahiko Hayashi (Kokusai Kumano Gakkai representative, emeritus professor at Meiji University, Shodo culture research institute representative)
-Symposium: (speakers) Masahiko Hayashi, Kenichi Higashino, Asako Hayashi, Yoshio Ito
Facilitator- Hiromi Saito

January 24, 2016 (Sunday)
3rd session: “The World of Shamanism shared by Korea, the Ryukyu Islands and Japan.”
-Screening: Documentary on mudang (Korean female shamans) “Shigokekkon” (posthumous marriage), photographed by Choe Kilsung
-Stage: “Seopyeonje” in musical digested form by Cho Bak (singer songwriter and musical artist)
-Lecture: The World of Shamanism shared by Korea, the Ryukyu Islands and Japan / Choe Kilsung (lecturer at University of East Asia, head of Research Institute of East Asian Cultures, University of East Asia, emeritus professor at Hiroshima University)
-Symposium: (speakers) Choe Kilsung, Cho Bak, Yoshio Ito
Facilitator- Masahiko Hayashi
General facilitator – Hiromi Saito


【Yoshio Ito】
Broadcast writer, born in Tokyo in 1941. After meeting Sugimoto Kikui who was master of Takada Goze (one of the goze organizations in Japan, today Takada city of Jōetsu) he subsequently had numerous exchanges with goze of Nagaoka City, Kashiwazaki City (in Niigata Prefecture), Ina City (in Nagano Prefecture), Chiran City (in Kagoshima Prefecture) who were still alive at that time. He has produced many pieces, predominantly documentary, for radio and television including the four-part radio program “Echigo Goze-uta,” and the television show “Living human travel: 90-year old goze Ihira Take .” In 2008 he completed the documentary film “I hear the goze song .”
At Monten Hall from April 2010 in a bimonthly six-part documentary film screening, he held screenings and symposiums for “I hear the goze song. ” Due to the strong response that greeted this attempt to reconsider the historical and contemporary significance of goze, this year Ito was brought in as planning director for this second installment of the goze project, which aims to explore the shared horizons of wanderers by focusing on the culture of drifters with a new perspective, with the keyword of goze.


1F, Murasawa Bldg. 1, 1-3-9 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo 130-0026
Tel: +81-(0)3-6666-9491
Fax: +81-(0)3-6666-9491
e-mail: kurosaki@monten.jp


Ryogoku Monten Hall (Sumida City, Tokyo)