Japanese Poets North of the 49th (JPN49) brings nationally recognized Japanese poets to Vancouver for a 2 week residency at Historic Joy Kogawa House. While in Vancouver the poets collaborate and perform with Soramaru Takayama. The event is activated by the Tasai Network.*
This year’s visiting poet was Shoichi Nejime. If you’re from Japan, there’s a good chance you studied his Naoki prize winning novel “Koenji Jyunjyo Shotengai” in Junior High School, or perhaps you have fond childhood memories, as literally millions of Japanese folks do, of reading his beloved children’s book “A I U E Onigiri.” For English speakers who’ve never heard of him, his visit would be kind of like Margret Atwood or John Irving hanging out for a couple of weeks. We were honoured.
With the support of The City of Vancouver civic theatre grant, Nejime and Soramaru performed at the Annex Theatre on October, 26, 2018. Sora presented his sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, always engaging poetry through a blend of spoken word and theatre movement. In rodoku style, Nejime read honest, yet humorous and endearing selections from his huge corpus of work.
We had the pleasure of bringing Nejime and his wife to Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall which included a stroll around the Powell Street area and participation in The Emerging Heritage Fare, a VJLS-JH, Heart of the City and Tasai collaboration.
A huge than you to Historic Joy Kogawa House Society for providing accommodations for Nejime and his wife at Joy Kogawa House.
*Tasai Network members Yurie Hoyoyon and Steve Frost planned, promoted, managed, acted as visiting artist liaison, and cultural community liaison and provided English subtitles to the Japanese poetry. Sora, Yurie and Steve all contributed to translating both Sora and Nejime’s poetry.