Where Can We Take You?

Our first season; Post-Shingeki Japan

Monday, May 30th, 2011

As opposed to focusing on post-war Japan as a whole, Geopolis chose to highlight the culture of arts in the 1960s.  The younger generation of artists during that time worked with the fervor of revolution, sparked by the United Stated-Japan Mutual Security Treaty renewing.  In 1960, the Treaty was up for renewal, which would continue to allow the US Military free-reign in Japan, for the “protection” of both the US and Japan, as they were a threat to themselves and world peace.  Citizens of all groups, and especially the younger generation, took to the streets to tell the Japanese government that they did not want to be infested any longer.  The presence of the US skewed the Japanese development; while they continued to grow, develop, produce, and progress, it was never completely Japanese.  There was a taint.

When the government sat back, did nothing, and allowed the treaty to renew, the community was devastated.  In the state of mental ruin, they were forced to reevaluate their lives.  From 1945 until 1960, Shingeki dominated the theater culture of Japan.  The ultra-realistic approach was a total reversal of the art that Japan had been producing since the beginning of its long history.  This was a Western form of Theater.  Now, the rage the sparked by the Treaty renewal demanded an end to Shingeki; the West would no longer have sway on the arts of Japan.  They needed to tell their stories; the story of the War, of defeat, of occupation, of rebuilding, of growth, and now of betrayal.  Gods, ghosts, and spirits that have always been a part of the Japanese psychology was not a part of Shingeki; they needed to revive the old forms of theater, the old way of telling stories that would show a man become a god right before the very eyes of the audience.

They delved into their past, they took the old ways and brought them into the modern age.  With old tools, they could now truly tell the stories that needed to be told.  Gods and men coexisted on the same stage; men were saved and damned in the same action, and for a time, they could feel free from the Western taint.