Japan Matsuri Presents… Tsunagu Connect

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

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.

There are many stereotypes and misrepresentations of Japanese women in the West, such as the submissive, stay-at-home, model wife and mother. We aim for this project to go some way to redressing this imbalance by highlighting the many rich and varied voices and experiences of Japanese women living in the UK . With the help of volunteer interviewers, we will gather the true stories of these women who often 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 into the women’s domestic worlds, with acclaimed performance maker Kazuko Hohki as our 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.

We are looking for women to interview

In order to learn more about the lives of these women and to gather their stories, we are still looking for Japanese women living in the UK to be interviewed. Please email Tsunagu@yellowearth.org.uk to register your interest.

Free Video Workshop

We have partnered with Chocolate Films to hold a programme of free online video workshops for up to 10 children or young people of Japanese heritage (age 8-16) to interview their mothers or grandmothers. Participants will learn about oral history interview techniques and how to record the interviews on their mobile phones. This programme will begin in late May, and will consist of five weekly one hour workshops to take place over Zoom. A short film will be created from the interviews, which will be part of the exhibition in 2021.

If you are interested in taking part, please email Tsunagu@yellowearth.org.uk.