A French novel about the Russo-Japanese War. A Japanese actor who, in the silent movie era, became Hollywood’s sex symbol. The concomitance of ‘Japonism’ and ‘yellow peril’, of exoticism and resentment. The son of a Japanese woman and a diplomat of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and his book Pan Europa, published in 1923. A Jewish stage actress, celebrated in Vienna’s theatre world as National Socialism is on the rise. In his performance Mitsouko & Mitsuko, Japanese-born choreographer and performance artist Michikazu Matsune, who has now been living in Vienna for more than two decades, spans a narrative arc that encompasses history and fiction, individual biographies and the construction of cultural identities. A work that is as meticulous as it is playful. His exploration begins with two women and how their lives resonated beyond their deaths: Mitsouko Yorisaka, a character in a novel set against the backdrop of Japan’s modernisation in the late 19th century, and Mitsuko Coudenhove-Kalergi, who lived in Vienna in the early 20th century. Matsune’s performance retraces complex interpersonal entanglements against a vast global backdrop. Continuities and discontinuities emerge. History as an incomplete process.
MITSOUKO & MITSUKO
© Elsa Okazaki