Our film “NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet” is an Official Selection at the ARTS X SDGS film festival next month.
We are honored.
More on the ARTS X SDGS April 2020 festival
I AM THE VIRUS _ a poem in homage of Ishmael Reed
By Yuri Kageyama
(Written SUN March 22, 2020 as the world fights the pandemic over the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and I continue to be aghast at the utter lack of integrity among the supposedly best of us, the ignorance, selfishness, ugliness. )
I am the virus
I thrive on mossy envious egos
They keep showing up
Offices, clubs, picnics,
Choosing being seen, hoarding
Over social dis-tan-cing
I am the virus
I fester in corona-shaped clusters
Commuter trains, cruises, crowds
Peering at the Olympic torch,
I love the naming “Chinese virus”
The taunts, attacks on slant-eyed people
I am the virus
I cower when folks stay in
Takeout food, work from home,
A meter apart on solitary walks,
Wearing masks, washing hands,
Mixing aloe and alcohol
I am the virus
The crazy evil devoured
By doctors, vaccines, canceled concerts
Turning into live-streamed music,
People who remember to tell those they love
How much they really love them
OUR “NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA” now honored at several film festivals.
Official Selection ARTS X SDGS film festival in New York 2020.
GRAND FESTIVAL AWARD – CINE DANCE POEM and WORLD PREMIERE at the Berkeley Video & Film Festival SAT Nov. 2, 2019, 6 p.m. East Bay Media Center Performance Space
Official Selection at the 2020 Oniros Film Awards in Italy.
Select Showcase Official Selection at the Guam International Film Festival (2019~2020).
A World Premiere screening at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival Nov. 2, 2019. From left to right: Festival founder and organizer Mel Vapour, director Carla Blank, writer/poet Yuri Kageyama and camera-person Kate McKinley. Photo by Tennessee Reed.
Our film will also be part of a 2020 spring program of films on performances at The Yonkers Film Festival.
NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet
Written by Yuri Kageyama | Directed by Carla Blank
Film directed by Yoshiaki Tago with camera work by Tago and Kate McKinley. Editing by Eri Muraki.
Fukushima is the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. It will take decades and billions of dollars to keep the multiple meltdowns under control. Spewed radiation has reached as far as the American West Coast. Some 100,000 people were displaced from the no-go zone. But, eight years after 3.11, the story hardly makes headlines.
Journalist Yuri Kageyama turns to poetry, dance, theater, music and film, to remind us that the human stories must not be forgotten. Carla Blank, who has directed plays in Xiangtan and Ramallah, as well as collaborated with Suzushi Hanayagi and Robert Wilson, brings together a multicultural cast of artists to create provocative theater. Performing as collaborators are actors/dancers Takemi Kitamura, Monisha Shiva, Shigeko Sara Suga and musicians Stomu Takeishi, Isaku Kageyama, Kouzan Kikuchi and Joe Small. Lighting design by Blu. Video by Yoshiaki Tago.
NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA is a literary prayer for Japan. It explores the friendship between women, juxtaposing the intimately personal with the catastrophic.
The piece debuted at La MaMa in New York in 2015, with music by Melvin Gibbs, Sumie Kaneko, Hirokazu Suyama and Kaoru Watanabe. An updated version was presented at Z Space in San Francisco SAT July 8, 2017 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and SUN July 9, 2017 2 p.m. The film was completed October 2018.
“Yuri, you did a great job. Stay hard and blunt and don’t mince words. Yours was a powerful reflection on the corruption and greed of men and their indifference to human life.” _ Ishmael Reed.
For the San Francisco performance, we had genuine Bon Daiko drum music performed by Isaku Kageyama with shakuhachi and fue by Kouzan Kikuchi, joined by Joe Small (taiko/percussion) and Stomu Takeishi (bass), delivering mesmerizing renditions of Bon and minyo from Fukushima, as well as other Japanese tunes. The Bon idea of the dead’s homecoming and the abstracted repetitive dancing in a circle serve as a symbol of the piece’s message of death, yearning for family and future generations, and gratitude for the harvest and peaceful everyday life. Juxtaposed with the experimental choreography by the director Carla Blank, incorporating collaborations with the performers, Takemi Kitamura, Monisha Shiva and Shigeko Sara Suga, Bon dance was transformed on the American stage, and presented as a dignified and artistic motif of modern movement. Bon Odori continues to bring people together in the Japanese American community _ and communities all over Japan.
From the director
This performance is a collaboration among all its participants, some who have worked together since 2015, and some who in 2017 helped create this new development of the piece. Through email conversations and intensive rehearsals we arrived at our choices of the particular dramatic scenes, music, video, dances and other action you will see. The Bon Odori dances and music, which provide transitions between the scenes, are based on traditional celebrations that occur throughout Japan during the late summer to honor the ancestors: Soma Bon Uta and Aizu Bandaisan from Fukushima, Yagi Bushi from Tochigi and Gunma near Tokyo, and Tanko Bushi from Fukuoka, besides Tokyo Ondo, which continues throughout Bon Odori (The Death Dance). Great thanks to Takemi Kitamura, who taught us the four dances you will see and who also created the movement for the Prologue solo and Epilogue trio, inspired by a line dance from Aizu, the westernmost region of Fukushima, where annually it is offered in remembrance of 19 of the over 300 Byakkotai warriors , teen-age sons of samurai in the White Tiger Battalion who in 1868, during the Boshin Civil War, committed ritual disembowelment (seppuku or hara-kiri) because they mistakenly believed a fire had consumed their lord’s castle, which would mean their city had been captured and their families killed. For me, this dance particularly resonates because of where it comes from, how contemporary its formal choices appear, and how as the strokes of the blades go every which direction, it becomes a metaphor for the ways life can slice us also. It has been my great pleasure to realize Yuri Kageyama’s work with all these wonderful, dedicated performers.
Ishmael Reed came up with the title for my performance piece: “NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet.” As that suggests, the piece is about my vision as a poet. My spoken word pieces, delivered to accompaniment of various kinds of music, address racism, stereotyping, sexism and the search for love. They seek to address what society sees as “bigger” issues, such as the Fukushima accident, the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and the journalistic mission. For me, they are all connected.
All those themes provide the driving force in my storytelling that has over the years always sought to bring closer to home the perennial repetition of people’s betrayal, selfishness and smallness.
The Fukushima disaster is the biggest story of my life _ both as poet and journalist, those sides of my writing identity which have in the past remained so painfully separate. They have now come together. We have all come together in this effort _ all of us, of different backgrounds, cultures and disciplines. We have become one. It is clear we have each done our best to share our talent, our passion and our lives, to raise questions, to connect _ and to bring hope.
What people are saying about NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA: MEDITATION ON AN UNDER-REPORTED CATASTROPHE BY A POET.
Yuri Kageyama, with her epic poem, has earned a place among the leading world poets. This work proves that the poet as a journalist can expose conditions that are ignored by the media. _ Ishmael Reed poet, essayist, playwright, publisher, lyricist, author of MUMBO JUMBO, THE LAST DAYS OF LOUISIANA RED and THE COMPLETE MUHAMMAD ALI, MacArthur Fellowship, professor at the University of California Berkeley, San Francisco Jazz Poet Laureate (2012-2016).
NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA is a commentary on what it means to be human in the 21st Century. While we are divided by race, ethnicity, language, geography and culture, the essence of our humanity remains constant. In NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA, the cast, director and playwright all come together to create a montage of courage, uncertainty and hope in the face of disaster. _ Basir Mchawi producer, community organizer and radio show host at WBAI Radio in New York, who has taught at the City University of New York, public schools and independent Black schools.
Her collage-like piece weaves together lyrical monologues, sword dance, film and live music that blends jazz, taiko drumming and minyo folks songs. In the Fukushima of 2017, goes one line late in the play, “the authorities say they are playing it safe, when no one really feels safe.” _ Lily Janiak, writer for The San Francisco Chronicle.
A vital story of our times. Spoken word and music from a talented multicultural ensemble. A beacon of light in a darkening world. _ Paul Armstrong artistic director at International Arts Initiatives, a Vancouver-based nonprofit for cultural advancement through the arts and education.
I welcomed NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA _ into my consciousness, with deep gratitude, seeing it twice, two days in succession _ all the while marveling at the tough yet faithful production and its dedication to truth-telling. _ David Henderson poet, co-founder of Umbra and the Black Arts Movement, author of ‘SCUSE ME WHILE I KISS THE SKY. JIMI HENDRIX: VOODOO CHILD.
NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA echoes the mourning of Bon Odori dance to warn us again and again that the nuclear age of post-World War II Japan has never ended. _ Hisami Kuroiwa movie producer and executive for “The Shell Collector,” “”Lafcadio Hearn: His Journey to Ithaca,” “Sunday,” “Bent” and the Silver Bear-winning “Smoke.”
Strong threads of a woman’s point of view …. Excellent ….The issue of motherhood in looking at Fukushima is well done. And the candid shots of Obon in Japan are fantastic in the background. As are the shots of rows and rows of radioactive materials in plastic bags, just left in rows upon rows in Fukushima. I thought the production was very good, technically excellent, and very illustrative of a Japan we don’t hear about after the 2011 triple disaster. Go see it. _ Peter Kenichi Yamamoto, poet in San Francisco and coordinator at the National Japanese American Historical Society.
NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA is a memorable performance with well-researched narratives that throws you into a quest for humanity. _ Midori Nishimura, Stanford University professor and medical doctor.
A powerful message not to forget: Fukushima. _ David Ushijima, San Francisco business professional in retail, mobile, sensor-based and connected devices, Internet of Things.
It’s the kind of piece that keeps this from being forgotten. With all the other things going on in this world, we can forget about this, and we have a distance from them. But this kind of piece can remind us to return to it and continually reconsider the choices we make in our society. _ Adam Hartzell, writer at koreanfilm.org
Great music …. It left such an impression. A splendid performance. _ Seiko Takada, musician, “Kaizoku” vocalist/guitarist.
NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA is a powerful artistic response to disaster, informing us and inspiring us to compassion. _ Ravi Chandra, San Francisco-Bay Area poet, writer and psychiatrist.
A truly emotional experience. _ Liliana Perez child psychologist and Ph.D.
Fukushima: Excellent musical accompaniment to poignant poetry, with minimal yet imaginative staging and choreography. _ Nana pianist and New Yorker.
What a delight …. See this show and be transported magically. _ George Ferencz co-founder of the Impossible Ragtime Theater, resident director at La MaMa (1982-2008), who has also directed at the Actors’ Theater of Louisville, Berkeley Rep and Cleveland Playhouse.
News that enraptures and engages through Sound. A Poet sings of the unreported calamity at Fukushima. _ Katsumi a Japanese living in New York.
Everyone who took part in this performance, and those who came to see it, although of different races and thinking, all felt clearly the existence of what we know is so important …. I have lived to see many people who hurt others out of selfishness, betrayed others without qualms, and then went on to hide what they had done. But in the end, what is desired is not achieved, leaving only hunger, and, because of that, the cycle gets repeated …. I pray more people will be able to feel love through seeing this performance. _ Toshinori “Toshichael Jackson” Tani dancer, member of TL Brothers and instructor.
Bios of the artists in
NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet
YURI KAGEYAMA is an award-winning journalist, poet, songwriter, filmmaker and author of “The New and Selected Yuri” and “The Very Special Day.” Her spoken-word band the Yuricane has featured Melvin Gibbs, Eric Kamau Gravatt, Morgan Fisher, Pheeroan akLaff and Winchester Nii Tete. She is published in ”Breaking Silence,” “On a Bed of Rice,” “Pow Wow,” Cultural Weekly, Y’Bird, Konch and Public Poetry Series. http://yurikageyama.com/
CARLA BLANK is a writer, editor, director, dramaturge and a teacher and performer of dance and theater for more than 50 years. She worked with Robert Wilson to create “KOOL _Dancing in My Mind,” inspired by Japanese choreographer Suzushi Hanayagi. She directed Wajahat Ali’s “The Domestic Crusaders” from a restaurant reading in Newark, California, to Off Broadway and the Kennedy Center. http://www.carlablank.com/bio.htm
TAKEMI KITAMURA, choreographer, dancer, puppeteer, Japanese sword fighter and actor, appeared in “The Oldest Boy” at Lincoln Center, “The Indian Queen” directed by Peter Sellars; “Shank’s Mare” by Tom Lee and Koryu Nishikawa V; “Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed” by Dan Hurlin and “Memory Rings” by Phantom Limb Co. She has worked with Nami Yamamoto, Sondra Loring and Sally Silvers. http://takemikitamura.com/
MONISHA SHIVA is an actor, dancer, choreographer and painter, appearing in “The Domestic Crusaders” and “The Rats,” for theater, and independent films such as “Small Delights,” “Carroll Park,” “Echoes” and “Ukkiya Jeevan.” A native New Yorker, she has studied classical Indian dance and Bollywood, jazz and samba dancing, and acting at William Esper Studios and Studio 5. http://www.monishashiva.com/Monisha/home.html
SHIGEKO SARA SUGA, actress, director, artistic associate at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, and Flamenco and Butoh dancer, has performed in 150 productions, including Pan Asian Rep.’s “Shogun Macbeth” and “No No Boy.” She dedicates her performance to her nephew Ryoei Suga, who volunteered in Kesennuma after the 2011 tsunami and now devotes his life there as a fisherman and monk. www.shigekosuga.com
STOMU TAKEISHI is a master of the fretless electric bass and has played and recorded in a variety of jazz settings with artists such as Henry Threadgill, Brandon Ross, Myra Melford, Don Cherry, Randy Brecker, Satoko Fujii, Dave Liebman, Cuong Vu, Paul Motian and Pat Metheny. He tours worldwide and performs at various international jazz festivals.
KOUZAN KIKUCHI, shakuhachi player from Fukushima, studied minyo shamisen with his mother. A graduate of the Tokyo University of the Arts, he studied with National Treasure Houzan Yamamoto. He has worked with Ebizo Ichikawa, Shinobu Terajima and Motoko Ishii. In 2011, he became Tozanryu Shakuhachi Foundation “shihan” with highest honors.
ISAKU KAGEYAMA is a taiko drummer and percussionist, working with Asano Taiko UnitOne in Los Angeles, film-scoring extravaganza “The Masterpiece Experience” and Tokyo ensemble Amanojaku. A magna cum laude Berklee College of Music graduate, he teaches at Wellesley, University of Connecticut and Brown. http://isakukageyama.com/
JOE SMALL is a taiko artist, who is a member of Eitetsu Hayashi’s Fu-un no Kai and creator of the original concert, “Spall Fragments.” He has apprenticed for two years with Kodo, researched Japanese music as a Fulbright Fellow and holds an MFA in Dance from UCLA. He teaches at Swwarthmore College. www.joesmalltaiko.com
THE LIGHTING DESIGNER
BLU lived in New York for 20 years and was resident designer at the Cubiculo and La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. A Bessie Award winner, he was lighting designer for renowned dance theater artists such as Sally Gross, Eiko and Koma, Ping Chong, Donald Byrd, Nancy Meehan and Paula Josa Jones.
YOSHIAKI TAGO, whose video was part of the live performance, has made NEWS FROM FUKUSHIMA into a film. Tago also directed “A.F.O.,” “Believer,” “Worst Contact,” “Meido in Akihabara.” His short “The Song of a Tube Manufacturer” won the runner-up prize at the Yasujiro Ozu Memorial Film Festival in 2013. He serves as film adviser for Takashi Murakami. He has worked with Nobuhiko Obayashi, Takashi Miike and Macoto Tezuka. He is a graduate of the prestigious Tokyo film school founded by Shohei Imamura.
From the playwright
The two sides of who I am _ poet and journalist _ have long been separate. I am a poet, first and foremost, I felt, and reporting is what I do for my job. But the 2011 Fukushima disaster brought those two sides together in a way that was undeniable, imperative and honest. I am filled with gratitude toward my collaborators, who have turned my words and ideas into a moving, convincing and honorable piece of theater. In this work, we defy the boundaries of cultures, race, generations and genres to tell the story about how our world has created a catastrophe. We don’t pretend to have all the answers. But it’s an important story.
Thanks to Akiyoshi Imazeki for photographs of Fukushima for video by Yoshiaki Tago for “Decontamination Ghosts;” Z Space, especially Drew Yerys, Minerva Ramirez, Wolfgang Wachaolovsky, Jim Garcia, Julie Schuchard and Andrew Burmester; Alex Maynard and Adam Hatch for the use of Starline Social Club for rehearsals; Mark Ong of Side by Side Studios for the poster design; Annette Borromeo Dorfman for program design and photographing the performance; Sally Gross, Ping Chong and Meredith Monk for help finding our cast; Ishmael Reed for ongoing support and Tennessee Reed for photography; Hisami Kuroiwa for her wise counsel, filmmaker Kate McKinley; LaMaMa Experiemental Theatre for showing the work in New York in 2015; Melvin Gibbs, Sumie Kaneko, Hirokazu Suyama and Kaoru Watanabe for the music at La MaMa; Bob Holman for presenting an initial reading at Bowery Poetry Club with Yuki Kawahisa, Pheeroan akLaff and Tecla Esposito; Makoto Horiuchi; Yoichi Watanabe and Hiromi Ogawa of Amanojaku taiko in Tokyo; all the members of the Yuricane spoken word band who inspired the poems and stories that developed into this work, and, last but not least, the people of Fukushima.
Accepting the award at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival Nov. 2,
2019. From left to right: Camera-person Kate McKinley, director Carla
Blank, festival founder and organizer Mel Vapour and writer/poet Yuri
Photo by Tennessee Reed.
THE VERY SPECIAL DAY IS NOW A VERY SPECIAL FILM
A collaboration with stop motion artist Hayatto.
Story written and read by Yuri Kageyama.
THE VERY SPECIAL DAY won the Grand Jury Award at the Oniros Film Awards in Italy 2020, the Silver Award Spotlight Short Film Awards, Honorable Mention Los Angeles Film Awards, New York Film Awards, Festigious International Film Festival and Top Shorts Film Festival, Award of Distinction Canada Shorts Film Festival, Best Animated film Hollywood Blood Horror Festival and is an Official Selection at the Košice International Monthly Film Festival and Best Global Shorts film festival, all in 2019.
These words from Nami, Roy and the Los Angeles Film Awards team about our film meant a lot to me: “Brilliant concept and excellent execution. The structure works well.”
A birthday is very special for any little boy. And a little boy is very special for any parent.
This is an everyday but very special story about the trials and joys of growing up in an imperfect world.
A story that’s a bit sentimental but honorable and true, written for all the children in the world.
May they stay safe, may they enjoy peace, may they find love and may they know who they really are.
Music by Kouzan Kikuchi, Hiroshi Tokieda, Ryan Carter and Isaku Kageyama.
Copyright All Rights Reserved by the Artists. August 2019.
“All my works deal with the theme of love, and I put a lot of love in my work. As soon as I saw Yuri’s THE VERY SPECIAL DAY, I felt the same kind of love in the story and knew at once it should be made with my stop motion. Stop motion requires arduous time: Each item is made by hand and moved a little bit at a time to create movement on film. A minimum of eight frames is needed per second. The number of handmade parts is considerable. I make everything myself_ alone but with love. Although, or perhaps because, it requires so much work, time and love, stop motion relays a nostalgic sense of warmth and frailty. When finally completed, it fills me with an emotion that makes me forget all the hard work that went into it. People will likely react in different ways to THE VERY SPECIAL DAY, but I can say it is filled with love. After all, everyone has his or her own “special,” and everyone realizes that what makes for this special ultimately is love, the greatest amorphous theme for humanity. I hope my work will help people around the world rediscover the meaning of love.” _ Hayatto
I do stories and sometimes photos and video for The Associated Press, the world’s biggest and most trusted news organization. The link to all my stories in 2019 and 2018, and I’m starting anew with this Post with all my AP Stories in 2020, the Year of the Mouse:
My AP Story Jan. 23, 2020 with AP Photos by my colleague Jae C. Hong on the homeless of Tokyo and how they fear removal as the Olympics approach.
My AP Story April 2, 2020 on the workers at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
My AP Story April 3, 2020 on how the Athletes Village for the Tokyo Olympics could house virus patients.
My AP Story April 3, 2020 with My AP Photos on a paternity harassment case in Japan.
My AP Story April 2, 2020 on SoftBank ending its tender offer on WeWork.
My AP Story March 8, 2020 of our daily virus story roundup, focusing on Italy’s quarantine of its northern areas.
My AP Sports Story March 2, 2020 on how the Japanese professional baseball season is in doubt.
My AP Story March 4, 2020 on a minister commenting about the Tokyo Olympics perhaps being postponed until later in the year.
My AP Story Feb. 15, 2020 with yet another photo by Jae C. Hong on how the U.S. Embassy says Americans aboard the quarantined ship will be flown home.
My AP Story Feb. 17, 2020 on 99 new cases confirmed on the Diamond Princess.
My AP Story Feb. 21, 2020 on how the virus outbreak may slash $29 billion from airlines’ revenue.
I’m a Contributor to this AP Story Feb. 17, 2020 on Americans getting flown out, off the cruise ship Diamond Princess.
My AP Story Feb. 17, 2020 on the Japanese economy sinking amid virus fears.
I’m a Contributor to this AP Story Feb. 16, 2020 on the ongoing virus outbreak and reactions from the world, including Japan.
My AP Story Feb. 12, 2020 on how Guinness certifies a Japanese as the oldest man.
And My followup Story Feb. 25, 2020 that he died.
My co-byline AP Story Jan. 29, 2020, on how the new virus poses a threat to a fragile world economy.
I am a contributor to this AP Story Feb. 7, 2020, about how the flow of Chinese tourists has declined after the virus outbreak.
Mario like Mickey? My AP Story Jan. 31, 2020, on how Nintendo is banking on profits from characters.
My AP Story Jan. 30, 2020, on how Toyota’s global vehicle sales for last year trails Volkswagen’s.
My AP Story Feb. 25, 2020 on Japan ordering 20 more Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
My AP Story Jan. 27, 2020 on how Bryant’s death is drawing tributes from Asia.
THE YEAR STARTS OFF WITH MY COVERAGE OF CARLOS GHOSN
My AP Story Jan. 9, 2020 about how Ghosn as fugitive is bringing global attention to Japanese justice.
My AP Story Jan. 30, 2020 on how Japan is seeking the arrest of Ghosn and three Americans who allegedly helped his escape.
My AP Story Jan 4, 2020 on how Ghosn’s lawyer is as outraged by Japan’s legal system as by the escape.
My AP Story Feb. 13, 2020 on Nissan sinking into losses as vehicle sales plummet.
My AP Story Feb. 18, 2020 on Nissan’s shareholders’ meeting where some began shouting angrily about crashing stock prices, zero dividends and quarterly losses after the Ghosn scandal.
My AP Story Feb. 12, 2020 on Nissan suing Ghosn seeking damages.
My AP Story Jan. 12, 2020 how the lawyer tallied the questioning of his client without a lawyer present, found it averaged seven hours a day.
My AP Story Jan. 3, 2020 on what’s known and not known about Ghosn’s case after his escape.
My AP Story Jan. 7, 2020 on arrest warrant for Nissan ex-chair’s wife Carole and Nissan saying Ghosn is still responsible for “serious misconduct.
My AP Story Feb. 28, 2020 on Japan sending justice official to Lebanon.
My AP Story Jan. 5, 2020 on Japan saying Ghosn’s escape was inexcusable, and it has ordered an investigation
My AP Story Jan. 10, 2010 on Ghosn’s lawyer slamming Japanese justice minister’s gaffe about suspects having to “prove” innocence.
My AP Story Jan. 16, 2020 on Hironaka and his team quitting from Ghosn’s defense.
My AP Story Jan. 17, 2020 on Ghosn’s lawyers refuting Nissan’s take on what happened.
My AP Story Jan. 6, 2020 on Justice Minister Masako Mori telling reporters Japan will improve border checks, bail after Ghosn flight.
My AP Story Jan. 3, 2020 on how Ghosn made his escape on a chartered plane, a co-byline with my colleague in Turkey.
My AP Story Jan. 1, 2020 on how by jumping bail, fugitive Carlos Ghosn is burning bridges to Japan.
My AP Story Jan. 2, 2020 on how prosecutors are raiding Ghosn’s Tokyo home.
RANDOM RENEGADE RENGA
Written by Taylor Mignon and Yuri Kageyama
In Tokyo Spring 2020 as the World trembles in face of the Pandemic but Poets believe in the Power of the Word
Santana muzak Oye Como Va
Make us yearn for Devo lounge
Digging Mi Ritmo in our Minyo village
Enya to tto Enya to tto Tito Puente
On the black sugar cane field a hurricane
saved by voices: Ne Nezu & Yuricane
He came to her room, said little then went on
To kill himself; jisatsu nante zurui (自殺なんてズルイ) So selfish so selfish
The Poet with The Questions
Taylor Mignon Taylor Mignon? Taylor Mignon!
Kageyama encapsulates tortoise mountain, Turtle Island & Yaponesia cornucopia
Taylor is Razor Music entwined, David Bowie James Brown
Red Hot Chili Peppers George Clinton the Parliament-Funkadelic
Peter Tosh dangerous, yes to DB, P-Funk, JB —pass on Chili—am more Epic
Epic Poet Taylor screaming Eternal Tokyo
Ephemeral this world this thought this poem
My Name Is Rio skips in this stuck lift, Duran Duran sand dance
The scream of poetry that pierces Tokyo
Hear him scream
(notes for Taylor reading: screams loud and long)
The funkqueen of poesie that grooves Tokyo
(Hear her riff, adlib or skat)
From funk fusion to depa-chika to Icarus galaxy to Joni Mitchell and back,
Taylor and Yuri are done but only for now
The Toy the Other Child is playing with, that’s the Toy he wants
Not that there aren’t a lot of other Toys
It has to be that one, no other,
The one the Other Child has
When the Other Child picks up another Toy, he drops the one in his hand
Not that there aren’t a lot of other Toys
That’s not the point, which is
The one the Other Child has
It goes around and around, reaching for what the Other Child picks
Not that there aren’t a lot of other Toys
It’s the Other Child’s having that makes him want,
Snatching what the Other Child has
The Other Child says: I’m going into my own room and shutting the door
There are so many Toys all over the world
As long as there’s a creative mind, a loving heart
I don’t need anyone else’s anything
It’s said the Other Child grew up to be a happy adult, and his children
Played with, oh, so many Toys
The one who kept taking the Toys shriveled up in a ball of hate
And died of empty envy.
Artwork by Munenori Tamagawa
SOME PEOPLE a poem by Yuri Kageyama
Some people are Poison
In sheer Presence
Even from afar
Some people are Garbage
A stench of Gibberish
Even from afar
Some people are Ineffectual
A blob hanger-on
Even from afar
Some people are Broken
A Godzillion pieces
Never whole again
Some people are Forgotten
Hidden unbleedingly silent
Into the flesh of scars
Some people are Music
Wafting healing savory sweet
Even from afar
Haiku in Amsterdam
By Yuri Kageyama (written in Amsterdam Sept. 2019.)
Like any city a Chinese restaurant
Glasses black hair he works hard
He is your son your first date
Your Lover for life
That Chinaman found everywhere
Our eternal plight
And he makes me fill with
Pity pride tears
While on the topic of Van Gogh in this Amsterdam reference, sharing my poem “Haiku for Van Gogh” in a reading from several years ago in San Francisco, with bass by Hiroyuki Shido.