Artist Interview アーティストインタビュー
Photo: Natsuki Kuroda
Dancing and filming pre-verbal emotive impulses
Nao Yoshigai (choreographer, dancer, filmmaker)
Nao Yoshigai (b. 1987 in Yamaguchi Prefecture) is a choreographer, dancer and filmmaker. After studying dance in Japan Women’s College of Physical Education’s Department of Dance, she went on to study at the Graduate School of Film and New Media of Tokyo University of The Arts. Yoshigai began activities as an artist in the 2010s. Since then her works combining physical expression and filming as essential elements have won high acclaim internationally, as exemplified by the selection in 2019 of her film Grand Banquet (2018) for the Director’s Fortnight Short Films category of the 72nd Cannes Film Festival. Yoshigai was born and raised in what is known in Japan as the “lost 20 years” after the bursting of the country’s “Bubble Economy,” a turning point in the country’s postwar economic history that occurred in 1990. She grew up at a time when digital technology was familiar from childhood, but her elementary school years were a time that saw the subway poison sarin gas terror incident and the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake, the pass-times were video games, and the young girls groups were their “idols,” beginning with the Morning Musume group. These the iconic symbols of the times. Yoshigai says that she began to think about artistic expression during her teen years spent in a rural regional town, and in this interview, we learn about how she saw the society around her and what led her to the unique forms of expression.
Interviewer: Chie Sumiyoshi