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Director Jo Motoyo Confronts Asian Hate in Beautiful Dance Film

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TOKYO director contributes 'Because We Are Strange Creatures' to Films.Dance project

Director Jo Motoyo Confronts Asian Hate in Beautiful Dance Film

Because We Are Strange Creatures is one of a series of 15 dance films for the project Films.Dance, a global dance platform founded in response to the Covid-19 pandemic by LA dance company Jacob Jonas the Company. The project connects talented creators and dancers from different countries around the world to collaborate remotely on the creation of dance films. The Tokyo team were paired with six highly-skilled Japanese dancers, including some at the world champion level, known as Trickers.

When starting the project, Asian Hate was intensifying in the US and internationally.

Director Jo Motoyo has lived in several different countries, and has personally felt Asian discrimination in each one. Yet, when discrimination was ever discussed, the conversation never once touched on the discrimination Asian people face. Though she has spent most of her life in Japan, her mother is Taiwanese and she speaks Mandarin. Because of this, She has also always been aware of the discrimination of Asians towards other Asians. However, for a long time, she closed her eyes to this discrimination, so as not to notice it - she thought talking about these things was a kind of social taboo. The root of this issue is deep, complex and not easy to discuss. But this film was the catalyst that made her realise that Asian hate is an issue she wants to continue discussing in the future.

Jo Motoyo says: "I worked together with the dancers to create a film that confronted the issue of Asian hate that was growing during the pandemic. It became clear that for them, who grew up in Japan’s mono-culture, Asian Hate was an elsewhere issue, completely unrelated to them. And, I was concerned about asking them to carry the weight of this issue which they hadn’t experienced. Needing to explore discrimination in a way that they could understand, I explained that I wanted to portray humans, as we try to live together as one, all the while struggling to comprehend, and suffering under, our own fates which were decided for us when we were born. I wrote my thoughts into lyrics, incorporating them as the musical element of the piece. It was exciting to be able to direct this film beyond the framework of a director’s role."

The original music for this piece was composed by Canadian musician, Patrick Watson, of whom she has been a huge fan for many years before starting this project. Though he had no experience of speaking Japanese, Jo asked him to sing the lyrics in Japanese because she had a feeling that if he sang this story in a foreign language, it would add some kind of magic chemistry to this video. This was Jo's first time taking on the challenge of writing her own lyrics, and she wanted to express her feelings about her life as an Asian person.


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Genres: Choreography

Categories: Music video, Short Films and Music Videos

TOKYO, Thu, 27 Jan 2022 09:03:36 GMT