Pierrot in Ginza―The memory of 45 years ago

24 Aug 2018

Image of Pierrot in Ginza―The memory of 45 years ago

From 1960 to 1970. The political situation in Japan was turbulent. "Campaign against the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty" "Political struggle against the government about Narita International Airport construction" "Anti-Vietnam war", it was a period of struggle centered on students. Many people in the world of expression were involved. Although I had wanted to be an actor, Kibo theater company was disbanded so I had no place to go and set up a small group with my friends, and I was stuck on the career.

At that time, I met pantomime. The world that I can perform alone without groups or organizations. I will get the mime technique by following someone's example. Knowing that there is a job that utilizes the technique of "Ningyoburi", miming doll action, I will stand in front of the chanson cafe "Cytherea" at Ginza Fifth Avenue instead of signboards. Passersby stop to wonder whether it is a man or a doll, and sometimes people make a ring around. I was called a Pierrot in Ginza and became popular.

However, the cafe was relocated in about three years, and I was hired by Chanson Café "Bonheur", which newly opened in front of the Ginza Taimei Elementary School by personal introduction. The street in front of the school is a back road connecting Ginza and Hibiya. Going through Imperial Hotel, you could go to a gorgeous district where the theaters and movie theaters gathered, so it was the back passage to meet fiction. On Saturdays and Sundays, people heading to theaters in Hibiya from far away line double or triply around a Pierrot in white makeup. A person stares a Pierrot who doesn't move nor blinks, and looks into it wondering whether it is a person or a doll. Then the doll moves suddenly. He exclaims in surprise. The spectators laugh aloud. I invite them from the place to the cafe with short improvisation mime.
A small space away from the theater district. I had stood there on a rainy day and snowy day, with dreaming of acting on a big theater in Hibiya someday.

One day, in a small rain, young people stand in front of me and hold forth a shell necklace, saying "I'll give you this". "I just broke up with my love . So I don't need this. " The young man put it on my hand with shyly smile, and disappeared.

My mime works were born from a small drama that occurred at the street corner of Ginza. I hope that such an imagined scenery which has never changed in 45 years is born in this area and a new drama will grow up.

Han Arai (President of Theater company "Han Mime Kobo", actor, and producer)