●2008 February - World P.E.N. Forum "Natural Disaster and Culture"
New Experiments in Literature: the World P.E.N. Forum
"Natural Disaster and Culture"
The World P.E.N. Forum "Natural Disaster and Culture" was held in the Zenrosai Hall/Space Zero in Shinjuku, Tokyo from February 22 to February 24, 2008. It began with the keynote speech by Kenzaburo Oe and on the final day all of the performers participated in a discussion about their own respective experiences of natural disasters and their literary works. Then a wide variety of programs were presented to charm the audience, including a relay talk "The International Speaking Out."
Relay talk, the International Speaking Out／Zenrosai Hall/Space Zero in Shinjuku, Tokyo in February 2008
Writers from overseas participated as well as writers from Japan, with most of them coming from countries in the Asia-Pacific region including Thailand, China, Taiwan, Indonesia and Samoa. The forum featured new experiments in literature. The literary works about natural disasters by the writers were recited by professional storytellers, actors, announcers and sometimes the original authors themselves, with live music and images provided by up-and-coming artists.
In addition, films were also screened. There was a concert by Man Arai and artists from America. Hisashi Inoue also recited a drama set in Hiroshima before and after the dropping of the atomic bomb.
Trainees from the Drama Studio, New National Theatre, Tokyo
This forum was also widely covered in the mass media and was described as "an event which stimulated efforts to re-examine the relationship between nature and humans from a new perspective," "an event which demonstrated new possibilities in literature," etc. This new experiment expressed through a fusion of culture, music and images will be built upon for the "Literary Forum" in the International PEN Congress in Tokyo in 2010.
(from left, Sachiko Kagami, Machi Tawara, Momoko Kuroda, and Akiko Shimoju)< div>p>