“GOD Loves Japan” Installation by Daisuke Takeya

By SANG KIM ~ March 6, 2012~  Toronto To Japan: Hope Blossom

 

As we approach the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake/tsunami in Japan, Daisuke Takeya’s latest installation, GOD LOVES JAPAN, keeps the memories of that time top of mind.  His exhibit runs until April 1st, 2012, at MOCCA (952 Queen Street West, at Ossington).

This Japanese-born/New York-trained Toronto resident artist has been working very hard in the past year to keep the events of 3/11 in public consciousness, here and abroad. As a performer in Toronto To Japan’s ‘Hope Blossoms’, Daisuke’s commitment to ensuring his art is relevant to what is now the reconstruction efforts in Japan has found another outlet with this emotionally powerful installation. It is interactive (you walk through the devastated ‘house’ in the installation), playful (a slide to finish off your journey), with a deep sense of loss in every sequence. The installation has an overwhelming effect on the senses.

The title of the work is a subversive response to Douglas Coupland’s novel, “God Hates Japan”, about a morally-drifting Japanese man who finds himself living in the shadow  of a death cult’s 1995 sarin-gas attack on Tokyo’s subway system.

“My installation,” says Takeya, “mirrors what Coupland did.” Coupland was a visitor in Japan, trying to fit into an foreign culture whilst observing what he saw.  Conversely, continues Takeya, “I am a Japanese artist living in Canada observing its people and working toward a meaningful dialogue with them about what took place in foreign soil.” Takeya takes a nuanced approach to art and activism; both seem to quietly cross-examine the other in respectful tones. What is left is the clamor of voices of those who were swept away by the tsunami.

“People so easily forget,” Takeya says thoughtfully, before a triumphant note enters his voice. “But the victims don’t want to be forgotten.”

GOD LOVES JAPAN is one of the most engaging acts of memory in, well, recent memory.

 

Born in South Korea and raised in Canada since 1975, Sang Kim is a playwright living in Toronto, Canada. His first play, Ballad Of A Karaoke Cowboy, was published in a University Of Toronto literary magazine in 1992. It is currently being re-issued in book form in August 2007. His play, A Dream Called Laundry, about the life of a ‘comfort woman’ living in Toronto, was published in 2006. A staged reading of A Dream Called Laundry was performed during the “Toronto Reads Festival” in February 2007. He has been profiled in the Toronto Star (Joe Fiorito); the Globe and Mail (Ken Wiwa); National Post (Jacob Richler) and has made appearances on a variety of televison networks, including Rogers TV and Sun TV.