12 May 2010
Shuji Terayama: My Kinda Man
Yes, I have been obsessing over one of the greatest polymaths in counterculture recently and will still at least for the next few months. Shuji Terayama, poet, dramatist, film maker and all-round scene setter par excellence from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, he had been the soul of the Japanese underground and alternative scenes and inspiring many along the way and leaving behind a rich legacy till today. However, there has been a short supply of materials on him both in print and in various digital formats. Besides a book which was published a few years ago (which I managed to get hold of a copy), a DVD box set of his films released also a few years ago (which thanks to a friend, Hideho from Tokyo has helped a great deal to connect me with the publisher in Shinjuku, Tokyo) and some albums which feature music from his theatre productions written and produced by J.A. Caesar (another under-documented Japanese music underground head), that is basically it.
He was scene maker, icon and guru for the rising Japanese psychedelic, beat, freak and anti-establishment circles in Japan for the bulk of the 1970s and he was as irreverent as one can wish for. His works often bridge surrealism, traditional Japanese and religious motifs, social criticism, Leftist discourse, anti-capitalist stance and the primacy of rock and jazz energy, be it his plays, films or poetry.
Have been doing research for the up-coming Noise conference in Manchester but am already restless enough to plan for my next writing project on this illustrious man, Terayama. If anyone out there who has any information on him which I may use to do a more comprehensive research on please don't hesitate to drop me a mail.