Article Bio Works Projects www
communication, consumerism, everyday life, tradition
Performing Arts (dance, mime)
Asia, Eastern
created on:
July 11, 2003
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Mimers mirrors Japan

The performance-duo op.eklekt delivers provoking and funny mime dance.

op.eklekt draw its material from all categories of life - nothing is too insignificant to play a part in their caricatures. Kanetani and Saeko find as rich pickings in TV shows as they do in traditional religious festivals; in current newspaper editorials as in daily life situations. From their observations of gesture, facial expression and body language of humans, animals, machines, etc. they arrange and combine fragments of public and private identities into highly visual, accessible theatre. Whether they perform in shop windows or at street corners, op.eklekt will for sure bewitch the public with their wild costumes and ironical views on the rituals of the East and everyday life.
Japan? Tea ceremonie. Sumo wrestling. Funny music. Hi-tech gadgetry. Even the round and long faces of the performers are stereotyped. op.eklekt´s latest piece ´Looking at Far East´ is a satirical version of what cultural tourists expects from Japan.

op.eklekt provides a slightly skewed window on certain lifestyles in Japan, as the best pantomime would do. The company juxtaposes modern consumer items in centuries-old rituals with the accompanying mannerism. They combine dance and mime with images taken from comics and animation, using their faces as masks of exaggerated expression. For those with a passing knowledge of life in Japan, this is funny and occasionally wicked. For those with more insight into Japanese cultural expectations, it can also be quite uncomfortable in its clarity.

They do not use any existing methods of performing arts, creating their original style of facial and physical expression by involving the taste of slapstick and animation. They present caricatures through main three motives of their creation such as "daily life", "tradition" and "festival" in the eclectic way that combine different Ages, western style and Japanese style, art and entertainment, the sublime and junk.

Through their creations, "Op.eklekt" seeks "what the individuality of each of them is", "what kind of environment they are in", "what the identity and the originality of Japanese is" and "the way of survival for Japanese in today´s internationalise society" as their themes.

op.eklekt is quite a new type of performing duo from Japan. They show a specific vision like a daydream. It´s strange, curious, comical, cynical but beautiful one, which nobody has ever seen. It will be never forgotten.

They come from Kyoto, one of the oldest cities in Japan, which has many traditions, various rituals, complicated manners and customs in its everyday life. They watch such views every day and feel that the actions and the behaviour from the rituals are very attractive like a choreographed dance, and also they think the communications under the customs are very interesting like a drama. Op.eklekt put their own interpretation on the Kyoto life and creates productions.

The style of op.eklekt is associated with comics, they behave like a Japanese Automatic Dolls and smile like a mask. They make extreme facial expressions - people say rubber face. In their persistent and exaggerative way, the strange atmosphere is coming out.

This production shows the another Japanese vision. It is not real Japanese life, it is even nowhere, the Op.eklekt´s own interpretation of Japanese life. Through the vision, they express themselves and nothing other purely and simply.
Author: Karin Bergquist


1991 : The performance-duo op.eklekt was established by Nobuo Kanetani and Mutsumi Oku in Tokyo in Japan. Today Kanetani performs with the dancer Saeko Yoshida.

Nobuo Kanetani started his theatre career when he was 10 years old, and has worked
as modern dancer, choreographer and pantomimist for more than 15 years.

op.eklekt have given performances mainly in Osaka and Tokyo, and participated in "Rencontres Choregraphiques Internationales de Bagnolet" Tokyo Platform in 1994, "The Suzanne Dellal International Dance Competition" (Israel) in 1994, "Tokyo International Festival of Performing Arts´95" and so on. In 1996, they had a European tour and participated in the Edinburgh Fringe, invited to Theater der Welt (Germany), Eurokaz (Croatia) and venues in 6 countries.
In 2002 they performed at Asian Comments in Copenhagen.



Production / Performance,

Der Wachtraum

Production / Performance,

Looking at Far East

Production / Performance,
Caricature of Japan´s traditions.


Exhibition / Installation,


Production / Performance,


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.

Images of Asia

(08 August 03 - 26 September 03)

Asian Comments

(19 September 02 - 21 September 02)



OUTCAST SAMURAI DANCER - a visual documentary of Japan´s real dance avant-garde: the contemporary who are using their bodies to wage a creative revolution.