There are four works being exhibited by Bontaro Dokuyama, Aichi Triennale. “Time Goes By” (2017) shows Taiwanese senior citizens who grew up under Japanese colonial rule recounting memories of that time and singing songs such as the Japanese national anthem and “Hotaru no Hikari” (“Auld Lang Syne”). Recounting their experiences of Japanese occupation and of having to learn Japanese as the official language and its patriotic songs due to the National Language Education in Colonial Taiwan when under Japanese rule from 1895 to 1945. Colonial rule, empire, and how its structures feed heavily off the beguilement and control of its subjects through education and media are all explored.
The adjoining work “Dreaming Future” (2016) documents Dokuyama covering exhausted Japanese office workers passed out in the street with flags bearing corporate logos.
Lastly, in “Synchronized Cherry Blossom,” an ode to uirō, which has come to represent Aichi – Uiro a popular WAGASHI (Japanese sweet) in AICHI – is used to create a cherry tree in full bloom. Accompanying the tree is a video of interviews with Nagoya locals, officials from a Nagoya uirō manufacturer, city officials keen on urban redevelopment, and people in Russian and Chinese cities once occupied by the Japanese.
Relations between nations and history, loyalty and self-sacrifice, the resilience of memory within cultural narratives, seem to be central to the work exhibited.