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  4. The First 2021 Kyoto Kokoro Initiative Workshop Was Held

The First 2021 Kyoto Kokoro Initiative Workshop Was Held

The first 2021 Kyoto Kokoro Initiative workshop was held on June 9th, 2021. Dr. Rui Hara (JSPS Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology and Faculty of Letters, The University of Tokyo) gave a presentation entitled, “The Spirituality of Toru Takemitsu: Relationships, Nature, and Community.”


In the first half of his presentation, Dr. Hara discussed Takemitsu’s creative process up to the release of “November Steps” in 1967. As characteristic of Takemitsu’s works during that period, he examined the dichotomy between Western music that aimed at logical construction, versus Eastern music that was equipped with irrationality. He also touched on the dialectical diagram between the two.


In the latter half of his presentation, Dr. Hara discussed the process where Takemitsu shifted his focus from the above dichotomous schema to pre-modern epistemes like “similarity” and “analogy,” after being prompted by his encounters with Indonesian music in the 1970s.


At the end of the presentation, it was shown that Takemitsu’s creations in the second half of his career were conscious of the large relationships that connect people, nature, and the supernatural on the one hand, yet also emphasized the importance of communality that is propagated from small, second-person relationships which cannot be collected into holism; that is, the relationship between composer and friends or family.


In the following discussion, researchers from various fields such as psychology, theory of art, and so on, stated their views and actively engaged in discussions on issues such as the presence and absence of God in traditional Japanese music, the question of the individual and the universal in Takemitsu’s music, and the convergence of “avant-garde” after the 1970s and its relationship to consumer society and commercialism.