Goze is a term referring to visually-impaired female musicians who travelled Japan playing shamisen. After World War II, with the expansion of the welfare service for disabled people and the enhancement of education for visually impaired people, Goze came to be recognised as relics of the pre-modern times. With the passing of Haru Kobayashi (1900-2005), who was known as the “last Goze”, the culture of Goze, once maintained by visually-impaired people, disappeared from Japanese society in the 21st century. Is it right for Goze culture to be forgotten completely?
In this talk, Professor Kojiro Hirose will discuss “the hands of Goze” and approach the relevance and the possibility of Goze culture from three different angles: “touching the sound”, “touching the colour”, and “touching the heart”. Referencing Goze folk songs, which Goze created and spread as their own oral traditions, Professor Hirose will clarify the role that tactile culture of visually impaired people should play in today’s society.
The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
Daiwa Foundation Japan House
13/14 Cornwall Terrace (Outer Circle)
London NW1 4QP