The Cycle of Women’s Rebirth in the Pure Land Project. Vol.1 “Patacara” By Ayumi Dakemoto
The Soundless Voices of Asian Women
This film runs for 1 hour and 5 minutes.
メメントC公演 女人往生環 ｼﾘｰｽﾞ１ 「パターチャーラー」英語字幕版 ＮEW配信
作・演出 嶽本あゆ美 Playwright & Direction : Ayumi Dakemoto
邦楽 堅田喜三代 Japanese Music : Kisayo Katada
能楽監修 柴田稔 Noh gaku : Minoru Shibata
出演 Actor： なかえ えみ Emi Nakae 観世葉子 Yoko Kanze
山本健翔 Kensho Yamamoto
能楽 Noh gaku 柴田稔 Ｍinoru Ｓhibata 伊藤嘉章 Yoshiaki Ito
堅田喜三代 Kisayo Katada ・ 鳳聲千晴 Chiharu Hosei 望月太左乃 Tasano Mochizuki * 望月太左衛 Tazae Mochizuki
義太夫三味線 Gidayu shamisen 鶴澤津賀寿 Tsugaju Tsuruzawa
ナビゲーター Post talk navigator
藤木直実（Naomi Fujiki) 佐藤壮広（Takehiro Sato)
翻訳 English translator：青山友子 Tomoko Aoyama, バーバラ・ハートリー Barbala Hartley
映像編集 Videographer : 泉 邦昭 Kuniaki Izumi
監修 Supervisor: 柳沢晶子 Akiko Yanagisawa
“Patacara” – The Soundless Voices of Asian Women by Ayumi Dakemoto
In the 21st century, when the Me Too (#MeToo) movement has sparked an outpouring of anger and solidarity among women across the globe, it may seem as if we have parted from the ancient tradition of suppressing the voices of women. Yet the fight against gendered violence and inequality continues, as evidenced in daily news headlines.
Ayumi Dakemoto, a multi-award-winning Japanese playwright and director, sheds light on the history of women’s inequality in Asia. Her three-part theatre production The Cycle of Women’s Rebirth in the Pure Land dramatizes women’s lives in Asia, where religious rules and authority have traditionally impaired women’s rights and freedoms.
The first part of the trilogy, “Patacara”, is set in sixth-century India, where Patacara, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant, endures intense hardships after escaping an arranged marriage. She runs away with a young servant of the lowest caste, with whom she later has two children. A series of tragic events follows, resulting in the dramatic deaths of her husband and children. In desperation, Patacara returns to her hometown, where she discovers that a fire has killed her family and burned their house to ground. Completely shattered and grief-stricken, she goes insane.
In search of salvation, Patacara travels thousands of miles over many years and, finally, in old age, encounters a Buddhist community (Sangha) in which she finds spiritual refuge, and she renounces her existence in the Sahā world to become the first female disciple of Buddhism. The story of Patacara illustrates the dominance of the Laws of Manu, ancient legal commandments that form part of the constitution of Hinduism, over the rights of women. The laws decree:
• A woman must obey her father, her husband and, in old age, her son.
• A woman has no right to independence.
• A woman must be patient, obedient, chaste and follow one husband only. Though he be bad, ugly, old, selfish and ill-tempered, she must respect and serve her husband as if he were a god.
Patacara goes against them and suffers unbearable ordeals because she is a woman of a rare beauty.
The Laws of Manu arrived in Japan, via China, Korea and Vietnam, in the form of culture such as music and religion. Their commandments have long been embedded in Japanese society.
Here, Patacara’s tormented journey is illustrated exquisitely by actor and dancer Emi Nakae.
The drama is accompanied throughout by music based on the storytelling of the jiutai chorus and Noh music (shi-byoshi), which comprises nohkan flute, kotzuzumi shoulder drum, otsuzumi hip drum and taiko stick drum. Until very recently, women were banned from appearing in professional Noh performances. Gidayu shamisen playing merges with sounds from the Indian music scale, capturing the play’s setting.
Today, are women still to experience such suffering? Where can women find refuge in parts of the world where they are still forbidden from self-discovery and self-expression? We need answers for modern women whose existence is still subdued or denied by traditional systems and rules. We hear their voices resonate in the drama of Patacara.
Written by Akiko Yanagisawa: Akiko Yanagisawa (Mu:Arts) is a London-based curator and producer of music and performing arts, encouraging genre-defying, cross-cultural collaborations by engaging with traditional Japanese artforms, including Noh.