Alan Knit Production Diary March Interview/Actress Izumi Aoyagi

STORY | 2020/04/10

"Aran Knit Production Diary" will be the final installment this month. To wrap it up, I'd like to hear from someone who's actually worn the "sweater in memory." The second and last to appear is actress Izumi Aoyagi (left).

Fujisawa: I thought a knit would be good for the final episode, so today I wore a knit I bought in the Aran Islands.

Aoyagi: Are the Aran Islands foreign?

Fujisawa Yes. The one I bought when I went to the Aran Islands.

Aoyagi: Is this foil stamped?

Fujisawa: No. I bought it as a reference material, so I haven't worn it much, but today I wore it for the first time in a while.

Izumi Aoyagi is an actress who has appeared in Mam & Gypsy and chelfitsch. Yuki and Aoyagi met for the first time in 2016 when they performed Romeo and Juliet (written and directed by Takahiro Fujita) at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater Playhouse. Koyuko Omori was in charge of the costumes for this stage where Aoyagi played the role of Romeo. YUKI FUJISAWA was the one who decorated the costumes with foil designs.

Takahiro Fujita (Mum and Gypsy) "Romeo and Juliet" / 2016

Aoyagi: The first time we met was during "Lomi Julie", but at that time we didn't talk much, right?

Fujisawa That's right. When I met Omori-san at the Geigeki, I remember Kana-san (Kana Hayashi, who is in charge of the production of Mum and Gypsy) coming up to the top of the escalator to meet me. I was like, 'Thank you!'

Aoyagi So, did you meet at the theater?

Fujisawa: I was guided to a place like a rehearsal room in the basement. That day was the day of the costume fitting, and it might have been the day to measure the size.

Aoyagi: Then, when the training had just started. You're not talking.

Fujisawa Yes. At that time, I was like, "Hello, everyone."

Aoyagi: Yeah, I don't think he's talking. Yuki-san, the first impression is scary.

Fujisawa No way, me?

Aoyagi: I thought you were really old. I felt like a senior. The look in your eyes is like a great senior. I was convinced later when I heard that I was in the middle and high school sports club.

In 2018, the two of them, who had barely spoken to each other during "Romeo and Juliet," reconnected. Mieko Kawakami's poetry is directed by Takahiro Fujita and performed by Izumi Aoyagi in a one-man show called "Mieruwa". did. One of them was Yuki.

Mieko Kawakami x Mum and Gypsy From "Mieruwa" "Treatment, the name of the house is Cosmos" / 2018

Aoyagi: I think the first time I talked to her was when I asked her for the costume for "Mieruwa" and said, "Let's meet and talk."

Fujisawa: Maybe. Until then, the costume designer (Sachiko) Wakabayashi-san took care of it for me, so I kept in touch with her, but I didn't know Izumi-chan's contact information.

Aoyagi: Because I can't ask seniors for their contact information. In the case of "Mieruwa", my style was to decide the costume I would wear and go to the request by myself. While expanding the image of the poem I was planning to perform there, I thought that only Yuki-san could write the poem "Treatment, the name of the house is cosmos."

Fujisawa: Mr. Omori was the main character during "Romi Julie", so I was happy to receive a direct request. We didn't get a chance to talk much, but when I first saw Fujita's work in Lomi Julie, I was so moved that I thought, "Why didn't I know about him until now?" I had heard the name, but I had hardly ever seen a play, and almost never went to a theater.

Aoyagi Until then?

Fujisawa Yes. It was such a shock to me that I did something I shouldn't have known about, so I was happy to hear from him again. For some reason, I was moved by the fact that theater is three-dimensional. I work with cloth, and although it can be three-dimensional, it is infinitely flat and expresses a texture that is only a few millimeters thick. But in theater, people are confined to a limited space, but there is more to it than that space. What's more, it's amazing how things spread from such a simple stage setting, and I was surprised at how the invisible world was colored.

In Mieruwa, seven poems were performed. In other words, there were seven designers who worked on the costumes, and Mr. Aoyagi personally commissioned each of them. There was something like a strong conviction that "this poem's costume must be made by this person!"

Mieko Kawakami x Mum and Gypsy From "Mieruwa" "Treatment, the name of the house is Cosmos" / 2018

Aoyagi: Yes, it did. mysterious beliefs.

Fujisawa: At that time, Izumi-chan sent me about three books.

Aoyagi Did I give you that much? I wonder if I sent it "I want you to read it anyway!"

Fujisawa: At that time, he said, "I want to think with Yuki-san," and I remember feeling relieved. If you ask me for a costume, I feel like I have to come up with an answer, and I worry, "Is this interpretation correct?" But it was very reassuring that the actress who played said so.

Aoyagi: Everyone had a different way of making things, but with Yuki, I wanted to think together. We met at a coffee shop and talked a few times. At first, the image I had of Fujita-kun was that he would look like a girl playing tennis. Until now, there were many cases where I only talked about images, but I thought that Yuki-san was a very concrete person. I had time to think concretely about the work.

Fujisawa: Yes, we talked about specifics. From there, I also visited the rehearsal room, asking questions like, "Is it better to have a hole here or not?", "What about the color?" .

Together with the completed costumes, "Mieruwa" toured 10 cities nationwide. Okinawa is one of those ten cities, and only Okinawa will be performed at two venues. This land of Okinawa is the catalyst that brings Yuki and Aoyagi closer together.

"These are the same shoes." Mr. Aoyagi said while walking in the park. Yuki asks me, "Do you remember?" It was the pair of shoes they happened to wear together when they visited Okinawa at the end of January last year.

Filming was taking place in Okinawa that day. A gravure photo shoot was held in Okinawa for the publication of "Izumi-san" co-authored by Izumi Aoyagi and Machiko Today . It was Yuki who Aoyagi asked for cooperation for the shoot.

Aoyagi: I think the reason why I started going out to eat with Yuki-san was because I pretended to be unreasonable with Yuki-san when making Izumi-san. At that time, I was convinced again that if I had to ask, it would be Yuki. I can't put it into words.

Fujisawa: Moreover, you asked me to "do the styling" for you.

Aoyagi Yes, that's why I was told, "You're not a styling person, are you?" I thought that Yuki-san is not the kind of person who only sees the parts of clothes, but the kind of person who can also see the background behind them. Yuki-san is someone who thinks about everything, not just clothes, and I want to talk to her more.

Fujisawa: The reason I accepted the styling was because I thought, "I want to talk more."

Aoyagi: The day after shooting in Okinawa, I went out for a drive with Yuki-san, and I think we talked quite a bit about not having any friends. So I made a contract with my friend.

Fujisawa: It's a little vague, but I think I said, "Let's be friends."

Aoyagi: I think we talked before we went to the beach, saying, "I think we're friends now."

――Did you buy Yuki's work?

Aoyagi This. I haven't paid for this yet.

Fujisawa: Huh?

Aoyagi I haven't bought it yet, maybe. I'm sorry, I'll pay I haven't bought one yet. This is it. Before that, thank you for this gown.

Thank you for your presentation at the Fujisawa Hara Museum.

Aoyagi for making it. With specifications that can be seen slightly. But somehow, I thought that if I wanted this person to continue making music, I wouldn't be able to express my intentions without paying money. Then I realized that I hadn't bought one before and asked for it. I haven't bought it yet.

Fujisawa: Thank you.

After finishing the shooting of "Izumi-san", Yuki-san asks Aoyagi-san. On March 16, 2019, YUKI FUJISAWA will hold the “1000 Memories of” Memory Workshop at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art. Presentations were also held there, and many people visited. Visitors were able to write down their own memories on pieces of paper called "memories," and in exchange for that, they were able to receive memory currency "memoire." It is a currency that can be used in future projects related to YUKI FUJISAWA's memory.
On that day, it was Mr. Aoyagi who played the role of the "money exchange" where the fragments of memories and memoire were exchanged. The role of the "money exchange office" who interacts directly with the visitors and talks about their memories -- that seems a little different among the many roles Mr. Aoyagi has played.

Aoyagi: I hadn't thought about it, but it might be so. If it wasn't for Yuki-san's request, I might not have accepted it.

Fujisawa: After all, it's not a stage, is it?

Aoyagi: It wasn't a stage play—or rather, I didn't know what I was going to do (laughs). I didn't really understand the role of the cash exchange office, but rather than playing the role, I wanted to enter the complete world that Yuki-san created.

Fujisawa: When I was talking to Kaoru Kanamori, who planned that workshop, we also talked about building a real mailbox at first. But instead of just putting up a post, I thought it would be better to have someone in charge of the cash exchange office. If we were going to let a human play the role of the cash exchange office, we would say, ``Izumi Aoyagi would be the only one.''

Aoyagi: Maybe we can do a better exchange now. as a thing. I was a little too human back then. But what should I do to listen to a human being in a non-human state?

Fujisawa But the other day (chelfitsch x Teppei Kaneuji's Eraser Forest at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa), you weren't human, were you?

Aoyagi: I wasn't human, but I didn't speak at that time. However, I feel that "Eraser Mountain" and "Eraser Forest" have changed quite a bit. It wasn't until after "Eraser Mountain" ended that Fujita-kun pointed out, "Did you change the way you handle things?" When I get off the stage, I forget about that feeling, but the way I perceive the space has definitely changed, and the way I look at people, or rather, my perspective may have changed. Now that it's changed, I'm not sure. So if I acted as an exchange office now, it would be a completely different exchange office.

Mr. Aoyagi received someone's memory as a "money exchange" role. The words I received there were read aloud at the "Reading on 'Fragments of Memory'" held on March 31. The job of an actress, not limited to this project, is to receive words written by someone and present them to the audience. It has something in common with Yuki's "sweater in memory".

Fujisawa: Certainly, yes. I think that my role is to act as a bridge. My work starts with finding vintage materials that will serve as a base, but I don't really have the spontaneous feeling of "I'm going to design this vintage!" Instead, I feel like I'm helping prepare to hand it over to the next person. When I look at vintage items, there are some items that I think don't need to be modified any more, so I try not to buy such materials.

Aoyagi What's the difference?

Fujisawa I wonder if it's necessary to place it. It's difficult because if you say it the wrong way, it becomes a bit spiritual. I think it's similar to a baker listening to the voice of wheat, or a sculptor saying, "I want the soil to be like this." I've been doing it for a long time, so I think I've been training my ability to read and understand how to place things next.

Aoyagi: So, if there's a knit that you don't think you need to modify any more, what does that knit say? Something like "Leave me alone"?

Fujisawa: I'm not talking about it, but knitwear that gives you the power to think that it will be passed on to the next person without any modification, and "If you give it a little more like this, it will be reborn more wonderfully." I wonder if there is a knit that makes you feel.

Aoyagi That's right. But the feeling of being able to hear voices is also on stage. It's not in the rehearsal hall, but it's on the stage during the performance. "It's definitely better to do this here", this is also a mysterious conviction.

Fujisawa Ah, maybe I also have a certainty.

Aoyagi: There are many moments when conviction is born. I don't know who the voice is, but there are many things that I can clearly understand when there is an actual audience. In the ``Fragments of Memory'' reading session, the reading time was about 15 minutes in time with the music. I want to show it to someone in shape.

Aoyagi-san wore the costumes that Yuki-san made on stage. She said that she started wearing Yuki's work in everyday life, not on stage, after receiving a knit as a thank you gift for attending a workshop at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art.

Aoyagi: I've been wearing this almost every day this winter. Yuki told me not to wear it every day, but I wear it almost every day.

Fujisawa Yes. let me rest (smile)

Aoyagi: But I wear it all the time. Now I feel like I'm doing well with just this. It's okay to be sparkling all the time. It's cute how the glitter peels off and sticks to your coat or desk.

Fujisawa: A sparkling uniform?

Aoyagi uniform. Every day, people I don't know say something to me. The other day, at the supermarket, an old lady I didn't know told me, "You're so beautiful—or rather, you're amazing." I've even been told, "You're brighter than you think."

Fujisawa Because this is more foil than the usual one.

Aoyagi: When I ordered from Yuki-san, he asked me, "Which color should I use as the main foil?" Ah, I didn't understand that kind of thing, and I blamed everything. That's why it's so bright. blue, silver and bronze. When grandma sees this, she says, "It's like a dream."

Fujisawa: Grandma is Izumi-chan's grandma?

Aoyagi Yes. My grandma said, "It's like a dream." She stared at the costumes in "Mieruwa" and said, "It's like a dream, isn't it?" Sometimes called "universe". The Voyager spacecraft is equipped with the ability to say, "This is what Earth is like" when the spacecraft encounters extraterrestrial life. I don't know what's on it, but it's like, "This is what Earth music is like." It feels like this outfit is installed in that Voyager. "This is what you wear" -- no, it's not. It may not be the word "wearable", but it feels like "For Izumi, this is the light for the earth."

The place they were talking about was Edogawa Park on the banks of the Kanda River. The cherry blossoms were almost in full bloom that day. It is said that there used to be many dyeing factories in this area, and it used to be bustling, although the vestiges of that time have faded. What was the landscape like in those days?

It reminds me of the scenery I once saw at the waterside.
The day after I finished shooting "Izumi-san" in Okinawa, I drove the car toward the sea. After more than an hour, Yuki and Aoyagi were walking along the beach while picking up shells. Looking at the debris washed up on the beach, Yuki said that this may be what my job is. Maybe it's a job to hand over something that washed ashore from somewhere like this to the next person. I still remember that moment very clearly.

My time spent in Okinawa like that inspired me to write this "Aran Knit Production Diary". In order to convey to someone in the future, what Yuki-san is stuck in during the days of making the "sweater in memory", I will record it in Voyager.

"Aran Knit Production Diary" End

words by Rinshi Hashimoto

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