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A Revolution in Live Entertainment

SIRO-A is a performance group, originating from Sendai, that utilizes modern technology to create optical illusions, with dance set to techno music while incorporating the classic arts of mime and shadow puppetry. The group, who won the Spirit of the Fringe Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 2011, finished a Japan tour in July and will be appearing at the Leicester Square Theater in London from September to January of next year. The members of SIRO-A, which means “belonging to no group and impossible to define” reside in Yokohama near their practice studio. Group member Abe Toshinori talked with Tokyo Journal Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie about the group’s art form, their comparisons to the Blue Man Group, and plans for the future.

TJ: Who is the leader of SIRO-A?
TOSHINORI: We don’t actually have a leader. But each one of the performers or artists is responsible for their work. That’s how we work toward creation.

TJ: How did the concept for your group come about?
TOSHINORI: At the very beginning, we were doing many kinds of things. We were doing drama, we were doing comedy, we were doing dance… Then we just happened to find a projector and we just kinda started working on a creation.

TJ: What’s the average age of the members of your group?
TOSHINORI: The average age is 29. The youngest is 21 and the oldest is 41.

TJ: How do you guys actually create the performance? Does it start with the visual, music or dance component?
TOSHINORI: We brainstorm together - we bring a piece of paper and each one of us presents our own idea to the other members. After, we decide which ideas are good.

TJ: Which countries have you performed in?
TOSHINORI: We’ve been to many countries. We’ve been to the U.S., India, Germany, Italy, Singapore, England, Switzerland, Taiwan, France, and the Netherlands.

TJ: What’s your favorite place you’ve ever performed?
TOSHINORI: I love the U.S.

TJ: Is there anywhere special you’d like to perform?
TOSHINORI: We’d like to perform in Vegas. We’re really interested in doing a residential show there.

TJ: Is there anyone who’s been a big inspiration to you?
TOSHINORI: I love Charlie Chaplin. He was a really good actor.

TJ: Some people compare you to the Blue Man Group. What makes you unique?
TOSHINORI: We are really honored to be compared to the Blue Man Group because they are one of the best entertainment groups in the world. But as you know, the main difference is they are blue... and we are white. We think that’s the big difference (laughs).

TJ: Would you like to collaborate with the Blue Man Group?
TOSHINORI: If had the chance, we would be really happy to do that. One of the Blue Man Group members came to see our performance, and he told me that our performance was great.

TJ: How about Kenichi Ebina? Would you like to work with him?
TOSHINORI: Yes, if we had the chance, we’d be more than happy to work with him.

TJ: Would you like to perform at the 2020 Olympics?
TOSHINORI: Yes, doing an opening performance at the Olympics is one of our dreams.

TJ: Do you have any other dreams?
TOSHINORI: We want to be popular superstars around the world. We want to keep doing something new - something that stimulates people all the time.

TJ: Any messages to young entertainers who are just getting started?
TOSHINORI: Entertainment is one of the hardest ways to make a living, but it’s the funnest thing to do. Just jump in. tj

The complete article can be found in Issue #275 of the Tokyo Journal. Click here to order from Amazon.

Written By:

Anthony Al-Jamie

Anthony Al-Jamie lived and worked in Japan for over 20 years. His in-depth understanding of Japanese language and culture has allowed him to carry out interviews with many of the most renowned individuals in Japan. He first began writing for the Tokyo Journal in the 1990s as Education Editor, later he was promoted to Senior Editor, and eventually International Editor and Executive Editor. He currently serves the Tokyo Journal as Editor-in-Chief.


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