Taiwan sound artist Wang Hong-kai (王虹凱) offered Japanese audiences a glimpse of the late Taiwanese musician Jiang Wen-ye (江文也), the first Taiwanese composer to win a medal at the Olympic Games, through multicultural performances and lectures at Theater Commons Tokyo (東京共同劇場) in Japan on March 2 and 3.
This year, Theater Commons Tokyo chose the theme "This Is No Country Music," a pun intended to underline how Jiang's music style brims with nationalism but lacks a true sense of belonging, for Wang's performances.
Jiang was born in Taiwan during the Japanese colonial era and became famous in Japan as a musician. In 1936, he won a medal as a citizen of Japan at the Berlin Olympic Games with the orchestral piece "Formosa (台灣舞曲)" he composed and dedicated to Taiwan.
Invited by organizers of Theater Common Tokyo, Wang led Japanese audiences on an aural journey to learn more about Jiang, his music works, and the complicated historic background of East Asia at that time with a special mix tape collection, from which participants could "listen to," "read," and "sing" the music played by a band formed by Wang's workshop students.
Beginning in 2017, the Taiwan Cultural Center in Tokyo ― the Ministry of Culture's branch office in Japan ― began inviting Goethe-Institut Tokyo, Institut français du Japon, and Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Arts Common Japan to co-organize Theater Common Tokyo, which operates as a miniature arts festival.
This year, the event has been listed by the Japanese government as a part of the official program of Tokyo Tokyo Festival in response to growing support from Japanese citizens and government officials.