When I touch, hold, release, and watch a piece paper in front of me, in these simple movements my fingers, palms, backs of my hands and my arms move in quite complicated ways. I can feel some energy going out and coming into myself smoothly. And it reminds me of a nursery song, Musunde. Hiraite.
Although musubu (to tie up) and hiraku (to untie) have contrasting meanings, in Japan we can accept them both as ryōkō (dual standard) from Zen’s way of thinking. We Japanese have had many conflicting proverbs since the old days, for example ‘Strike while the iron is hot’, and ‘More haste, less speed’. In the song Musunde. Hiraite, the words tie, clap, or open are repeated. And these actions remind us Japanese of the praying ways of Shinto and Buddhism. People clap their hands at Shinto shrines, wishing for God to tie up the chaos to save us, and worship in the temple with folded hands to become released from sufferings.
This song was composed by the famous French theorist Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and it was very popular in many European countries and the USA. In Japan, first it was sung as a hymn, then as a marching song, and finally it became a song for little children after World War II, with a new title, Musunde. Hiraite.
However, nobody knows the songwriter. I can imagine that somebody eagerly desired the recovery of Japanese lands and minds, looking blankly at burnt-out ruins. He would definitely know that people could be encouraged by traditional gestures and ways of thinking.
This time my work is derived from Japanese children’s elementary dance. Please enjoy it with your warm memories of your first dance on earth.