Awakening from Dream, Back to the Pre-Modern: Satoh Makoto’s “The Dance of Angels Who Burns Their Own Wings”


Japanese playwright and stage director Satoh Makoto (shows an acute insight that human suffering is the outcome of the illusion of human redemption that has been regarded as an ultimate goal of the linear time-space of the modernity. The linear time-space has killed the existence of God by replacing the multi-layered time-space of the pre-modern world in which the living and the spirits of the dead coexisted and the communication between the two worlds was possible. In the secular modern world with the belief in God removed, human suffering had a tendency of permanence in the lack of the savior. This is the human condition that Satoh understands. In his play The Dance of Angels (1970), especially in the three-fold dream text, Satoh puzzles out such human condition as suffering. He reaches to a conclusion that human desire for redemption or revolution in the modern world turns out endless dreams or illusions. As a strategy to break the chain of nightmarish human condition, he takes a decisive action to cut off the access to the first dream. Accordingly, Satoh attempts to quit the liner dimension of time-space as the outcome of modernization or westernization, and instead turn back to the multi-layered dimension of the pre-modern Japanese world, which is symbolically and effectively carried out in both dramaturgy and space-plan for stage performance.

Author Information
Jungman Park, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea

Paper Information
Conference: ACAS2015
Stream: Japanese Studies

This paper is part of the ACAS2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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