Monday, March 28, 2011

cat goze by ozawa yasuko

This postcard arrived on Saturday from old friend and doll artist Ozawa Yasuko. It shows one of her signature dolls, a cat in the guise of a goze, one of the itinerant blind female musicians, who were active for centuries in Japan. I first saw Ozawa's work when I was living in Tokyo and was mesmerized by it. I ended up going to Kyoto to interview her for several magazines. It was only when we met that I discovered the goze connection. I had recently seen Mizukami Tsutomu's play, Hanare goze Orin, about an outcast goze and was starting to do research on the women, which eventually led to my interviewing Kobayashi Haru, the last active goze, who died in 2005 at age 105. At that first meeting with Ozawa, we also discovered a mutual interest in Tono and its famed legends. At the time, she gave me a tip about where to stay should I ever visit the highland town in Iwate. Years later, I did go to Tono and used her tip, which turned out to be life-changing.