Tamura Yuichiro

b. 1977. Lives and works in Berlin and Tokyo. Tamura graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts and is currently a PhD candidate at the Graduate School of Film and New Media. He has pursued the possibilities of the moving image, taking photography as a point of departure while straddling various media including film, installation and performance. His film NIGHTLESS received the excellence award at the 14th Japan Media Arts Festival in 2010, and has been shown internationally. www.damianoyurkiewich.com

Suzuki Knife, Social Cooking, 2014
Mixed media installation
Commissioned by SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul 2014
The Joseon Tongsinsa (communication envoys) were sent to Japan 12 times during the Edo Period. A group of Joseon Dynasty’s officials or scholars met with the Shogun through these missions. When the eleventh envoys were staying in Osaka during their visit to Japan in 1764, the Joseon envoys’ entourage Choi Cheon-jong was murdered. It turned out that the culprit was Suzuki Denzo, an interpreter and low-level warrior of Tsushima. According to one opinion, it was because of a quarrel related to an incident where Joseon’s low-level official lost his mirror. As for the murder weapon, there is information that it was a spearhead made in Japan (15cm long) by the blacksmith Kanesada in the city of Seki.
This case attracted the attention of the public in those days, and soon it was dealt with as a subject of kabuki or kyogen. One of the earliest kabuki performances was Suzuki Knife, Social Cooking. The murder weapon was also changed from the spearhead to a kitchen knife. In the title Suzuki Knife, Social Cooking, Suzuki (sea bass) refers to the name of the murderer Suzuki Denzo and the knife indicates the murder weapon or the kitchen knife. Tamura met an old blacksmith who still makes kitchen knives in a traditional way in the very city of Seki and requested him to produce a kitchen knife for cutting and trimming sea bass.
Today, the old Korean Supreme Court building established by the Japanese Government-General of Korea has been renovated to become the Seoul Museum of Art, where Mediacity Seoul is being held. For some reason, the difficulty lying in the behavior of a person judging another person is looming around the building. It does even more so now because today’s society is far more complicated than ever. In Japanse, to cut or trim a fish is ‘sabaku.’ The pronunciation is the same as the word that means a trial. The two words have the same origin, which means “to cut things: to distinguish between right and wrong: or to solve something confusing.”
Sea bass only inhabit the coasts of Japan and the Korean peninsula. The artist fished sea bass in Tsushima island and trimmed it at the Seoul Museum of Art. [Tamura Yuichiro]