07 — 09.05

Satoko Ichihara Tokyo

Madama Chrysanthemum

theatre / performance — premiere

Museum of Japanese Art (Museums of the Far East)

Stair-climbing (up or down) | Japanese → NL, FR, EN | ⧖ 1h | €16 / €13 | standing, no seating

In 1904, Giacomo Puccini completed Madama Butterfly, an opera that played on Europe’s turn of the century Orientalism and depicted the story of a young Japanese woman bought and then abandoned by a U.S. Navy officer. That same year, construction began on the Japanese Tower in Brussels. The Paris World Exhibition had left a lasting impression on Leopold II, who then commissioned this exotic open-air museum for the garden of Laeken, in line with the era’s fever for “orientalism”. In recent years Satoko Ichihara has emerged as one of the theatre’s most interesting artists. She re-read Madama Butterfly from her perspective as a young Japanese woman, creating a version of the libretto that challenges the exotic and infantilizing vision of Japan that the West produced at the beginning of last century, and its persistence today. Starting from this research she creates a new performance with a hybrid aesthetic. The inauguration of the Japanese Tower took place during a garden party on May 7, 1905. In this same place, almost exactly 117 years later, Satoko Ichihara delivers a performance that playfully challenges the landmark’s existence in our city.


  • 15:00
  • 17:00


  • 15:00
  • 17:00
  • 19:00


  • 18:00
  • 20:00

Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Royal Museums of Art and History
Text and Direction: Satoko Ichihara | With: Kyoko Takenaka, Aurélien Estager | Surtitles and translation: Babel Subtitling
Commissioned and produced by Kunstenfestivaldesarts | With the assistance of The Saison Foundation

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