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Hands of Goze at the Daiwa Foundation

This evening’s talk at the Daiwa Foundation was truly inspiring. I’m thankful to have heard Professor Kojiro Hirose’s touching account of meeting Haru Kobayashi (1900-2005), who was known as the “last Goze”.

Goze is a term referring to visually-impaired female musicians who travelled Japan playing shamisen. After World War II, with the expansion of the welfare service for disabled people and the enhancement of education for visually impaired people, Goze came to be recognised as relics of the pre-modern times.
Hands of Goze: the Tactile Culture of Visually Impaired People in Modern Japan. Professor Kojiro Hirose discussed “the hands of Goze” and approached the relevance and the possibility of Goze culture from three different angles: “touching the sound”, “touching the colour”, and “touching the heart”. Referencing Goze folk songs, which Goze created and spread as their own oral traditions. –

Kojiro Hirose is an associate professor at the School of Cultural and Social Studies at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies, having received a Ph.D in Japanese Religious History from Kyoto University in 2000. He was also appointed associate professor at the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan. Since then he has worked on practical study and the prevalence of “tactile exhibits”, aiming at not only a barrier-free museum for disabled people, but a “universal museum,” which everyone can enjoy.

Published by Nicole Vivien Watson