In this video, one of Japan’s most prominent contemporary writers, Hiromi Itō, reads one of her powerful poems on menstruation and explains how ‘menstruation’ in Japanese means ‘lunar rule’, which links the menstrual cycle to the Moon.
“I’m always watching the Moon and the moonlight. But I didn’t write about it. Maybe because I write about menstruation too much.” In ancient Japan, Itō says, menstruating women were considered dirty and were sent to a different house – a shack – during their period: “Then I thought: “Wow. I’m dirty.” I’m sure that real feminists would hate it, but I’m not a good feminist, so I loved it.”
Hiromi Itō (b. 1955) is a Japanese writer, who has written several poetry collections, novels and essays. Itō is known for writing about subjects such as female sexuality, pregnancy as well as the fantasy of killing one’s newborn child, as in her poem ‘Killing Kanoko’. Her many collections of poetry include ‘Killing Kanoko’ (2009) and ‘Wild Grass on the Riverbank’ (2015). Itō is the recipient of major literary awards such as the Noma Literary Prize (1999) and the Tamaki Jun Prize (2006).
Hiromi Itō was interviewed by Kasper Bech Dyg at the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in August 2018.
In the video, Itō reads from her poem ‘Vinegar, Oil’ from the collection ‘Killing Kanoko’ (2009). Ito’s poems are translated by Jeffrey Angles.
Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard and Anders Lindved
Produced and edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2018
Supported by Nordea-fonden
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