• ruru

feminist artist yoko ono & feminism in japan

Yoko Ono is one of the most famous Japanese all over the world. What is she famous for? Yes, as a John Lennon's wife. But aside from it, she is a great feminist artist who has been working on it since 1970s and still in presence. I feel that Yoko's work is not valued as much as she deserves, especially in Japan. Unfortunately, performance art and fine art is not so popular category of arts in modern Japanese society and people tend to prefer visual images. I honestly was not so interested in Yoko when I was in Japan and started discovering her works in my fine art studies in the UK.






There are some feminism works by her but I will be showing one of her master piece works, 'Cut Piece'. 'Cut Piece' is a performance art that she has been working on from 1970s. Yoko had the performance a few times all over the world such as New York and Tokyo. Here is the performance in 1965 in New York.

'Cut Piece'(カットピース)は彼女が1970年代に初めて発表したパーフォマンス作品でその後も世界のいろいろな場所で何回か公演されています。下の動画が1965年に行われた実際のパフォーマンス動画。

(Yoko Ono - Cut Piece)

So... What do you think? This is a video that Yoko sat down on the stage and audience, who had no idea about concept, were told to cut her clothes whatever they want. Audiences didn't know what's about and Yoko didn't say anything.

How did you feel to watch it? Could you guess the concept?

パーフォマンスを見てどう感じたでしょうか? ヨーコはステージに座りコンセプトについて何も知らないオーディエンスは彼女の服を好きなだけ好きなように切っていいと言われます。その間ヨーコは何も言いません。


I didn't know the concept but I personally thought the concept is very obvious when I watched it for the first time. I also asked to some of my friends in my University, what they think about it and they all thought the same thing as me, but one of them says that maybe it's hard to understand to people who is not familiar to art. So, I asked some of my friends who are from not art universities.



Interesting thing happened. I asked 5 Europeans and 3 Japanese and all Europeans not completely but they felt something and got the meaning of the works and none of Japanese girls didn't get anything. I know that I only asked 8 people in total but I was so shocked that my Japanese friends didn't feel anything from it.

They said "I don't know, I didn't feel anything. What's this?"

A Japanese friend who raised in Europe and I