Hot eyes (2)
“Do you own a video camera?”

“Anxiety regarding space-age technology constantly monitoring life on Earth was the central motif in two Hi Red Center projects in early 1964: one was the publication of leaflets titled News Flash! What Is the Communication Satellite Being Used for? (Tokuho! Tsushin eisei wa nanimono ni tsukawarete iruka!), which were distributed in response to two uncanny coincidences: the assassination of John F. Kennedy on the eve of the first satellite TV broadcast from the United States to Japan, and the attempted assassination of Edwin Reischauer (U.S. ambassador to Japan) on the eve of the first satellite broadcast from Japan to the United States. In the leaflet, which referred to both incidents, the group warned readers (including their friends, acquaintances, and randomly selected people from a telephone directory) of a possible assassination attempt on a European political leader-such as France’s president Charles de Gaulle-at the time of the coming experiment of the satellite broadcast between Europe and Japan, planned for April 1964. (24)”

24 — The first satellite broadcast from the United States to Japan occurred on November 23, 1963 (November 22 in the U.S. calendar). The original plan was to broadcast a message by President John F. Kennedy, but it was replaced by the shocking news footage of his assassination. Four months later, on March 23, 1964, on the eve ofthe first from Japan to the United States, theU.S. ambassador to Japan, Edwin Reischauer, was stabbed in the thigh by a mentally disturbed man in front of the American embassy. In the next day’s broadcast, the Japanese president Ikeda Hayato made a formal apology to American audiences. Hi Red Center members Akasegawa and Izumi Tatsu noted these odd coincidences and in early April 1964 devised a plan to print and distribute leaflets before the third experimental satellite broadcast-this time between Europe and Japan-scheduled to happen on April 17. According to Akasegawa’s memoir, the leaflets were produced around April 12. Uncannily, the French president Charles de Gaulle underwent surgery—”his body was pierced by a knife”—on April 16, the eve of the broadcast. (See Akasegawa, Tokyo mikisa keikaku, chap. 10.)

Extract & endnote from Michio Hayashi’s “Tracing the Graphic in Postwar Japanese Art,” Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde (exhibition catalogue), MoMA, New York: 94-119.