In the theatre building, imaginary experience and real life are too strongly differentiated; the fine line that separates them is frozen solid. The performance onstage is a reenactment of reality reproduced by stand-ins. It is a safe form of imagination that will not invade the audience’s everyday reality.
— Shuji Terayama
Involved but lacking ideas of their own and sense of purpose, young Japanese men and women in 1965 were charged by the heroic image and defiance of Takakura Ken in A Man from Abashiri Prison. Ten years later, Shuji Terayama’s live street performance The Knock (1975) would work a way through the backstreets of Koenji. Members of theatre group Tenjō Sajiki would saunter up to passers-by and on-lookers or simply knock on the door of a complete stranger, injecting themselves into the lives of others in situations where they would otherwise be arrested. They were no longer detached but involved. They were experiencing.
Instead [they] became a new kind of individual radical, who watched the decaying city with a cool detachment. They didn’t try and change it, they just experienced it.
— Adam Curtis, Hypernormalisation