Through our study group we came into contact with Terra Norihiro Terazawa – storyteller. His dreams – to create a world where we all can share our stories to nourish, heal our souls and empower us – deeply resonate with the spirit of Japan Fans. That is why we want to call on everyone to support him! Learn more about Terra and his work in the interview below.
“My name is Norihiro Terazawa, and I work as a storyteller. I was born a son of a farmer in the suburb of Nagoya. After graduated a BBA study in Japan, I have trained as an actor, and voice actor in Israel, learned acting and storytelling in Europe and South Africa and started working as a storyteller in Berlin. where I was struggling with my life as a startup working artist. Then I met a Dutch storyteller who invited me to run a storytelling centre together, and when I visited first time for a performance I felt very calm and warmly invited by the land and by the people and surprisingly did not feel like a visitor. Finally, the slight wet weather in the Hague even reminded me of my home town in Japan. and that was the chains of impressions that led me here. Now am also a managing director in a storytelling centre called DISC in the Hague.”
Next to an international storyteller, you are also a ‘nature farmer’. What is “Natural Farming”?
“Natural Farming is an authentic Japanese ecological farming method developed by Masanobu Fukuoka in post-war time in Japan with his famous book One Straw Revolution”. It is also referred to as do-nothing farming and follows simple and practical applications to grow your crops and deep eastern philosophy/insights into the human-nature connection that we are nature and here to follow their cycle of abundance. Natural farming is a phenomenon in (East) Asia and is practised by over tens of thousands of people all over the world to talk about nature’s signs of brilliance.”
[You can read more about natural farming here]
How did you get the idea to create a storytelling event connected to “Natural Farming”?
“As I mentioned earlier, I grew up as the son of a (pig) farmer and have been seeing life on the farm in Japan and witnessed the downs of the farming industry and the struggles of farmers, with my real eyes. It led me to encounter and learn about Natural Farming myself in my youth from the current leading practitioner Kawaguchi san.
Natural Farming not only taught me how to grow organic vegetables but how to live with nature by following their leads. and how we can live in peace and harmony in ourselves and around us. And this has become one of my passion to this day. Nowadays the inclusive society, sustainability and a healthy relationship with nature is a hot topic or a zeitgeist. Because of that, for a long time I wanted to make a show about it, yet not knowing how.
One day in the early lockdown, I went to the garden to farm and saw a number of bees, butterflies and insects busy running around and was realised that nature lives itself in peace no matter what happens in the world. And we humans are always invited to come to live together by BEING. and this subtle experience became the source of this creative process.”
What is a CREATIVE LAB?
“I believe that every good performance needs chemistry between the performer and the audience. I have been working on the script and it is ready to be tested out in front of the audience. I am making this CREATIVE LAB where the audience can actively participate in the artist’s creative process with the structured feedback rounds. The last edition is coming up on 20th July in Amsterdam. My aim is to solidify the material to move into the creative process in order to launch the performance in a theatre set in the autumn of this year.”
Besides theatre and open air settings, you also made a short film. Could you tell us more about it?
“This short film “Standing on the Miraculous Field” was made at the time the world still encountered the lockdown. In order to keep the creative process moving, I have created a short impressionistic movie about the show concept and it was presented at the digital Tronto Fringe Festival 2021.
This film works as a snippet of my work.”
The film was very well received, for example by My Entertainment World that wrote that “this piece sings with gentle symbolism and a magnificent nod to nature”, in which “Terra Norihiro Terazawa gifts us with an intimate example of gentle mercy”.
What do you find interesting about storytelling?
“I find storytelling is a fascinating natural human activity. what is running in our minds are often made of stories, and stories shape our minds. We all tell stories, and it is the way we have done over millenniums and we are all storytellers. And storytelling is a fundamental tool for us humans, story can heal us, empower us and can transform us.”
I am passionate about this storytelling that bonds us, includes us all and gently guides you into positive changes.Terra
What is your connection with Japanese storytelling traditions?
“To be honest, I have no formal connection with any of the Japanese storytelling traditions, yet my fascination also lies in folktales. Japan is a country with rich folktales, including Noh, Kabuki, Yokai, and …etc. The ambivalent world that Noh creates and the absurdity in Rakugo is one of my great inspirations and know some good actors.”
DISC storytelling has many Japanese stories featured. If you are curious, go on and read about the two frogs, hanging from a cliff, and the sleepy samurai.
What would you recommend to Japan fans who want to engage with Japanese storytelling traditions?
“If you are looking for a traditional style of storytelling theatre, I know a Shigeyama-Ryu (茂山) Kyo-gen training centre in Kyoto that offers a short-term course. You may like to check bilingual Rakugo if you are into comedy telling. And knowingly there are so many Japanese book reading clubs [like the Japan Fans Bookclub] to get in touch with Japanese folklore.”
What are your dreams and wishes?
“I want to create a storytelling centre in Japan and be a hub for storytelling in the East and West. And create a world where we all can share his/her story to nourish, heal our souls and empower us.”
Thank you, Terra, for this interview and for all that you do to make the world a better place! And dear Japan Fans, please support Terra and his work, by sharing this interview on your social media (for example by using the image below), and by following and supporting Terra on Voordekunst, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. His personal website will be online again via norihiroterra.com (in the near future).