Friday, July 8, 2011


This is my brand new web site _ Yuri Kageyama dot com. Thank you Ian Lynam for brilliant design work, a delightful collaboration process and being a patient and fun teacher. I hope I have lots to update on this site. And I hope to keep writing on this blog like the diary and running notebook for my poems that it has always been. And oh, we got another reading: at The Booksmith in The Haight, a day after the big book party at Yoshi's.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Please come to my Book Party

A celebration of Music and Poetry upon the publication of
YURI KAGEYAMA's "The New and Selected Yuri: Writing From Peeling Till Now" from Ishmael Reed Publishing Co.
ERIC KAMAU GRAVATT, drummer for McCoy Tyner, Weather Report, Source Code, Charles Mingus, Stanley Clark, Wayne Shorter and many others.
ISAKU KAGEYAMA, drummer for Amanojaku, a Tokyo taiko group, Toshinori Kondo, fusion trio Hybrid Soul.
MAKOTO HORIUCHI guitar/musical director.
Special Guests ISHMAEL REED poet, TENNESSEE REED poet and HIROYUKI SHIDO bass.
At Yoshi's restaurant in San Francisco
1330 Fillmore Street (at Eddy)
TEL: 415-655-5600.
Tickets at Yoshi's Box Office:
$15 advance/$20 at door covers both sets 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
An evening that challenges preconceptions, crosses borders without even thinking about it and ever so whimsically mixes into a ferocious blend a range of cultures, generations and genres coming together in a single courageous voice of Poetic Song.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Isaku takes taiko to another place

Isaku Kageyama believes taiko must claim its legitimate place in the world of great music.
Japanese culture is beautiful.
But unless Japan can be part of the world and see its place in the true sense _ with all the duties, responsibilities as well as rewards involved _ it won't work.
Art is a way of facing up to that important and universal Question _ and maybe one of the few ways where there is a true Answer.
Luis Silva made this multicultural video statement in his gorgeous documentary for WeAllJapan, that says it all.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I have a new book out: "The New and Selected Yuri"

I have a new book out: "The New and Selected Yuri _ Writing From Peeling till Now," Ishmael Reed Publishing Co. ( Amazon US site hardcover, Amazon Japan hardcover, Amazon US paperback, Japan paperback, ebooks coming soon.)
Reed's partner Carla Blank, author, performer, director, dance instructor, edited the book and led me every step of the way.
Reed, an award-winning poet, novelist, playwright and professor emeritus at the University of California Berkeley, where I was a student, published my first book of poems "Peeling" in 1988.
"The New and Selected Yuri" compiles the best of my writing _ poetry, fiction and essays _ from the 1970s, including my first poem to ever get published (also by Ishmael Reed) in iconic Berkeley literary magazine "Y'Bird" _ to today.
It is one of those strange happenings in life that has connected me to Reed over all these years.
I still don't understand it at all.
Reed not only published my new book. He also wrote the Foreword:

The Yuricane

They’ve called Yuri “cute” often during her life. She’s cute all right. Like a tornado is cute. Like a hurricane is cute. This Yuricane. I found that out when she was a student at the University of California at Berkeley in the 1970s. One of her poems about iconic white women became an underground hit on campus.
In 2009 the audience at New York City’s Bowery Poetry Club was also blown away by her poem, “Little YELLOW Slut,” a devastating look at the way Asian women are depicted in the media.
The New and Selected Yuri includes poems like this; the manner by which Japanese women are imprisoned behind a “Noh mask,” but Kageyama doesn’t leave it at that.
Unlike many American Gender First feminists,she is capable of understanding how men are also victims of outmoded customs, though they are not dismissed merely as “reproductive machines,” as one minister was caught saying in an unguarded moment. Women should be “quiet” and have bok choy ready when the men come home from
drinking with the boys.
It’s also the women, who bear the miscarriages, the abortions, the rapes, the beatings from a father, who, years later, can’t give an explanation for why he did it. In the United States, the white men who own the media and Hollywood blame the brutality against women on the poor and minority men. White middle class women, and their selected minority women, who want to remain on their payrolls in business,
politics and academia, have become surrogates in this effort.
Courageously, Yuri Kageyama debunks this myth and correctly calls out men of all backgrounds and classes as women abusers. The father who inflicts gratuitous punishment upon his daughter is a NASA scientist.
These poems are honest. Blunt. When she says that writing a poem is like taking “a bungee jump,” she means it.
Very few of the world poets have Yuri Kageyama’s range. Her poems critique Japanese as well as American society. The Chikan. The arrogance of the gaijin, who, even when guests in a country, insist that everybody be like them. Some are erotic. You might find allusions to Richard Wright, Michelangelo, John Coltrane. Music is not only entertainment but like something that one injects, something that invades the nervous system.
I asked writer Haki Madhubuti, what he meant by African Centrism. He said that it was based upon selecting the best of African traditions.
Some of Yuri Kageyama’s poems might be considered Nippon Centric. She wants to jettison those customs that oppress both men and women, especially the women, and keep those of value. The Kakijun, The Enryo and The Iki.
Ishmael Reed
Oakland, California
July 8, 2010

I hope I live up to those words.

Haiku for Van Gogh

Haiku for Van Gogh
by Yuri Kageyama

An old wooden desk
Yellow dots of light shrieking
Van Gogh's room

Warped plums dagger rain
Crazed geisha dance in ukiyoe oil
Breathe Van Gogh's Japan

Sliced ear of love denied
Road to nothing ravens in flight
Genius of yellow

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fun music in Tokyo

Taiko drummer Isaku Kageyama shows he can swing on traps drums as well, delivering the pulse for Keisuke Kato, the guitarist singing his composition for a Valentine's LOVE get-together at St. Blue in Asakusa, Tokyo, THU Feb. 10, 2011.
Some buzzing in the first part of the Ustream video but OK otherwise for an iPhone effort.
Below, the encore they said they wouldn't do _ so it's impromptu, blog readers and Ben E. King.
Thanks for the music, guys.
Everybody had a great time.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Music in Tokyo (again)

Tokyo rocks when Carl Freire picks up his guitar and gets up on stage.
And what a steady hand I have as videographer with my iPhone.
Please admire Carl _ and my steady hand.