"Their happiness, my happiness"
Interview with Mari Natsuki
After it was decided that the relaunch of her career would be in June, Mari Natsuki had her doubts about the stage name her manager proposed—an obvious abbreviation of the phrase “It’s going to be in natsu [summer].” Almost five decades later, she has enjoyed an illustrious career under the stage name she now cherishes. Here Natsuki shares the principles of her happiness, developed through her stage performances and charity work.
"Inshoha [Impressionism] is my philosophy"
After discovering its allure, you were soon captivated by theatre and started your own series of conceptual art theatre performances called Inshoha [Impressionism]. Was this a key turning point in your life as an artist?
Inshoha [Impressionism] is a series I started in 1993 and is also my reason for being today. As I became absorbed in my work, I realised I had missed the opportunity to have children. That is why I decided in my forties that I will give my all to Inshoha [Impressionism]. Since then, I have been passionately committed to this creative process.
What is it about theatre that fascinates you so much?
To be able to touch the heart of the audience just by moving across the stage in an empty space. That is the kind of performer I want to become, and what is at the root of Inshoha [Impressionism]. When I decided to omit all the unnecessary elements from my initial ideas and started to perform with my body alone, I became aware of all the excess in my daily life. For example, I used to be self-conscious about going out without a full face of makeup. One day I looked at myself in the mirror with messy hair and thought “Who cares? This is my real face.” I felt that I was becoming truer to myself. I have learned so much through Inshoha [Impressionism]; it’s my philosophy.
"Educating our children to pass the baton"
Tell us about your charity work around the world. How did your ‘One of Love project’ begin?
The ‘One of Love project’ started off as a music tour with my partner to Bangladesh and Ethiopia; I would sing, and he would play percussion. When I reflect on our initial motivation to deliver music, and on how much happiness we felt through our encounters, I realise how one-sided it was. As I visited Ethiopia more frequently, I wanted to do anything I could for the mothers and children in need of support, because education is so important. If children don’t have an environment to learn, who are we going to pass the baton to?
So the project has given you a sense of purpose?
I started my small project with the hopes of supporting people to feel joy through their lifework. When I see the smiles on the children’s faces, I am overwhelmed with emotions. In the end, making someone else happy is what brings me joy and fills me with happiness.
"You set your own standards"
Doing your best without being too hard on yourself, accepting who you are and being true to yourself. Is this the essence of your personal philosophy?
I often tell people “set your own standards”. That’s what allows you to be confident. Wear what you want and do what you want. Set your own grounds and you can love yourself for who you are. Cherish the learnings and findings you encounter every day. What is important is to explore and feed your curiosity—that can fuel your happiness.
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