Email (excerpt) sent by Hakudo Kobayashi to Anna Sophia Schultz, May, 2017

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Jikyo Jyutu, 1975

Jikyo Jyutu is a traditional Japanese stretching exercise that releases tension from the joints, reforms the pelvis, and stimulates circulation. It was invented about 100 years ago. Despite its dynamic actions, the efficient use of rebounds and reflections of body parts prevents physical pain. This piece was created with the hope of healing the body and soul of the viewers through their experience of the movements. This exercise is not very well-known even in Japan. Starring my father-in-law, Mikio Igarashi.

Catch Video (by Watanabe), 1975

First, we drew a projection of the image we captured with a video camera. Then, we would shoot the process, including the monitor. The name we gave this process was “Catch Video.” Masayasu Watanabe, a friend of mine, has been a painter and a guitarist. With his help, I tried to visualize a perspective that is different from the existing panel painting method. First, we created an arrangement for the Russian folk song “Two Guitars.” Second, Mr. Watanabe would play solo. Then, I would film him playing it once again, with his previous recording playing simultaneously. And this process was repeated four times. The work that was produced consisted of multiple dimensions and developments and I was quite happy with this brand-new perspective.

Play/Catch Video (by Salvador Tali), 1975

First, we drew a projection of the image we captured with a video camera. Then, we would shoot the process, including the monitor. The name we gave this process was “Catch Video.” Salvador Tali, an actor friend of mine, appeared in this piece. He is a member of the theatrical company “Tenjo Sajiki,” which is led by Shuji Terayama. Tali plays two parts in this film: a friend who is in the screen and himself. Salvador Tali, who makes a phone call to the friend’s house. They play catch using a monitor in the room, and other games. The TV screen becomes an interactive device. A youthful performance by a young actor who finds laughter in life despite being penniless.

Lapse Communication (by Tama Art School), 1975

This piece portrays a communication game using bodies, showing what happens when a human becomes a video image. A person is shown a movement on a video just once. He is then asked to repeat what he has just seen, and this is filmed. The third person is shown the movement made by the second person and repeats it, the fourth person that of the third, and so on. The precise movement is lost while being recreated. Habits and mistakes made by each individual lead to variations as the sequence progresses. A male student lifted his shirt up in the first screen. But his movement was copied incorrectly, because the next, female, student was wearing a dress and, unable to lift it up, she just made the gesture of raising her hands instead. With similar simplifications, the action is carried on. This piece has been recreated several times since 1972, and the longest version contains about 200 participants.

Earth, 1974

This piece was produced using an analogue computer system. I  used Scanimate, the one and only American system used by the Japanese film production company IMAGICA Ltd. The raw material was a satellite photograph of our Mother Earth: communities bound together by a common destiny, which is under serious threats of war and pollution. I have expressed its beauty and lightness through improvisation, following where my hands took me. This piece was produced to be submitted for the International Computer Art Exhibition. The sound was provided by Kazuo Uehara, a computer sound-maker.


Hakudo Kobayashi (1944 Sendai, Japan) was a member of Video Hiroba, a collective of Japanese artists founded in 1972 that played a central role in establishing video art in Japan in the early 1970’s. With Fujiko Nakaya he organized communication games in 1971 using Telex and started working with video the following year. While his video art is often performance based, he has also experimented in manipulating video images.