Yuriko Kotani: Somosomo
- Tom Bruce-Gardyne
- 18 August 2019
Misogyny in Japan laid bare in an hour that lacks top-notch gags
Fringe newcomer Yuriko Kotani bounces onto to the stage to navigate the great cultural divide that separates Japan and the West. The fact that there's no English word for 'somosomo', which roughly means 'to begin with', serves to highlight the show's Lost in Translation vibe. Kotani tells us in her rapid, staccato English that she was raised on Bridget Jones and early episodes of the Mighty Boosh before heading to London and squeezing into a tiny 'bedshit' (her dreams of a Bridget Jones-sized flat cruelly dashed). She explains how the Japanese are 'deeply programmed to be part of the collective good' and are told that 'the nail that sticks out gets hammered down'.
Given that she desperately wanted to stick out and be an individual, you can see why Kotani left. 'I still love Japan, I'm just self-deprecating my country,' she says. But it all sounds slightly hollow after she's laid into those countrymen who can't resist groping any female passenger they're pressed up against on Tokyo's packed subway trains; or those who insist that Japanese women can't make sushi because their hands are too warm. After an hour you get some insight into Japan's issues with misogyny, but not too many laughs.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 26 Aug, 7pm, £8.50–£11 (£7.50–£10).