SFSU Public Affairs Press ReleasePublished by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.
SAN FRANCISCO, June 25, 2001 -Tapestries by San Francisco State English Professor Lois Lyles are now on display at the Japanese Consulate in San Francisco. Lyles, an African American, has used the quilting and embroidery techniques she learned in her youth to represent the 47 samurai who became folk heroes for standing up to the shogunate and defending the honor of their deceased master, Lord Asano of Ako.
Midori McKeon and Masahiko Minami, who both teach Japanese at SFSU, along with Hitomi Minami contributed to the exhibit by telling Lyles the narratives of the samurai as well as helping her research images of the Chushingura. Lyles was captivated by the similarities between African American and Japanese traditions of oral storytelling and chose to incorporate the story of the Chushingura into her art.
The samurai were dispossessed after the death of their master Lord Asano, who was forced to commit ritual suicide for striking a court official who had provoked him. With no legal way to reclaim their master's honor and property, the 47 samurai chose to attack the palace of the official who had insulted their master. Their attack was successful, but they were later arrested and ordered to commit ritual suicide.
Lyles re-creates this narrative against a muted cloth background, symbolizing the powerlessness that was the background to their struggle-a struggle that had to erupt in violent revolt or else remain silent and passive.
What: CHUSHINGURA II: Story and Textile Art
When: Monday June 18 through Wednesday July 11. The exhibit is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m.
where: Consulate General of Japan, 50 Fremont St., suite 2200 (Japan Information Center), San Francisco.
Info: (415) 777-3533.
SFSU, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132
Last modified June 29, 2001, by Office of Public Affairs