Short-film: «Yasuke Kurosan» Project

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On the same day as the Smaïl Kanouté’s Yasuke Kurosan performance, we also present a short film (on loop) from the choreographic project.

Yasuke Kurosan is the second piece of a triptych questioning the Black community’s condition in different times and locations, and to a large degree dealing with the impact of colonialism and the persistence of ancestral rites as an affirmation of identity. Never Twenty One – a tribute to young victims of firearms, and So Ava– a re-interpretation of voodoo dances, are the first and third pieces. Each project develops into a short-lm and a full choreographic performance.

The short film of the project Yasuke Kurosan by Smaïl Kanouté and Abdou Diouri (2020), 15 minutes long, will be on a loop before the choreographic performance taking place on the same day.

On the border between fiction and documentary, Yasuke Kurosan portrays the journey of Smaïl Kanouté, following in the footsteps of a recovered legend, Yasuke Kurosan, an enslaved African man who arrived in the land of the rising sun at the end of the 16th century and who was granted the exceptional status of a samurai.

Kanouté’s choreographic writing conveys the transformation of the bent body of the slave into the proud and upright body of the samurai, through the encounter between African dance and the art of bushido (samurai code of honour). Drawing inspiration from aikidobushidobutoh, the tea ceremony, and his own choreographic journey, he immediately explores a dance, energy and state of mind. After meeting artists who practice ninjutsubushido, hip-hop and contemporary dance, he meets Afro-Japanese individuals who represent the cultural encounter between modern Africa and Japan.

The last screening will be at 16:30.



Film direction Smaïl Kanouté, Abdou Diouri
Choreography / Interpretation Smaïl Kanouté
Music and composition Paul Lajus
Light design Smaïl Kanouté
Artists (dance) Katie Sachiko Scott, Sasuke Yaen, Wuma Ichi, Umihei Hayamizu, Khalife Kissa Kashiwakura
Direction of photography Abdou Diouri
Screenwriting Smaïl Kanouté
Editing Hakim Hayashi e Kevin Gay
Colour grading Hakim Hayashi
Sound mixing Batiste Darsoulant
Body painting Lorella Disez (Miaoutoo)
Voice, translation and caligraphy Hakim Hayashi
Coordenation Mizuki Poirier
Coordination assistance Kisumi Niwano
Music Clementina de Jesus, Tia Doca & Geraldo Filme – “Canto IX” (1982), Paul Lajus – ” YASUKE bounce (Limiter_comp) ” (2020),  IAM – ” Omotesando (Instrumental of Yasuke Digipack Edition 2020), IAM – ” Yasuke (Instrumental of Yasuke Digipack Edition 2020), Toshiko Yonekawa – “Sakura Sakura” 1973 


Smail Kanouté is a French-Malian multifaceted artist based in Paris. He belongs to a young generation currently renewing visual codes and aesthetics in all possible disciplines. With Company Vivons! –founded in 2016– he develops performance projects, more personal choreographic artworks, dance-videos and short films. He's currently working on a dance web-docu-series project.

Executive production




The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation reserves the right to collect and keep records of images, sounds and voice for the diffusion and preservation of the memory of its cultural and artistic activity. For further information, please contact us through the Information Request form.

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