This website introduces an interdisciplinary artist UMIRA's works, research and also publishes the creation process of "The Story of UMIRA". 

Light & Shadow, Dance, Lions and The Story of UMIRA

UMIRA has interested in a real feeling of living and the sense of breathing, which light and shadow that she meets and feels in her everyday life evoke in her since her childhood. She has explored this feeling through various forms of expression such as performance, video, words/stories, workshops and so on. Her unique experiences of being involved in the White Lion conservation activity in South Africa in her thirties was also an extension of this research on light and shadow. 


This website is not only an archive that shows such activities, art works and events etc (especially of the period between 2007 to 2017) but also will be a platform to spin an ongoing new creation. 


In our daily life, we casually see how light and shadow are shifting and changing. While standing in their visible and invisible changes, we are just immersing ourselves as we are.


Imagine that creatures of light and shadow reside inside of us humans. Touch the living creature, dance and interact. 


The signs of light and shadow are as if that the breath of living things were made to be slightly visualized.

During the moments of feeling light and shadow, we are conscious of the breathing rhythm. It brings a real feeling of living.




It is a monster living in the sea. It's an invisible creature.


The endless ocean, light and shadows on the sea surface. Sometimes the ocean calm down gently, and sometimes it attacks roughly. Even if it's not visible from the surface, the deep ocean has a variety of life and death, and its circulation. It is an Odyssey -a journey to reach your great/higher self, and you discover yourself differently at the end compared to the beginning. There is a great existence, which swallows and enfolds all emotions and conflicts of creatures that occur there. The beast resembles a lion.



<UMIRA> is an imaginary word and existence that I had as an inspiration around my 19 years old. Since then, I've always thought to create a story with this name as a title. However, because of what I imagined from the word was something very magnificent, I had felt that I can't easily describe/express it if I'm not grown enough not only as a creator but as a human being. 


While the text of <UMIRA> that I occasionally kept writing had been unfinished over years in that way, I've held some performances and workshops, in which the organizer was named as UMIRA, over the past 15 years since I was 21. 


This time, after such several flow of times, I finally became willing to focus on completing the story of UMIRA and this led me to renew the website too. 


Also, while there was no particular reason of naming "UMIRA" because the word was born intuitively, I was often asked its origin and thought about it later on. The word is multiplied of the Roman alphabet of Japanese words "UMI" (Sea), "MORI" (Forest) and "SORA" (Sky). "RA" at the end of the word also means the sun god of Egyptian myth.



The story of <UMIRA> is planned to be consisted of about 12 chapters.


It may not become a so-called novel, but starting with some materials including text and photographs, including exploration through somatic improvisation during the process, I hope to give body and substance to the work. I do not know yet whether it will be completed as text or a different representation form in the end. I am also looking forward to unexpected events and discoveries that happen in the middle of my creative journey, and encounters with people. I would be happy if you could keep your eyes on it and join the process to discover UMIRA.


UMIRA/ Emiko Tokai 



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