Sing a New Song (Sound Installation) (2018) 
Headphone, Curtain, Podium, Chair, Video 9 min, 16:9, Binaural Stereo Sound

Music plays an essential role in Christian communities. A number of Japanese converts to Christianity begin to build their faith after they have religious, inner, or physical experiences while reading the Bible or singing a gospel song. In this sound installation of a "virtual church", the audience experiences a spatial soundscape of their voices and songs, recorded by a binaural microphone, and made available for listening through headphones, one visitor at a time. Video work presented in complement to the sound installation explores the conversion process of these Japanese “firstfruits” (the first person in a family who converts to Christianity) at German Evangelical and Pentecostal churches, and gospel choir groups. Christians form a super minority in Japanese society; merely 1% of the Japanese population identify themselves as Christian. 
The research project focuses on their emotional, inner, and physical experiences — in other words, "Holy Spirit's work" or "guidance of the Lord"— as the seed of their faith. People at German Evangelical churches encounter life altering biblical quotes at a decisive moment in their faith. Attendees at gospel choirs and Pentecostal churches cultivate their faith through singing gospel songs or having a fierce inner experience at gospel workshops or concerts. In using two-years of fieldwork, which included interviewing, participant observation, and video/sound recording, this dissertation investigates how Christian converts experience these special events and how they interpret their experiences after becoming Christian. It does so by analyzing their conversion stories, which they share as "public testimonies" in communities, to affirm their faith.

How did you experience the holy spirit in your conversion process into Christian?

  After the concert, Black gospel members encircled me and started praying enthusiastically. 
  I fell to the floor, fell down in prayer by the hands of the Holy Spirit. 
  I did not lose my consciousness, but felt embarrassed and wanted to stand up. 
   “No, No!” I struggled, but my body did not move anymore. 
    —Interview with Reiko, May 16. 2018

When singing with the participant at a gospel workshop, it was a Japanese song, led by Japanese gospel singer. 
Suddenly, I received a succession of shocks, like a thick arrow went through from the hair whorl on my head to my tailbone.
It was a very mysterious experience, but it was not at that moment that
I became a believer, just that I felt I experienced something special.
But you know, I recall that special moment again and again.
During the next workshop, when Pastor Andre did “Invitation” at the worship,
in the end, I responded and confessed my faith.
— Interview with Fumiko, Jun 2. 2018

During the worship after the gospel workshop, my mind was in chaos because I was suffering from severe depression,
 I was touched by the Lord. 
I cannot remember what the pastor said on his message. 
But I suddenly felt, “The Lord loves me, in any circumstance, the lord loves me”. 
It was almost unconsciously, that I confessed my faith. 
My hand already rose when I realized. 
It was after about one year that I joined the gospel choir.
 — Interview with Harumi, May 30. 2018

I was surrounded by Black and Japanese Christians. They prayed putting their hands on my body. 
Black people prayed in English, others in Japanese, and some of them in glossolalia.
Some people were weeping. I was just sitting still, didn’t know what I should do.  
Suddenly, I started laughing.  I felt joyful. Someone said it is a gift of pleasure. 
They say, “The Holy Spirit gives you a pleasure”. 
Like air bubbles in the water, you know, when the water boils air bubbles come up, 
I could not stop it, the air bubble came from the bottom, “pow”, “hehehe”, like that feeling
— Interview with Naoko, June 20. 2018