Tongues of Fire (2022)
HD-Video, 10′27′′, color, sound
This work was created based on testimonies collected through fieldwork and interviews at several Christian churches and gospel choir groups in Aichi, Japan, a large Black gospel workshop in Washington, D.C., USA, and an African Pentecostal Christian Church in Berlin, Germany.

Most of the Japanese Christians whom the artist interviewed were born and raised in non-Christian families, encountered Christianity at a certain point in their life. They then came to believe in Jesus through religious experiences (spiritual experiences) and converted to Christianity. Their spiritual experiences are numerous and diverse. One person saw a hand reaching out to them, or felt a force pulsing from their back to their head. One Japanese woman felt as though the water was boiling in her stomach while a Black pastor prayed for her. Another had visions of metal chains entangled around her legs.

According to religious scholar Susumu Shimazono, during Japan's modernization process, religion took on characteristics of spiritualism or magic. Modernization did not drive out a spiritual worldview but rather strengthened it. 1  This may sound unusual, but it is because the belief in spirits can provide a strong "sense of certainty" as people grasp an understanding of the real world. This seems to be becoming more complex and uncertain for them under modernization and urbanization.

Interestingly, this phenomenon has a lot in common with Christian spiritual revival in sub-Saharan Africa during decolonization, modernization, and disorder caused by the civil war. 2  Charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity is the most dynamic and fastest growing movement of Protestant Christianity worldwide. It acts as a portable identity for the African diaspora, as well as an alternative strategy to help tackle modernity and globalization. 3 4 5
Throughout her long-term fieldwork in Japan, the artist (a Buddhist with almost no religious faith) met Japanese converts who testified to developing an affinity and faith in Christianity through their experiences with the Holy Spirit during their interaction with Black gospel choirs and missionaries, or through their empathy with the history of Black American slavery in which they observe parallels with their own life struggles.

Fascinated by their testimonies, the artist recreated their spiritual experiences in 3D animation, focusing on the trans-geographical, spiritual connections between East Asia and African countries that have arisen due to modern globalization. 

1. Shimazono, Susumu (2012) Salvation Religion in Contemporary Society. Tokyo: Seikyusha
2. Kalu, Ogbu (2008) African Pentecostalism: An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press
3. Casanova, José (2001) Religion, the New Millennium, and Globalization. Sociology of Religion, Vol. 62, No. 4, pp. 415–441. Oxford: Oxford University Press
4. Martin, David (2002) Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish. Oxford: Blackwell
5. Burchardt, Marian (2013) 'We are saving the township': Pentecostalism, faith-based organisations, and development in South Africa. The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 51, No. 4, pp. 627–651. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press