"If you don't master the language, you can't really know the culture of a country."

27 September 2019

We met Mrs Misaya Iodice, Japanese trainer at the CLL and consultant at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie.

Thirty kilos, 12 diapers of clothing, 4 meters of obi (belt), 35 minutes to get dressed. A few figures to better understand the complexity of the symbol of Japan: Kimono (literally, something you carry with you). A dress in the spotlight this September during Madama Butterfly*'s performances at the Opéra de Liège, thanks to the collaboration of Misaya Iodice-Fujie, Japanese cultural consultant and CLL trainer.

Mrs. Iodice receives us dressed in her kimono, before giving a lecture. She collaborated for four months with the team of the Opera workshops in Ans to make nearly 60 kimonos, made of cotton and not silk to be able to wash them after each performance. The cultural barriers within the team were quickly removed, as she was "touched" by the professionalism of those who worked "with heart" on the reconstitution of Japan for Puccini's famous opera.

Music, a universal language

After this unforgettable experience, she encourages everyone, especially young people, to take an interest in music, "because it is a true universal language".

Misaya Iodice has lived in Belgium for four years, after having lived for many years in France. She declares herself passionate about the Japanese language and traditions, a spirit that she tries to transmit in her classes and to people interested in the culture of her country.

She gives advice to all those who would have to live far from their roots: have a basic knowledge of the language before leaving because, "if you don't master the language, you can't really know the culture of a country". Language is "very necessary when you arrive to be able to communicate with the inhabitants".

The consultant focuses on the "extraordinary variety of people and cultures" found in Europe compared to Japan, where there are still few foreigners. But the interest in Japanese culture makes many people attend Madama Butterfly and its conference to see unique pieces from her personal collection of Kimonos, some of them from a period with both material and sentimental value.

Arigato (many thanks) to Misaya Iodice for giving us the opportunity to discover Japanese culture.


* Considered Puccini's masterpiece, Madama Butterfly tells the story of a young Geisha, Cio-Cio-San, passionately in love with an American officer. From their union was born a child whose existence the lieutenant, when he returned home, was unaware of. Back in Japan three years later with his American wife, he came to pick up his son. Cio-Cio-San, betrayed and abandoned, has only one chance...