Gaijin is a japanese word meaning the «foreigner». «For a Swiss, I am a Japanese and for a Japanese I am a Swiss or rather a gaijin».
My name is David «Takashi» Favrod. I was born on the 2nd of July 1982 in Kobe, Japan, of a Japanese mother and a Swiss father. When I was 6 months old, my parents decided to come and live in Switzerland, more precisely in Vionnaz, a little village in lower Valais. As my father had to travel for his work a lot, I was mainly brought up by my mother who taught me her principles and her culture. When I was 18, I asked for double nationality at the Japanese embassy, but they refused, because it is only given to Japanese women who wish to obtain their husband’s nationality. It is from this feeling of rejection and also from a desire to prove that I am as Japanese as I am Swiss that this work was created.
Gaijin is a fictional narrative, a tool for my quest for identity, where self-portraits imply an intimate and solitary relationship that I have with myself. The mirror image is frozen in a figurative alter ego that serves as an anchor point. The aim of this work is to create “my own Japan”, in Switzerland, from memories of my journeys when I was small, my mother’s stories, popular and traditional culture and my grandparents war narratives. I usually find it hard to speak about myself. I always stumble in the paradoxes of «who am I?». In terms of factual information, I surely appear to be the most well informed person about my own self. But as soon as I need to communicate about who I am, I tend to do it through filters, selecting what I want to communicate, and how I wish to do it, in accordance with my interests and sensitivity.
So what can be the objective value of the way that I picture my family and my life?
How much does it concretely relates to reality or not?