“Kerouac in Kobe” – *On the Road scroll* in Japan / video interview + exhibit

grab your passport, map and suitcase and let’s go Go GO!

A rollicking mixed-media revue of a groundbreaking exhibit in Japan featuring a stunningly-reproduced facsimile of the taped-together sc/roll manuscript of what became Jack Kerouac’s seminal, counter-culture-sparking novel “On The Road.”

Blurb: A lively conversation between storymaker Dave Olson and with Professor & President of Beat Studies Assoc., Matt Theado of Kobe City University Dept of Foreign Studies, at BB Plaza Art Museum in Kobe, Japan, summer of 2021 after the event was delayed for a year for *public health conundrums* and re-imagined to include a truly remarkable collection of ephemera, chapbooks, broadsides, posters, typewrtier, records, various editions of On the Road, related book, maps, Japanese language glossary and much more – most provided by Kazu-san of Flying Books of Tokyo.

The fast-placed video includes many artifacts from the exhibit and from the host’s life of travels and evidence of “living beat” to connect the experience to *anyone’s* life (that means “you” if you choose).

Oh so glad you stopped by for “Kerouac in Kobe”


  • Logistics of creating the”authorized forgery/reproduction” of the noted taped-together original manuscript & how the original plan of bringing the original manuscript (and Mr. Jim Canary) was thwarted
  • The symposium of writers, scholars, translators held at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies (YT archive)
  • Observations about Jack’s process in writing the work (and dispelling the myth of a benzadrine-induced manic type-athon) including the importance of “working with you got,” notebooks, list taking, knowing where you are going
  • How he immediately re-typed on “regular paper”, changing names and making ready for publication
  • Scenes of life of America in transition at the time, the embrace of bohemian culture
United States of America *in transition*
  • How Jack is viewed as an artist now – as compared the the “damning with faint praise” and/or jealously expressed by some at time of release
  • Crafting correlations between the sc/roll and The Stanley Cup (really) and JK and Vincent Van Gogh (yup)
  • The Beats connection with Japan, especially about Gary Snyder arriving in Kyoto and Nanao Sakaki, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Whalen…
  • Prof. Matt’s personal experience and introduction to Jack and “the Beat Generation” (via Dennis McNally’s biography “Desolate Angel” and reading “Visions of Cody”) and Dave’s “getting on the bus” with a Lonesome Traveller Dharma Bums in the Pacific Northwest + notes about how the novel “besides being a joy to read, gives the readers something to do” – touching on rambling Europe with no money, showing up at a Kyoto bus station…
me, on the road, Shikoku 1993
  • Remarks about extensive array of magazines including Chicago Review, Yugen, Evergreen Review (again, mostly from the collection of Kazu at Flying Books in Tokyo)
  • Encouragement for going down the “rabbit holes” of musicians and writers name-checked by Jack and conspirators (i.e. read Céline, listen to Lester Young)
  • The beauty, importance and indeed majesty of self published chapbooks, broadsides, ‘zines – and hooray for cheap postage!
  • A call for “Ignoring the Gatekeepers” of critics and “big-league” publishers to create your own art and share it out into the world
  • Discussion about typewriters (Jack used an L. C. Smith “but Underwood get all press!”)
  • Roots and branches of DIY culture and personal expression drifting into music from jazz to Grateful Dead to punk
  • And finally, the Jack Kerouac lunch special at the café, yes indeed, apple pie and vanilla ice cream!
you know we did! apple pie and vanilla ice cream at the museum cafe (and took the sign to go)

Yes a special offer for archivists, scholars, collectors and enthusiasts. #hint to say thanks for sharing with your pals and contributing to the conversation


Full credits and thanks are contained in the video and mostly below with best efforts:

credits and thanks to these kindly folks and orgs


Plus namechecks, cameos etc:

All materials used which were not created by me (Dave Olson) or Matt Theado or Ryoko Olson on-site, are credited with best efforts (and include offerings from Allen Ginsberg estate, poet Wang Ping…). All used under fair use doctrine.

If any errors or omissions, please let me know for correction and future updates: https://daveostory.com/more-daveo/contact/

Intro / bridge music: “Congo Blues” by Red Norvo and his selected Sextet / Comet (T 7-B) Publication date 1945-07 from 78 RPM record accessed from Internet archive

Outro music: “Postcard from Gravelly Beach Theme” by (yup) Dave Olson

Intro and outro filmed at Giggling Piglet Studio in Tsuchida, Okayama, Japan

Just follow the signs to Tsuchida Cottage, Okayama, Japan

More from DaveO:

send me a card but please don’t stop by unannounced

14 thoughts on ““Kerouac in Kobe” – *On the Road scroll* in Japan / video interview + exhibit”

  1. Hi again, yeah, I’ve watched ‘em both! My early introduction to Giggling Pig Productions!

  2. Thank you so much for watching and for taking the time to add such a lovely comment.

    Much to my disappointment, the typescript didn’t come back to my kura barn – instead has gone to the Kerouac estate in Lowell, Massachucetts… Maybe it will go on permanent display (or something) at the Kerouac Center they have planned in the historic church where young Jack was an altar boy as the original is constantly and appropriately on the move with the Jim Irsay collection.

    PS if curious, there are two other pretty decent beat related videos made in recent times one telling the story of the “six poets at six gallery“ reading and another one made for high school students as an “brief introduction to the beats” / either way, it gives you some nice views of my studio and some vinyl & ephemera.

  3. The benefits of being laid up! Finally….FINALLY….I get to watch this.

    A fascinating artefact, expertly collated and produced, as I have come to expect from you.

    Thanks for putting in all that effort. This should be watched far and wide.

    The big question is: what DID happen to the incredible scroll facsimile?

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