Once a year, Hiroki Sato leaves behind the bustle of Tokyo to return to the hills of Andalusia, Spain, the place where flamenco was born. He can barely walk the streets for a minute before someone calls his name, and in a village where flamenco courses through the very veins of the community, impromptu dancing in the streets is more salutation than ceremony. A world-renowned flamenco dancer, Sato feels completely at home in this place so distant from Japan in ways both geographical and cultural but his transformation did not happen overnight.

In the early 1990s, while still in high school in Japan, Sato was an enthusiastic volunteer at a home for the developmentally disabled. There, residents were prone to sudden outbursts that most would find unsettling, but that Sato found liberating.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.