The things you don't know about Butoh.

According to a study by Kayo Mikami.

By Torifune Butoh Sha

Butoh by Torifune Butoh ShaTorifune Butoh Sha

Perspectives and Evaluation of Butoh Abroad

 In the 1980s, butoh, which had long been regarded as heretical in Japan, was given the name "Butoh" and expanded its area of instruction, gaining worldwide recognition as an avant-garde dance born in Japan and frequently invited to foreign dance and theater festivals, where it was highly regarded. The following Butoh review by KIsselgoff, A., "Dance, Surprises and Challenges Come from Abroad" (New York Times '85, 10/13), conveys a strong foreign impression of Butoh. He says that "a whole new direction of dance has emerged from an outrageous place," and that "the highly original Japanese Butoh has decided to use form as a device, as a means of expressing emotion, while American modern dance, for the past twenty-five years, has insisted on pure dance and formal concepts. She and other critics have attempted to analyze and interpret the different styles of butoh by dancers and groups of dancers. For Westerners, slow movements and extreme distortions come as a surprise, and a willingness to explore not just a matter of muscular control, but what sustains it, is evident in the butoh reviews. But these efforts can be summed up by Marcia B. Siegel's puzzled words, "I don't know how, I don't know.

Butoh by Torifune Butoh ShaTorifune Butoh Sha

The origin of whitewashing

Hijikata loved the work of the plaster sculptor George Segal, who sometimes painted plaster on his body. When the plaster dries, it takes heat away from the body, and the body trembles, and that trembling is used as a dance movement. In the early days of his career, he had no money to buy gofun, and when he danced with gofun, he said it was funny how the dry powder cracked like gofun. Kazuo Ohno said that every human being is pure white at birth (innocence). Kouichi Tamano, a butoh dancer living in California who is the number one disciple of Hijikata, says, "White paint is a costume that doesn't cost money. 

Kosuke Sugawara, the director of the Kamatachi Museum in Hijikata's hometown, points out the connection between whitewashing and burns, and shares the words of Fumio Tanaya, Hijikata's high school junior. According to Tanaya, Hijikata had suffered severe burns on his back and lower leg in an accident at the Akita Mining Company, where he had joined the company, and had been limping ever since, in an accident so serious that it almost killed him. It points to the possibility that the whitewashing was to cover up the burn marks.

Kenka by Torifune Butoh ShaTorifune Butoh Sha

Why is it slow?

Runners running at full speed don't seem to be moving in the distance. The waterfall is the same. The dancer is always galloping along at full speed. I can see it slowly. The spinning top has just stopped. What characteristically appears in "Transfers eternally in a cross section of time, 。...... between heaven and earth as dimensions." of "Walk Dimensions" which is the base of Hijikata Butofu is that the expression of bodily sensation of the infinity and minimum in time and space looks like "slowly".

Butoh by Torifune Butoh ShaTorifune Butoh Sha

Butoh and Gender

In his early work "Tatsumi Hijikata and the Japanese: The Rebellion of the Body" (1968, Japan Seinenkan), Hijikata danced from a girl, a flamenco woman, to the deformed Christ.Ashikawa Youko, the first successor of the Hijikata Butoh, was described as "a beauty like pottery" that was completely devoid of female life. It is also important to sublimate women's physiology into the expression of Japanese poetry and dance.

Kabuki Dancers by Cornell CapaLIFE Photo Collection

Cross-dressing in Japan has long been practiced in Kabuki and other Kabuki performances. In the Edo period, women's kabuki was banned because it led to prostitution, and the cross-dressing of young people was also banned from male colors. And the stylistic beauty of kabuki is established in a kabuki that neither women nor young people can use.Art and color are inseparable. This can be seen in the development of Western European ballet.Also, in the all-female Takarazuka Revue, the expression of masculinity is the standard style of the stage. The issue of gender differences has become entrenched and familiar not only as a "catabolic effect" but also as an abroach from the side that transcends gender.

Butoh by Torifune Butoh ShaTorifune Butoh Sha

Relationship with Kazuo ONO

In 1949, Hijikata moved to Tokyo at the age of 21 and was shocked to see Kazuo Ohno's dance performance at the Kanda Kyoritsu Auditorium. 'I met a strange play. A man in a simise dances with such lyricism that he spills over. He danced frequently, cutting space with his chin, and the emotion lasted a long time. In 1952, three years later, at the age of twenty-four, Hijikata moved to Tokyo with his book "A Book Full of Lear Cars," and the following year he joined the Mitsuko Ando Dance Institute. After coming to Tokyo, Hijikata learns various Western dances based on his impression of Ohno, the "Gekiyaku(explosive drug) Dancer".Ohno's early works "Ode to La Argentina" (1977) and "My Mother" (1981) were directed by Tatsumi Hijikata and became the basis of Kazuo Ohno's later butoh activities. Yoshito Ohno, who played the boy opposite Tatsumi Hijikata in his debut film, Forbidden Colors, is the son of Kazuo Ohno.

Butoh by Torifune Butoh ShaTorifune Butoh Sha

Relationship with Yukio Mishima

After his debut work with Hijikata, which borrowed the title of Mishima Yukio's novel "Forbidden Colors" without permission, Mishima visited Hijikata's rehearsal room and began to modify his own body. Just before Mishima's dismemberment, he sent Hijikata a scroll with the calligraphy of the poet Mutsuro Takahashi's "Bangi Daitoukan", the flag of Hijikata's dance. Beginning with Yukio Mishima, Hijikata interacted with some of the leading art critics, poets, and painters of modern Japan. He has formed friendships with some of the leading post-war Japanese writers, such as Shuzo Takiguchi, who was a theoretical pillar of orthodox surrealism in pre-war and post-war Japan, and writers Yutaka Haniya and Tatsuhiko Shibusawa. All of them were supporters of Hijikata Butoh. Terayama Shuji, who is said to have revived the post-war song world overnight, led the Japanese underground theatrical world as a playwright with his theatrical troupe "TENJO-SAJIKI", advocating the restoration of the spectacle show. Karajuro, a playwright and actor, and the director of the Red Tent and Situation Theatre, is also a member of Hijikata. In addition, young artists such as Tadanori Yokoo, Genpei Akasegawa, and musicians gathered around him and joined him on the stage. Mishima Yukio may have been a great spiritual support for Hijikata, who was a heretical guru, especially as he was already a legitimate landlord. He said, "When Mr. Mishima died, the bell rang with the gorn.

Butoh by Torifune Butoh ShaTorifune Butoh Sha

Current problems with Butoh

 The characteristic visual style of Butoh - "white-washed, shaved, naked, eccentric and ultra-slow-motional" - was eventually labeled as over-ornamental. This point was already made in the 1990s. A review of Torifune Butohsha's overseas performance of "Konka". "The 'dedication of flowers' that we saw yesterday, this is the Butoh. Kayo Mikami's every move is breathtaking... Whether it is wearing cheap gilded costumes, stripping down, or rolling around in ashes, the Japanese avant-garde choreographers of the 1960s devised a variety of devices to make it known that this was Butoh. But there is no need for such a thing. We're no longer satisfied with that. The dedication showed it before our eyes" (Rachel Valentin, L'est Répubilican, France, June 29, 1993). This review outlines the Japanese avant-garde choreographers of the 1960s as having devised a variety of contrivances to make it known that it was butoh, but a French newspaper review of the 1990s said that not only was there no need for such a thing, but that they were not satisfied with it. It was also a question of what is butoh. It seems to me that we have come to this day without answering this question.

At the beginning, many of the dancers around Hijikata, who aspired to be an avant-garde dancer, were formally trained in ballet techniques, but most of the dancers who came under the name of the Dark Butoh school were amateurs who had never seen or danced before. He taught them, who were amateurs, the body and techniques of butoh. In a sense, the term "a group of amateurs without art" of academism hit the nail on the head. Anyone could be a dancer. However, this achievement was possible only through the pivotal perspective of Tatsumi Hijikata. Today, however, Hijikata has died, Kazuo Ohno has died, and Yoshito Ohno, who played opposite Hijikata in "Forbidden Colors," which is said to be the beginning of Butoh, has died. The first generation, Yukio Wakuri and Ko Murobushi, who received direct instruction from Hijikata, have already died. How do the third and fourth generations of Butoh communicate Butoh today? The "various contrivances to make it known that it is butoh" indicates that we remain stuck in front of the spiritual questions of butoh in such a background.  There is a fear that butoh will one day be absorbed into the great river of ballet.  Today, more international dancers are active than domestic ones.  Tatsumi Hijikata's work on the Tohoku region, however, as he so vividly stated, "Britain has its own Tohoku. Tohoku, as a land based on life, is all over the place and does not represent a single region. Tohoku is the seed of Butoh, which is scattered throughout the world. How to make the flowers bloom has become a challenge and a question for the world's butoh artists themselves.

Credits: Story

Kayo Mikami
『The Body as a Vessel』translator:Rosa van Hensbergen
UK Ozaru Books 2016
http://ozaru.net/ozarubooks/vessel.html

Torifune butoh sha
Torifune-butoh-sha.com

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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