Hijikata: Butoh founder
1. New York Times article on Hijikata’s death; 2.Hijikata Tatsumi: The Words of Butoh – Published articles on TDR The Drama Review – N.44-1 Spring 2000; 3. Videos and images: a taste
1. New York Times article on Hijikata’s death
I found this very interesting article and through this I introduce Tatsumi Hijikata – founder of Butoh dance.
It was written by Jennifer Dunning on the 25th of January, 1986 and was published on the New York Times. It gives a good insight.
Tatsumi Hijikata, a Japanese choreographer, director and teacher, died of cancer in Tokyo. He was 57 years old. Mr. Hijikata was known as the father of Butoh, a Japanese theater-dance form that grew out of a rebellion against traditional dance and theater and was influenced by Japanese esthetics and Western modern dance, particularly the Expressionist dance of Mary Wigman. Mr. Hijikata coined the term ”Butoh” for the form, which he developed in the late 1950’s, first calling it Ankoku Butoh, or ”ancient dance step of utter darkness.”
Grotesque, lyrical and erotic, Butoh was at first considered shocking and caused controversy in the United States with its first American performances in 1982, at the American Dance Festival, by the Dai Rakuda-kan company, and later by the Sankai Juku company. Mr. Hijikata was a charismatic teacher and held informal classes and workshops in Tokyo, sporadically from the late 1950’s. Among his most noted disciples were Kazuo Ohno; Akaji Maro, who directs the Dai Rakuda-kan company; Ushio Amagatsu, director of the Sankai Juku company; the performers Min Tanaka, and Eiko and Koma, and the Mutekhi-sha troupe.
”I don’t think there is anybody in Butoh who hasn’t been touched by Hijikata in one way or another,” said Bonnie Stein, an administrator of the Asia Society’s performing arts department and an authority on Butoh. ”He’s the artistic force.” Began to Develop Butoh Mr. Hijikata, born Kunio Motofuji in a rural area in northern Japan, came to Tokyo at 18. He intended to study modern dance and ballet. But he found, in the words of the Japanese dance critic Show Kuriyama, that they were ”not suitable” for him. He became involved in an avant-garde arts group that presented mixed media work and began to develop Butoh.
The first performances of Butoh were in 1959, when Mr. Hijikata, Kazuo Ohno and others performed together. The writer Yukio Mishima, a friend of Mr. Hijikata, described him as ”time dancing.”
Mr. Hijikata had not performed since the mid-1970’s, but continued to direct, choreograph and teach. He created five works in 1985, three of them for Toko Ashikawa, his prime student, performer and longtime companion.
2.Hijikata Tatsumi: The Words of Butoh – Published articles on TDR The Drama Review – N.44-1 Spring 2000
TDR published a great collection under the name of “Hijikata Tatsumi: The Words of Butoh” in 2000. Here I have uploaded them for your knowledge. Some are written by Hijikata other articles are interviews with Hijikata.