[japan@ihj] Cyborg Manifested: Understanding Japan’s Long Postwar through Hijikata Tatsumi’s Dance of Darkness/Butō

  • *Please note that this is a lecture program without any dance performance.
  • Lecturer: Bruce Baird (Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
  • Commentator: Ishii Tatsuro (Dance Critic)
  • Date: Thursday, February 13, 2014, 7:00 pm-
  • Venue: Lecture Hall, International House of Japan
  • Language: English (without Japanese interpretation)
  • Admission: Free (reservations required, seating: 70)
    Hijikata Tatsumi to Nihonjin:
Nikutai no hanran (Hijikata
Tatsumi and the Japanese:
Rebellion of the Body, 1968)
(Photo by Nakatani Tadao)

Hijikata Tatsumi (1928-1986) founded the performance art butō, one of the most internationally influential developments in the theater and dance world in the last half century. But knowledge of butō’s place within the history of postwar Japan has not kept up with this worldwide interest. To the extent that people know of butō, it is through stereotypical images of near-naked dancers with white face paint moving imperceptibly. Yet, Hijikata’s activities spanned a quarter of a century and were much more varied than the images would suggest. In this lecture, Dr. Baird will place Hijikata’s activities within postwar Japanese history and in turn shed light on that very historical development. Short clips of Hijikata’s performances will also be shown during the program.

Photo and Film Contribution: Keio University Arts Center

Bruce Baird

Photo:Bruce BairdBruce Baird is an Associate Professor in Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Visiting Associate Professor at Keio University Arts Center; he is interested in Japanese theatre, philosophy and new media studies. He is the recipient of two Fulbright fellowships, and is author of a book about the founder of butō entitled Hijikata Tatsumi and Butoh: Dancing in a Pool of Gray Grits (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012—nominated for the 2013 International Convention of Asian Scholars Book Prize), and is working on a general history of butō.

Tatsuro Ishii

Graduate of Keio University. 1979-81 Fulbright Grantee, Department of Drama, Graduate School, New York University; 1987-89 ACLS Grantee, Department of Performance Studies, Graduate School, New York University; 1990-2009 Professor Keio University; 2002 Jury, Cairo International Experimental Theater Festival, Egypt; 2001-4 Jury, Asahi Performing Arts Award; 2005 Director, Butoh Festival in Seoul, Korea ;2006 & 2008 Jury, Toyota Choreography Award. Tatsuro Ishii has lectured on butō and Japanese Contemporary Dance in Korea, India, the Philippines, the United States, Austria, and Italy. He is the author of the following books: Performance and Man: The Border of Theater; The Sexuality of Transvestism; The Darkness Emitting Aura: A Spirit Journey of Body Expression; Essays on Female Transvestism; The Filmology of Circus; Asia, the Cosmos of Journey and Body; The Man Who Sustained Circus with His One Finger; Polysexual Love, Dance and Acrobatics, The Liminal Point of the Body.