Lesley Eleanora Boyce-Wilkinson


... a theatre of blood/ a theatre which at each performance will stir/
something/ in the body/ of the performer well as the spectator of the play/Ê
but actually/ the actor does not perform/ he creates/ Theatre is in reality
the genesis of creation/ It will come about.

(Artaud, A., ed. Schumacher, C., 1989: pp.200.)

Antonin Artaud's unshakeable conviction that theatre should, and would, be
revolutionized is evidenced in above quotation taken from a letter dated
February 24, 1948, less than two weeks before his death. Artaud's vision of
theatre has never been fully realized by Western theatre practitioners.
However, it is indisputable that Artaud (1896-1948) has been one of the most
revolutionary thinkers on theatrical theory and practice this century. His
legacy and sphere of influence has been so immense that it is now impossible
to conceive of modern European theatre without his inception.

Several decades have passed since the first publications of his numerous
theatrical writings and a variety of practitioners have experimented with
his ideologies, prescriptions, and wrestled with the questions these have
engendered. Amongst these, Peter Brook, who stated: "This visionary,
undoubtedly mad, wrote more sense than anyone else about the theatre of our
time" (Jevons, R., 1999 pp. 23.) and paid homage to Artaud, in collaboration
with Charles Marowitz, in the productions King Lear and Marat/Sade.
Jean-Louis Barrault sought to give validation to Artaud's theatrical
metaphysics in his work. Eugene Ionesco cites Artaud as his major influence.
Jean Genet's dark ritualistic theatre is undeniably Artaudian, and The
Living Theatre acknowledge his importance in their work, Julien Beck
commenting that: "He was the only one of our time who understood the nature
and greatness of theatre." (Ibid. pp. 24.) Not least of all, was Jerzy
Grotowski, whose experimentations, researches and performances with The
Polish Laboratory Theatre (of which The Constant Prince is a superb
example), so much typified Artaudian ideation in practice that Brook stated:
"Grotowiski's theatre is as close as anyone has got to Artaud's ideal", and
also instigated Raymonde Temkine to label Grotowski as "Artaud's natural
son" (ibid. pp. 23). (1).

Those involved with theatre practice in the West, will be decidedly
familiar with these names and the work generated in connection with them,
along with many others, and therefore be in a position to assess for
themselves how far each go toward realisation of the Artaudian vision of
theatre. No study as yet, however, has examined Ankoku Butoh in an Artaudian
context. This work attempts to go some way in rectifying this and,
therefore, steps outside of the boundaries of Western theatre. In doing so,
an enforced recognition of the constraints of cultural difference comes into
play with regard to discussion of a non Western founded art form, and these
must be dealt with. It is both necessary to step out of the Euro centric
restraints of perceiving cultural 'otherness', recognise the commonalities
but also be able to identify encoded, foreign, socio-cultural elements.

In this study the emphasis in relation to Abkoku Butoh, is primarily upon
ArtaudÕs post-war work after his return to Paris in 1946, in particular the
recording for Radio: Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu (To Have Done
With The Judgement Of God). The work engaged in during the last two years of
his life, which, in the aftermath of the Second World War exhibits an overt
vehemence and calls for intensified anarchistic measures (2) bears more
relevance to Hijikata Tatsumi (1928-1986), the genre's founding father (3).
Moreover, Ankoku Butoh was formulated during the mid 1950s in the chaotic
vacuum of post-war, American occupied Japan and in resonance with the global
artistic climate of the time, just a few years after Artaud's death and
therefore shares the same historical time period.

The catastrophic effects of war naturally played their part in the direction
and developments of the arts in Japan, as they did on a worldwide scale. The
mood was reactionary, and not dissimilar to that after World War 1, which
had given rise to the Dadaist and Surrealist movements. Many artists reared
up against both the strict conservatism of Japanese society and the enforced
Western values and ideologies. Shinkeki (4), initially formulated in the
pre-war period, had become the most popular and desired theatre form at this
time, but to Hijikata it was simply another Western cuckoo, another
constriction that needed to be thrown upon the scrap heap along with the
formalised Japanese traditional theatrical modes. Hijikata gave artistic
form to a culture that was caught in a dilemma of identity, post-Westernised
and neo-nostalgic, by drawing upon influences, both Oriental and Occidental,
by raising and re-rooting ancient Japanese 'ghosts', and by fact of his own
experiential existence encased in the flesh of a body. That the
dance/theatre he created bears a semblance to Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty,
is not too surprising giving the time period and world tenor, or indeed that
Artaud also was influenced by the Orient early on in his career (5). As this
study will show, however, the similarities in the thinking of Hijikata and
Artaud, the correlations between their respective approaches to performance,
are really quite marked.Ê

The problematics of such a study have been, and are, particularly
challenging in ways other than that already mentioned. The absence of a
manifesto or definitive study of Ankoku Butoh, the scarcity of, and
difficulty in locating, substantiated material in English, made the
engagement in the research process as equally frustrating as it was
exciting. Over a period of time I managed to trace two long out-of-print
books, gather together articles scattered in a variety of magazines, obtain
video material, also to contact, converse and work practically with Butoh,
post Butoh and Butoh influenced performers. However, I was then confronted
by so many vague, conflicting viewpoints and contradictions that, as a
consequence, prior to setting about the current study, a great deal of
preliminary sifting and analysis had to be undertaken.

The proliferation of subjective readings and misinterpretations of Ankoku
Butoh and its derivations (6) is hardly surprising given that Hijikata,
along with its most noteworthy practitioners, defy giving precise
definition. This is intentional. Explanations, if they be counted as such,
mostly take the form of streams of poetical imagery, allegorical story and
reverie of memory. Attempting to write an academic study on Ankoku Butoh,
therefore, is really somewhat paradoxical, and I can only hope that I am
able to treat the subject with adequate sensitivity.

Moreover, the writings of Artaud, as can be attested, pose problems not too
dissimilar, in that they are not particularly easily accessible, are open to
interpretation, permeated and laced with his own idiosyncratic metaphysics
and language use. Difficulties therefore arise by dint of the fact that, in
both cases, the use of allegorical poetical terms, and unfamiliar analogies,
call for a deciphering as to their meaning. Thus, inevitably this work also
may prove to be somewhat interpretative and speculative in places. Care,
however, will be taken to indicate where this occurs.

Yet, despite feeling a little intimidated by the nature of this study, the
challenges it poses are, nonetheless, alluring. Moreover, I am assured of
its importance, acknowledging that its validity rests, not so much on any
conclusions reached, but on the very fact that it provides a means of
looking at both Ankoku Butoh and Artaudian theatre within a different
contextual framework.

By linking Artaud and Hijikata in the same study it should not be
automatically construed that I consider Ankoku Butoh to be a direct product
of Artaud's legacy. Despite the casual citations of Artaud's name in many
articles on Butoh, and the acknowledgment of his influence on some later
post Butoh dancers, no writer or dancer, to my knowledge, has ever suggested
that Ankoku Butoh came out of the Artaudian pot - save, that is, for the
author, Stephen Barber. In his study of Artaud,

Weapons of Liberation, Barber states:

The Japanese pre-occupation with Artaud's last scream of refusal led to the
creation of work which was simultaneously more violent and more exquisite
than its equivalents in European the United States, in the form of the dance
performance style called 'Butoh'.

(Barber, S., 1996: pp. 97.)

The hazy implication within this statement is that Hijikata's Ankoku Butoh
was an Artaudian legacy, yet there is very little evidence to suggest that
Hijikata was aware of Artaud when he first created his dance/theatre form
(7). The Theatre and its Double was not published in Japan until 1965.
Hijikata's exposure to the work of Artaud, the dating and extent, is
uncertain. However, it is evidenced that Hijikata possessed a recorded copy
of Artaud's radio broadcast, To Have Done With The Judgement Of God, in
1984,since the tape was played when Hijikata choreographed Tanaka Min (8) in
a dance experiment/performance entitled Ren-ai Butoh-ha Teiso (Foundation of
the Dance of Love). The filmmaker, Mark Holbourn, called on him at his
studio at this time and recalls the tape as being "one of Hijikata's most
precious possessions" (Holbourn, M., 1987: pp14). Ichikawa Miyabi, who
visited him six months before the formerÕs death in1986, further validates
that Hijikata prized this tape. Also present at this meeting was Susan
Sontag, who has written much on Artaud. During the visit, Hijikata played
them a tape copy of Artaud's recording for Radio that he had in his
possession, in response to which Sontag remarked "That's the voice I
expected." (Ichikawa, M., 1989: pp.18.).

Was it due to a shared sensibility and directive that Hijikata so prized
Artaud's recording? Is Ankoku Butoh a possible exemplar of the axioms that
underscore Artaud's later post-war work? The main objectives of this study
are to seek to identify, articulate the tenets and practice of Ankoku Butoh
within this context with the view of validating, invalidating, or simply to
provide informed stimulus with regard to these questions.

The focus is upon Hijikata, rather than any other Butoh dancers, therefore
his legacy and influence shall not be extensively detailed here, or the
subsequent developments of the dance/theatre established by him, nor its
hybridisation with other performance forms. Space does not allow detailed
descriptions of Hijikata's oeuvre, therefore, only one of his performances,
namely Hijikata Tatsumi to nihonjin: Nikutai no hanran (Hijikata Tatsumi and
the Japanese: Rebellion of the Body) of 1968 shall be looked at. Likewise
any further discussion as to the legacy of Artaud and of the predominant
impression made by him upon many others shall be omitted.

The study is divided into three sections. The first chapter examines the
position taken by Artaud and Hijikata in relation to word and body. The
second discusses attitude to the body, and the third the body in
performance. I begin this work with the belief that my conclusion shall
prove to be affirmative, already almost convinced that Hijikata not only
desired but achieved that which Artaud (and others) have struggled toward
but failed to make fully manifest: a concretisation of the epitome of
ÔcrueltyÕ in the Artaudian sense of the term.



In May 1946 Antonin Artaud returned to Paris, a city recently liberated from
German occupation, to undertake, what was to become his most vital and
influential work. His life had almost ended in the asylum due to him being
subjected to a near fatal series of electroshock treatment administered by
Dr Gaston Ferdiere during the final three years of a long period of
incarceration at Rouen, Ville-Evard and Rodez (9). Had it have done, what he
considered to be the first performance, a "model in miniatureÓ for his
Theatre of Cruelty, namely the recording To Have Done With The Judgement Of
God, would never have come into existence.

To Have Done With The Judgement Of God was recorded in response to an
invitation, at the beginning of November 1947, from Fernand Pouey, director
of literary and dramatic broadcasting at the French national Radio Station.
The performance/reading was intended to be the first in a new series
entitled The Voice of the Poets. Roger Blin, Paule Thevenin and Maria
Casares (a replacement for Colette Thomas who abandoned the project because
of the state of her nerves) also took part with Artaud. The first recording
sessions were held on 22 and 28 November. A further session was scheduled
for 16 January 1948, for the addition of improvised screams and, in duo with
Blin, a broken syllable and word exchange, along with the percussion
beatings (entitled The Monkey's Cage). The recording, forty minutes in
duration, was divided into five distinct parts. The first, I Discovered
Yesterday, read by Artaud, was a savage attack on American military and
colonial ambitions, imaging the U. S. government as stockpiling the sperm of
schoolboys for the creation of soldiers for future wars. Tutuguri evoked a
Mexican peyote cult ritual, which Artaud had been privy to in 1936 and was
delivered by Casares. Blin followed this with The Pursuit of Fecality, a
denial of baptism and the mass, and Thevenin then read The Question Arises,
an exploration of the anatomy of flatulence. Finally, the conclusion,
written as a dialogue between Artaud and a psychiatrist, is an exposition of
his contention that the body must be re-fashioned into a "body without
organs". As the second studio session drew to a close, Artaud, seating
himself upon the stairs, unleashed a long scream, an admixture of agony and
ecstasy, to the total expiration of his breath.

Artaud was pleased with the work and very excited about the prospect of
reaching a wider audience. The recording was scheduled to be broadcast
during a late evening slot on 2 February 1948. It never was. Considered
blasphemous, scatological and fearful of public scandal, the director of the
Radio Station, Wladimir Porche, censored it in its entirety just twenty-four
hours before its planned transmission. Artaud was devastated. In a letter
dated 4 February 1948, his indignation is expressed directly to Porche:

Permit me to be a little more than just revolted and scandalized by the
measure which has just been taken at the last minute against my Radio
Broadcast: To Have Done With The Judgement Of God [...], yes there are
violent words, shocking remarks, but in an atmosphere so outside life that I
don't believe that any public could possibly be scandalized by it. Everyone,
including the coal man, should understand that we are fed up with vulgarity
- physical as well as physiological, and LONG FOR a fundamental change OFÊÊ

(Artaud, A., ed. Schumacher, C., 1989: pp. 197-198.)

On the morning of 4 March, in his Ivry pavilion on the Paris outskirts (10),
Artaud was found dead by the gardener; frozen in a sitting position at the
foot of his bed after self-administering a huge overdose of chloral hydrate.
He had been aware that he was dying of cancer. The original recording of To
Have Done With The Judgement Of God had been completely erased by the Radio
Station, yet Artaud's final major work was not obliterated and his last
scream did not fall into the void of silence. Illicit copies, taken from the
personal tapes of Blin and Thevenin did survive and were freely circulated
in Paris in the 50s and later internationally (11). At some point in time a
friend who had recently visited Paris gave one of these copies to Hijikata
Tatsumi. Whether the actual text was translated is open to speculation, but
since Hijikata did have close friends fluent in French, (amongst them the
novelist, Shibusawa Tatsuhiko, who translated Marquis de Sade's One Hundred
Days of Sodom into Japanese) one may safely presume so.

In both the case of Artaud and Hijikata, language, in its more familiar ways
of usage, is pushed aside and its employment is often strange and equivocal.
In his last interview, given to Jean Desternes from Le Figaro Litteraire on
28 February, 1948, Artaud related: " I have always been haunted for so long,
haunt-ted by a kind of writing which is not the norm." (Barber, S., 1993:
pp. 161). Hijikata freely coined his own terminologies, such as nadare-ame
(dribbling candy) and ma-gusare (rotting space), ignoring grammatical
correctness by disconnecting the joints and speaking in image and metaphor,
evoking associations beyond the conveyance of logical language.

On the surface of things the correlation between word and body is not so
firmly grasped, given the ingrained dichotomy of mind/body prevalent in the
West. For both Artaud and Hijikata, however, word and body were
intrinsically interrelated, interdependent. That Artaud could not write or
deliver speeches without wild bodily gesticulation or movement, even rarely
converse, is well known by the numerous accounts of those who came into his
presence (he actually caused damage to some of the technical equipment
during the recording of To Have Done With The Judgement of God). To fuel and
order his creations Artaud had to physically move (12), and, as if in a
strange mirror image, Hijikata needed words and sounds to choreograph the

During his training work Hijikata used streams of word images for the
evocation of movements. Ashikawa Yoko (13) describes their work together:

For almost ten years our daily routine began with his drumming on a small
drum stretched with animal hide [...] and with his words, which he uttered
in a stream like poetry. When we danced, the images were all derived from
his verbal expression. Without words we could not dance, so it was like
following a poem.

(Ashikawa, Y., ed. Holbourn, M., 1987: pp.16.)

When commissioning a poster from Nakanishi Natsuyuki (14) he applied the
same criteria. Nakanishi relates:

'Thistle,' okay? 'thistle,' 'hunting dog,' 'the translator of the wind,'
'the first flower,' 'the burning dog's tooth,' 'saddle.' That's the cover of
a horseÕs back Okay? And also this, Nakanishi; it's not an edible image: 'an
ordinary meal.' And '17 years.' When I say seventeen years, do you think I'm
crazy? 'A stone thrown through the glass sign of a re-animation hospital.'
Are you taking note of this? Also 'frog.'" When he asked me if frogs were
toys to be dissected, I said "yes." Then he continued, "'tooth,' and 'Korean
whistle,' 'sulphur,' 'worms,' 'laughter,' 'boiling,' 'the sphere of love'"
-The sphere of love? What's that? "'It's a woman's womb. 'Korean volubis,'
that's a poisonous plant,'" he said. "'Dreaming potion,' 'comb,'
'greenhouse,'Ê 'shelled insect,' that's a ladybug." Then Hijikata added,
"Make aÊÊ poster with these words."

(Viala, J. & Masson-Sekine, N., 1988: pp. 190.)

Tanaka, who had a great deal of dance experience before he worked with
Hijikata, (15) was surprised by his method of working. Hijikata took
thousands of images from nature, elemental images: storm clouds, wind, sun,
rain, and the like, and applied them throughout Tanaka's body, insisting he
remember them. Hijikata literally wrote dance with words, words that, when
threaded together, had a semblance to Surrealist poetry. The term he applied
to this process of choreographing works by means of words was Butoh-fu
(Butoh notation). In a conversation with Suzuki Tadashi (16), Hijikata says:
"[...] dance is created in a space where words are few. Yet many words are
gradually becoming necessary, because this is a time when the body is
required to put words in order." (Hijikata, T., trans. Kurihara, N., 2000:

In the meter of rhythm of breath and vocalisation, words and syllables as
incantations produce a change, both physically and mentally, whereby the
unconscious is accessed and the possibility of re-constitution opens up. The
'dream body' is thus awakened and the physical body becomes its objectified
servant. This doesn't mean that the dancer is dreaming in an unconscious
manner, but rather is highly focused, concentrated, between two worlds.
Hijikata saw the human brain simply as a part of the human body, in Ankoku
Butoh there is no mind/body dichotomy, and, as Kurihara Nanako says: "For
Hijikata the body is a metaphor for words and words are a metaphor for the
body" (Kurihara, N., 2000: pp.16.)

The literary texts that facilitated many of his early performances, (and
those which he choreographed for others), were a means to an end that did
not end with itself. The works upon which Hijikata based some of his earlier
choreographies: the Decadent authors and poets, Marquis de Sade, Count de
Lautreamont and Charles Baudelaire (all of whom were embraced by the first
generation Surrealists) and the more contemporaneous Jean Genet and Mishima
Yukio, were not seminal influences upon the plastic form of Ankoku Butoh
(save perhaps for Genet), in any philosophical and direct manner. An
understanding of the way in which these works, and the poetic utterances,
were employed can only erase such misinterpretations: as words as purveyors
of images to be written upon the body.

In the recording of To Have Done With The Judgement Of God language is
fragmented replete with poetic metaphors, analogies, plays upon words,
re-inventions of words, and so forth. It is not only a savage attack on
politics, society, religion, but upon language itself. Breath, word,
syllable, and scream are as transgressive as the textual content. The
conglomeration of texts, laughter, cries, incantatory word reformations, cut
and meticulously assembled against a cacophony of xylophone notes and
grating percussion was intended to be physically experienced, to force the
body to be intensely felt. Artaud worked with the development of a new
language, one that was replete with anatomical reference, that soldered
words together, invented glossopoeia (e.g.
voctrovi/canodirima/cratirima/enectimi) which was devoid of signification,
pneumatics, grammaticism and freed from translational interpretation: a
speech before the birth of the word. The latter he describes in a letter to
Peter Watson, 27 July 1946 as: "all silly incantations in gibberish, fit for
calling back the sham dead"Ê (Artaud, A., ed. Schumacher, C., 1989: pp.176.)
(E.g. In the poem Here Lies he says: "All true language is incomprehensible/
[...] from the pain sawed from the bone/ [...] from the
pain/sweating/inside/THE BONE." (Artaud, A., ed. Hirschman, J., 1965: pp.
245.) This language of "corporeal vocables", a gesticulation of blows
brought forth from the abysmal depths of the body, was intended be carried
upon the concentrated primal breath (17), to be sonically impactuous and
thus read aloud.

For Artaud the transformation and incantation of language into "corporeal
vocables" and for Hijikata the sound-image poetics are intended to affect
the mind-body in a direct psychophysical manner. This then opens up the
possibility for the dis-identification, the expulsion of the false idea of
the body, as given by mass culture, society and religion. This body, which
Artaud sees as a body merely "borrowed" that submits to external factors,
is:Ê "[...] a body that comes from the other, from others, the hopeless
human mass that has never known that it was anything else but a body"
(Maeder, T., 1978: pp: 247.)

Artaud's experimentation with breath, incantatory crushed syllable and vocal
resonance, may well be seen as the search for the effectiveness of the
shaman's song; means by which vocalisation serves a Ôprimitive' (18) and
sacred function. The urgent plea that underscores his late work is for the
confrontation of organic suffering, the exposure of vulnerability, and for
the body to undergo a transformation as a self- created death and re-birth.



It was the exposure of the body, as it is: false, dislocated, suffering, and
the anarchic rejection of the consensual ideas of beauty, the violent
thrusting aside of all previously held dance conventions that induced the
post-war dance world of Japan to shiver in revulsion at the very first
public performance of Ankoku Butoh, entitled Kinjiki (19). Its subject also
shocked. Based on Mishima Yukio's homoerotic novel, Forbidden Colours,
Hijikata's performance piece, premiered as part of the 6th Annual Newcomer's
Performance by the All-Japan Art Dance Association (Zen nihon geitjutsu buyo
kyokai), in Tokyo on May 24, 1959, was devoid of any nicety or subtly to
which the society was accustomed. It caused uproar, spectators fleeing from
the hall before the piece had ended and many Association members threatening
to resign should anything of such nature be shown again. Hijikata was looked
upon as a dangerous rebel and expelled (20). Performances of Ankoku Butoh,
thereafter, took place in small 'underground' venues for members of the
artistic avant-garde elite, in rural settings, or on the streets. Hijikata,
as an innovative theatrical performer, was highly respected in such circles.

Rather than be utilised as a vehicle for the transmission of ideas, the
body, in Ankoku Butoh, is to be questioned, broken down, transformed.
Hijikata considered the body to be a repository for all the social ills. "He
was always angry about how our bodies are controlled historically." (Tanaka,
M., 1985: pp.146.) Recognising the overtly civilised/socialised body is so
dislocated from the natural body, that conscious intellect holds us in
metaphorical chains, Ankoku Butoh may be viewed as an attempted emasculation
from the prison, from imposed cultural authoritarianism, a dismemberment to
restore a wild inner flame within the heart of darkness. The body has to be
metaphorically dismembered to retrieve the 'true body' what the critic,
Ichikawa Miyabi, called "the body that has been robbed" (Klein, S. B., 1988:
pp. 33.)Ê Hijikata makes the analogy of different skins:

This cast-off skin is totally different from that other skin that our body
has lost. They are divided in two. One skin is that of the body approved by
society. The other skin is that which has lost its identity.

(Hijikata, T., ed. Holbourn, M., 1987: pp. 121.)

Such a position echoes Artaud. To emasculate the body it must be put "on the
autopsy table " in order that its anatomy may be "reconstituted" (Artaud,
A., trans. Corti, V., 1995: pp. 76.) Considering, likewise, the body to be a
seething cauldron stewing society's poisons. This body should be
dismembered, cleansed and reconstructed. In the Conclusion of To Have Done
With The Judgement Of God the interchange between Artaud and 'a
psychiatrist' runs thus:

Now it is man we must decide to emasculate at this time.

How so? How so? No matter how one tries to understand you, you are mad, mad
enough to be tied up.

By putting him once more, but the last time, on the autopsy table so as to
reconstitute his anatomy. I say, so as to reconstitute his anatomy. Man is
sick because he is badly made.

(Artaud, A. trans. Corti, V., 1995: pp: 76.)

And the reconstitution is of "a body without organs":

When you have given him a body without organs then you will have freed him
from all his automatisms and returned him to his true freedom.


The Ankoku Butoh body, dislocated and emptied, stands as a 'corpse', become
a 'vessel to 'be danced by' energies and potentialities beyond the scope of
rigid socialisation and freed from the dictorial control of individual
'daylight' consciousness and the constriction of time. The performer becomes
a ritual 'bloody sacrifice', suspended with a certain derangement of the
senses, a body in crisis.

Hijikata's starting point was the body in crisis. As a child growing up in
the Tohoku he was fascinated by how the mind turned inwards resulting in
strange patternings of physical instinctual responses when traumatised or
un-self-conscious. In Kazedaruma, a speech given on the eve of the Butoh
Festival, Tokyo, February 9, 1985, Hijikata stated:

Early spring was the busy season on the farm. Everyone went out to work in
the fields. There was no one in the neighbouring houses. Children three or
four years old tied to large pillars in every home. I would sneak over to
take a peek at those kids. They made strange movements; one fed food to his
own hand - what an odd thing to do! [...] The child was treating his hand as
if it weren't part of himself. It was as if it wasn't his own hand. [...]
From time to time, he would try to twist off his ears and all sorts of other
things. Although this is really an absurd story, in it are the original
movements that greatly influenced me later on in my dance.

(Hijikata, T., ed. Holbourn, M., 1987: pp.125.)

Maro Akaji, one of Hijikata's disciples, recounted that Hijikata had
repeatedly asked him "What is a hand? What is a foot? What is walking?"
(Kasai, T., 2000: personal correspondence.) Hijikata's questioning
instructions are designed to propel the recipient into a state of
consciousness wherein the body becomes objectified. In objectification the
subject becomes dis-identified, from the socially prescribed body, from the
dichotomy of controlled and controller.

The traumatised body, the mind-body, in extreme crisis, undergoes an
automatic dislocation from its habitual mode of being: enters a state of
non-objectification. Hjikata's childhood memory of almost drowning in a mud
pool (21) so impacted the subsequent expression of his art that he claimed
that he and his dance were "born of the mud" and wrote in Wind Daruma: "I
may not know death, but it knows me" (Hijikata, T, trans. Kurihara, N.,
2000: pp: 77). Artaud, of course, was no stranger to near death experience
(22). The electro-shock treatments given at Rodez, his drug addiction and
his observations of the other interned patients gave him recourse to explore
the traumatised body both directly and experientially, and also in a
distanced manner.

Artaud and Hijikata sought to express that un-self-consciousness, that
flashpoint of crisis, dislocation, disruption, whereby objectification is
accentuated, freeing the mind-body from the constrictive reins of normative
consciousness, habitual societal dictates and identification. Both, it
seems, believed that in such a state the restoration of "the body that has
been robbed" is made possible, that the body may undergo transmutation,
metamorphosis, "re-constitute its anatomy" from a space wherein life and
death, past and present, the dream and reality cease to be in

In his text Deranging the Actor (Aliener l' acteur), first published in
L'Arbalete (No.13, 1948), Artaud advocates the actor become "methodically
traumatised", under the inducement of a trance-like delirium wherein the
performance technique translates into a "feverish activity of the limbs",
and " a terrible storm of passion which checks itself on the limbs of the
actor" (Artaud, A., ed. Schumacher, C., 1989: pp. 185.). The body becomes
anarchic, deranged spasmodic, exhibiting a heightened consciousness that
resurrects a buried sensitivity and makes visible a reality, a potentiality
that, in normal circumstance remains hidden.

Altered states of consciousness were, of course, explored by the first
generation Surrealists (23). The exteriorisation of subconscious contents,
to seek "bring the dream into reality" and facilitate this symbiotic
unification, were, of course, the corner stones of Surrealism. Andre Breton,
the 'Pope' of Surrealism, states in his Second Manifesto of Surrealism:

Everything tends to make us believe that there exists a certain point of the
mind at which life and death, the real and the imagined, past and future,
the communicable and the incommunicable, high and low, cease to be perceived
as contradictions. Now, search as one may one will never find any other
motivating force in the activities of the Surrealists than the hope of
finding this point.

(Breton, A., 1972: pp. 123-24)

For Breton, due in his strong belief in the "causality of desire", it was
the rediscovery of the magical use of verbal language, the evocative and
hallucinatory power of poetry, the word as 'base metal' and purveyor of
power that would transmute reality. For Artaud and Hijikata this
transmutation was a "physiological revolution", a metamorphosis of matter,
the accent being upon the physical concretisation of vocal utterance, upon
the breakdown and re-constitution of the languaged body.Ê For both Artaud
and Hijikata the body, the fleshy human skeletal frame, was the site by
which the exteriorisations of subconscious contents were to find final
manifestation. Yet, it was not merely the personal realm of dream
symbologies, which many Surrealist artists plundered, nor any form of
spiritual transcendence, that concerned Artaud or Hijikata, but a deeper
substratum of experience, where time is liquefied and space fluid, that is
believed to be contained within the body itself. It appears to me, that it
was from this state of being, concretised in skin and muscle, that Artaud
held that performer is able to birth, re-create the body by an independent
act of will.

Hijikata placed great emphasis upon an altered state of consciousness in
that it propitiating contact with the dead (24):

Something is hiding in our subconscious, collected in our unconscious body,
which will appear in each detail of our expression. Here, we can rediscover
time with elasticity, sent by the dead. We can find Butoh in the same way we
can touch our hidden reality. Something can be born, can appear, living and
dying in a moment.

(Hijikata, H., ed. Holborn, M., 1987: pp. 121.)

Hijikata's Ankoku Butoh is a tapping into the reservoirs of memory, both
personal and collective, that he believed to be locked within the body, in
every nerve, muscle and joint. It is a tearing and a clawing at the darkness
within, a descent into the blackness of nigredo (25). This, accordingly,
facilitates an entering into a position, or state of being, wherein one
becomes present to oneself and resuscitates the primary embodied identity of
origins, independent of all social, political, moral and religious
constrictions. God is expulsed from the stage and the space becomes absent
of all theology.

Artaud advocates that, when the performer is able to achieve such a
derangement of senses to the degree of re-capturing, and able to make
explicit, that which has been lost, one must:

... then teach him to dance backwards again/ as in the frenzy of the dance
halls/ and that reversal will be his proper place.

(Artaud, A., trans. Corti, V., 1995: pp 76.)

The ambition of The Theatre of Cruelty was to have the performer ritually
take him/herself apart and re-constitute the body on the boards directly in
front of the spectator. It would, however, be an erroneous misdemeanor to
consider that the "trance-like delirium" and consequent "feverish activity
of the limbs" is a condition advocated in which the performer relinquishes
all control. It is not a submergence into the chaos of the subconscious in
order that the performer becomes a puppet pulled by subconscious forces, a
surrender of part awareness, but rather a harnessing and a fully conscious,
super conscious effort of implacable intent: cruelty as "necessity" and
"rigor". This necessitates a performer who holds a precision of focus and
intensity of concentration beyond that of the average performer.



In a preparatory text for a poem intended for inclusion in To Have Done With
The Judgement of God Artaud says:

The theatre of cruelty has been created to complete this deployment/ and to
undertake, by a new dancing of man's body [...]/ The theatre of cruelty
wants to make the eyelids dance in pairs with the/ elbows, the kneecaps, the
thighbones and the toes/ and wants to be seen.

(Artaud, A., ed. Schumacher, C., 1989: pp.173.)

The question is now raised as to whether it has.

Hijikata's performance, Hijikata Tatsumi to nihonjin: Nikutai no Hanran
(Hijikata Tatsumi and the Japanese: Rebellion of the Body) of 1968, was the
most violent, heretical and anarchic of all his performances. Certainly,
Rebellion of the Body could be seen to be the most affirmative and
illustrative embodiment of Artaudian advocacy, irrespective of whether
Hijikata had prior access to Artaud's work.

Frequently Hijikata absented himself for long periods of introspection, and
he had withdrawn into seclusion for almost a year prior to this performance.
In the month preceding it, he brought his body into peak condition by
fasting on a diet of milk and miso, engaging in intense physical exercise
and tanning his skin under artificial lights.

The performance was of approximately two hours duration. In the foyer a
number of objects were displayed by the Surrealist artists, Takaigushi and
Nakanishi, and in front of the entrance stood a horse. The piece began with
a loud screeching sound as a model airplane, after encircling the audience,
crashed into a large metal plate at the back of the stage, followed by a
sustained silence. Wearing a bride's kimono backwards, but with no
application of make-up, Hijikata entered. He was lying upon a wooden litter
carried by several men through the audience and onto the stage, accompanied
by a procession of animals, including a rabbit on a platter atop a pole and
a pig in a cradle. As he made the entrance, Hijikata, muttered, groaned and
sang, writhing and twisting in dance movement. Once on stage, he ripped away
the kimono to reveal his naked body with a golden phallus strapped to the
groin and tore into a barbaric convulsive dance, smashing his bodily form
into the suspended metal plates in the flies. The excessively erotic and
alternately violent impactuous movements flung out chaotic fractured light
reflections, conjuring an archaic fertility rite. After this, with his bare
hands, he took hold of a rooster and wrung its neck. Donning then, a red
satin ball gown with a white train, a grotesque, disjunctive and humorous
mimicry of Western ballroom and other conventional dance forms was embarked
upon. In the final scenes, Hijikata, spread-eagled, suspended, swaddled in
white and tied with ropes, was hauled upwards, high above the heads of the
spectators until his body disappeared into the dark shade of the roof.
Ashikawa Yoko describes the reaction:

Responses were extreme. Those who didn't like it, felt they had been made to
see something they did not want to see, something offensive; they [...] felt
they were being attacked or scolded from the stage.

(Ashikawa, Y., ed. Holbourn, M., 1987: pp. 16.)

The students, however, were delighted by it and sympathetic to Hijikata's
cause of breaking the body free of the constraints laid upon it by the
establishment (26) and Murobushi Ko (27) was so impressed that he
immediately joined Hijikata's studio:

This was not elegant or aesthetic, but wild, vivid, delicate, the intensity
overwhelmed me. No one can show, be NOW, as radically as Hijikata. He became
dance itself, the Poet of Darkness.

(Stein, B. S., 1986: pp. 116.)

The performance epitomizes a barbaric ritualized sacrificial act, an
anarchic breaking free of the social skin and a retrieval/ resurrection
where death and birth share the stage in simultaneity. Not since the
notorious Kinjiki of 1959 had Hijikata caused such a wave of public outcry
or applause. In fury and spasm, with wit and deliberation, Hijikata
dismantled the "borrowed" body, the "other" body, exposed it and flung it
into the faces of the spectators.

The responses of Ashikawa, and others, suggests that Rebellion of the Body
epitomised and made a reality Artaud's vision:

... theatre is not a scenic parade where one develops virtually and
symbolically - a myth: theatre is rather this crucible of fire and real meat
where by an anatomical trampling of bone, limbs and syllables, bodies are
renewed and the mythical act of making a body presents itself physically and

(Artaud, A., ed. Schumacher, J., 1965: pp. 186.)

Ashikawa says:

In the course of a two-hour performance, he started as a thirty-nine year
old, and gradually he became younger and younger. He became thirty-five,
then he was twenty-five, eighteen, twelve, and I remember thinking there
must be a secret. This must be the secret of dance.

(Ashikawa, Y., ed. Holbourn, M., 1987: pp. 16.)

Theatre thus engaged in, and as envisioned by Artaud, is an invocation of a
molten core, a plunge into the darkness, and the performance a bloody ritual
sacrifice, a celebration of the primal and infinite cyclical
creative/destructive force of nature for the benefit of all gathered and
beyond; an enactment, a mirroring, of the great drama of nature itself. The
performer becomes a bloody ritual sacrifice that destroys and re-makes
him/herself instigates his/her own death and dismemberment, re-formation and
birth. The actor/dancer is self-destructed, self-created, independent of and
not reliant upon "the Judgment of God".

Artaud struggled with his Catholicism, alternately adhering to it, then
venting torrents of blasphemy and denial, he invariably related to the
notion of a universal power as "God", prior to the recording of To Have Done
With The Judgment Of God, which was his final vehement renunciation.
Hijikata had no such belief in any concept of a supreme creator God, and did
not base his work in any philosophical or religious theology. "There is no
philosophy before Butoh. It is only possible that a philosophy may come out
of Butoh" (Bergmark, J., 1991: pp.1.)Ê he maintained. The energies he
invoked, as in ArthurÕs late work, were not conceived as theological or
religious but brought up from the depths of his own body, nature's own fiery
and chaotic forces. The violence of Anoka Booth was an expression of
Hijikata's response to a body infiltrated by modernity, a raging against the
seepage from social institutionalism that had entered every nook and cranny,
blocking his true position in nature's schemata. The self-tortuous
fragmentation of Rebellion of the Body was a cathartic performance to
release the embedded socio-cultural elements conditioned in the fibers of
the body. Like To Have done With The Judgment Of God, it was a raging
renunciation of society, of all of its culture, art and religion, and as
such aligned itself with ArthurÕs re-assessment of theatre and re-definition
of 'cruelty':

The theatre is the scaffold, the gallows, the trenches, the crematorium oven
of the lunatic asylum. Cruelty: massacred bodies.

(Barber, S., 1993: pp. 132.)

If, we theoretically, accept that Hijikata did, indeed, succeed in creating
the theatre which Artaud strove toward, the aim of which was to restoration
of the natural "body that has been robbed", or the birthing of a "new body",
a cursory speculative glance may be cast at the possible reasons as to why
Hijikata, rather than Artaud's Western adherents, managed actualize such

Under the veneer of traditional strict conservatism and coveted Westernized
values, the Japanese have an ingrained dissociation of identification with
the physical body, as Hijikata says: "a fundamentally anarchic concept" of

The fact that there is a face beneath the hat is obvious, yet the Japanese
still find it strange. We immediately feel that the body is bound up with
something strange. (Viala, J, & Masson-Sekine, N., 1988: pp.

The vast majority of people, particularly Westerners, as Artaud observed,
are over identified with the body, unaware, for the most part, of being
"anything else but a [borrowed] body". Such a position does not pre-dispose
to the ruthless and honest examination of the body that is an absolute
necessity for The Theatre of Cruelty. Moreover, the work needed to be
engaged with in relation to this area alone would take years of strenuous
and dedicated application. Traditional Western theatre is based upon
systematized methodology applied from without, not a tearing at the body's
fabric in direct discovery. This is not only true, of course, of traditional
theatre, but also of more non-traditional modes of performance, worldwide.
Observing the new "underground" art scene of Japan, Hijikata, in an
interview with Shibusawa Tatsuhiko, states:

They create a desert around themselves, and then complain there is no water.
Why don't they try drinking from the wells within their own bodies? They
should instead drop a ladder deep into their bodies and climb down it. Let
them pluck the darkness from within their own bodies. But always they seek
resolutions from outside themselves.

(Hijikata, T., trans. Kurihara, N., 2000: pp.51.)

"Plucking the darkness" necessitates a direct confrontation with suffering
and this, obviously, has less appeal to the majority than addressing it by
means of symbolism, narrative or demonstration, whether this be for the
performer or the spectator (as reactions to both Artaud's and Hijikata's
performances testify). What was obviously required was a personality not so
very different from Artaud's own: "a crazy man" as Endo Tadashi described
Hijikata, an fearless innovator who stated in Inner Material/Material that:
"you have to pull you stomach up high in order to turn your solar plexus
into a terrorist" (Hijikata, T., Trans. Kurihara, N., 2000: pp. 36).

There is also the matter of the highly concentrated and focused state
necessary for the transmogrification of the body upon the stage, as
mentioned in the preceding chapter, since this is something that also falls
outside of the application of normal dance techniques, or the imitative
following of directives. The Theatre of Cruelty demands that the actor does
not 'perform' in the usual accepted sense, does not simply re-gurgitate,
re-construct something previously learnt dog-fashion, but is actually fully
present in the 'now', tearing down, re-constructing, actually, in the very
moment of delivery.

If ever there could be said to be a secret to Hijikata's Ankoku Butoh it is
the Butoh-body itself. The Butoh body is a literal translation of Butoh-tai,
'tai' meaning an attitude, a mental-physical state, a state wherein
opposites are held in equatorial tension; that which the Butoh dancer Stuart
Lynch (29) referred to as: "zero point" (7April, 2000: Personal
discussion.). It is the highly focused concentration at this point, which
led Professor Kasai Toshiharu to coin the phrase "un-dance" by which he
means "a deviated dance that is not performed in the ordinary sense" (Kasai,
T., 2000)

These factors: Hijikata's essential Japanese-ness, his wild savagery,
revolutionary spirit and the employment of the Butoh-body/Butoh-Tai, along
with his attitude to modernity, were perhaps decisive in making him the
perfect vehicle through which Artaud's vision of theatre could finally be


Antonin Artaud and Hijikata Tatsumi, despising the constraining corruptness
and artificiality of society, along with the facile, mediocre and shallow
art produced, struggled, with passionate vengeance, to tear off the mask,
reveal the 'underbelly' and re-constitute art, in order that it may serve,
what they considered to be its proper sacred and pure function. This shared
position resulted in independent aims and works that sought to reach deep
into the substratum of human existence and touch the mythopoeic,
pre-linguistic level of being from which a re-juvenation, a re-construction,
would be made possible.

As has been stated, Artaud's vision for his Theatre of Cruelty, was never
realized during his lifetime, although his last major work, the recording
for Radio of 1947-1948, Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu (To Have Done
With The Judgment Of God), he considered to be a "model in miniature" of his
intentions. Hijikata's 1968 performance of Hijikata Tatsumi to nihonjin:
Nikutai no hanran (Hijikata Tatsumi and the Japanese: Rebellion of the
Body), however, may certainly be considered an embodiment of Artaud's
redefined epitaph of 'cruelty', and the theatre/dance form he created,
Ankoku Butoh, as an exemplar of Artaudian ideology. The all-consuming act of
destruction and creation of the human body before the spectator, which
Artaud so desired, was obviously realized by Hijikata.

Whether Hijikata had had prior knowledge, or access, to the tape recording
of Artaud's planned 1948 radio broadcast, or not, before this particular
performance, has not yet been verified. In the last analysis, it seems to
matter little, and such information, although a matter of interest, cannot
be considered vital. Of far greater import, in relation to this study at
least, has been the exploration of the similarities between the positions,
aims and achievements of these two artists. It really is hardly surprising,
on this basis alone, that Hijikata would value ArtaudÕs tape; we would
hardly expect it to be otherwise.

Ankoku Butoh, for Hijikata, could never be finished. Within it is to be
found no final resolution, for it is an ongoing process, a body in a
perpetual state of crisis, forever shredding, retrieving, and skins. To
look, therefore, upon either Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty, or Hijikata's
Ankoku Butoh, as ideologies and art forms of the past, as finished, or
irrelevant to today would be an erroneous misdemeanor. That their influence
is still continuing evidences just how indispensable and valuable their
contributions have been. In the postmodern, computer-based world our bodies
are continually bombarded, violated and being eroded.

When Hijikata moved from his native Tohoku, situated in the rural northern
part of Atika, to Tokyo city, the people he met there alarmed him:

...inhabitants of the transparent mechanical ÒworldÓ, without any ties to
bleeding nature [...] .I could not help seeing them as corpses.

(Hijikata, T., trans. Kurihara, N., 2000: pp. 23.)

Hijikata's ties had never become severed:Ê "Bleeding nature always overflows
the allotments of history and sociology, and my gaze never wavered from it":
(ibid. pp.23.)Ê If we are not to become as corpses, our theatre must
continue to overflow with blood; and the directives and examples left by
Hijikata and Artaud listened to, examined, extended and experimented with
into the future. For, in the words of Artaud in Deranging the Actor:

The theatre is the state, the place, the point, at which to grasp the human
anatomy, and through it cure and rule over life.

(Artaud, A., ed. Schumacher, C., 1989 pp: 185.)

In the final analysis, given the perspectives of this study, Hijikata's
Ankoku Butoh is, indeed, definable as a 'cruel' theatre, a theatre where the
performer 'bleeds' upon the boards, as envisaged by Artaud in a draft
variant of the conclusion of To Have Done With the Judgment Of God:

... a theatre of cruelty which dances and shouts so as to make the organs
fall to sweep the microbes out and in the crackless anatomy man from which
all that is crannied was made to fall to make good health rule without god.

(Artaud, A., trans. Corti, V., 1965: pp. 81.)


1. Grotowski developed independently of Artaud's influence. According to
Peter Brook, Grotowski related to him that someone had said, "Everything you
do is based on Artaud", but neither Grotowski nor Brook had encountered
Artaud's work at that time - which was the mid 60s. (Brook, P., 1989: pp

2. His notorious Vieux-Colombier performance, 1947, was full of violence,
exasperated ranting, a vindictive assault upon society and the psychiatric
profession, and a directed hurling of abuse at the audience. In its
aftermath he wrote a self-defensive letter to Breton, dated 28 February,
1947: " I abandoned the stage because I realized the fact that the only
language which I could have with an audience was to bring bombs out of my
pockets and throw them in the audience's face with a blatant act of
aggression ... and blows are the only language in which I feel capable of
speaking." and called upon like-minded people to throw metaphorical bombs at
a society he considered to be hostile.

3. Although he himself has cited Hijikata as the principle founder of
Ankoku Butoh (Dunning, J., 1985. pp. 27), Ohno Kazuo (1906-), one-time
student of Eguchi Takaya, has often been labeled as co-founder. Certainly he
was greatly instrumental in its formations, being Hijikata's earliest
collaborator. The two met in 1954 and the contrariety of their
personalities, the dark anarchistic violence of Hijikata and the ethereal
expressionistic gentleness of Ohno, energized the creative processes
necessary for experimentation and discovery. However, Hijikata was
undoubtedly the formulator and architect of Ankoku Butoh and the term
denotes his particular style and aesthetic. Many of Ohno's early Butoh
pieces, Notre Dame des Fleurs, Rose-colored Dance, (actual duos with
Hijikata), and the later, most famous dances, including My Mother and La
Argentina were choreographed by Hijikata. Neither was Ohno Hijikata's
student. Collaborators of Hijikata went on to establish their own stylistic
configurations from his seminal influence.Ê Tanaka states in an interview:
"Many [...] people are using the name of Hijikata. They say that they
studied with Hijikata, but he always claimed that he never taught them. He
said that his only student was Ashikawa Yoko." (Tanaka, M., 1986: pp. 147.)

4.ÊÊ Shingeki adopted much Western classical literature, methodology, styles
and so forth, to create productions with the aim to be 'thoroughly modern',
naturalistic dramas dealing with the social, political current issues and
the 'everyday'. It was a textually based theatre meant to be educative in

5.Ê Artaud had studied both Occidental and Oriental philosophy and
metaphysics from very early on in his career. In 1931 he saw a performance
given by Balinese dancers at the Exposition Colonaile, which had a seminal
influence upon his formulations set forth in The Theatre of Cruelty
manifestos of 1932 and 1933 respectively. Two essays contained within The
Theatre and its Double evidence his fascination for Oriental thought and
aesthetic, namely: On Balinese Theatre (1931) and Oriental and Occidental
Theatre (1932-35.)

6.Ê Ankoku Butoh, was the name of Hijikata's seminal form. Later, as dancers
developed from this beginning, the overall term Butoh came to be employed,
sometimes with other words added to denote specific styles (i.e. the Butoh
Ma of Endo Tadashi and Butoh Tango of Sartor Gustavo). Further removed are
works based in or inspired by the Ankoku Butoh/ Butoh aesthetic defined as
post Butoh, and others may simply exhibit a degree of influence.ÊÊ

7.Ê At a Butoh conference held at the Royal Festival Hall, London on 8 April
2000, I had a chance to meet and talk with Barber. He admitted that "he was
not a Butoh expert nor a Butoh researcher" and in reply to one of my
questions stated that he was unsure when Hijikata first became aware of
Artaud, but believed it to be "sometime in the mid 60s".


8.Ê Tokyo born, Tanaka Min (1945-) formulator of Body Weather, has, since
the 70s conducted workshops based upon developed exercises. He founded the
company Mai-juku in 1981, was a founding member of plan B (performance space
in Tokyo), and in 1985 he, and other members of Mai-juku, started the Body
Weather farm in the mountain village of Hakushu to explore the origin of
dance through farming life. Between 1982 and 1986 he worked closely with
Hijikata. Tanaka identifies himself as "the legitimate son of Tatsumi

9. Artaud was pronounced incurably insane by Jaques Lacan at Rouen after
being deported from Ireland, straight jacketed, and incarcerated at Le
Harve, Rouen. He spent the years 1937-1946 confined in psychiatric
hospitals. Between June 1943 and December 1944 Artaud received a total of 51
electro-shock treatments, which caused him intense physical and
psychological distress. He sustained fractured vertebrae during the third
application and from then on continually pleaded for the treatment to be
stopped, he was ignored. Following one treatment Artaud went into a coma for
ninety minutes and was proclaimed dead before regaining consciousness.
FerdiereÕs assistant, Jaques Latremoliere, executed the treatments.

10. After his release from Rodez Artaud's friends took him to Dr Delmas'
clinic in Ivry-sur-Seinne.At Artaud's request he took up residence in a
pavilion in the grounds rather than stay in the main building.

11. In 1995 a commercial edition became available, complied with other
recordings and put on compact disc by Rene Farabet.

12. Artaud's series of painting (portraits) begun in 1945 were executed with
typical fury and violence. He would scrape his pencils into the paper so
hard that often the paper would tear, crush crayons, pulverize carbon, burn
the image with cigarette ends as he gesticulated and hummed fragments of his
invented language. Often this language would be scribbled around the edges
of the image. Additionally, as he talked to visitors in his Ivry pavilion he
would occasionally raise a hammer and smite a block of wood, to
aid/demonstrate his verbal communication.

13. Ashikawa Yoko met Hijikata in 1966 and possessed no prior dance
training. She became Hijikata's foremost heir, and only student. Through
her, Hijikata sought to discover and make manifest the intrinsic essence of
the female body.

14. Nakanishi Natsuyuki. (1935-), Tokyo based Surrealist/neo-Dada painter.
Founder member of The Hi-Red Center, he often helped Hijikata with his stage

15.Ê After studying dance created his own original forms by exploration of
the body based on improvisations, often dancing naked in urban and natural
landscapes in an attempt to free his body from conventional aesthetics.

16. Suzuki Tadashi, avant-garde theatre director who developed his own
techniques and acting style founded upon the severe disciplines of Kabuki,
Noh and martial arts.

17.Ê In his essay Aesthetic Athletism (1935), also contained within The
Theatre and its Double, Artaud proposes a performance technique based upon a
radical system of "breathing's hieroglyphics". Borrowings from the Kabala,
Yoga and Chinese medicine support the text.

18. A quintessential element of the common currency of the avant-garde,
across time and different genres: 'primitivism.' Primitivism should not be
defined in terms of a neo-nostalgic hankering after a more simplistic and
uncultured means of expression solely for stylistic concern. It is more
defined by its serious explorations based upon the idea that there be a
pre-linguistical and mythopoeic level of the psyche into which the artist
can plunge in order to discover fundamental truths.

19. Kinjiki: See Appendices.

20.Ê Hijikata was banned along with the other dancer in the piece, Ohno
Yoshito, (Ohno Kazuo' s, then, young nine year old son.).

21. As a child Hijikata fell into a mud pool and almost drown, and later
jumped into a whirlpool. He heard the adults yelling, wondering if he were
dead. He says of the experiences, (which he was apt to repeat): "There and
then I was born again; I was born! Over and over, I was born and
transformed. It was no longer enough to be born only from the womb. I was
born many times over." (Holbourn, M., 1987: pp. 126.)

22.Ê Artaud declared that he remembers dying a number of times, in
Marseilles, Lyons, Mexico and at the Rodez asylum under electro-shock coma.
Each time he says he remembers seeing himself leave his body (although
concedes that in actuality, Òone never actually leaves the bodyÓ). In the
Rodez experience, he recalls hearing the attendants declaring him deceased
and planning to remove his body from treatment room.

23.Ê Artaud was an active and recognized participant in the Surrealist
movement from 1924 to 1926. He was nominated as Director of the Surrealist
Research Center early in 1925 and edited the third issue of La Revolution
surrealiste. The break with the Surrealists was due to a number of factors,
not least Artaud's involvement with film and theatre, which Breton, in
particular, saw as bourgeois and profit-making, and Artaud's rejection of
the movement becoming affiliated to political concerns (namely Communism).

24. The dead in Butoh are the memories of ancestors and memories of those
one has been associated with in life but who are absent. Hijikata held that
he had a 'dead' sister within his body and that it was she who taught him to
dance. This older sister, to whom he had been particularly attached, had
been sold into prostitution when he was still quite young.

25. Nigredo is term in Alchemy designating a stage in the process of the
'Great WorkÕ: the Dissolution. It means a plunge into blackness, chaos and

26.Ê The 60s were a time of great social upheaval in Japan.Ê The student
revolt of 1968 that had begun in Paris, was also evidenced; Japanese
students, likewise, organising protests and 'sit-ins'.

27.Ê Hijikata's Studio in Tokyo was named "Asbestos" due to his wife's
father being involved in the commerce of the material. His wife, Motofuji
Akiko, continues to run the studio.

28.Ê Denmark born, Stuart Lynch worked with Tanaka Min and Mai-juku Company,
and in collaboration with Australian Butoh dancer, Tess deQuincey. I
attended a two-day workshop he gave 7-8April, 2000, in which the techniques
of Tanaka 's ÒBody WeatherÓ training was introduced.



Artaud, A., (trans. Corti, V.), 1993: The Theatre and its Double: (London:

Artaud, A., (trans. Corti V.), 1968: Collected Works. Volume 1: (London:
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Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu on compact disc compiled by Rene
farabet, Atelier de Creation Radiophonique and Archives de lÕ Institut
National de lÕ Audovisuel, Paris: Andre Dimanche Editeur, 1995.