The Butoh ――A dedication to Tatsumi Hijikata

A girl /Tatsumi Hijikata 1973


14 The vaporized body





Vaporizing is one of the most important technique of Hijikata Butoh.

It divides the dance which is performed in the three dimensional world, and butoh which is performed among multi-dimensional other worlds.
He wrote and talk about "The weakened body" a lot, and not talking about "Voporized body" at all to the public.
It is the secret of secret which he cannot tell the others, because it was belong in the hidden logic world, he chose the word "Weakened body" was more proper to the public. But He himself just tried the vaporized body which is farther proceeding from the weakened body in his last experiment.
Weakened body is still belong the visible thing, but vaporized body is belonged in invisible world same as life and qualia. He need to explore the hidden technique to be invisible being, if he want to do the butoh of life.

He danced it in his last solo performance; "The Quiet House"(1974).

From the beginning to the end, he showed various development of vaporized body through the whole piece.

He wrote about it in the Butoh-Hu (Butoh Score) for the solo.

( View the chapter 8-10 about the first paragraph of the butoh score, crick here)


2. Important


“The deads transform the shape quietly and infinitely. It is not rare that they use shapes of others flexibly and naturally.


At the second paragraph, he wrote about the importance. “The deads transform the shape quietly and infinitely."
"Butoh is a standing dead body desperately" ---This is the definition of butoh by Hijikata Tatsumi. He showed what is the desperate standing dead body in his last performance. He became just the deads transforming the shape quietly and infinitely.

The dead don't have any physical shape. They are invisible vaporized body. Vaporized body is the most imporatnt technique in his last butoh. Only few people knows about it. Hijikata choreograpged it to only Yoko Ashikawa, but she wrote that she couldn't understand it at all. "Becuase I was too young to understand what is the death.", she wrote recently on her web site. The vaporizing technique was hidden for long years.


3. “Ash girl”


Soul and spirit

A bug


Nobody visits

Nobody can sleep

A flower of winter

Too much enrichment visited her and made her an extreme beautiful being

She learned various customs of the dead

A dream of the horsemeat

A man who was brought from the Japanese-style room

Animal =mad adult and child who sit on the chair

Dance the beginning part of the Kanchen with naked

Use the floor technique of Framan

A morning of storm



Pay attention to what the last sentsnce is "Materializing".

What does this mean?

It means all shapes from the beginning to the end of this paragraph are performed by invisible vaporized bodies


Remember that he started the butoh score from this sentence.

"A girl who plans evil deeds in the rain"

Ash girl is the first transformation of the girl who is planning evil deeds in the rain, she transforms into various vaporized bodies; from soul and spirit to the end of the paragraph.

Soul and spirit

A bug



A morning storm

All of these transformations are the contents of his dead sister's dreams which Hijikata found through sinking into his dead sister's body for long years. His sister transforms one after aonother with planning evil deeds. He did not use arms and hands at all. They are faded through whole piece. All of these transformations are danced by hidden skins. Also the complex sequence of transformation in the next paragraph are performed by hidden skins.


4. (Vaporizing)

1. Flower, rain, girl; To use all of them

Mask or bug

Doll-ash girl-washing-nobody visit anymore

2. Running and from bird to girl, the girl has vaporized and a sitting technique

3. witch-A is vaporizing

4. A which who connects to the salmon head is vaporizing

5. A great witch who dreams horsemeat is vaporizing

6. Various whereabouts are vaporizing

Water- Obon( A special days when deads return home)- a far forest- the dead


This is the concrete choreograph of the development of vaporizing process.


A girl who plans evil deeds in the rain of the first paragraph transforms from doll-ash girl-bird-girl to various witches and whereabouts.
Ash girl means the whole process from Soul and spirit to Materializing at the third paragraph above.

Pay attention to what the vaporizing process is so complex.

It is not simple process which happens at once, but so complicated processes which transform among multi-dimensions.

This is the essence of his last finding about life.

Life is always changing and streaming among multi-dimensions. it is so subtle and infinite transformation in non-dual world. If we want to dance the real life, it must be so complex as these. Feel each qualia of this paragraph; flower, rain, girl, mask, bug, and so on, by your hidden skins. Show all of these  changes of the world without using the normal gestures.


He wrote again to pay special attention about the essence of vaporizing process at the 15th paragraph.


15 Slow diffusion

keep it in mind not to vaporizing at once.

A development of vaporizing process should be tried in the vaporized condition.

This problem will become clear before long.


"A development of vaporizing" means just as we read at the fourth paragraph, the subtle and dynamic transformation from a girl to witch, great witch, and whereaboutst. Naturally they are already dead, it is necessary the transformations are developed in the vaporized condition.


The physical method of vaporizing is not to stand up like as human movement, but to shift from sitting solid body to standing and floating vaporized body like as a soul or spirit.

But it is not completed by only physical technique, we need to erase our ego and self which is unnecessary for butoh body.

To be able to erase them is the most important nature for butoh dancer, though it is not easy for all.

It is already not easy, but not only it, we need to segment the vaporizing process into multi dimensional developing process.

How delicate and how high standard of transformation it is!

We may be dejected, but if it is the only way to be the life, it is worth to do even if it need so long time.

Hijikata could show us the sample to be the life only once.

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