The Butoh ――A dedication to Tatsumi Hijikata

Various Archetypes of Chimera in the worldwide Myth 


19 Chimera as a necessity of life



Life is resonating with infinite kinds of qualia at the same time.

A cell is resonating with Gravity, Light, Air, Sound, Temperature, Wind, Memory, Dream, Illusion, Imagination and so on at every moment.

Life is an integration of the multi-dimensional resonance.

Tatsumi Hijikata who investigated in life through his whole life, knew deeply abouth the multi-resonance. Though he had never used the word of resonance, we can understand that he knew so deeply about it than any other persons, through reading his Butoh Score "Quiet House" by body.

One of the proof of it is "Chimera" which he used as a main technique.



10. (Mescaline)

The love affair of hands and the copy inside the skull are connected through discontinuity. A mescaline injection is given at a fingertip. Small flowers and small faces are born there.

Knitting with very fine thread, infinite mesh of stitches, a fire-breathing bird and a funny bear follow Mad King while swaying.

The head part then pursues another whereabouts.

All matieres (qualia of material or sense of material) are supported by the behind world. The compound eyes and multi-layering are muddled and become unified.


11. (Chimera)

Bellmer – to Funny Bear – to Horse Face

From Eyes of Deer – to Stick – to Beggar –Tiger

Bird with nose hair – Flower – to Mad King – Compound Eyes – Whereabouts

Bug – to Dog – Orangutan – to Ears of Fukusuke         

Ears being pricked – Dizziness – to Front and Back of Mirror

Things that are dying in the compound eyes

Doll – Mask – Papaya – Firefly – Development of a wooden board        

There are small flowers and so on

Horse Face – Girl Face – Dog – Spoon

Unification of Bug and Tree – to Behind World – A being who tries sudden development, following the path of a plant



Every year, I have experienced that so rich unique dance were created by student through the chimera practice.

It was my big question why Chimera effects student's creativity so strongly for long time. But, now I understand the reason finally.


In chimera practice, we put three kind of qualia into the body, for example, chair, cow, and vapor, and so on.

In Hijikata's butoh score,


"A fire-breathing bird and a funny bear follow Mad King while swaying"  

The head part pursues another whereabouts."


At first, A mad king is walking. And some part of body becomes funny bear, and the other part becomes fire bird. When the three qualia made a Chimera body, the fourth qualia guide your head to another direction (of whereabout) . This is the first level of Chimera body.


In the 11th chapter, the number of qualia increase to infinite.

'Chimera body' develops to 'Chimera sequence'.

Then the mysteriousness is deepened. 

The base body is 'Bellmer'. It is a strange doll which has spire shaped joints. Bellemer is a kind of Kugutsu body.

And slowly second and third qualia enter and become a chimera body.

When forth and fifth qualia enter, the first, second qualia may be forgotten, but after for a while they may be remembered.


Through the chimera sequence, Hijikata's body transforms just a deep mystery.   Nobody can recognize what is happning. He transforms from the Chimera body by three qualia to the Nest body by multi qualia. 


The three qualia of Chimera are the entrance into the multi dimensional resonance of life.


 The reason why so many Chimera type Archetypes were created in the various myths cross over the world, is also connected to the fact what life itself is a chimera which resonates  in the multi dimension. (See the slideshow above)


Hijikata investigated in the "Butoh of Life" which is "niether self expression  nor ego expression" which was influenced by modern western concept  as his most of students spread in the abroad. And finally he could find the body method to approach to the true nature of  life. This was the method of Chimera body to Nest body which he used as one of the main technique in "the Quiet House".


A Japanese dance critique Miyabi Ichikawa wrote after watching his solo of 1972 . 


"Hijikata’s solo suggested his maturity and he seemed to be controlling his own body in an exquisite way. I would assume this was how it looked once chaotic gestures clung to the body; the elbows were curved, the eye stared into the void, the wrists hung down, and the knees drifted in the air. Though his body showed the imbalance as if each part of the body constantly would run out in various directions, the difficulty of wrapping the imbalance into his body was apparent and it could only be done by Hijikata.

His body seemed to be heightened to the level of thought and his Butoh created a harmony between the body and the underlying motif, which was buried in the bottom of history. His greatness perhaps is the inseparable bounds between the body, the technique and the underlying motif. "


Hijikata has established the unification among the thought, technique and physical body. They became oneness as Ichkawa worte.

The key technique was the Chimera body and Nest body method in the butoh score for "Quiet House".


After we have read the 10th and 11th chapter, we can recognize that from the first chapter of the score, he tried to be Chimera body throughout the whole  time.


A girl who plans an evil deed in the rain

Keep Floor Face throughout the whole time

Obsess with Salmon Face compulsively

Stuffed spring


Nest of Forest, Nest of Eyes, a moth placed on a wooden board


A vaporized candy maker or the Christ drawn as a Samurai warrior


A fine spider’s thread that runs on the forehead


Cat Waist

Behind World


Notice that each part of the above which separated into four parts, has three or four elements. All of them were the butoh score for becoming  the Chimera body.

When we proceed from the "Three of Chimera" to "Multi of life", we can transform the Nest body.

"Nest" is the unique wording of Hijikata for suggesting the multi dimensional resonance of life.

 At the next chapter we will investigate in the Nest body.




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