1 What is Butoh?
When I first saw Tatsumi Hijikata performed Butoh, my young soul was broken.
I could just stand with shivering.
It was 1972. Hijikata's Butoh compant "HangiDaitohKan" performed
at the Seibu Theatre of Kyoto University in Japan. I was twenty-three years
Throughout the performance, several dancers were hiding under old tatami
mats on the stage. When they finally emerged, moving as if dying, like
the collapsed bodies of people poisoned by mercury, someone started crying
in the depths of my heart.
Twenty-five years later, I decided to become a Butoh dancer.
Hijikata was already dead, but the impact of his performance, which I saw
in 1972, lingered for twenty-five years in my body and mind.
Sinking into the darkness of the body, I began the investigation in Butoh,
why I needed to start Butoh dancing.
2000, I moved from Japan to the Himalayas in order to find a small space
in which to practice Butoh. Modern society was too busy and too full of
information; It was so hard to listen to the silence of my body in Japan.
I discovered that, when my consciousness becomes quiet enough and calms
down to the same level as my subconscious, I can feel the whole flow of
Qualia(*1) streaming in my body very delicately and precisely.
By searching within this Qualia flow in the darkness of the body, I finally found the Subbody Butoh method that Hijikata must have found and become forty years earlier, although he could not teach it to his students.
Subbody that I named means the subconscious body. In the realm of subconsciousness,
the subconscious and body are not separated as the daily thinking world,
but it becomes oneness in the non-dual and multi-dimensional realm of Qualia
as Life Resonance.
For the beginning of the decade in Himalayas, I have been creating a method
of searching for the seeds of Butoh by sinking into the darkness of the
body. The Subbody Resonance Butoh Method is for everyone to learn how to
develop their own Butoh dance.
What is butoh?
I have found three essential components of Hijikata's Butoh:
1. To abandon all conditions of human, and to transform into a Shisha (Dead)
as the "Suijakutai (Weakened body or Collapsed body)" which resonates
with spirits of the dead, insane, handicapped, and collapsed.
2. To enter other dimensions than the human world, and to become various beings
of another world.
3. To look at the living world as a dead from another world.
1. The first step is to transform from a normal human body into the "Suijakutai" (Weakened body).
When we open ourselves enough and our capacity to resonate with the dead,
insane, and people who are mentally or physically handicapped, we can transform
into a creature of other dimensions, in which Butoh spirits are living,
dancing, and dying.
Hijikata pursued the "Suijakutai" as an essence of the Butoh
He always said that Butoh is an attempt to expand the concept of a human.
Hijikata tried to expand the narrow concept of a human in modern western
society, which excludes the dead, insane, and handicapped.
The essential work of Hijikata's Butoh is to find a new beauty that is
not currently recognized by society.
Throw out all conditions of human
2. The second essence of Butoh is to become beings of another dimension.
To open another dimension and become an inhabitant of this world.
By overcoming many challenges in daily practice, we learn how to survive
in these unknown dimensions.
Hijijata often said to his sutdents,.
gNever forget to abandon all conditions of human.h
This is the most important part of changing from a normal being to a Butoh
being. If you hang onto the concept of a human, you will never transform
into another being.
By throwing off the narrow concept of a modern human, we can enter into
another world, in which multi-dimensional qualia streams are flowing and
changing. Pre-modern people lived here. In this world, there is equality
between humans and animals, and the living and dead communicate with each
other as friends.
Hijikata invented a way to expand the concept of a human by opening one's
abilities to enter into other dimensions and come back to this modern world
3. The third essence is to look at the living world from another world,
as one of the dead.
When we become an inhabitant of the dead world and look to the world of
the living, we can see that this living world is full of resonance between
qualia; light, sound, wind, and so on.
How brilliant they are! How special the living world is!
Through this experience, we can see the daily world in a new light.
It opens another art of human living. (I will write about this more precisely
These three transformations are the essentials of Hijikata's Butoh.
The other characteristics are not important. The white painted face, the
"ganimata" (O-shaped legs), the slow motion, etc. are just surface
appearances of Butoh.
Butoh was a big invention in human history, because it expanded the concept
of the human by opening the ability for resonance with other dimensions;
it opened a new art of human living.
It must be very clear that this did not come from the surface appearances
Michel Foucault predicted that, "When a new art of thinking and living is invented, the concept of
the human will vanish like letters written in the sand, washed away by
the Ocean waves."
Yes, Butoh is the Ocean waves, which will wash away the old, narrow concept
of a human.
*1 Qualia : Qualia is everything that Life resonates including of feeling, sense,
imagination, dream, illusion and so on. Life means not only human, but
also all creatures including one celld creature. Our human body is made
of 100 trirrion of cells. Each cell resonates with various Qualia. For
example Qualia of Gravity, temparature, light, sound, etc. and not only
physical Qualia like that, but also inner Qualia that were resraved in
the cell as the Life memory, imagination, dream, illusion and so on. See
my another book "Qualia as Life Resnance" 2016, Kindel Publishing.