The Butoh ――A dedication to Tatsumi Hijikata


8 The last butoh of Hijikata


Tatusmi Hijikata left a long butoh score for his last solo, “Quiet House”, 1973. We can learn the essence of the last stage of the weakened body method and so many rich advices for creation.

It has multi-dimensional qualia in different levels, categories, channels. Because the world of life has no levels, no categories, no channels. He called it as “Hidden logic world”. We need to enter the hidden world by stopping ego, self, thinking and all kinds of human binds, if we want to learn from Hijikata Butoh really. It is the only one narrow way to be subbody to enter the hidden world where Hijikata used to sink down.

That is the reason why many people could not understand his essence of butoh, and so many independent interpretations made confusion about butoh.


Butoh score for “Quiet House”

  The butoh score is made of 250 lines. Each sentence has different dimension, category, level, channel.

1. “The red god”

1.   A girl who plans evil deeds in the rain

2.   Keep a face of floor throughout the whole time

3.   Stick to a face of salmon as a monomaniac

4.   A stuffed Spring

5.   A nest of forest, a nest of eyes, a moth which is put on a wood plate

6.   A vaporized caramel artisan or the Christ which is drawn as a picture of samurai in combat

7.   A fine spider’s thread which runs on the forehead

8.   A beggar

9.   The lower back of the cat

10.        Other worlds

11.        A garbage disposal place

12.        When I rubbed a mirror, there was a swaying shadows of flower

13.        A fragile sound collapsed in a storage barn

14.        A can factory

15.        Regenerate a reduction by X

16.        Behind the mirror

This is the first paragraph of the score which has 27 paragraphs.

Slowly we enter the world of the score.

“The red god”

The god is a kind of archetype which we share in the collective unconsciousness. But the appearances are various types of god archetypes in different cultures and ages in human history.

The concept of God in Japan and in Western culture is different, in Japanese tradition there are eight millions of god. It is influenced by the animism.  Hijikata transformed it by an original way as the red god. We need to change the archetype by original way, otherwisw we are bound by the archetype. What does the red god mean?  Nobody knows. It is a secret of Hijikata. We can only guess the mystic qualia.  Hijikata did not dance by his daily conscious mind, but he danced with listening to the the qualia which something moved him. He just named the mystic unknown something which moved him as “Red god”. He was always resonating with different dimensions.

1.   A girl who plans evil deeds in the rain

 A girl lived in the darkness of his body, sometimes the girl moved then also Hijikata had to move in different dimensional way as if the girl stands up, Hijikata has to fall down. When the planning of the girl developed, also something infulenced Hijikata’s movement.

2.   Keep a face of floor throughout the whole time

The face of floor is a flat empty face like as an ash body, Hijikata keeps it from the beginning to the end as the basic face, with listening to the subtle change of it. When the floor was stepped, it becomes dirty, a water drop may effect it.   

3.   Stick to a face of salmon monomaniacly

Into the floor face, sometimes some strange tendencies come up from the darkness. One of them is this. A monomaniac hidden tendency which sticks to a face of salmon face comes up. Salmon has terrible strong eyes and mouth like as hawk. Find your own hidden tendencies which is folded in the darkness of body. Dance with resonating all of them.

4.   A stuffed Spring

A stuffed thing is one of the main characteristic in his weakned butoh. A stuffed bird keeps its shape for long time after the death, it has another slow time which is different tempo of living bird.  After fifty years of being put away in the closet,  the  stuffed bird become fragile with eaten by bugs. If we touch it, it will be collapsed down as dust in a moment. The stuffed Spring means a kind of stuffed world condition. The characteristics of Spring as warmth become a limit of fragility.

Hijikata Butoh is performed between the hidden world and visible world.

5.   A nest of forest, a nest of eyes, a moth which is put on a wood plate

“Nest” is one of the important terms which was used often in Hijikata method. It means a conglomerate of qualia group. Nest of eyes includes so many kinds of eyes as rotten eyes, glass ball eyes, dead eyes, salmon eyes, “riken” eyes ( eyes which watch you from outside), and so on. Also forest is the conglomerate of unknown mystic qualia. Therefore the nest of forest means a conglomerate of conglomerate. It is a metaphor of complex and mystic multi-dimensional world of different unknown qualia. Even a dead moth on a wood plate is resonating with subtle qualia in the multi-dimensional realm.      

6.   A vaporized caramel artisan or the Christ which is drawn as a picture of samurai in combat

In the non-dual and multi-dimensional world, everything is swaying between presence and absence, between now and another time. Hijikata had worked at the caramel artisan factory in his young age. The qualia of artisan was already vaporized and it transforms the qulaia of Christ which is drawn as samurai picture. The caramel artisan, Christ and samurai are swaying in the mixed qualia at the hidden realm.

7.  A fine spider’s thread which runs on the forehead

8.   A beggar

9.   The lower back of the cat

Also these qualia are resonating in his various part of body as a nest, sometimes they come out and pass through.  

10.   Other worlds

Always he is resonating with many kinds of other worlds behind this world. The resonance is happen without our intention. It is beyond our consciousness, but Hijikata noticed it transparently. What is other world behind you?  Is it the dead world by the war?  Your forgotten memories?  Fetus dreams? Hidden hopes?  Unhappiness in the world?  Be aware of all of them and dance with them.

11.    A garbage disposal place

Also this is qualia of the behind world. Contact the world through various perspectives. (10, 11, 12, 16 and the red god are the variations of behind world in different perspectives).

12.    When I rubbed a mirror, there was a swaying shadows of flower

We can contact subtle signals of the various behind world. Remember the moment when you have contacted them. The inner hidden memories and present behaviors are always resonating. It is so subtle. Then our daily mind ignores them. When we stop daily consciousness, we can feel them.

13.    A fragile sound has collapsed in a storage barn

When we notice a subtle unknown sound from invisible place, our lives guess them “What is it?”  The resonance between inner qualia and outer qualia happens. The life is always shivering with unknown signal from invisible world. Continue to listen in them, and open your transparent resonativity.

14.    A can factory

This might be also one of the inner memory of Hijikata. You can replace it by your own hidden memory.  

A reduction by X , and a regeneration

A reduction is a decrease something, in the size, shape, or amount and so on. To regenerate means to return something to the former condition. Hijikata extended the meaning of it to the maximum. X can be anything. We can reduce everything by any elements. A reduction by size is to resize something into small size. Regeneration is to return the former size. Hijikata used this method to expand our imagination to the maximum. He researched the sunken logic before the world of the separation between self and others.

To reduce a movement by time is to be slow or to be still.  To reduce a bird by time means a living bird becomes a stuffed bird. It is also to decrease a time dimension from the four dimension which we are familiar in the daily world. When we reduce one space dimension from a three dimensional landscape, the landscape becomes a two dimensional map. To regenerate it means to increase a space dimension, then the map returns three dimensional landscape.

To reduce an adult by time is to return him a baby or fetus. When we amplify it to the limit, a human returns an origin life as a cell. When we can expand our imagination to the maximum, we can transform anything beyond the time and space. This is one of the main hidden techniques of Hijikata to see the world in different ways.

To reduce a human by strength means that the human become a weakened body.
To reduce a human by life strength means that the living human becomes a dead.

This is an universal magic method of Hijikata butoh.

16.     Behind the mirror

What is there?  What could you see? Don’t think. Just feel it. Open the universal transparent mind and body toward the multi dimensional life resonance between visible things and invisible world.   


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