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Hijikata Tatsumi -Plucking Off the Darkness of the Flesh- an Interview

Hijikata Tatsumi -Plucking Off the Darkness of the Flesh- an Interview

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Hijikata Tatsumi: Plucking off the Darkness of the Flesh. An InterviewAuthor(s): Shibusawa Tatsuhiko and Hijikata TatsumiSource:
TDR (1988-),
Vol. 44, No. 1 (Spring, 2000), pp. 49-55Published by:
Stable URL:
Accessed: 05/05/2011 09:53
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Hijikata
Tatsumi
Pluckingoff theDarknessof the Fleshan interviewyShibusawaatsuhiko
1.
BarGibbon,amember-shipclubthatHijikatacre-atedforfriendsndothersatAsbestosHall,failedbe-causeheoinedhis"cus-tomers"ndrinkingreely.LefttoRight: ShibusawaTatsuhiko,anunidentifiedwoman,andHijikataTatsumi.(PhotobyHosoeEiko)SHIBUSAWA:Your "dance ofdarkness" [ankokubuyo]is aphilosophicalstatement ofsorts,isn't it?Whenyoureadpoetryor look atpaintings, you'relikelytosay,"Thisisbutoh." Does thatmean that anythingat allcan bebutoh?HIJIKATA:That'sright.Afterall,sinceancienttimessolemnceremonieshavegonesmoothly onlywith thehelpofdance.Paintings,too,are createdbyhumanbeingsandreveal theirultimate"butohquality"[butoh-se].Really,it can be seenby anyone.Butpeoplestickto theirownlittleworld,their ownparticulargenreand losesightof it. Lots ofpeoplearenowcallingfor an endtogenres,butiftheywouldjust applytheidea of "butohquality"toevery-thing,theproblemwould betotallyresolved.SHIBUSAWA: It'saverybasicproblemthateveryoneseems to beforgettingabout.HIJIKATA: They forgetit,then wallowin the indiscriminate use of theword
The DramaReview44,I(T165),Spring
2ooo.
EnglishtranslationcopyrightC
2000
New YorkUniversityand the Massachusetts InstituteofTechnology.
49
 
50ShibusawaTatsuhiko"body."AndintheirworksI can see devicesto use thebodyfor someac-tions.WhenIlistentopeoplewhoexpressthemselvesthroughwordstalkabout the"body,"I'd havetosayoffhand there'snot muchthatIcan doforthem.Butoh dancers havegottopositiontheir bodiesso thatno one isabletoguesstheirnextmovement.SHIBUSAWA: Whatdoyoumeanby"use thebodyfor someactions"?HIJIKATA:It'swhatyousee inHappeningsor inthecurrentshingeki[newtheatre],'where thebodyisusedas a kind oftriggeringdevice,which Ifindprettyquestionable.Andrecentlyweagainhave thoseold-stylehealthexposi-tions,showing picturesofsickpeopleandbody parts.It's awayof romanti-cizing strangeness.SHIBUSAWA:Whyisit thattraditionalaspectsofJapanesecultureimmedi-atelytend to beromanticized?HIJIKATA:Lookatkabuki-styledance[Nihon-buyo].It's dancepuffed upwith silkwadding.That kind ofdance iscompletelycut off fromthe sacreddomain where formconsistsonlyof shouts andcries.Noonecould teachmea dance like thatof the sacreddomain. As forHappenings,Idon'tlikethembecausetheylackprecision.Theparticipantsclaimtobeprecisebuttheyaren't.Because there's noterror in whattheydo.Myfather used torecite oldballad-dramas[gidayu],which he waslousyat,andbeatmymother.Tomychild'seyes,heseemedtobemeasuringthelengthofeachstephetookbeforehittingher. Nowthattrulywas terror.And,ineffect,Iplayedthe roleof a child actor init,withtheneighborhoodwatchingfromadistance. Whenmymom ranoutside,theneighborswouldcomment on thepatternof herkimono. Iplayedaseriouspartinthingslikethis forIoyears.SHIBUSAWA:Now,thatwas arealhappening...HIJIKATA:Yes,thatreallywasahappening.Andbecause of thatexperienceIwas,for alongtime,unable tostagedanceperformances.Talkingaboutmychildhood makesmewonder what theworld of achildreallyis. Idon't thinkI've everperformedachildren'sdancethat couldbe called childishorchild-like.Even when it cametoplaythings,I'd dothingslikebitingthetoilet.Ican'tsaywhy...Ialsoused toslice at thewater in thewaterjarwith asicklebecause Ilikedlookingatthe fissuresIhadmade. Or I'dfiercelybreathe inandout,making mybodyinto abellows.Anyadultsaroundwouldgetner-vouslookingat me.Whyonearth didIused togetsofrenzied?It wasprob-ablybecause oflivinginthefreezingnorthcountryofTohoku,where itwasso coldthatwhenyoubent afingeritmade acrackingsound.That's thekindofplace,thoseare thethings,thatmademewhat Iam.SHIBUSAWA:Soyouthinkthere'sanessentialconnectionbetweenyourdanceandgrowing upinsuchacoldclimate?HIJIKATA:Yes,indeed. Ihavethisdesire insideme tohidemybodysome-whereverycold.So whentheweathergetsreallycold,that'sbutoh.Forex-ample,whenit'scold,yourubyourhandstogether.Youcan takeany partofthe actionout and itbecomesdance.SHIBUSAWA: Yourintentseems to bethe exactoppositeofordinarydance.Insteadofextendingthebodylightlyandrhythmically, youarealwaystryingtoclenchit,totightenitup.Didsuchkind of dance existbeforeyou?HIJIKATA:Not thatIknow of.Take,forexample,swooningorfainting.Ibelieve inaharmonythatplacessuch acts intheultimatedance.

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