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Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History

Hijikata Tatsumi and Butoh

Dancing in a Pool of Gray Grits

Authors: Baird, B.

  • The first book in English to treat butoh from the perspective of Japanese Studies and Japanese intellectual history
  • Also first book in English to study butoh using Japanese sources including the notebooks, essays, and manifestos of Hijikata himself
  • Situates butoh within the development of the wider theater and dance worlds
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Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-01262-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $115.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-230-12040-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $30.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-349-29858-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $30.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-57902-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Hijikata Tatsumi's explosive 1959 debut Forbidden Colors sparked a new genre of performance in Japan - butoh: an art form of contrasts, by turns shocking and serene. Since then, though interest has grown exponentially, and people all over the world are drawn to butoh's ability to enact paradox and contradiction, audiences are less knowledgeable about the contributions and innovations of the founder of butoh. Hijikata Tatsumi and Butoh traces the rollicking history of the creation and initial maturation of butoh, and locates Hijikata's performances within the intellectual, cultural, and economic ferment of Japan from the sixties to the eighties.

About the authors

Bruce Baird is Assistant Professor of Asian Language and Literature at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, USA.

Reviews

“The newly published paperback edition of Bruce Baird’s … is perfectly timed to ride the current wave of interest in butoh. … Baird provides detailed descriptions of all of Hijikata’s dances, including quotations from primary sources and records, and with photographs throughout.” (William Andrews, The Japan Times, japantimes.com, May, 2016)

"The book is a veritable treasure trove of information and reflects the many years it took to complete the project . . . it is also a book which rewards the curious reader who wants to learn about postwar Japan from a different perspective." - Tokyo Notice Board 

"A meticulously researched description and analysis of Hijikata's most significant choreographic and textual productions . . . Hijikata Tatsumi and Butoh is a major contribution to the Anglophone literature on butoh, particularly through its extensive referencing and explication of archival materials and texts not available outside of Japan. For scholars of postwar avant-garde Japanese arts, Baird's work brings dance fully into the conversation, particularly with literature and visual art. For butoh dancers, this book is significant for the way Baird challenges the mystification and mythologizing that has grown up around Hijikata (and was indeed often generated by Hijikata himself) . . . Baird presents his readers with the many socially constructed layers of Hijikata that influenced and were reflected in his productions (e.g., the Tohoku of his childhood, Tokyo in the 1960s and 1970s, Japanese and European surrealists and avant-garde artists), while leaving open the possibility of other interpretations. This openness to interpretation is Hijikata Tatsumi and Butoh's greatest gift." - Asian Theater Journal

"Baird's Hijikata Tatsumi and Butoh offers English-language readers the single most rigorous treatment of Hijikata's work to date, with a meticulous examination of Hijikata's major works from the late 1950s to the 1970s." - Monumenta Nipponica

"The book is a veritable treasure trove of information . . . which rewards the curious reader who wants to learn about postwar Japan from a different perspective." - SFAQ: San Francisco Arts Quarterly


"The book is a veritable treasure trove of information and reflects the many years it took to complete the project . . . it is also a book which rewards the curious reader who wants to learn about postwar Japan from a different perspective." - Tokyo Notice Board

"A meticulously researched description and analysis of Hijikata's most significant choreographic and textual productions . . . Hijikata Tatsumi and Butoh is a major contribution to the Anglophone literature on butoh, particularly through its extensive referencing and explication of archival materials and texts not available outside of Japan. For scholars of postwar avant-garde Japanese arts, Baird's work brings dance fully into the conversation, particularly with literature and visual art. For butoh dancers, this book is significant for the way Baird challenges the mystification and mythologizing that has grown up around Hijikata (and was indeed often generated by Hijikata himself) . . . Baird presents his readers with the many socially constructed layers of Hijikata that influenced and were reflected in his productions (e.g., the Tohoku of his childhood, Tokyo in the 1960s and 1970s, Japanese and European surrealists and avant-garde artists), while leaving open the possibility of other interpretations. This openness to interpretation is Hijikata Tatsumi and Butoh's greatest gift." - Asian Theater Journal

"Baird's Hijikata Tatsumi and Butoh offers English-language readers the single most rigorous treatment of Hijikata's work to date, with a meticulous examination of Hijikata's major works from the late 1950s to the 1970s." - Monumenta Nipponica

"The book is a veritable treasure trove of information . . . which rewards the curious reader who wants to learn about postwar Japan from a different perspective." - SFAQ: San Francisco Arts Quarterly

Table of contents (8 chapters)

  • Introduction: And, And, And

    Baird, Bruce

    Pages 1-14

  • Forbidden Eros and Evading Force: Hijikata’s Early Years

    Baird, Bruce

    Pages 15-57

  • A Story of Dances that Sustain Enigma: Simultaneous Display and Sale of the Dancers

    Baird, Bruce

    Pages 59-104

  • Pivoting Panels and Slashing Space: Rebellion and Identity

    Baird, Bruce

    Pages 105-136

  • My Mother Tied Me on Her Back: Story of Smallpox

    Baird, Bruce

    Pages 137-157

Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-01262-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $115.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-230-12040-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $30.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-349-29858-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $30.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-57902-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Hijikata Tatsumi and Butoh
Book Subtitle
Dancing in a Pool of Gray Grits
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History
Copyright
2012
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
Bruce Baird
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-01262-3
DOI
10.1057/9781137012623
Hardcover ISBN
978-0-230-12040-2
Softcover ISBN
978-1-349-29858-7
Softcover ISBN
978-1-137-57902-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVII, 293
Number of Illustrations and Tables
55 b/w illustrations
Topics