The Butterfly Dream (Kazuo Ohno). Photographs by Eikoh Hosoe. Dance by Kazuo Ohno. Case design by Tadanori Yokoo. Book Design by Akira Mabuchi. Published by Hideki Yasuda. Essay by Tatsuhiko Shibusawa. Poem by Kazuko Shiraishi (texts in Japanese). Seigensha Art Publishing, Tokyo, 2006. Unpaged. Small folio. Hardbound with photo-illustrated boards. Glazed paper over boards slipcase, Photo-illustrated, inside and out.
The singular Japanese dance form known as Butoh developed as a post-modern response to the tradition-bound, highly conventionalized Japanese Noh and Kabuki forms. Along with Hijikata Tatsumi, Kazuo Ohno is regarded as the founding father of the Japanese dance form known as Butoh.
To say that Butoh aligns with what we think of as the 'Goth' aesthetic is not necessarily to project a western view point on it: as Hijikata has said, in Butoh, "We shake hands with the dead, who send us encouragement from beyond our body; this is the unlimited power of Butoh. . . . Something is hiding in our subconscious, collected in our unconscious body, which will appear in each detail of our expression.....," and so on.
According to Don McLeod, a current practitioner of the form, "it is easy to see how this dance, done in a trance-like state, on bent legs with rolled up eyes was disconcerting to the conservative Japanese modern dance community...Hijikata's first dances were often grotesque, twisted, dark and perverse. Ohno's butoh is more ethereal and floating, ever reaching to the light." This last fact, not incidentally, also makes Butoh extremely camera friendly.
It has been written of him that his very presence is an "artistic fact." This lavish production, with a case designed by Tadanori Yokoo, commemorates his 100th birthday.
A stunning book! Highly recommended.