Theorising the Angura Space: avant-garde performance and politics in Japan 1960-2000, Peter Eckersall (Leiden, Brill Academic, 2006)

Michael Cohen


In 1991, I left Australia to go to Japan. I took with me a pair of stilts with which I planned to earn a living, the ability to count to ten in Japanese (that was the extent of my language skills) and the phone numbers for a couple of arts companies with whom I was hoping to train. I understood next to nothing about Japanese contemporary performance forms. A couple of years later I left Japan: as a well-travelled Japanese festival performer (I subsequently toured regularly to Japan for the ensuing ten years), with my language skills somewhat improved, and with a thick wad of contacts that I had made training with and observing a range of butō and contemporary theatre companies. While it is fair to say that I had achieved a reasonable level of physical competence in the training and an aesthetic/conceptual understanding of the contemporary performance milieu, it is also fair to say that I left Japan with a palpable sense of creative unease.

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Klein, Susan Blakely, Ankoku Buto: the Premodern and Postmodern Influences on the Dance of Utter Darkness (Ithaca N.Y.: Cornell University, 1988).

Kurihara, Nanako, The Most Remote Thing in the Universe: Critical Analysis of Hijikata Tatsumi's Butoh (New York: University of New York, 1997).

Viala, Jean & Nourit Masson-Sekine, Butoh: Shades of Darkness (Shufunotomo,1988)

Waguri, Yukio, Butoh Kaden (Kohzensha/Justsystem, 1998)


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