Yoshito Ohno

1938 ~ 2020

2007, Performance in New York, photo: Hiroyoshi Takishima


Born in Tokyo in 1938, Yoshito Ohno stage debut was in the role of the young boy in Kinjiki [Forbidden Colours] directed by Tatsumi Hijikata in 1959. Throughout the 1960s he was active in Butoh performances until he retired in 1969. His comeback was in 1985 when he appeared alongside Kazuo Ohno in The Dead Sea; thereafter he continued to direct all of Ohno senior's stage performances. In recent years he has collaborated with the Tanztheater Wuppertal dancers’ Julia Anne Stanzak and Eddie Martinez in “The Promising Morning” (2010), co-performed with Antony and the Johnsons in “Antony and the Ohnos” (2010), as well creating a solo work “Flower and Bird” (2013). Author of “Kazuo Ohno: Food for the Soul” (Film Art Sha, 1999) and “Butoh: A Way of Life” (Canta Co.Ltd, 2015).

1938 ~ 1959


Born in Meguro, Tokyo on July 15. His father Kazuo Ohno was enlisted.


Along with his mother, elder brother and grandmother evacuated to Hakodate.


Along with his mother, brother and grandparents relocated to Katsuura, Chiba prefecture.


Due to deterioration evacuated to Odate Shakanai in Akita prefecture. Enrolled in elementary school. Returned to Katsuura after war ended.


Kazuo demobilized and family relocated to Yokohama.


Graduated from Yokohama Municipal Futatsuya Elementary School. Entered Kanto Gakuin Junior High School where he joined soccer team.


Begin practicing dance with Kazuo Ohno.


Graduated from Kanto Gakuin High School. Enrolled at Bunka Gakuin's Literature faculty.


April: Appeared in the role of a young man in Kazuo Ohno’s The Old Man and the Sea at Dai-ichi Seimei Hall, Tokyo.
May: Co-performs with Tatsumi Hijikata in the role of the young man in Kinjiki at the 6th annual presentation of the All Japan Arts Dance Association.
September: Appeared in a revised version of Kinjiki at the 650 Experience: September 5 at 6 o’clock: Six Avant-garde artists.

1960 ~ 1969


July: Tatsumi Hijikata DANCE EXPERIENCE. Appeared in The Navel and the A-Bomb, a film written and directed by Eikoh Hosoe.
October: Participated in Saint Marquis at the 2nd 650 EXPERIENCE Six Avant-garde artists.


March: Participated in the opening recital of the Japan Mime Studio, presided over by Hironobu Oikawa, who was then Yoshito’s classical ballet and pantomime teacher.
Photographed by William Klein in Shimbashi, Tokyo along with Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata.
September: Appeared in Tatsumi Hijikata DANCE EXPERIENCE.


Alongside Hijikata and his dancers participated in the show team “Dancing Gorgui” at Tokyo and Yokohama nightclubs.
October: Married Etsuko Seta.


November: Appeared in Masseur, A Story that supports Passion at Tatsumi Hijikata DANCE EXPERIENCE.


November: Participated in Hijikata's Ankoku Buyo-ha Performance, A Rose Colored Dance: A la Maison de M. Civeçawa.


March: Co-performed with Kazuo Ohno in Room at the 1st Maison d’Artaud at the Sōgetsu Hall, Tokyo.
July: Appeared in Instructional Illustrations for the Study of Divine Favour in Sexual Love: Tomato, the final performance of Hijikata's Ankoku Buto-ha.


April: Appeared at the 2nd Maison d’Artaud performance Gessler-Tell Group Theory.


November: Solo Performance: Yoshito Ohno DANCE EXPERIENCE at the Small Auditorium at the Kosei Nenkin Hall, Shinjuku. He subsequently stopped performing in public and began managing a drug store in Yokohama, and subsequently worked as personal assistant for Jiro Osaragi’s wife.

1970 ~ 1989


March: Coach for the physical training of the cast of Der Räuber Hotzenplotz, directed by Tanie Kitabayashi at the Seibu Gekijo, Tokyo.


November: Première of Kazuo Ohno’s Admiring la Argentina for which he acted as soundman and production director.


August: Joined Kazuo Ohno on his lecture demonstration to Quebec. Thereafter Yoshito will constantly accompany him on his overseas engagements.


February-March: Kazuo Ohno performance tour of Italy and Israel where they visited the Dead Sea.


February: Made comeback co-performing with Kazuo Ohno in The Dead Sea at the Butoh Festival 85 at Ginza Marion Asahi Hall, Tokyo. Performed overseas in Rimini, Cologne, Geneva and New York.


January: Tatsumi Hijikata dies. Performed extensively overseas with Kazuo Ohno; Adelaide, Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires as well as in North America and Europe.


June: Directed and co-performed with Kazuo Ohno in the world première of Water Lilies in Stuttgart.


March: Performance at the Japanese Cultural Centre in Rome in collaboration with the musician Kazumichi Fujiwara and the artist Hidetoshi Nagasawa.

1990 ~ 1999


May: Directed and co-performed with Kazuo Ohno in Flowers-Birds-Wind-Moon commissioned by the city of Cremona and created in-situ.


April: The Palace Soars through the Sky with Kazuo Ohno and guests at the Red Brick Warehouse in Yokohama.


April: Directs and co-performs Water Lilies as the first segment of the Kazuo Ohno Retrospective at the Teatro Fonte, Yokohama.


March: Choreographs dance scenes in Hal Hartley's film Flirt.


June: His mother Chie Ohno dies at the age of 90.


August: Based on Masakatsu Gunji's script, première of The Last Portrait of Dorian Gray at Theatre X, Tokyo.


September: Publication of Tamashi no Kate by Film Art Sha, Tokyo later translated and published by the Wesleyan University Press under the English title Kazuo Ohno’s World: from without & within.

2000 ~ 2009


June: Co-performed Flower of the Universe with Kazuo Ohno at Teatro Fonte Yokohama.


October: Participated in the Tokyo International Arts Festival. Directed Flower Kazuo Ohno's final solo performance at Shinjuku Park Tower Hall.


September: Eye with Akira Kasai at the Japan-Brazil Butoh Festival, Sao Paolo, Ribeirão-Preto. Open-air performance with Kazuo Ohno Dancing at the Site of Reversible Destiny, Gifu.


March: Eye–A Spring Night–38 Years Later as part of the Yoshito Ohno - Akira Kasai DANCE EXPERIENCE at the Tokyo International Art Festival.
July: Inauguration of annual Kazuo Ohno Festival Yokohama. Performs An Important Person at the BankART 1929 Hall.


December: Solo performance Isshin for the Kazuo Ohno Festival at Teatro Fonte, Yokohama.


April: Fleur de printemps, lune d'automne, collaboration with the Korean dancer Kim Maeja at the Maison de la Culture du Japon in Paris.
Appeared in film Yokohama Mary directed by Takayuki Nakamura.


January: Director of the Kazuo Ohno Centennial Gala performance Hyakkaryouran at the Kanagawa Prefectural Seishonen Centre.
March: Snow-Moon-Flower at Bologna’s Teatro di Vita as part of Cent'anni di Danza/ Omaggio a Kazuo Ohno.
October: Kuu solo performance at the Japan Society, New York to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Society’s founding and in honor of Kazuo Ohno’s 101st birthday.


March: Kuu, at the Kazuo Ohno Exhibition, Sao Paolo Tokyogaqui.
June: Flower with Lucie Grégoire at the Canada Dance Festival.<
December: Kuu, Jakarta.


October: Kinjiki Work in Progress, Kazuo Ohno Dance Festival.

2010 ~ 2020


February: Antony and the Ohnos––Tamashi no Kate joint performance with Antony and the Johnsons, Sōgetsu Hall, Tokyo.
June: Kazuo Ohno dies at the age of 103.
December: A Promising Morning with two dancers from Pina Bausch’s Wuppertal Tanztheater, Julie Anne Stanzak and Eddie Martinez, Kazuo Ohno Dance Festival.


May: Kuu, Singapore Arts Festival.


August: Invited to Antony’s Meltdown Festival to perform in Antony and the Ohnos at the South Bank Centre, London.


March: Time-wind. Brazilian performance and workshop tour.
October: Première of Flower and Bird; A Letter to my Future Self, Kazuo Ohno Dance Festival.


March: Flower and Bird; A Letter to my Future Self, Munich, Bologna, Barcelona.


April: Flower and Bird; Inside and Outside, Hiyoshi Keio University Freshmen Inaugural
July: Antony and the Ohnos, Sao Paolo; workshop and performance at the Yuba Community Farm, Brazil to celebrate their 80th anniversary.
Flowerbird DVD and illustrated booklet published by Canta Co.Ltd. Containing historic contemporary and archive footage illuminating Yoshito Ohno's fifty-six year career.
November: Flower and Bird; Butoh, A Way of Life in Poland tour.


February: Lecture-Performance “It Was That Way”, Dance Archive Project.
July: Yoshito Ohno Butoh Sapporo 4 days Flower and Bird; Butoh, A Way of Life as a pre event for Sapporo International Butoh Festival 2017.
Flower and Bird; Butoh, A Way of Life and workshops in China tour.


March: Intensive workshop at LAMINARIE in Bologna, Italy.
Supervised and performed The Green Table 2017 in Kobe (Choreography: Toshiko Oka).
September: Flower and Bird; Butoh, A Way of Life and workshops in China tour.
A book Portrait of Ono Yoshito written by Inuhiko Yomota was published by Canta. Co.Ltd.
December: Solo performance Flower and Bird and collaborative performance with Anohni Clear-Eyed Spirits at Dance Archive Project in Tokyo.


April: Performed in The Green Table 2017 at Aichi Arts Center in Nagoya.
September: Performed in The Green Table 2017 at Goethe-Institut Tokyo.


June: Performed in The Green Table 2017 in Kobe.
Performed in Butoh Archive Project ALL ABOUT ZERO in Tokyo.
July: Workshops in Taipei.


On January 8, Yoshito Ohno passed away at 6:06 pm in Yokohama at the age of eighty-one.