About the Kazuo Ohno / Yoshito Ohno Digital Archive

 The Kazuo Ohno Archive was started in the mid-1990s by the Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio with the aim of collecting, preserving and managing the work of Kazuo Ohno (1906-2010), a dancer who made butoh famous throughout the world. Since 2016, this archive has been managed by the non-profit organisation Dance Archive Network, and currently holds approximately 30,000 items relating to works performed by Kazuo Ohno, and his son Yoshito Ohno (1938-2020).

 In opening up the Kazuo Ohno / Yoshito Ohno Digital Archive to the public, we at Dance Archive Network have discussed in great detail what is the most important aspect we wish to convey, and what kind of digital archive we should be aiming to create. The materials in our archive are not that old, which means much of it cannot be published due to the copyright restrictions. In this context, it was important for us in creating this digital archive to discuss what we want to and are able to share, and how we want people to access the information we make available.
 After much discussion, it was decided that the focus of the Kazuo Ohno/Yoshito Ohno Digital Archive would be ‘creation'.
 The publication of posters, flyers, photographs and other materials saved from past performances is significant in itself. No doubt each and every photograph and poster represents an opportunity to inspire a new work of art. However, our aim for this digital archive was to create a space where people can not only view the physical items that remain, but also explore Kazuo Ohno and Yoshito Ohno’s creative processes. We use the term ‘creation’ here to refer not only to the process of creating dance works, but to all aspects of art and life. In the words of Kazuo Ohno, “Life is my dance teacher”, and in the words of Yoshito Ohno, “My butoh is a prayer”. For both of them, the distinction between life and butoh was inseparable.

 Where does dance, where does art come from? This is the question we wish to share. If our aim were simply to present past works, videos alone may suffice. But if we create a place in which visitors can discover the source of those works, we create a platform where the dances of Kazuo Ohno and Yoshito Ohno can live on and inspire new work. As we continue to expand our work as a model for digital dance archives, this is what we hope to achieve.

 We hope this digital archive becomes a place that, through the creations of Kazuo Ohno and Yoshito Ohno, inspires creation in all explorers of the archive.

                            Mina Mizohata, archivist

Total approximate numbers of items


• System development: HITO+HITO promotion
   • Direction: Kunihiko Matsuo
   • System engineering: Mafumi Kyogoku
   • Frontend engineering: Kenji Tokoyo
   • Coordination: Hideki Oikawa
• Sponsored by:
   • Arts Council Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture (2017-2020)
   • TIS x Japan NPO Center and TechSoup Japan Collaborative Project (Grant Program & Digital Infrastructure Enhancement Program)
   • BNP Paribas
• Digitisation in cooperation with: Kiyoko Minokuchi, Mariko Miyagawa, Mari Akanuma
• Archivist: Mina Nakamaru Mizohata (NPO Dance Archive Network, Digital Archivist accredited by the Japan Digital Archivist Association [JDAA]), Keiko Ohno (Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio, Digital Archivist accredited by the Japan Digital Archivist Association [JDAA])
• Executive Producer: Toshio Mizohata (Representative Director of NPO Dance Archive Network)
• English language consultant: John Barrett
• English translation: Mai Burns (NPO Dance Archive Network)

  • photo: Nakagawa Tatsuhiko

※To go back to the digital archive, please click the photo.