The Sick Dancer -- With the texts from Tatsumi Hijikata’s “Yameru Maihime

Butoh Archive Project (BAP)

One step inside Tatsumi Hijikata’s The Ailing Dance Mistress, and it will swallow you up in its vast labyrinth of uncanny words.
“Keep that fear in the birdcage inside you and take a very good care of it,” said Hijikata once to butoh dancer Tomomi Tanabe, for whom these words became a lifeline. Decades later, Tanabe asked the still naive performer Takao Kawaguchi to join her in the project of dissecting this holy book of butoh.
Using the word “tatami” as their compass, the two explorers journey through “lessons of the sick and weak princess,” taking you to “the darkness of the other side known to nobody, a beginning, or a resurrection.”
Welcome to The Sick Dancer.

Previously performed in :
May 2012, Whenever Wherever Festival, Tokyo (Premiere)
October 2012, Kazuo Ohno Festival, Yokohama/ November 2014, Akita and Aomori, Japan

Choreography and dance : Tomomi Tanabe, Takao Kawaguchi
Text : Tatsumi Hijikata
Sound : Tzvasa Wada/ Costume : Noriko Kitamura/ Stage manager : Naohiro Yoshida, Dai Matsuoka and Roshi

Dates & Time :
Fri. 9 Feb. Late show 21:00 -
Sat. 10 Feb. Matinee 15:00- / Late show 21:45-
*After the late show, there will be “Kitasenju BAP Night”
Sun. 11 Feb. 17:30-

Venue :
BUoY Arts Center Tokyo (6 minutes’ walk from Kitasenju Station Exit 1)

Admission fee :
Adult ¥2000 (at the door ¥3000)
Student ¥1500 (at the door ¥2000)
Pair Ticket (for two persons attending performance on same day) ¥3500 (at the door ¥5000)
Combo Ticket with DAP2018’s performance by Saiko Kino on 11 Feb. ¥3000

Presented by NPO Dance Archive Network
Co-produced by Canta Co.Ltd
Supported by Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture)

Yameru Maihime (The Ailing Dance Mistress)

Takashi Morishita (Keio University Art Center Tatsumi Hijikata Archives)
Between 1977 and 1978 Hijikata’s literary works were serialized in the magazine Shingeki and later published in book form by Hakusuisha in 1983.
In My Youth, Hijikata depicts - through the eyes of a young boy called Kunio - what he had observed and experienced his native Akita, exuding a mysterious charm through his unique style. Neither time nor place are specified, but his writings are deeply imbued with a sense of the passing seasons and nature. Nor could they be strictly considered a memoir or an autobiographical study, but instead crystallize into a form of ethnography. Closely linked to Butoh-fu, a series of choreographic notations Hijikata devised in the 1970s, they are more writings triggered during Butoh-fu's Butoh as conceived by Hijikata.

Tatsumi Hijikata (1928-1986)

Born in Akita-prefecture in 1928. He moved to Tokyo in 1948, where he took dance lessons in a variety of styles including jazz dance. After Forbidden Colours in 1959, he went to give a series of experimental performances in the 1960s under the title of“Dance Experience.”In the 1970s, yearning to reconnect with his native Tohoku, he developed the series of Tohoku Kabuki Project. This was to spawn Tatsumi Hijikata and the Japanese - Rebellion of the Body (1968); Twenty-seven Nights for Four Seasons (1972) and other works in this vein.

Tomomi Tanabe (butoh-ka)

In February 1985 she took part in Hijikata's training sessions. Debuted with solo performance Epsilon) in May 1985 at Saramukan. She studied under Kunishi Kamiryo and Masahide Ohmori. As of 1997 she continued with her solo, Fishbowl performance series. She has performed widely: at Hakushu, in works by Masaki Iwana, Kota Yamazaki, Masahiko Akuta and others. In 2012, along with Takao Kawaguchi, they performed two solos based on texts from Hijikata's Yameru Maihime at the Kazuo Ohno Festival, and in performances in Akita and Aomori. As of 2016 she is appearing in Perception of the Body. Day upon day, she works as a midwife.

Takao Kawaguchi (dancer / performer)

Joined Dumb Type in 1996. Later went solo from 2000, and has since been exploring live performance crossing borders of theater, dance, visual image and fine arts, collaborating with artists of different disciplines. From 2008 he began solo performance series a perfect life, the 6th work of which was presented at the 5th Yebisu Eizo Festival at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography in 2013. Recently he approached Butoh in The Sick Dancer (2012) and About Kazuo Ohno (2013). The latter was nominated for NYC Bessie Award in 2016, and currently touring around the world. Latest works include: TOUCH OF THE OTHER (Los Angeles 2015; Tokyo in 2016) and BLACKOUT (2018, Tokyo).

Related Programs

Kitasenju BAP Night : Special All Night Program following the performance of The Sick Dancer on 10 February 2018

Butoh emerged from the effervescence of Japanese culture in the 1960s to gradually become a worldwide phenomenon; the term Butoh is now part of the lexicon of modern performance. At present the NPO Dance Archive Network is conducting a survey on activities by Butoh dancers and groups both in Japan and overseas. By means of this comprehensive survey, we would ultimately like to contribute to a better overall understanding of Butoh and widely share the legacy of the elder generation of Butoh performers.
On this occasion we will ask dancers through the“living expression”to endorse and participate in this research project and also provide a small free presentation in which everyone can report and share information on Butoh’s current situation. This public appeal is open to any performance genre, and is not restricted to dance.

Time Schedule
24:00 Tatsumi Hijikata Tohoku Kabuki Project video screening
25:30 – 27:30 Performances
27:30 until the first train of the day DJ time

Admission : ¥1000 with one drink

Public Appeal
This public appeal is open to any performance genre, and is not restricted to dance. We are also open to exhibiting artworks. Any performance you may consider to be “influenced by Hijikata,” and lasting no longer than 7 minutes is eligible. Successful applicants can use our master plan for lighting, sound, and projector-use. No entry fee applies, nor is there a performance fee on offer. We will, however, offer an invitation to The Sick Dancer as well as 3 tickets for the all-night program. At a subsequent date, we will provide participants with still and moving images as documentation for the performance. Please note that entries will be processed on a first-come first-served basis. A maximum of eight participants/groups is envisaged.

--Application Materials--
Brief Biographical Data : Maxumum 200 words
Explanation of the proposed work. Maximum 200 words
Still and moving images from the proposed work.

Deadline : 1 February 2018. We will inform you whether your application has been accepted on 5 February 2018.
Application : By e-mail only to

Rehearsals are scheduled for 10 February between17:00 and 20:30. Time slots to be negotiated

Dance Archive Project 2018 Lecture - Performance by Saiko Kino Dance Becoming Physical Education? Vol. 2 : Dance as Nation-founding Calisthenics

Date and time : Sunday 11 February 2018 11:00 and 14:30 (duration : approx. 1 hour)
Venue : Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery’s conference room
Tickets : By reservation only. Not available at the door.
Adult ¥2000/ Student ¥1000/ Combo Ticket with “The Sick Dancer” ¥3000
*Including an invitation ticket to the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery.

Inquiries and reservation

eplus (only in Japanese)

・From your PC or mobile :
Access < eplus
Search the word “Butoh Archive Project” and purchase.
・At Family Mart
Tickets can be purchased through Fami-port.

Dance Archive Network
Please let us know your name & contact information, and which & how many tickets you’d like to purchase.

Access to the venue

BUoY Arts Center Tokyo
49-11 Senju Nakamachi, Adachi-ku, Tokyo
6 minutes’ walk from Kitasenju Station’s Exit 1 (only in Japanese)