2008 年 2008 巻 31 号 p. 22-33
The objective of this article is a reassessment of the year 1959, which has been considered as the first year of Ankoku Butoh because of the première of “Kinjiki (The Forbidden Colours)” by Tatsumi Hijikata, and of the facts surrounding the inception of Ankoku Butoh from the perspective of Hijikata's contemporary Kazuo Ohno.
On the premise of Ohno's artistic endeavor and style as a modern dancer, there had been a considerable amount of inspiration from paintings and literature in his creative processes especially in this era. Ohno had been in his exploratory phase since 1954. Recently discovered letters of Ohno reveal his artistic ambition and intention for the 1959 staging of “The Old Man and the Sea, ” which was adopted from Ernest Hemingway novel. According to these letters, this dance piece was a faithful rendition of the original story, and it was not an experimental and avant-garde work that had been gradually gaining popularity at that time. Instead, it was a modern dance with a leaning toward the expressionism that had been beginning to take root in the post World War II Japan, following the wake of pre-war heritage. Ohno had been engaged in self-exploration for a long time, because he thought that the internal motivation of the self was indispensable for creating movements and expressions. In this dance piece, however, Ohno's acquired modern dance techniques and the impulsive imagery in his psyche came to a rupture, and the performance was a failure.
Tatsumi Hijikata had been aware of Ohno's uncompromising self-exploration and inherent talent as a dancer from his early career. The encounter between Hijikata and Ohno is considered to have taken place during the mid 1950s. It was a definitive turning point not only for Ohno, but also for Hijikata's conception of Ankoku Butoh. Specifically, only one month after the staging of “The Old Man and the Sea, ” which Hijikata had taken part as an assistant director, Hijikata created the basic concept of “Kinjiki” and decided to cast Ohno's son Yoshito. The modern dance piece “The Old Man and the Sea” by Kazuo Ohno precipitated the emergence of Ankoku Butoh, and by severing Ohno from modern dance lineage, installed him as a critical counterpart in the germination of Hijikata's Ankoku Butoh.