Psyché Tropes Episode 16
11pm, 25 Septmenber 2023 on Resonance 104.4FM.

Psyché Tropes Episode 16 presented by Steven McInerney picks up from where we left off but delves even deeper into the dark world of Butoh and Cine Dance.

Butoh is a subversive form of dance theatre that emerged in the post-World War II climate of Japan. While a contemporary practice, its origins lie deep in the roots of a Japanese archaic native tradition involving mythology, folklore, and spirituality.

Born in 1959 from the imagination of two of the most influential underground figures, Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno, Butoh existed outside of the mainstream, dealing with taboos involving a language that is often violent, absurd, and sexually explicit, breaching all sorts of social conventions.

The first soundtrack in the programme is titled Anma (The Masseurs), a Cine Dance film by Takahiko Iimura from 1963. Anma (The Masseurs) is a representative and historical work by Hijikata, who plays a soldier, featuring Kazuo Ohno, who plays a mad woman, first outcast and ignored but eventually accepted by the community through dance.

Following on from Anma (The Masseurs) is an excerpt from the 1974 film 'Himiko,' directed by Masahiro Shindoa, with an original soundtrack by Toru Takemitsu. It's a film about the myth of the sun goddess who founded Japanese society, seen through the lens of a modern view of history.

The diegetic footprint of Kazuo Ohno in the 1973 film Mr. O’s Book of the Dead, directed by Nagano Chiaki. This was the last of a trilogy of experimental films about Kazuo Ohno during a period in which he had retired from public performance and just before he started touring the world as a solo dancer with his celebrated work, Admiring La Argentina. In the film, Ohno leads a troupe of strangely dressed, made-up, and gest-iculating dancers through a succession of lush, desolate, and surreal landscapes.

Continuing on from Mr. O’s Book of the Dead, is an excerpt from Hijikata’s A Summer Storm, shot on Super 8 in 1972 by Misoa Arai with music by Contadino Di Kham.

Closing off Episode 16 is an excerpt from Takahiko Imura’s 1965 11-minute piece, Rose Coloured Dance, featuring Hikikata with Ohno, shot on black and white 16mm as Hijikata was emerging as the originator of Butoh, with music by Tomomi Adachi.

For Hijikata, Butoh was not only a practice of self-exploration but also a way of life. Even during his final moments terminal moments,  Hikikata gathered his friends and danced his final performance on his deathbed, where even his final breath was a piece of theatre.