An experimental art festival staged in Tokyo’s underground spaces. The programs will explore “underground” through its historical time and space and showcase programs rich in diversity and an element of surprise. With Butoh, which arose after the World War II in Japan and spread on a global scale at its core, this project will replay the various art expressions influenced by Butoh in the modern underground spaces.
Kim Itoh, Eiko Otake, Takao Kawaguchi, William Klein, Yuki Kobayashi, Naoyuki Sakai, Pechika Satoh, Tomomi Tanabe, HAUS, Daisuke Yoshimoto and more.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture)
Planning and Production:
NPO Dance Archive Network
BNP Paribas Group
In cooperation with:
Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio; Butoh Laboratory, Japan; Keio University Art Center; FILMS PARIS NEW YORK; Dance and Media Japan; NPO LAND FES; Yusuke Suzuki Design Office Inc.; HAUS Co. Ltd.; Sasaki Architecture; Canta Co. Ltd; Keisei Electric Railway; Shuto Metropolitan Expressway Company Limited; Arts and Snack Executive Committee; Ikenohata Fujii; SAISON Foundation; Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab; Sony Marketing Inc.; Sega Sammy Arts Foundation>
Public Relations Cooperation:
Dance Press Tokyo
A number of special exhibitions will be held as part of the festival, including: a photography exhibition by William Klein, who captured the birth of Butoh on camera while boldly using the streets of Ginza; an online exhibition presenting the past, present and future of Butoh, and a virtual exhibition that can be admired on the streets in which they were taken.
William Klein Exhibition: GINZA 1961—Starring: The City
*The exhibition period has been extended.
William Klein first came to Japan in 1961 and stayed for around two months, taking photographs all over Tokyo before publishing them in Tokyo in 1964. Of these, 10 of the photographs taken in Ginza have been selected for a large wall display. How did this world-famous photographer see Tokyo in the chaotic excitement leading up to the Tokyo 1964 Olympic and Paralympic Games? This urban exhibition thrusts scenes from 60 years ago upon the surrounding landscape.
Walking AR Experience: Dance Happening—Today
Follow the footsteps of William Klein’s 1961 photoshoot of the soon-to-be founders of Butoh—Tatsumi Hijikata, Kazuo Ohno and Yoshito Ohno—taken on the streets of Ginza and Shimbashi one rainy afternoon. See into the past using nothing but a smartphone to view some 350 photographs in the very spots they were originally taken. Find a new perspective on this metropolis by layering the landscape of 1961 over 2021, and turn the city into an exhibition with AR (augmented reality).
*This exhibition is also available to view online, for those who can’t make it in person.
Online Timeline: Butoh Incidents
Butoh was not just at the forefront of the avant-garde art movement, it has also had a number of connections with the entertainment and commercial worlds. Butoh dancers have historically appeared in a variety of fields, as performers in cabarets, commercials, a film for the 1970 Osaka World Expo, as backing dancers in music videos and, more recently, on popular TV dramas. This illustrated timeline looks at the various connections with media and other art styles that Butoh has had, even as it continued to inspire society.
02 ──Online Program
New works by popular artists who usually fly around the world creating dance, theatre, film and interdisciplinary works, are performed, filmed and shared online.
*New videos uploaded every weekend until the end of June.
A Body in Places and A Body in Fukushima
Since 2014, New York-based Eiko Otake has visited the areas of Fukushima prefecture most affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, building a photography series with photographer and historian William Johnston. A vast number of these have been exhibited around the US, compiled and projected as a film, and presented as part of her solo performances. This year marks 10 years since the quake, and in this version of A Body in Places, she is filmed performing with the images from Fukushima in various underground locations around Tokyo. Her past work, A Body in Fukushima, will also be featured online.
About Kazuo Ohno
After touring 38 cities worldwide since it first premiered in 2013 and being nominated for a Bessie award, Takao Kawaguchi’s About Kazuo Ohno (AKO) returns to Tokyo eight years later. This version of AKO, which is both a faithful reproduction and a bold reinterpretation of the legendary Butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno created by “totally copying” his movements, has been directed specially for film.
Takao Kawaguchi Selection: Un Certain Regard
A program of works selected by performer Takao Kawaguchi, this series considers Butoh from a critical perspective as “Butoh’s mirror image”. Inviting artists who work in a range of performing art styles, 10 new works will be showcased online, including Kawaguchi’s own Minotaur Disco. More details about this program will be made available in the next press release.
With the artistic assets and know-how of the Kazuo Ohno Archive at its core, the organization promotes efforts to build international networks and spread the word about the significance of a cross-cutting dance archive. Aiming to assist in promoting Butoh culture and pass it on to future generations, the Network gathers and preserves a range of materials and plans productions that make use of them.
It is also engaged in efforts to develop new archiving techniques based on 3D technology.