Hijikata Tatsumi’s Sabotage of Movement and The Desire to Kill the Ideology of Death
Death and desire appear as essential characteristics in Hijikata Tatsumi’s butō, which brings the paradox of life and death, of stillness and movement into play. Hijikata places these contradictions at the roots of dance itself. This analysis points out several aspects displayed in butō’s death aesthetics and performing processes, which catch the tension between being dead and/or alive, between presence and absence. It is shown how the physical states of biological death are enacted, and demonstrated that in Hijikata’s nonhuman theatre of eroticism death stands out as an object aligned with the other objects on stage including the performer’s carnal body (nikutai). The discussion focuses on Hijikata’s radical investigation of corporeality, which puts under critique not only the nikutai, but even the corpse (shitai), revealing the cultural narratives they are subjected to.