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Exploring Japanese Avant-garde Art Through Butoh Dance

Keio University via FutureLearn


Get an introduction to the key concepts of Japanese avant-garde art

Butoh dance is practiced and researched globally, but the work of its founder, Hijikata Tatsumi, is relatively unknown. This is in part because archival materials necessary to learning about Hijikata’s butoh are not widely disseminated.

This online course will make use of a wide range of archival materials in order to introduce Hijikata’s butoh within the context of Japanese and international post-war art and culture.

In doing so, it will both deepen the global understanding of butoh and explore innovative methods for dance education.

Explore Keio University’s Japanese language FutureLearn courses here.

The course is aimed at any individual with an interest in Japanese culture and art, the experimental arts, and the performing arts, but it is principally directed towards undergraduate and postgraduate students, researchers and practicing artists.

The course also aims to be useful for educators wishing to deliver lectures and courses on butoh.

The Educators/Hosts will facilitate this course for about three times a year. Our next facilitation period will be announced soon. While the Educators themselves aren’t available to facilitate this run, we encourage you to engage with other learners and there are opportunities to do this throughout the course.


  • Towards butoh: Experimentation
    • Introduction of the course
    • Post-war Tokyo and the birth of Butoh
    • From "happening dance" to butoh
    • Rebellion of the Body
    • Summary of Week 1
  • Dancing butoh: Embodiment
    • The avant-garde and society
    • Butoh Innovation
    • Back to the source
    • Summary of Week 2
  • Behind butoh: Creation
    • Creating a butoh notation
    • Tatsumi Hijikata the last years
    • Dance choreography
    • Summary of Week 3
  • Expanding butoh: Globalisation
    • Butoh spreading overseas
    • Research of Butoh
    • Summary of the course

Taught by

Yohko Watanabe



4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 26 ratings

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