Japan Foundation Bangkok

[About Kazuo Ohno] Reliving the Butoh Diva’s Masterpieces – A solo performance by Takao Kawaguchi


[Venue] Chang Theatre
[Date] Friday 26th – Sunday 28th October, 2018
[Tickets] 700 THB
Reservations at /facebook.com/ChangTheatre/
or 095-956-9166, 099-213-5639


The Japan Foundation, Bangkok and Chang Theatre proudly present About Kazuo Ohno; a solo dance performance by Takao Kawaguchi. With all respect to the Butoh master; Kazuo Ohno, Takao will be reliving the Butoh Diva’s masterpieces in order to portray and search for the connection between him and contemporary audiences. Three performances of About Kazuo Ohno will be held at Chang Theatre from Friday 26th – Sunday 28th October 2018. A small exhibition; Modern Dance to Butoh: from Kazuo Ohno Archive, will also be installed within the performance venue lobby for the public audience to see. The exhibition will show materials belong to Kazuo Ohno Archive, including photos, posters and Kazuo’s creative notes.


Takao Kawaguchi will also be conducting a workshop entitled Takao Kawaguchi’s Body Sculpture Workshop: Experience the process of making “About Kazuo Ohno”, for the registered general public on Saturday 27th October from 1 PM until 4 PM at Chang Theatre. In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to experience first-hand, the methods Takao used for creating this solo piece; trying to analyze and copy Kazuo Ohno’s movements by observing the original excerpts from his masterpieces.


Artist Statement – Takao Kawaguchi

I never watched Kazuo Ohno dance on stage, not while he was alive. But now I see him in photographs and videos. It’s always very beautiful, and though I cannot explain it well, I feel a certain affinity for the twists and undulations of his movements. It even feels sensual. Maybe I have a similar quality within me?


A star in the modern dance scene in Japanʼs post-war era, Kazuo Ohno performed a number of very unique dance works. When he encountered Tatsumi Hijikata, the chemical reaction between the two gave birth to butoh dance. In the ten years following Ohnoʼs retirement from the stage, he made The Portrait of Mr. O and two other films with director Chiaki Nagano. In 1977, at the age of 72, Ohno made the spectacular comeback to the scene with “Admiring La Argentina”. From then on he went around the world performing and helping the rest of the world discover butoh. He remained active dancing until he passed away in 2010 at the age of 103. Hijikata described Ohno as “dancer of deadly poison, capable of striking with just a spoonful” while others have described his work as a “dance of soul.”

In this performance entitled “About Kazuo Ohno” which has caused a controversy within Tokyoʼs dance establishment, I set myself the task of literally “copying” the dance of the butoh master from video recordings of the premiere performances of Ohnoʼs early masterpieces including “Admiring La Argentina” (1977), “My Mother” (1981), and “Dead Sea, Ghost, Wienerwaltz” (1985).


Usually characterized as largely improvisational, Ohnoʼs dance is unique not only for his age but also for the distinctive features of his body and movements which are essential to his dance. An attempt to copy his dance as it is, no more no less, means nothing but to suspend whatever interpretation the copier may have as well as his own beliefs, and to project himself onto the forms and shapes of the old dancer as exactly as possible. The closer it gets, however, the clearer the gap becomes, minimum but inevitable no matter how hard he tries to diminish it. The paradox here is that this very gap, nonetheless, highlights the very distinct characteristics of the copier. Copy is original.


The viewer layers the reminiscence of Kazuo Ohno onto my body, and those who donʼt know Ohnoʼs dance, their imagination of it. The multiple images of Ohno and myself merge, surface and recede in turn. “About Kazuo Ohno” is, in a sense, a duet I dance with the illusory image of Kazuo Ohno.








Takao Kawaguchi

While joining the Japanese multimedia performance company Dumb Type from 1996 to 2008, Kawaguchi started his solo performance in 2000. His recent pieces include: “DiQueNoVes (Say You Don’t See)” (2003), “D.D.D.- How Many Times Will My Heart Beat Before It Stops?” (2004), “Good Luck” (2008) and “TABLEMIND” (2011). He also worked on Butoh-related pieces such as: “The Ailing Dance Mistress– based on the texts of Tatsumi Hijikata” (2012), and “About Kazuo Ohno” (2013). He is active in various filed, such as being the director of the Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival from 1996 to 1999.


Cast and staff

Choreography: Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata

Concept and Dance: Takao Kawaguchi

Dramaturge, Video and Sound: Naoto Iina

Costumes: Noriko Kitamura

Lighting, Stage manager: Toshio Mizohata


Performance schedule
Performance 1: Friday 26th October 2018  Door open: 7:20 PM Show starts: 7.30 PM

Performance 2: Saturday 27th October 2018         Door open: 7:20 PM Show starts: 7.30 PM

Performance 3: Sunday 28th October 2018            Door open: 1:50 PM Show starts: 2 PM

Performance duration: 110 minutes

Venue: Chang Theatre (Prachauthit 59, Thunkgru)

How to get to Chang Theatre changtheatre.com/your-visit/

Tickets: 700 THB
Ticket reservation  Via Facebook Page inbox: @ChangTheatre
Or call 095-956-9166, 099-213-5639,
Email: changtheatre.bangkok@gmail.com
Takao Kawaguchi’s Body Sculpture Workshop: Experience the process of making “About Kazuo Ohno”
Saturday 27th October 2018 ǀ 1 – 4 PM ǀ Chang Theatre
No admission fee ǀ Maximum 20 participants
Qualification: Dancers, performers, artists or individuals with basic movement skills


For more information, please contact:

Ms. Siree Riewpaiboon (siree@jfbkk.or.th) Thai & English

Ms. Yui Sawano (sawano@jfbkk.or.th) Japanese & English

The Japan Foundation, Bangkok

10th Fl. Serm-Mit Tower, 159 Asoke-Montri Road, Bangkok 10110

Tel: 02-260-8560~4              Facebook: @jfbangkok or @Changtheatre


Co-organized by the Japan Foundation, Bangkok and Chang Theatre



Supported by Light Source Co., Ltd., Embassy of Japan in Thailand, Japanese Association in Thailand and, Joshibi University of  Art and Design