June 3, 2010

JAPAN: 'Butoh' pioneer Kazuo Ohno dead at 103

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TOKYO, Japan / The Japan Times / Entertainment / Kyodo News / June 3, 2010

Kazuo Ohno, Japan's oldest and internationally acclaimed "butoh" stylized mime dancer, died of respiratory failure Tuesday at a hospital in Yokohama, his office said. He was 103.

A native of Hakodate, Hokkaido, Ohno joined the studio led by Baku Ishii in 1933 and learned modern dance. After a break during the war, he gave his first Tokyo performance in 1949.

His encounter with Tatsumi Hijikata and his "Ankoku Butoh" ("Dance of Utter Darkness"), as well as influences from modern dance, led him to establish the butoh style, characterized by white facial and body paint and slow movements.

(C) The Japan Times

Photo by courtesy of Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio