CALL FOR CHAPTER PROPOSALS: Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance

co-editors: Bruce Baird (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) and Rosemary Candelario (Texas Woman's University)

The advent of butoh in 1960s Japan was a major innovation in 20th century dance and performance, not only in Japan but around the world. Encompassing influences ranging from German modern dancers like Mary Wigman, to Japanese and European surrealism, to modernist and avant-garde literature and painting, the dance form gestated by Hijikata Tatsumi and Ohno Kazuo urgently sought new modes of bodily expression that would be commensurate to the task of engaging with and rebelling against a rapidly changing society. Beginning in the mid-1970s, butoh began to travel beyond Japan’s borders. Since then, butoh has become a global art form whose influence can be felt in contemporary dance, theater, performance art, music, and visual art practices.

A Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance will be an unprecedented volume of butoh history and contemporary practice comprised primarily of new commissioned essays. Like butoh itself, the Companion will bring together theory and practice, with practitioner perspectives featured alongside academic essays. To reflect the form’s international and interdisciplinary reach, the book will include scholarship by leading and emerging scholars and artists from around the world.

A Routledge Companion to Butoh will be a valuable resource for students, scholars, and practitioners alike in the fields of dance, theater, performance, Japanese Studies, and Asian Studies. In addition to essays engaged specifically with Japanese performance and the international spread of butoh, we invite authors to address theoretical issues raised by butoh such as globalization; cultural flows; cultural adaptation, appropriation, and sharing; and intercultural work. The goal of the anthology is to provide a theoretical and practice-based framework for five aspects of the field:

  • Section 1: Butoh in Japan: Key Dancers and their Artistic Influences--the history of butoh in Japan through a dual focus on key early figures in butoh along with the artistic contexts that influenced its development and reception in Japan

  • Section 2: Global Butoh: Performance Circuits and New Sites--the international spread of butoh through the performance and teaching activities of Japanese dancers outside of Japan and the travels of non-Japanese dancers to Japan to study

  • Section 3: Politics and Identity--theoretical matters concerning butoh, including contributions on gender, sexuality, cultural identity, and politics in butoh.

  • Section 4: Pedagogy--a foundation in butoh pedagogy under Hijikata and other early companies, and a platform for a wide range of practitioner and scholarly perspectives on butoh pedagogy

  • Section 5: Beyond Butoh--the reach of butoh techniques beyond the form and the ways that butoh mirrored other bodily experiments in the world of performing arts

We have already commissioned many of the chapters for the volume. But we welcome proposals from scholars and practitioners with backgrounds in dance, theater, performance studies, history, and Japanese Studies on the above topics, and in particular the following as yet unassigned topics:

  • Maro Akaji and Dairakudakan

  • Amagatsu Ushio and Sankai Juku

  • Carlotta Ikeda

  • Histories of key butoh festivals

  • Mime (Decroux/Marceau) via Oikawa Hironobu

  • Waguri Yukio’s Butoh Kaden CD-ROM

  • Specific performers such as Trajal Harrell, Tero Saarinen

  • butoh workshops and pedagogy

In addition to soliciting new essays that reflect the depth and breadth of contemporary butoh, we also seek translations of formative texts that have never before been available in English. We welcome proposals to translate selections by Goda Nario, Gunji Masakatsu, Ichikawa Miyabi, Kato Ikuya, Mishima Yukio, Shibusawa Tatsuhiko, Takechi Tatsuji, Takiguchi  Shûzô, and Tanemura Suehiro. Contact us for a full list.

Interested individuals may propose chapters structured as conventional academic essays, practitioner reflections, interviews, or case studies. Chapters will be 1,250-4,000 words in length (with word length set in consultation with the editors) and may include images for which the author will secure reproduction permission. Some funds are available to pay for photographs.

Contributors will receive a copy of the book (roughly a $210 value). Translators will receive a small fee for translation.

Please email a one-page essay proposal including a proposed word count and a list of proposed photographs that you would like to accompany your essay, along with your current bio by March 31, 2016, to: and

Don’t hesitate to send in your one-page proposal or your inquiry email early. And don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to help with translations (or if you have a graduate student that could use a line on their CV and would like to help us out).