Hijikata Tatsumi Archive
The Hijikata Tatsumi archive was acquired by the Art Center in April 1998, as the first initiative in constructing ‘research archives.’ As a central figure of the 1960s avant-garde, Hijikata collaborated with a number of representative artists of the time in creating his butoh performances. As works of ‘trans-artistry,’ rather than mere examples of ‘performance art,’ this model supplied a particular apt starting point for the creation of our ‘research archives.’ Practically speaking, we were also particularly lucky to receive a majority of the materials in an already collected and ordered form from the Hijikata Memorial Archive (Asbestos-Kan, Meguro, Tokyo). The mission of the Art Center is to preserve the life of such materials in a cultural environment that tends to prefer more establishment art forms.
The ‘research archive’ consists mainly of material resources, and more recently a ‘digital archive’ that makes use of various digital media and data gathering systems. Although it remains an archive of primarily material documents, we have also begun to focus on digitalizing resources. Our current work therefore entails both the organization and exhibitions of documents, and the simultaneous construction of a database of digital archives.
Hijikata introduced a new form of expression to the world of movement methodologies. Although research on butoh remains relatively limited, it is becoming increasingly well known internationally. In recent years, the stream of foreigner butoh researchers visiting Japan has increased, and as a result the archive has begun to increase its efforts in making foreign scholarship available to Japanese audiences. Hoping to internationalize interests and perspectives through making available foreign literature, the archive also maintains its focus on accumulating and publicizing materials of events and performances that were not fully filmed or recorded.
The future aims of the archive are centered on digitalizing and making available materials online, expanding and completing its document collections, and continuing to improve the quality of research conducted in relation to its materials. It hopes that the collection and dissemination of materials relating to Hijikata will help enrich and expand butoh research on an international level.