Anarchy of the Body

Undercurrents of Performance Art in 1960s Japan

KuroDalaiJee (Author),

Category: Art, Artistic Practice, Asian Studies

Language: English

ISBN: 9789462703537

Publication date: February 24, 2023

€55.00 (including 6% VAT)

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Number of pages: 752

Size: 240 x 160 x 41 mm

Number of illustrations: 263

Stock item: 152835

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Category: Art, Artistic Practice, Asian Studies

Language: English

DOI: 10.11116/9789461665027

ISBN: 9789461665027

Publication date: February 15, 2023

€47.00 (including 6% VAT)

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Number of pages: 752

Number of illustrations: 263


How performance art in 1960s Japan formed a legacy of resistance against institutionalization
In Anarchy of the Body, art historian KuroDalaiJee sheds light on vital pieces of postwar Japanese avant-garde history by contextualizing the social, cultural, and political trajectories of artists across Japan in the 1960s. A culmination of years of research, Anarchy of the Body draws on an extensive breadth of source material to reveal how the practice of performance by individual artists and art groups during this period formed a legacy of resistance against institutionalization, both within the art world and more broadly in Japanese society. This book contains 256 high-quality reproductions, including rare performance photographs not readily accessible elsewhere, as well as a comprehensive chronology. KuroDalaiJee was awarded the 2010 Art Encouragement Prize for New Artists (criticism category) by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Contributors: Kurokawa Noriyuki (editor), Jason M. Beckman (translation editor), Andrew Maerkle (translator), Shima Yumiko (translator), Alice Kiwako Ashiwa (editorial assistant), Daniel González (translator), Claire Tanaka (translator), Giles Murray (translator), Jenny Preston (translator)

Translated from the original Japanese edition published with Tokyo: Grambooks, 2010.

In cooperation with Art Platform Japan / The Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of JapanArt Platform Japan is an initiative by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, to maintain the sustainable development of the contemporary art scene in Japan.

Translation Credits Notes on the Translation

CHAPTER 1 THE NETHER REGIONS OF ART, ART HISTORY’S PRIVATE PARTS IS A HISTORY OF PERFORMANCE ART POSSIBLE? 1. The Aim and Structure of This Book 2. Reviewing the History of Postwar Japanese Art 3. The Exclusion of Politicality 4. Is a History of Japanese Performance Art Possible? 5. What Makes an Artist? Deviating from The Arts 6. Upper-Echelon Courtiers, Bottom-Rung Samurai 7. From Historical Uncertainties to Real, Shared Feelings
CHAPTER 2 THE SPECTRUM OF BODILY EXPRESSION ACTIONS NOT YET NAMEABLE 1. “Artists in Action”—Through the Eyes of Yoshida Yoshie 2. Bodily Expression in the 1960s
CHAPTER 3 BEYOND ANTI-ART THE DESCENT INTO THE EVERYDAY AND ITS DIFFUSION 1. Performance Art and the Anti-Art Debates in Four Acts 2. Act One: Tōno Yoshiaki in the Spotlight, 1960 3. Act Two: Starring Miyakawa Atsushi, 1964 4. Act Three: Ishiko Junzō, after 1967 5. Act Four: Tone Yasunao, circa 1970 6. Anti-Art Performance
CHAPTER 4 A PRE-HISTORY OF ANTI-ART PERFORMANCE FROM THE 1950S TO GUTAI 1. 1957 as a Starting Point 2. 1970 as an End Point 3. The Age of Kyūshū-ha and Zero Jigen 4. Pre-history 1: MAVO
5. Pre-history 2: Jikken Kōbō 6. Pre-history 3: Gutai
CHAPTER 5 WAVES OF DEMONSTRATION (1957–1959) ACTION INFORMEL 1. Shinohara Ushio: Action in the Mass Media 2. Kudō Tetsumi: From Action to Body 3. Kazakura Shō: Objet-ification of the Body 4. Itoi Kanji and Unbeat: Organically Generated Action 5. Kyūshū-ha: Farmers’ Festivities in the City
CHAPTER 6 DIRECT ACTION AND ANTI-ART (1960–1963) FROM PUBLICITY TO PROVOCATION 1. A Youthful Spring of Happenings 2. The Neo Dada Artists 3. Unbeat’s Coming-of-Age 4. Group Ongaku Meets the Artists Returning from the U.S. 5. Intervention as Expression 6. League of Criminals: Violating the Border of the Politics and Popular Culture 7. VAN and Jikan-ha: Provoking the Audience 8. The Launch of Hi-Red Center 9. The Fieldwork of Mizukami Jun 10. The Early Experiments of Zero Jigen 11. The Middle Period of Kyūshū-ha: An Attempt at Audience Participation 12. The Last Yomiuri Independent Exhibition 13. The Beginnings of Joint Performance Events 14. Interventions and Provocations
CHAPTER 7 ONTO THE STREETS! AWAY FROM THE CAPITAL! (1964–1965) THE SPREAD OF ACTION-EXPRESSION 1. The Outskirts of Art 2. Performance at Regional Independent Exhibitions 3. A Watershed Moment: The Gifu Independent 4. Into the Space of the City 5. Joint Performance Events 6. Artists at Crossroads 7. Activities of Individual Artists
CHAPTER 8 ANGURA CULTURE AND HAPPENINGS (1966–1968) THE RITUALISTS AT HIGH TIDE 1. Pre-Expo ’70: the Crossover between Angura and Intermedia 2. The Spread of Intermedia Events 3. A Stage Named Shinjuku 4. Happenings Hit the Media 5. Jack Society and the Public at Large 6. The Mass Media Strategies of Chida Ui, Koyama Tetsuo, and Chiba Eisuke 7. Ritualists, Assemble! 1: May Day and Other Outdoor Spaces 8. Ritualists, Assemble! 2: The Stage of Low Culture 9. The Ritualists’ Climax 1: Insanity Trade Fair (Honmoku-tei Theater) 10. The Ritualists’ Climax 2: Grand Insanity Trade Fair (Iino Hall) 11. Movements in Kansai: From Remandaran to The Play 12. Quest for the Commune 13. The Recognition and Spread of Happenings
CHAPTER 9 THE VARIOUS ANTI-EXPOS (1969–1970) FROM REVOLT TO A REVOLUTION IN CONSCIOUSNESS 1. The Beginning of the End 2. From Intermedia to Ibento (Event) 3. The Rise and Fall of Expo ’70 Destruction Joint-Struggle Group 4. The Aims of Expo ’70 Destruction Joint-Struggle Group 5. The Rituals of Expo ’70 Destruction Joint-Struggle Group 6. The “Suicide” of Collective Kumo 7. Ibento Spread to Provincial Cities 8. Challenging the Arts/Systems 9. The Transformation of The Play 10. A New Generation of Collective Action: From “Underground” into the Light of Day 11. From the City into Nature: Toward Open, Fluid Spaces 12. Anti-Art Artists after 1970
CHAPTER 10 THE RISE AND FALL OF ANTI-ART PERFORMANCE FROM ACTION TO ACTIVISM 1. From “Public Demonstration” to “Publicity” to “Autonomous Performance” 2. From “Intervention” to “Independence” to “Diffusion” 3. From “Individual” to “Collective” to “Collective of Collectives” to “Network” 4. From “Event” to Ibento 5. New Social Spaces: The Street and the Mass Media 6. Beyond the Political: Toward Cultural Reformation 7. Anti-Art and Performance 8. On the Development of Individual Artists and Groups
CHAPTER 11 KYŪSHŪ-HA THE FOLK IN THE CITY 1. Kyūshū-ha and Anti-Art 2. Early Period: Painting (1957–59) 3. Middle Period 1: Objets (1960–61) 4. Middle Period 2: Happenings and Installations (1962–64) 5. Late Period (1965–68) 6. The Avant-Garde in Transition: Farm Folk and Urban Masses
CHAPTER 12 ASAI MASUO DREAMING OF REVOLUTION FROM THE BOTTOM 1. Pioneering the Commune 2. Children as Subjects 3. “Rise Up, Organizers of the Bottom Zenith!”: Revolution from the Far Margins 4. Jōmon Festival 5. After the Jōmon Festival 6. Dreaming of Revolution from the Bottom Zenith
CHAPTER 13 ZERO JIGEN BODIES REVOLTING AGAINST MODERNITY 1. A Zero Jigen Revival? 2. Proto Zero Jigen (1960–62) 3. Early Period (1963–64) 4. Middle Period (1965–68) 5. Anti-Expo (1969) 6. Late Period (1970–72) 7. Key Features of Zero Jigen’s Rituals
CHAPTER 14 KUROHATA POLITICAL THEATER ON THE STREET 1. From Leftists to the Ritualists 2. Religious Rituals and Political Theater 3. Ascent and Demise
CHAPTER 15 KOYAMA TETSUO A VISCERAL REBELLION 1. Jack Society 2. “Dating” with Chida Ui 3. Solo Career 26 Contents
CHAPTER 16 KOKUIN THE SEARCH FOR A REVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS 1. Secession from “Art” 2. The Rituals of Kokuin 3. Ever-Expanding Mind Revolution
CHAPTER 17 WOMEN PERFORMERS CHALLENGE AND ISOLATION 1. Absent Entirely? Few in Number? Or Just Underestimated? 2. The Erasure of the Body: Tanaka Atsuko, Ono Yōko, Shiomi Mieko 3. Challenge to Femininity: Kishimoto Sayako, Chida Ui, Tabe Mitsuko 4. Gender, Underground
CHAPTER 18 ITOI KANJI DADAIST DEVOTEE 1. The Legend of Itoi 2. Spiritual Life of the Wartime Generation 3. Body of Steel 4. The Plastic Arts as Shumi (1951–62) 5. From Objet to Action (1962–64) 6. The Evolution and End of Action (1966–70) 7. The Performance of Itoi Kanji 8. The Voices of Rage Now Quiet
CHAPTER 19 COLLECTIVE KUMO THE TOTAL NEGATION OF EXPRESSION 1. The Logic of Negation 2. First Period: From Zelle to the Spider Uprising 3. Second Period: From the Kokura Happening to Crazy Grand Rally of the Three Deformed Sects 4. Third Period: From Anti-Competition Actions to the Denshūkan High School Struggle 5. Fourth Period: The Obscenity Trial 6. From Body to Concept 7. Ecstasy
CHAPTER 20 THE NETHER REGIONS OF THE BODY RITUALS IN SECULAR SPACE 1. The Nether Regions of the Body 2. Secular Space: The City and The Media 3. Performance as Ritual 4. Why Ritual? 5. Memories of Traditional Body Culture
CHAPTER 21 THE NETHER REGIONS OF THE CITY FROM SUKIMA TO ANGURA 1. Lost Rituals, Ritual Losses 2. Shinjuku: Big Niche in the Big City 3. The Nether Regions of the City: Earth, Garbage, and Body
CHAPTER 22 THE NETHER REGIONS OF CULTURE MARGINAL ART AND THE QUEST FOR POPULARITY 1. Marginal Art 2. The Masses in the Post-Anpo Period 3. Kitsch as a Popular Aesthetic 4. From Popularity to Anti-Art
CHAPTER 23 THE NETHER REGIONS OF THE POLITICS UNDERCURRENTS OF REVOLT 1. The Generation of Anti-Art Performers and Their Political Action 2. The Political Experience of the Artists 3. The Ethics of Apolitical Revolt 4. “Direct Action” in the Media 5. From “Art and Politics” to “The Politics of Art” 6. Anarchy of the Body 7. The City and Asphalt
Afterword for Myself Another Afterword, Twelve Years On
Groups mentioned throughout the book Chronology Bibliography Illustration credits Index of Subjects Index of Names


KuroDalaiJee is an art historian in Japan. He earned his MA in art history from University of Tokyo in 1985.

'Anarchy of the Body' is cited in 'History of Japanese Art After 1945', particularly in the third section of the work where Kuresawa Takemi, professor at the Tokyo University of Technology, discusses the postmodern turn of contemporary Japanese art from 1990 to 2010: Kuresawa goes on to list a number of exhibitions and studies that give insight into the sometimes scattered influence of the 1960s on contemporary Japanese art in the 1990s and beyond. KuraDalaiJee’s work is considered here as a 'masterpiece' that deals, not only with the major figures of performance (such as Hi-Red Center), but also with artists and collectives of lesser fame.
Alexandre Taalba, « Chokusetsu kōdō : l’action directe comme méthode artistique au Japon », Critique d’art, 60 | 2023, 80-90,

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