Article

Eguchi Takaya (1900–1977) By Yukihiko, Yoshida

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM717-1
Published: 09/05/2016
Retrieved: 03 August 2021, from
https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/eguchi-takaya-1900-1977

Article

Abstract

Following in the footsteps of Baku Ishii and Takada Seiko, dancer Eguchi Takaya established an abstract dance form based on Neue Tanz from Germany. He also helped to found a dancers’ organization in pre- and postwar Japan. In addition, he contributed to the creation of Japanese lyrical modern dance, and published journals for modern dance. Born in Noheji, Aomori Prefecture in Japan, Eguchi studied with Takada Masao and Takada Seiko. Takada Masao and Takada Seiko were dancers who, alongside Baku Ishii and Michio Itō, studied under Giovanni Rossi at the Imperial Theatre. After Rossi’s move to America, the four students became involved in popular culture and other areas such as performing arts, photography, and film, and were the first generation of dancers to base their work on Western dance. Their methods were influenced by rythmique (eurhythmics). In most of their work, the performers danced to the accompaniment of music that was well known at the time.

Following in the footsteps of Baku Ishii and Takada Seiko, dancer Eguchi Takaya established an abstract dance form based on Neue Tanz from Germany. He also helped to found a dancers’ organization in pre- and postwar Japan. In addition, he contributed to the creation of Japanese lyrical modern dance, and published journals for modern dance.

Training

Born in Noheji, Aomori Prefecture in Japan, Eguchi studied with Takada Masao and Takada Seiko. Takada Masao and Takada Seiko were dancers who, alongside Baku Ishii and Michio Ito, studied under Giovanni Rossi at the Imperial Theatre. After Rossi’s move to America, the four students became involved in popular culture and other areas such as performing arts, photography, and film, and were the first generation of dancers to base their work on Western dance. Their methods were influenced by rythmique (eurhythmics). In most of their work, the performers danced to the accompaniment of music that was well known at the time.

Contribution to Modernism

Dance in prewar Japan was marked by the prevalence of traditional Japanese dance, Western modern dance, and, to a lesser extent, Western ballet. Eguchi played a central role in establishing other forms of dance in Japan. In 1931, Eguchi moved to Germany, where expressionism was widespread, and studied Neue Tanz with Mary Wigman. Although he brought the German influences of expressionism and Neue Tanz to Japan, he also established his own lyrical expression as well. For instance, he translated Bewegungschor (mass movement choirs) from German into the popular Japanese equivalent, Gumbu. His choreographic work Puromete no hi (1950) is considered to be a masterpiece.

During World War II, he and his wife, Misako Miya, who was a talented dancer from Morioka, Iwate, presented camp-show tours in various places, mainly in China, many of which were recorded by Miya. They continued to present these works after the war. Camp-shows were performed for soldiers, featuring interpretations of the popular novel by Hino Ashihei and the wartime popular songs of the period, and folk art that made the soldiers feel nostalgic. These performances often contained indirect, antiwar messages. The subtlety of the antiwar sentiments allowed Eguchi and Miya to escape wartime censorship.

In addition to performing and choreographing his own works, Eguchi published many books and edited a research journal. After the war, Eguchi published his book Buyō nō Sōsaku hō (The Methodology of Dance Creation), which contains a detailed account of the dance creation method established by the Japanese. He also became the first university professor in dance and taught students from across Asia at Japan Women’s College of Physical Education. In 1976, he was appointed as a president at the Contemporary Dance Association of Japan.

Legacy

Many of Eguchi’s Japanese students, including Ōshiba Makoto, Nishida Takashi, Atsumi Rina, Kanai Fumie, Ikeda Mizuomi, Ohno Kazuo (who is well-known for his work in butoh), and Hiroshi Shoji were active in modern dance. Another student, Masao Hirata, specialized in children’s dance. Eguchi also left some influence on Chinese modern dance, having taught Wu Xiaobang, the originator of modern dance in China.

List of Works

  • Shujyutsushitsu (Operating Room) (1933)

  • Buttai Buyo (Object Dance) (1935)

  • Sukaraza no Maritsukai (Juggler in Teatro alla Scala) (1935)

  • Mugi to Heitai (Wheat and Soldiers) (1938)

  • Naniyatoyara (Bon Dance in Aomori and Iwate Prefecture) (1937)

  • Puromete no hi (The Fire of Prometheus) (1950)

  • Nihon no Taiko (Dance of Japan) (1951)

  • Sakuhin nanaban (The Dance Work Opus No.7) (1953)

Writings:

  • (1941) Aruku, Tokyo: Meguro Shoten.

  • (1947) Gakkouniokeru Buyō, Tokyo: Meiseisha.

  • (1961) Buyō sōsaku hō, Tokyo: Kawai Gakufu.

  • Gendai buyō (1953–72) (Research journal edited by Eguchi) Tokyo: GendaiBuyoSha.

Further Reading

  • Kusaka, S. (1988) Nihon Gendai Buyo no Nagare, dainikan, DVD to bukkuretto, Vol. 2, Gendai buyo kyokai, kokusaibu.

  • Miya, M. (1995) Rikugunsho haken gokuhi jugun imondan, Soei shuppan.

  • Nikaido, A. (2006) T. Eguchi’s “Creative Methodology and Ideas through the Influence of M. Wigman,” Annual Conference “Dancing Under the Rising Sun” Proceedings, Dance Research Society.

  • Nishimiya, Y. (1989) Modan dansu—Eguchi Takaya to Geijyutsu nendaishi, shimbun shuppankyoku.

  • Yoshida, Y. (2009) “National Dance under the Rising Sun, mainly from ‘National Dance’, ‘Buyo Geijutsu’ and activities of Takaya Eguchi,” International Journal of Eastern Sports & Physical Education, Vol. 3, pp. 88–103.

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Published

09/05/2016

Article DOI

10.4324/9781135000356-REM717-1

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Citing this article:

Yukihiko, Yoshida. "Eguchi Takaya (1900–1977)." The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. : Taylor and Francis, 2016. Date Accessed 3 Aug. 2021 https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/eguchi-takaya-1900-1977. doi:10.4324/9781135000356-REM717-1

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