Judo Buyō - The lost art of Judo Dance

Judo Buyō translates in English to Judo Dance.


Judo Buyō began in the 1960's by Kodokan Judo, the founding Judo association, at a time when women were not permitted to participate in Judo matches. To allow more participation from women, Judo Buyō was created. Women performed the Judo Buyō during the opening ceremonies.

After women were allowed to compete and women's Judo matches were developed in 1978, Judo Buyō died out. Even in Japan, it is a relatively unknown dance/martial art form.

Recently in 2014, Japanese Judoist Keiko Nagasaki revived the art form. As a 7th dan Judo master, she has been teaching Judo for 40 years. She created a troupe composed of 12 women judoka and began performing the dance before matches in her hometown of Kanazawa.

The differences between the Judo Buyō she danced in the past and her revived Judo Buyō are her modifications. The dance was originally composed of basic Judo movements. She now includes more complex Judo movements including throws, break-falls, and rolls. She has also re-adapted the Judo Buyō's purpose and uses the dance as another method to practice and share her love for the sport of Judo.


Keiko Nagasaki's journey to revive Judo Buyō was documented in June 2015 by the Japanese broadcasting corporation, NHK world: https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/editors/3/20160615/

Additional photographs can be found here: https://zendoukan.jimdo.com/柔道舞踊/

As a side note: Buyō is a separate tradition and refers to the traditional Japanese performing art of dance and pantomime. It developed in the early Edo period (early 17th century) from kabuki, a traditional Japanese theater drama incorporating dance.

References:

  • Stevens J. The way of Judo: a portrait of Jigoro Kano & his students. Boston: Shambhala, 2013. 230p.
  • History of Kodokan Judo [Intenet]. Japan: Kodoan Judo Institute; [cited 2017 Jan 7]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: http://kodokanjudoinstitute.org/en/doctrine/history/
  • All the Right Moves [Internet]. Japan: NHK World; 2016 Jun 15 [cited 1027 Jan 7]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/editors/3/20160615/