Sick Dancing Princess (Ch. 1)

Translated by Rhizome Lee.¹ In-process editing by Adam Koan. I have also added cross references by Kuniichi Uno.²

1. The method of clouding* the body
* obscuring

[Thinned down waist smoke bugs]

“Hey look at them!
Insects are alive without breathing.
Look! The thinned down waist smoke bugs have come walking
this way. Surely there could be a bug at the middle,
reincarnating into something.”
I’ve been brought up with the method to obscure the body,
participating in such as observations I overheard.

[Shrink and attentiveness]

All because, shrink and attentiveness of old man which knew
the uselessness of body had been wandering about me.

[Strange brightness and something shady]

Also the boy as me suddenly became stupid without any
intention, and kept like a strange brightness but only just barely
alive. And yet, my eyes fell into something shady as if they
were cursed, I had an excessive curiosity towards such
nameless things as lead balls or string. I was forced to work in
the eyes like a spy, guessing that the lead ball and string must
be pretending to rest.

2. A body being eaten by the snow

I have lived with passing through my finger in to the eye of the
fish, or flirting with a girl who had a dove of rubber, in fact
always I have been growing in the mood such as I was taken
for a pulse.

I was about to be eaten often by snow, if I in the fall, was also
bitten by grasshopper. In the rainy season I was cut by catfish,
and in early spring I was swallowed by the river by whole body.
And probably the eyes went inclined naturally to such things.

[A body stormed into by something monotonic and anxious]

I have hit a salted salmon with a plate or watching a
bicycle-cart under blazing sun, or felt nostalgic a medicine
bottle with an uneven glass, or felt suspicious the people who
would use an enema fig.

I explored the darkness of a rusty kitchen knife in the rainy
season standing in such a place, and had been practicing how
to wipe tears seriously. Because of monotonic and anxious
things stormed into the body, I might be aiming faintly a chance
to fabricate fake things with wearing a haze to the body.

3. Worms and fever

Always worms were generated in my belly, and they were
wriggling slowly under the ass hole. Sometimes it came out of
the ass hole. I wonder was it due to eating the greens of the
backyard too much? Moreover, I always became fever and
vomited red things and blue things. I wonder the cause
because I have run around under hot sun too much? Adult
people said “This is a strange fever”. When I heard such a thing,
a sense of relief which I was guarded by something, made me
closer to the faint breath further. I was swelling in such a way.
My nature that would solve easily any misfortune, and a bud of
weak heart and a thing close to no will, seemed to blow out
from the body.

4. Resonance of the crying woman and crying physical

Anyway, the light bulb in the old days was shaking often. Under
the shaking light, a crying woman was seen everywhere.
Crying physical phenomena could also be seen around the
woman. I was worried about if that a woman who is crying
might control the physical phenomena. My brain was floating
away just four centimeters from my head always, but the brain
was scared a white flesh fish and a rusty mousetrap.

5. My sooty princess

There is no doubt that a sweet nostalgic and a hopeless
longing have hit anyone. Anyone would have the experience to
decide to approach the princess for dancing with her without
hesitation, and had hugged the body temperature of the
princess in one’s blood vessel. My princess was sooty, her feet
was rapped with cotton, and had a kitchen knife in hand with
the appearance which was wary around by forehead
occasionally. However, it was a brief moment she went off to
sleep leaving only the squishy laughter.

6. Baby

When watching for and observing the breath of a baby, the
sleeper’s breathing was damp and sticky, it was not a
cylindrical air like sucked through a straw. What world would be
hatching out in this graffiti-like baby? I faced the fake-like
atmosphere swaying around the baby which was almost hardly
to discern, and such a dislocated shape as if it were catching
something eccentric long time, and suddenly I wanted to satisfy
the sense of hunger like brute of a man to take away a baby
food from the mouth of the infant.

7. Human that does huddle only by the body

In case of being cornered, human, it becomes to huddle only by
the body. There was an old lady in the neighborhood, she often
showed a changing color ball from the mouth with a demeanor
such as mustard vegetables, or put a odorless smoke ball in
the hands from around the ass, I was often teased. Because of
I might be such a kid who stood gazing at the worms in the sink.
Any children are longing to love the expectation that want to
miss the opportunity conveniently, and living with breathing
along with it. I who was an elementary school pupil attached
with the aura of toad and the smell of turtle shape soap, felt as
if I already had lived much more than a lifelong. There was also
a feeling that had been defeated by a stroke of knitted long
johns or shirt which were hanging under the eaves. There were
a lot of things like that. Also Takahashi’s mother who lived in
the neighbor had been creepy, because she did not try to touch
the things in the house always.

8. A woman glared at me and I became a stick

One day, a woman who was dressing a kimono in the house
has a little stretch with chewing a piece of string from the tatami
floor. After that, she turned the hands behind the band with a
terrible face, and glared at me with tight eyes. I went out from
the back door silently and was watching a mediocre stick that
was leaning against the eaves quietly behind the house. Before
I knew it, I became a stick and was playing.

9. A hidden state

I sometimes had danced playful with drinking a cider for sure.
But, there were so many adults who ate a meal voraciously with
anger, and people who worked hard by grinding one’s body like
a tool, therefore I had become to live at an abstract place
where my feeling became like a pathetic shadow. An
atmosphere that I was inhibited to go far too much is hidden in
it and it made me feel the signs as if it talked to me. This hidden
state, which had a face like a reality apart from the attributes of
all, but, myself was also similar to the state as if I was yawned
by it, my breathing had to become modest gradually.

[A body without intermediary]

My body did not speak, but it seemed to sense something
which lived at the place where was apart from infant things or
things which has the shame certainly. The body had been like
going out and returning to body. My forehead was open always,
but I had become as if eyes accepted nothing. It became a
body with no intermediary procedures as if my body became a
flower easily at a moment before stumbled and fell while
walking. I also don’t think to surgery such a body. But there
would be not able to. When it is so much fun, I have decided
not to dance.

10. A vague figure

A vague figure which I had inhaled with the smell of lunch
which went bad, around the color of sour pickled eggplant
which was blowing powders, would have been the precious

11. A woman of exploding hair

I felt the fear and anxiety for boredom of a boy who was
gnawing lacquered chopsticks and a woman who comes up on
the tatami room with erecting the hair as if electricity been
going. I wonder all of them has become like that by passing
through the explosion. But why so many swollen legs were
seen around me? Or, did something being ridiculed make to
show me that? Though I looked at long time, it comes up with
floating in front of me that sort of cloths shining with yellow light,
and fading whitish mediocre yellow faces.

Beside it, there was a child who was crying till ear’s color has
changed red, and a child who was poked because of the rumor
that he was tearing red tears from the eyes and spitting out the
thread from the mouth, had grown up. In those days when the
running ears and trachoma were popular, the light was used
sparingly and might illuminate up these things as if exploring
those. Something a little broken and rotten, seemed to snuggle
gently beside a schoolgirl who smelled intensely of toilet.

[Feeling which seems to have been already danced by

I’ve always approached towards crying children who became
dirty whitish. I also went to bark toward green onions unable to
eat because grew up too much. I was caught in the feeling
of already being danced by someone. I was
shrouded in steam, or became like an object of a totally lost life. The
lack of the gravity which the body itself feels would teach me a
gesture that ate a form up quickly floating up by chance in thought.

[A body which was forgotten]

In my behavior, a room which has something affectionate and
thoughtful might enter and vanish. As if the body was
not my property, I had forgotten my arms and leg, also the body
itself was forgotten away.

Cross Reference 1: Uno Kunichii’s Translation (English Translation: Bruce Baird)

I am beset by the feeling that I am already being caused to dance by something. I became like matter which has suddenly lost its life, possibly because I was enveloped in steam. Probably, the condition of my body itself not feeling gravity also taught me the gesture of rapidly eating the forms which suddenly floated into my thoughts. It appeared that any crevice where affection and discernment might enter my conduct completely disappeared. I guess I even forgot my hands and feet and even my body itself, as if the body was not my own thing to possess.   HTZ  1: 15

As the evidence that I could not
grasp what came into my eyes, I was standing in a place like
watching a wet paper during it turn yellowish and drying, and a
butterfly stopped on it for an hour. Therefore or, I would
probably be afraid of slipping of chopsticks during eating a bowl
of eel and rice still. The whereabouts of my changeable
feelings which I suddenly lose energy, and spirits rise up in the
evening, gone melt into my body, it has become difficult to
search, also to follow its whereabouts precisely.

[Practice of the gloom that oozes among the kneeling position]

However, even in such a state of the body that are forgotten,
the weight of the stone on top of the pickle barrel that is blowing
white powder is unforgettable. The kneeling position when I
lifted the stone, and raise the stretched eggplant, and the
gloom that oozed out from the kneeling position itself, probably
it would be what provided in the body naturally, but on the other
hand I had practiced it.

12. Fear of silk thread

I needed long years till to become not scared of silk thread, and
I have experienced various refractions till I recognized a
woman who was hanging two breasts while standing in a
kitchen place with heavily breathing, as something beautiful.

13. A body being removed the outlines from

Various things enwind the body that was removed the outlines
from, and if I peeled them off, I felt as if a new wind was printed
on it, but also the side of wind had made a mistake, and maybe
also I would merely have repeated a mistake.

[Eyeball for watching the invisible huge creature in the air]

If I had not an eyeball on the forehead, I would have been
eaten by the fight against those which are hanging all over the
place, and it was not able to see the invisible huge creature in
the air. My body seemed to be sandwiched in that place. I often
bought and ate foods. I was walking on the street with the dirty
face of buying and eating. I rubbed the candy and dried squid
to the dog passing each other on the way and was eating it
again. I was, like that….

14. A body which was left alone too much

Sound of boiling food was heard under the sky as if the
Ishikawa Goemon* was likely to come out. Rather, I would
have wished to be able to hear it. Or the strings of the thought
might have been cut off, because I had lent my eyes too much
to the pattern of tatami mat, though it might be able to be heard.
My thought had been unconsciously led to the body which has
been left alone too much.

* A legendary great thief

[Body which had been stolen by steam]

When I was blown by the steam from the boiling iron pot of rice
in the dusk, I have lost appetite, my thought became like steam,
my body had been growing up to such as a fictional body. Thus,
my body was stolen even by the steam. Though it had been
stolen and been danced by someone already, I had no idea
how could I get back it and regenerate. I wonder that a blind
and a lion like laughing me were hidden in the steam rising up
faintly. What shall not succeed as a thought as binding the
water by hand, something very difficult were also mixed in the

[It was not only me who had been danced by someone]

In retrospect, the whereabouts which cannot get might be
hidden at only place like it missed the bones of a fish which
pierced into wet cloth. It was not only me who had been danced
by someone. I have been returned stare a pig which watched
the dopey children, and have sometimes stood under the chilly
Sun like a chicken looking up at the sky. At times like that, I’ve
been trying to put a tooth biting a pillar, or forget such things of
bitter cucumber in the field.

[Creature that lives in a sound that no one knows]

It might be able to be peeped the shape of creatures that lived
in a sound that no one knew, through the people who were
extending the crumpled paper in the house. But my young body
has fallen into where not blame, or into where we bypassed the
light brown robber socks stopper by afraid.

15. A body which continues to be eaten

I played in the street until sunset, my vocal cord was about to
collapse like a brown sweet sugar. Also buttons of my jacket
were smashed enough even if the daytime hot flashes were not
fallen out in the evening. As I came home, I was inserted the
cotton painted black ointment at the tip of disposable
chopsticks into the ass in a groveling position.

After I went home, so there was scenery like the dusk was
connecting from the angle of running away of small animals
which was near me. Red dragonflies and mixed small insects
hit my face. So, I have drunk them deep into my throat so that
probably the expression of rough throat might connect to my

My body dripping blue nasal discharge was also violently hit by
horsefly. I was eating various sweets by such a body. Roasted
fragments barley flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, a piece
of ginger rice crackers, soybean paste bread, twisted candy,
fist candy, bomb, and banana sweets. Somehow when I eat
those kinds of thing, a thin man came out from inside the house
in trickles, and put a hoe in the back of the field, and he pulled
out the green onions.

Also I was wonder that a strange person of a blue face went
away by very quick running away beside me eating various wild

As same as these people like spies, and those who would have
contact with glimpses quickly, I was simple species. If we have
lived too much apart from the childish oldness and smoke, we
forget even that we can become one-eyed child monster by
playing just to put tongue out at full length. We become not to
be able distinguish between crying thing and melting thing, and
even the voice of child shouting “Oh, help me!” come heard as
histrionically thing, and I cannot go down to the bottom.
Tatami and shoji in the house have kept a surface without any
changes. The days guessing whether things cannot get the
chance of love affair, continued. Though I have struggled and
made some noise by twisted my body and stepped my feet
violently at such time, I had been to lose against the speed of
the empty space spreading which invades my body. If I noticed
actually that the cake and candy which I wanted to eat won’t be
able, the images of a flat dog and stretched out cat as a string,
came up around my head. I did strange way of decision like
since a dog and cat were candy. This body I was thinking
would continue to be eaten.

16. God being torn to shreds

There was one or two God being torn to shreds wherever we
went. In every house we went, people that could not suppress
passions of the soul anymore were sitting in the house, and were
shouting by screeching having nostalgic iron tongs. I had
been watching these people who were tasting the precision of
being on the verge of becoming a fool, and with empathy I
could understand them.

17. The basis of human had collapsed
from those all around me

Compared to such a state, probably what we found out by
sharp sight is mostly broken, and is merely an empty corpse of
type. Because the basis of human had collapsed
from those all around me, I would have been able to watch it
without doing any thinking.

Cross Reference 2: Uno Kunichii’s Translation (English Translation: Bruce Baird)

I was only thinking about the way that this body will likely continue to be eaten away unless some unusual event does not immediately occur in the sky.  There were always one or two gods that would rip you to shreds no matter which house you went to, and no matter which house, there was always someone sitting there who couldn’t suppress the violent passions of their soul, and they would scream in a shrill voice while gripping those nostalgic fire tongs. I guess I had the feeling that I could understand these people, who taste the all the particulars of being on the brink of cowardice, so I looked at them.  It is certain that the things which I quickly found out, when compared with this situation, were almost all damaged and not more than the corpses of forms. Because the roots of humanity had already crumbled away from the people around me, it could seem as if it was OK for me not to do any thinking.   HTZ  1: 17

[18. Relationships that are threatened by demeanor of things]

A quiet and thin person who was picking eggplant, many flying
butterflies, soy sauce bottles that has a certain thickness, even
the weight of the charcoal briquette, the weight of the hammer,
and a yukata robe which came back from the cold; all of them
were what abetted human violent emotions. But, if watched
from the relationship that is threatened by demeanor of the stuff
like these, they thought that it might happen that our breath
itself would go out from the body, and they had to make a living
darkly with cautious. They might had put away the intervention
of the sharp eyes that surprised humans, as a kind of disease

[19. Lessons of Sick Dancing Princess]

Sickly person who was sleeping or waking was always
groaning in a dark place of the house. My custom was to let release
my body onto the tatami like a fish, which I learned through the
lessons of this sickly dancing princess. Her body was seen like
made by the outline which was making a wish. But it had been
caught in the darkness which was a thing like born fruit by
bursting somewhere. Anybody would not have remembered
the darkness of the other side that everyone does not know,
this beginning like a revival. I have grown up with breathing in a
place that cannot learn by being taught. When being forced to
watch these sick people, a desire to release my body by being
beaten strongly my knee by something like a stick, had been
scraped out from my body. But most of time, my body had no
desire, and it moved as if going across the shadow of the

Cross Reference 3: Uno Kunichii’s Translation (English Translation: Bruce Baird)

A feeble person who slept and woke over and over was always moaning in a dark corner of the house. You could say that I learned from the lessons of this feeble terpsichore my habit of turning loose my body on the tatami like a fish. It appeared that her body was made with the contours of doing something like desiring, but even so, it was captured by a darkness that was like something ruptured and ripened somewhere. She[/I] probably didn’t remember the darkness on the other side that no one knows, this dark resurrection which is like a beginning.   HTZ  1: 18

[I would have been fused and merged with Sick Dancing

I might have thought sometimes to want to re-capture and
re-construct this body that would be bitten by anything easily,
but it had fluttered along the base of the existence of the sickly
dancing princess who was sleeping or awaking, and I would
have been fused and merged with this dancing princess

[20. An observation that is going to stray]

I was living with the body as if the sound of sipping the snivel
was similar to the spirit faintly, spend looking at the chickens
which have a color similar to the gloom under the rim, and
completely forgot about the teeth of the horse. My body has
been brought to the place just as being bowed by frog and

I maybe too much followed uncertain contexts, or too much
related to the people who were laughing with wrapping nail in
paper and appeared in front of the fence of coal tar that was not
able to follow the outlines, I have run and lived as if a drawer of
closet full of sigh was slipping out. However, even if I watched
inside the mind so brightly, there would be no reason such that
the movement that was playing like a dog that went ahead and
behind would disappear quickly from the body.

With moving my roundish ankle and playing, I touched on
mother’s shoulder which was smelled of dust and hand towel,
or I have listened to the sound of kettle while fiddling her
shaggy shoulder by fingers. I have peace of mind watching her
downy hair of the face that was left without shaved, while
looking away from the big eeriness of her mouth, feeling the
eyes that did not see me.

The soul would hide at that place and it is not able to look at by
any eyes of the face. But I when will it be able to become such
a man to behave carefully peel off the skin of boiled eggs in a
natural state? I thought that I do not need to focus on the
behavior of such a man especially. The more I thought, the
more increased my observation straying.

[Brightness and darkness of breath]

I had cut the tongue often, by licking a candy that had empty
nests in it.

I was watching the coolness of ice cream seller who had
suffering eyes, as a thing without bounds than doctors who let
me frozen. Then, when approaching such a cool place, I
suddenly stopped the motion and stiffened. Sooty thoughts and
eroded shadows were living around it, and thing which was
regarded as worry has suddenly turned to an ease. Brightness
and darkness of the breath that was not necessary to untie and
erase such things would have connected to my body. Anyway, I
would prefer such a condition as if the shade let the light
breathe. However, a body that has drunk the water without
bitter medicine, when it joined in the people, came out as a
body that failed to appear in disguise, and brought big fuss.

[21. Dusk of vague mind]

If we have not led to the mind condition of completely
exhausted, we might not be able to grasp the real relationships
of people. We can release it into this dusk of vague mind, what
we cherish as sacred things as the catfish, loach and winter
crucian, and also what we chased the people who gave us
candy with stroking the face jingling, and bowed politely. How is
it possible to see by opening the eyes, if we didn’t prefer to hide
in this dusk, and if there were not something that wished to be
broken there? It is connected to the vague dusk unpromisingly
also what I was watching the edible wild plants and beans that
were boiled and immersed in water of the pot for several days,
also what I have been chased in the room by a lascivious and
frank woman who came to sell the chicken only on the day that
noisy wind.

[22. In the bed, God also would crawl into]

The sleeping face of any kind of people is peeped as if a
makeup which is hard to express by word. God also would
crawl into bed. The size of the body also seems to be

[23. What is visible would be a dark hole itself]

Though those things that are visible must be certainly horses
and cows, I wonder if it would be a dark hole itself, or they
would be things that enter into the hole and become invisible.

Cross Reference 4: Uno Kunichii’s Translation (English Translation: Bruce Baird)

That thing I can see is certainly a horse or a cow, but is it indeed a dark hole, or probably something that went into the hole and now I can’t see it anymore?   HTZ  1: 20


Uno Kunichii’s Translations Continued (Past Rhizome Lee’s Ch. 1 Translations)

The I which applied a charcoal fire mold to my shin always felt distressed towards my body as if I were being suspected of something. When I would step into this suspicious territory, I would embrace a strange space-time. It is likely that the I who was wearing the shell of chaos, wanted to be treated as the body that had thrown that off. The I (that stored up something like a marching band at his side and in his face in which his furrowed brow was connected directly to a gap in the sky) sometimes showed a nimble panic. When the sun would cloud over, his feelings would cloud over, and in just that way come to resemble his body. Like a frog with only half a body, I would press my back against a fence.   HTZ  1: 33–34

Whatever you do, you cannot say anything that will help you understand that you are you.  HTZ  1: 61

The immediate future is imperiled; I was surrounded by something that resembled the atmosphere of fluttering butterfly wings. Even the vapor that surrounded me (that was like I was silently watching a small snake melt) approached the hermetically sealed space along with the butterfly. For the shape of such an I, there is no childhood and no past. There is not even anything like something one would have no choice but to invent.   HTZ  1: 73

I was certainly and clearly sucking up through my pores, a wind which was probably blowing on the skin of the dead. Who was it who was encouraging it [/me], “just a little bit more, just a little bit more,” and being cleansed by the transparent wind, and exposed to consolation? Is it because it is only the dead who can sleep contently when the light of a thunderbolt goes behind their eyes?   HTZ  1: 84

On account of the painful injection that came from that damp earth, even though I was full of lies, I became a body unable to lie. The things that are propped up all around that body, seemed as if they had completely died, leaving only the dark texture of me behind. Even after this thing called I dies, I guess the shape of me folding my arms over my chest will remain. Around me the voice(s) of rumors could be heard.   HTZ  1:104

Everyone disappeared from the house. Even the taciturn person suddenly disappeared who turned his/her shoes backwards and waved them. It is just submerged earthworms. I have a feeling that I saw a corpse person striding along with giant steps wearing the form of an unfamiliar clear stomach. I also have the feeling that I have seen a corpse in the shape of a long slender stomach tying off the slender stomach and somewhat regretfully disappearing.   HTZ  1:120


¹ Lee, Rhizome. The Butoh. First Edition. 2017. Pages 337 – 354.
² Baird, Bruce. “The Book of Butoh; The Book of The Dead”. The Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance. London and New York: Routledge, 2018. Page 171-176. Translation of: Uno, Kuniichi. 1986. “Butō no sho, shisha no sho.” Yurīka no. 237 (18 July): 30–37.
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