Pigs, Roman Emperors, and Go-Go Boots: Hijikata Tatsumi and the Revolution, Tokyo 1968

Third Thursday lecture - Sainsbury Institute

Thursday 21 September, 2023
6:00pm BST - 7:00pm BST


Hybrid lecture at the Sainsbury Institute, NR1 4DH, and online via Zoom.
50 min lecture followed by Q&A.
Free and open to all, booking essential.
To check your time zone conversion if you are joining from outside the UK, click here.

In-person registration for this event is limited . If you would like to attend in-person, please select the ‘In-person’ option in the Zoom registration form. Please note that all registrants will receive a confirmation email from Zoom and a link to the talk. We will contact successful in-person registrants via email. Anyone else will be placed on a waiting list for the event and contacted if a space becomes available. 

Doors for in-person attendees will open at 17:45.


Professor William Marotti (UCLA)

About the Talk

This talk considers Hijikata’s seminal dance work, Hijikata Tatsumi and the Japanese: Revolt of the Flesh, within its 1968 context. Performed at the Japan Youth Hall on October 9-10, 1968, this work is regarded as both masterpiece and transition point. Yet there has been curiously little attention to its connection to surrounding events in the Shinjuku ward. Marotti argues that Hijikata’s performance is a site-specific work. It engages with the hall and its sponsoring association’s decades-long history in orchestrating rural youth and regional folk performance within a national and cultural sphere. It also connects with an insurgent politics of perception centered about Shinjuku Station. Hijikata explores and explodes these associations through the figure of Roman Emperor Heliogabalus, lord of misrule, and through a movement vocabulary of transgressively exaggerated gesture and sexuality.

About the Speaker

William Marotti is an Associate Professor of History and Chair of the East Asian Studies MA IDP Program at UCLA. He teaches modern Japanese history with an emphasis on everyday life and cultural-historical issues. Marotti’s Money, Trains and Guillotines: Art and Revolution in 1960s Japan (Duke University Press, 2013) addresses politics in Japan in the 1960s through a focus upon avant-garde artistic production and performance. His current book project, “The Art of Revolution: Politics and Aesthetic Dissent in Japan’s 1968,” analyzes cultural politics and oppositional practices in Japan with particular emphasis on 1968 as a global event.

Image: © Hijikata Tatsumi Archive

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The Third Thursday Lecture series is funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Yakult UK.