SANKAI JUKU was created in 1975 under the direction of Ushio AMAGATSU who belongs to the second generation of Buto dancers; Hijikata and Kazuo Ono being the founders of this dance form.

Buto transcended the reactions of the “post-Hiroshima” generation in Japan, in the sixties, and launched the basis of a radical approach of Japanese contemporary dance.

For Amagatsu, Buto is not merely a new technique or an academic style, but it tends to articulate the body language in order to fi nd, in the depth of each human being, a common sense, a serene universality, even if, sometimes, it refers to cruelty or brutality. But its perception may be different from one individual to an other.

Amagatsu’s personal quest is based on a “Dialogue with Gravity”, which is the title of the book he published in 2001 at Actes Sud Edition.

Before practicing Buto, he followed a training at the “Classic and Modern Dance School” in Tokyo. In 1975, he began a series of workshops in order to find the dancers for his new born company; from the 30 boys and girls at the beginning, only 3 men remain at the end of the one-year workshop. Sankai Juku was then known as a only-men company. Sankai Juku litteraly means the “workshop of the mountain and sea” in reference to the 2 basic elements of Japan topology.

As soon as 1975, Sankai Juku began then to perform in Japan in rather small and avant-garde theaters. The group’s first major production was KINKAN SHONEN in 1978. It revealed the new artistic direction taken by Amagatsu who has given Buto a clearer and more transparent image, more telluric too. The strength in each individual expression, in each movement, in each inside emotion nourishes itself from the origins of the world to show a passionate apprehension of life and death and universality.

In 1980, SANKAI JUKU is invited for the first time to Europe, to the Nancy Festival. Since then, the group has toured throughout Europe, South America, United States and Australia and whole Asia, from its home base in Tokyo. Since 1983, SANKAI JUKU prepares its new works in Japan where all members live. They are finalized and premiered in Paris Theatre de la Ville.

Outside of his company, AMAGATSU created in 1988 with fi ve western dancers a piece called “Fifth”. He staged the world creation of the opera « Trois Soeurs » by Peter Eotvoes at the Opéra de Lyon (1998) and Paris (Théâtre du Chatelet), Brussels (Théâtre de la Monnaie) and Vienne (Wiener Festwochen).

Creative Works :

1949 Born in Yokosuka City

1975 Founded SANKAI JUKU

1977 Created “AMAGATSU SHO”

1978 Created “KINKAN SHONEN”

1979 Created ”SHOLIBA”

1980 First world tour

1981 Created “BAKKI” (world premiere at Avignon Festival, France)

1982 Created “JOMON SHO” (world premiere:Theatre de la Ville, Paris)

1984 Created “NETSU NO KATACHI” (world premiere:Theatre de la Ville, Paris)

1985 Direction and choregraphy for the photo book “LUNA”

1986 Created “UNETSU” (world premiere:Theatre de la Ville, Paris)

1987 Conception, direction and choregraphy for the photo book “UNETSU”

1988 Created “FUSHI” at JACOBS PILLOW, USA, music by Philip Glass

Created “SHIJIMA” (world premiere at Theatre de la Ville, Paris)

1989 Artistic director of SPIRAL HALL (Tokyo),


1990 Created “FIFTH-V” at SPIRAL HALL (performed by dancers from USA)

1991 Created “OMOTE” (world premiere at Theatre de la Ville, Paris)

1992 President of judging comittee for “Les rencontres Internationales de Bagnolet 1992”

1993 Created “YURAGI” (world premiere:Theatre de la Ville, Paris)

1995 Created “HIYOMEKI” (world premiere:THEATRE DE LA VILLE, Paris)

1997 Directed opera “Bluebeard’s Castle” by Bela Bartok, conducted by Peter Eötvös

1998 Directed opera “THREE SISTERS”, music by Peter Eötvös (world premiere Opéra National de Lyon, France)

Created “HIBIKI” (world premiere at Theatre de la Ville, Paris).

2000 Created “KAGEMI” (world premiere at Theatre de la Ville, Paris).

2003 Created « UTSURI » (world premiere at Theatre de la Ville, Paris)

2005 Re created «KINKAN SHONEN» (at Biwako Hall Center for Performing Arts, Shiga, Japan)

2005 Created «TOKI» (world premiere at Theatre de la Ville, Paris)

2008 Directed “LADY SARASHINA”, opera by Peter Eotvos, (world premiere at Opera National de Lyon)

2008 Created “TOBARI” (world premiere at Theatre de la Ville, Paris)

2008 Created “UTSUSHI” (world premiere at Festival Chateauvallon, France)

Repertoire available for touring

KINKAN SHONEN Graine de Cumquat (1978, re-créé en 2005)

UNETSU Des Oeufs Debout par Curiosité (1986)

HIBIKI (1998, Prix Laurence Olivier, meilleure production chorégraphique, Londres, 2001)

KAGEMI (2000)

TOKI (2005)

TOBARI (2008)

UTSUSHI (2008)

UMUSUNA (2012)

MEGURI (2015)

Official Website