Undercurrents Teita Iwabuchi “A Water Vein”

© Hibiki Miyazawa (Alloposidae LLC)


Tokyo was once a city of waterways.
Many of its rivers are canals excavated during the Edo period, which provided the original pattern for the layout of modern Tokyo.
However, most are now hidden away out of sight below the metropolis, gradually transformed by urban development and the ravages of war and disaster.

Traces of the rivers of yesteryear in Tokyo’s Higashi-nihonbashi district and views of its present-day rivers.
Dark forms lurking in our neighborhoods’ nooks and crannies——Choreographer and dancer Teita Iwabuchi has traced the “invisible rivers” that flow beneath the concrete of this constantly metamorphosing city.

Cast & Staff

Teita Iwabuchi

Choreographer and dancer. Iwabuchi majored in theatre at Tamagawa University, while also studying Nihon buyo dance and Butoh. Between 2007 and 2015, he appeared in Butoh performances by the late Ko Murobushi, whose powerful influence on him persists to this day. In 2005, Iwabuchi began creating works focused on the body’s interaction with space and music, as well as the body’s structure. In 2010, he teamed up with musicians including Yoshio Otani and Shuta Hasunuma to perform a collaborative work centered on the relationship between the body and music. In 2012, his work Hetero (co-choreographed with Kaori Seki) won a French Embassy Prize at Yokohama Dance Collection Ex 2012. Iwabuchi taps into a characteristically Japanese physique and sensitivity with roots in Butoh and martial arts to develop the expressive methodology he calls “the reticulated body,” which is inspired by biology and neuroscience. He is an adjunct lecturer at Tamagawa University and a resident artist at Steep Slope Studio. He was a senior fellow of the Saison Foundation in 2019.

and performer
Teita Iwabuchi
Hibiki Miyazawa (Alloposidae LLC)
Assistant director
Shun Sato
Takashi Fujikawa
Saori Azuma
Director of photography
Hibiki Miyazawa (Alloposidae LLC)
Chief camera assistant
Aoi Nakamura (RAKUDA STUDIO)
Camera assistant
Natsumi Oikawa
Sound engineer and mixer
Yukiko Shimizu
Sound assistant
Kentaro Kimura
Production assistants
Maria Nanashima, Yuta Sato, Maho Kono
Risa Tsunoda
Saori Azuma
Translator of English
subtitles for the interview 
John Townsend


From the Interview

Do you ever feel desires welling up inside your body when you’re out in the street?
The question of how we discover the things that we’ve cut out of our daily lives, believing them unnecessary, and how to communicate with them...well, it’s fun, pure and simple. Enriching, even.
We can navigate the streets we always travel along without thinking about it. That’s a very useful function, but there’s something else. The fact is that our bodies feel surprise. They experience amazement every day, sensing that bud that looks a little more swollen today, that stone that’s a little out of place, that angle of the sun or that smell that’s different from usual.
It’s just enough to make us crouch down to look at a flower and inhale its scent. That’s all it is. That’s what I do with my body.

Interviewer: Saori Azuma


From encounters with Butoh artists to the way that bodies interface with the city.
I asked Teita Iwabuchi about his own interests and the issues he sees, based on our experiences of making this film.

Released: 2021 Runtime: 22min.

Produced by NPO Arts Network Japan [NPO-ANJ]
Cooperating organizations: Festival/Tokyo Executive Committee, Yanagibashi Komatsuya

Fantastic Site – Special Performances at Tokyo Festival 2020
“Undercurrents” administration office c/o NPO Arts Network Japan
TEL:03-5961-5200 (Weekdays, 11:30 – 16:30)