The first dance in Japan may well have been a mythological striptease. In one of the most famous episodes from Japanese folklore, the goddess Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto entices Amaterasu Omikami, the sun deity, to come out of hiding by ripping off her clothes and dancing. The elemental irreverence of this moment is still visible today in butoh, a style of dance also known as ankoku butoh ("the dance of utter darkness").

Hijikata Tatsumi and Butoh, by Bruce Baird
293 pages
Palgrave Macmillan, Nonfiction.