Eiko was born in 1952 in Tokyo and grew up in post-war, post-occupation Japan. At a time when few women were accepted into the field of law and politics, Eiko enrolled in the law department at Chuo University to major in political science. But she was drawn to Tokyo’s lively underground art scene and encountered the works of avant-garde filmmakers, writers, and performers, including Tatsumi Hijikata. She met Koma at Hijikata’s studio and the two began collaborating. Soon after, she dropped out of college and began to study with Kazuo Ohno while performing in cabarets with Koma under the name “Night Shockers.”
In 1972 Eiko and Koma traveled to Germany to study with Manja Chimiel, a disciple of Mary Wigman, and began to present their own work. After performing in festivals and galleries in Germany, the Netherlands, Tunisia, and San Francisco, they settled in New York City in 1976. Over the next 40 years, Eiko & Koma would create a unique theater of movement out of stillness, shape, light, and sound, to great acclaim worldwide.
With her ongoing solo project, Eiko has performed at train stations (Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station and New York City’s Fulton Station), libraries, galleries, an abandoned house, an observatory, and a warehouse. Engaging with the particulars of place and the gaze of each viewer, Eiko will continue her exploration in Hong Kong and Chile before arriving in the East Village, home of Danspace Project.