Ryu of Chicago Celebrates the 38th Recital
The Fujima Ryu of Chicago celebrated the 38th recital on October 19 at the auditorium of the Northside College Preparatory School, and a variety of Japanese classic dance was showcased by the members of the group. The Fujima Ryu is one of the most traditional Japanese-dance schools in Japan, and Fujima Shunojo, who had received his professional name from the Fujima School, opened the Chicago branch in 1976. Last year, he was awarded by the Foreign Minister of Japan for his significant contribution to deepen understandings of Japanese art and culture in the Midwest.
This year, Fujima Shuryu, Grandmaster of Fujima Ryu in Japan, came to help the recital. Shuryu spent more than eight years in Chicago in his young days and called Shunojo as sensei, teacher. Fujima Yurino also joined the recital from Australia. She has attended it regularly for many years.
The 38th recital opened with “Haru no
Kotobuki”, a congratulatory dance for the opening or a new beginning,
performed by Fujima Shunojo and Shuryu.
Erin Ikeuchi played “Ougi Zukushi (Collection of Fans), and the piece described all the different types of celebratory themes such as happiness and the good fortune of a long lasting marriage or a new year.
Fujima Ikunojo and Fujima Yoshinojo performed “Harukoma” (Spring Colts). The piece described two geishas, who reenacted the famous story of the Soga brothers, two samurai searching to avenge their father’s death.
Sachio Nang danced “Kotobuki Shochikubai”. The piece is themed after the three traditional signs of fortune: the pine, bamboo, and plum blossom. The pine is a symbol of strength; the bamboo is the sign for longevity; and the plum is the first flower to bloom in the early spring.
Joy Nieda danced “Chiyo no Maiougi”, which depicted a court dancer travelling to the opposing general’s war camp where her lover had been captured. She will dance at the camp, so that she can see him one last time.
Yukio Nang and Aki Abatangello danced “Hana no Utage” (Celebration of Flowers), Fujima Yoshinojo performed “Shunrai” (Spring Thunder), and Fujima Yurino performed Shima no Senzai, which described a court dancer. One of the well known moments in the dance is that the dancer tries to draw a moon’s reflection from a well.
After taiko-drumming performance by
Kokyo Taiko and Tuskasa Taiko, the second part of the recital started.
Japanese classical dances are usually performed with live music; however,
this is almost impossible in Chicago. Fujima Shunojo, who places high
respect on tradition, asked Toyoaki Shamisen group to provide live music.
With the live music, Fujima Ikunojo performed “Sanosa Bune”, a dance of
a broken-hearted geisha at the shore of a river.
Shunojo’s Fujima Ryu recital is famous not only for dances, but also for beauty of kimono and the way of dressing. Usually Shunojo helps his students get dressed, but it requires strong, powerful arms and fingers. Once he said that his fingers had been numbed before he performed.
Fujima Shuryu said that he came to the
recital because he really wanted to help Shunojo.
Shuryu graduated from the University
and was employed at Inter Continental Hotel in Chicago. Thanks to Japanese
companies in Chicago, he was promoted as a concierge in a three-month
period. He had a job, was able to make living, and utilized his bilingual
Shuryu said, “If I didn’t meet
Shunojo sensei, I’d never have today’s career.” He has realized how hard
it is to continue a Fujima school for about 40 years in Chicago and Shunojo’s
hardship. “It was really true that I never thought that I could go home
to start it from scratch if I didn’t have connection to Shunojo sensei,”
Erin Ikeuchi (L) and Sachio Nang