Dance master Hisami Wakayagi to perform a tragic classic on Jan. 19 upon her triumphant return from the National Theatre of Japan

Cultural News 2007 September Issue

Renjishi Wakayagi Hisami Hisame

Mme. Hisami Wakayagi, right, and Mme. Hisame Wakayagi in “Katsusaburo Renjishi” costumes at the National Theatre of Japan in Tokyo on June 2007 (Courtesy of Hana no Kai)

Tokyo – Los Angeles-based Japanese classical dance master Hisami Wakayagi of Seiha Wakayagi School will perform the tragic piece  “Shizuhataobi” at the National Theatre of Japan (aka Kokuritsu Gekijo), in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, on Sunday, October 7, as a part of the program of the Ryufu-kai biennale lead by renowned dance master Hikozaemon Wakayagi of Tokyo.

This past June, Mme. Hisami Wakayagi, the U.S. representative of Seiha Wakayagi School in Japan, participated in the school’s annual recital at the National Theatre in Tokyo. She performed “Katsusaburo Renjishi” with Hisame Wakayagi from Orange County.

“Katsusaburo Renjishi” depicts the story of a lion family as the lion parent trains its offspring to survive in a harsh environment by pushing it into the bottom of a canyon, forcing it to climb up from the bottom. The lion dances are popular programs with origins in the Noh theatre.

Hisami’s appearance in the October National Theater program is made possible through the invitation of Hikozaemon Wakayagi who will present the show and dance with her in “Shizuhataobi.”

“Shizuhataobi” describes the story of a mother who is traveling from Kyoto to Edo (currently Tokyo) to look for kidnapped her son Umewakamaru. When the woman arrives at a bank of the Sumida River in Edo, she becomes insane after long and horrible trip. A ferryboat operator at the river asks her to perform many dances in exchange for information on the whereabouts of her son.  After she feeds the boatman, she realizes her son has already died.  In the last scene of the dance, the woman comes upon the small grave of Umewakamaru.

“Shizuhataobi” is a very challenging program since a performer must express a range of emotions — anger, despair, hope, honesty, disappointment, and insanity — during the 45-minute program.

The Ryufu-kai recital on October 7 will start at 11 a.m. and last until 10 p.m. For tickets, call Mme. Kirara Wakayagi in Japan at 042-972-2218 (Japanese only).

Mme. Hisami Wakayagi’s dance company Hana no Kai in Los Angeles will present a special New Year’s program on January 19, 2008, at 12:40 p.m. at the Aratani/Japan America Theatre in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.

In the New Year’s program, Hisami and Hikozaemon will perform “Shizuhataobi” to celebrate their triumphant return from the National Theatre show.  This will be their only U.S. appearance. Tickets will be available from November 20. For detailed information, contact Hisami Wakayagi at (323) 257-5412.