Yachiyo Inoue

[from The Yomiuri Shimbun]Kyomai dancer Inoue dies at 98

Yomiuri Shimbun

Yachiyo Inoue, a living national treasure and the fourth head of the Inoue School of kyomai (traditional Kyoto-style dance), died Friday of a stroke at her home in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto. She was 98.

A private funeral service will be held Friday for close relatives. The schedule for a public memorial service and the chief mourner have not been finalized.

Inoue was adopted by Yachiyo Inoue III when she was 3 years old. She made her first appearance on the stage at age 5, performing “Shichifukujin” (seven deities of good fortune).

She became an accredited master of the school at age 15.

As an assistant teacher at a school in Higashiyama Ward, she began teaching dance to maiko and geiko entertainers in the Gion district in 1923. In 1931, she married Hiromichi Katayama, the grandson of Yachiyo Inoue III.

She was recommended to be acting head of the Inoue School of kyomai dance after her predecessor died in 1938 and succeeded to the name Yachiyo Inoue IV in 1947.

A performance to mark the succession of her predecessor’s name was held at Minamiza theater near Shijo Ohashi bridge in Higashiyama Ward.

In 1952, Inoue won the Japan Art Academy Award. She also received a prize in the Education Ministry’s art festival the following year for dances titled “Yukimaroge” and “Kiku.”

She was designated a living national treasure in 1955. She was a member of the Japan Art Academy and received the Order of Culture in 1990. She was an honorary citizen of Kyoto.

The Inoue School of kyomai dance developed from a court-style room dance of the Edo period (1603-1868) and a jiutamai dance originating in Kamigata, now Kyoto and Osaka.

Inoue introduced a bunraku puppet-style of acting called ningyo-buri into kyomai dance.

Her graceful and subtle movements were said to create an original world that was unprecedented in any other dances of the Inoue School.

Inoue reportedly had 1,000 disciples since World War II.

She used the name of Aiko Inoue after she appointed her granddaughter Michiko, 47, the fifth head of the school on May 14, 2000, on her 95th birthday.

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