Thursday, December 6, 2012

(195) Farewells

Once again in the last few days I am going to use third-party pictures since I'm lacking my own: in the first case because I didn’t make it and in the second because I wasn’t t allowed to shoot. The first was Kato Hiroshi (加藤弘), one of the last great aikido teachers; according to all accounts from people whose opinion I respect deeply, he was one of those rare cases of martial artists who shared the quality that made the founder of the art, Ueshiba Morihei, such an exceptional figure. That I didn’t manage to see him live even though I had plenty of opportunity (including at least one where I could actually meet him personally) I will always consider one of my major martial arts’ losses.

Kato Hiroshi -from Aikido Journal

The second was Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII (十八代目 中村 勘三郎), one of the most important actors of Kabuki; important both for his acting within its confines as well as for his numerous activities that played a major role in popularizing this unique genre in the last decades. His performance of the lion dance “Renjishi” (連獅子) during the farewell performances in the old Kabuki-za theater in Ginza was one of the most impressive and demanding things I have seen in my life and it will remain one of my most vivid memories –and not just the Japan-related ones. 

Nakamura Kanzaburo and his two sons
in the "Lion Dance" (Renjishi)

Both teachers passed this week: Kato Hiroshi on December 2, aged 77 and Nakamura Kanzaburo on December 5, aged 57. Goodnight…

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