Grand Masters

Fujima Ryu of Chicago is a Japanese Classical Dance program that has been a primary cultural representative/herald in the Japanese American community in Chicago for the past 40 years. Credence to the attainment of such an iconic position must be acknowledged to the forerunners in the Chicago-land community. Immediately following WWII, the Japanese cultural identity in the Midwest was in danger of becoming mere reflections of an individual’s experience, with no coalescing attributes for the collective community. The establishment of the various Buddhist Temples in Chicago provided not only a sheltered sanctuary for the Japanese American community to “honor and continue the traditions” of their founding members, but as the landscape of cultural and racial identity shifted, it also served as a solidifying factor towards establishing a foundation for the Japanese American community to rediscover and protect their cultural heritage and identity. The diaspora of Japanese culture in the Midwest was bastioned by individuals such as Joyce Kubose (tea ceremony), and Wakayagi Shiyu (classical dance). And continues with Fujima Shunojo and the ongoing legacy of Fujima Ryu of Chicago, with Japanese Classical Dance. The perpetuation of the legacy is precisely defined by collaborating with purely traditional cultural groups, such as Tsukasa Taiko, which allows for the core aesthetic to be incorporated into revitalized productions of Japanese cultural performance. The performance aesthetics revolve around a classical,or neo-classical foundation,which is proxied by the music,and the style of costuming.The trademark innovation among the eclectic offerings is the hikinuki,it is a quick change of costume that demonstrates its biggest impact when performed on stage,during the performance.The acknowledgement of such a performance reputation attests to Fujima Ryu of Chicago’s contribution to the cultural awareness that has infused in to the JapaneseAmerican Community through various educational outreach,and community performances.