ORIGINS: The Fujima Style(藤間流)/School of classical dance, was established during Japan’s Hoei era (1704-15), occupies the foremost position in Kabuki choreography. Until his death in 1986, Fujima Shusai ranked highest among the male disciples, second only to Fujima Kan’emon IV, the Iemoto, or headmaster of the Fujima School.
In Chicago, the art of Japanese Classical dance was catalyzed by the presence of the Wakayagi Shiyu Kai starting in 1962. The presence of such a strong Japanese cultural icon in the Japanese American community provided a receptive and supportive environment for Fujima Shunojo to continue the cultural legacy in the Midwest when he began his school in Chicago in 1976.
Fujima Shunojo(藤間秀之丞), who earned his professional name from Fujima Shusai(藤間秀斎), taught in Tokyo for several years before establishing his dance troupe in Chicago, where he has taught and maintained an active performance schedule.
For over four decades, Fujima Ryu of Chicago (シカゴ藤間流) has maintained its presence in the Japanese American community by performing and supporting various community events throughout the year. In the last 8 years, Asian Improv aRts Midwest has been a primary collaborator and has also produced the major cultural presentations of Fujima Ryu of Chicago. The continued success led to the merging of the two forces, and Fujima Ryu of Chicago has become one of the three traditional cultural arts programs within Asian Improv aRts Midwest. The annual student recital has been consistently presented for the last 40 years, and continues to provide a community platform for the presentation of Japanese Classical Dance(日本舞踊).
Fujima Ryu of Chicago has sustained a community presence in Chicago for the last 40 years, and in the Japanese tradition, every now and then there is a need to refocus and transform; it is called KO RO MO GAE(衣替え).
It is a time to evolve into the next era with a new format as a stronger arts organization. So in October of 2016, in addition to celebrating both the 40th anniversary and the inaugural performance of the newest grandmaster, Fujima Yoshinojo(藤間淑之丞), we renewed our dedication, and redefined our commitment with the new identity of SHUBUKAI(秀舞会).
Shubukai presents cultural arts and educational presentations throughout Chicago and the Midwest, and is committed to maintaining and sustaining the core aesthetics of Japanese classical dance in Chicago and the Asian American community.