The Fujima 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.
Grandmaster Fujima Shunojo, who earned his professional name from Fujima Shusai, taught in Tokyo for several years before establishing his dance troupe in Chicago, where he has taught and maintained an active performance schedule.
Fujima Ryu of Chicago is one of the oldest organized institutions for Japanese cultural art in Chicago. For 40 years, the dance troupe has maintained its presence in the Japanese American community by performing and supporting various community events throughout the year, and has had a consistent attendance at their home season performances and annual festival performances which provides a community platform for presentation of Japanese Classical Dance. 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. Currently, Fujima Ryu of Chicago is recognized as one of the three traditional arts programs of Asian Improv aRts Midwest, and is the only Japanese certified classical dance program in the Midwest.
Grandmaster Fujima Shunojo and Fujima Ryu of Chicago appear throughout the Midwest, performing in major venues, college and university campuses, and is committed to maintaining and sustaining the core aesthetics of Japanese classical dance in Chicago and the Asian American community.
Photo courtesy of Ken Carl 773 294 6025 Ken Carl Photography, LLC. www.kencarl.com