From the printed program for the concert in honor of the 300th Anniversary of the Birth of Tsuruga Wakasanojo I, and Ceremony in honor of Tsuruga Isekichi becoming iemoto of the Bunke branch of the Tsuruga school of shinnai, November 20, 2016
This year is the 300th anniversary of the birth of Tsuruga Wakasanojo I, the founder of the shinnai genre. As the 11th Tsuruga Wakasanojo, I feel very fortunate to have the great honor of holding this celebration concert. I am deeply moved by this.
Since the time of Tsuruga Wakasanojo I, shinnai has been handed down to the present as a traditional musical form. A school comes into existence only when it has a founder. Today’s concert is dedicated to Tsuruga Wakasanojo I, the great founder of shinnai, with my deepest appreciation for his work. I would like to honor him with this concert in which most of the works being performed are ones that he wrote.
My student Tsuruga Isekichi has continually trained hard for many years. Today, I acknowledge her remarkable progress as a performing artist and her awareness of the continuity of Tsuruga shinnai by appointing her as the iemoto of the Bunke branch of the Tsuruga school. For the rest of her life, in addition to continued study for her own artistic performances, she will be responsible for conveying the art of Tsuruga shinnai to the next generation. I hope that you will give her your continued support, as you have done for me, so that she can deepen her skills as a performer.
In today’s concert, the past, present, and future of shinnai are displayed, both in the works being performed and in those who are performing. For this auspicious occasion, I am honored that many professionals will be performing, contributing to make this a wonderful event, including Takemoto Komanosuke (Gidayu, Living National Treasure), Wakayanagi Juen IV (iemoto), Kiyomoto Umekichi IV and his wife Kiyomoto Shiyo, Hanayagi Kihi, Otani Shoko, members of Nishikawa Koryu IV’s Kuruma Ningyo Puppet Troupe, and Mochizuki Bokusei V and his associates. I am also grateful for the support of Shinnai Nakasaburo (Living National Treasure) and other Directors of the Shinnai Association. The MCs, Ichi’ryusai Teishin, who is a master of the traditional story-telling art of kodan, and Fujima Jinsho will contribute to making the concert enjoyable and cheerful.
I am deeply grateful to all of you for your long-term support. It is because of that support that I am able to hold today’s concert. My students and I appreciate you very much.
Incidentally, this year is the 45th anniversary of the death of my father, Tsuruga Isetayu, and the 30th anniversary of my mother’s passing. In addition, it is the 300th anniversary of the birth of both the Edo Period painter Ito Jakuchu and the poet and painter Yosa Buson. I am particularly struck by these coincidences, which make this an especially memorable year.
I’ve become a little older, but I will continue to devote myself to shinnai, and will take care of my health. I sincerely wish for your continued patronage in the future.
Today, I would like to join with all of you in a happy celebration of the 300th birthday of Tsuruga Wakasanojo I.
Thank you for taking the time to come here today during the busy days of late autumn. Please relax and enjoy the concert from beginning to end.