Discover the GOYOKAI Dancers


GOYOKAI is a group of five renowned dancers among the immense talents in the world of traditional Japanese dance, called Nihon Buyo. The performances of these five individuals represent the quintessence of classical Japanese dance including the pieces derived from Kabuki, and encompass original works as well as elegant “Zashiki-Mai”, the dance once intended only for Tatami-matted rooms.


Each of these dancers has already won multiple awards, including the coveted Hanayagi-Juoh Prize for Young Talent. In 23 years the Japanese Dance Association – the officially-recognized organization -- has awarded the Hanayagi-Juoh Prize to only 23 out of approximately 6,000 dancers in more than 100 dance schools. The NISHIKAWA, HANAYAGI, FUJIMA schools represent three of the five major schools in Japan, all of which first developed in the city of Edo (today’s Tokyo) in Eastern Japan.


The NISHIKAWA School, to which the longest history of all belongs to, was founded at the beginning of 18th century by a choreographer who worked actively in Edo’s three principal Kabuki theatres: Nakamura, Ichimura, Morita. He was extremely celebrated in his time and the Headmasters of his school that followed have left us a number of dance masterpieces including “Kanjincho” and “Seki-no-to”.

HANAYAGI Juraku The HANAYAGI School was founded in the middle of the 19th century by a talented dancer and is the largest school in Japan today, with more than 20,000 licensed disciples. At this school, the dance is choreographed very rhythmically, which represents the major characteristic. Two members of the GOYOKAI are literally the shining stars of this school in the perspective of inherent endowment as well as family lineage.


The FUJIMA School also traces its roots back to the Edo period, to around 1700. The successive Headmasters of this school have mostly been famous Kabuki choreographers and the actors, and a close link with the theatrical stage continues until now. This school has produced many renowned dancers; the first female Living National Treasure* in the field of the Japanese dance, FUJIMA Fujiko, also belonged to this School.


The YAMAMURA School is the sole school represented in the GOYOKAI that originated in Western Japan, namely Osaka and Kyoto, the area formerly called “Kamigata”. Established by a renowned Kabuki choreographer in Osaka in 1806. Thanks to strong influences from Noh and a century of female Headmasters, the Yamamura Style is noted for its sophistication with circling movement significantly different from the saltation of the schools in Edo. Tanizaki Junichiro, connoisseur of Japanese beauty, was enthusiastic about its elegance and even wrote about it.


In this GOYOKAI project, all of five dancers – full of passion for Nihon Buyo – seek to inspire audiences with the artistic excellence of Japanese dance. The variety of dance styles manifested by the different major schools promises to make this project a unique and exciting experience, even for people who are new to Japanese performing arts.