Yoshimura school (of dance) (吉村流)

Yoshimura school refers to Kamigata mai (dance from the pleasure quarters of Osaka and Kyoto, and are very reserved and refined) originated by Fuji YOSHIMURA during the early Meiji period.


Yoshimura school originates from gotenmai (a kind of traditional Japanese dance) which kyogen performer, who served Kyoto Imperial Palace in Kyoto during the late Edo period, started. The iemoto (the head family of a school) was not succeeded, but for generations well-qualified female private pupils followed in, which was a unique tradition.

During the early Meiji period, Fuji YOSHIMURA moved to Soemon-cho, Hanamachi (geisha districts) in Osaka Minami, and started Yoshimura school which mainly showed the dances performed in a party in a Japanese style room, such as jiutamai (jiuta dance) and so on.

Yu YOSHIMURA, the second generation, and Yuko YOSHIMURA, the third generation succeeded the iemoto, but under the air raid in World War II, all Minami areas were burned down and many of musical scores or choreography, which were succeeded to the iemoto for generations, were destroyed by fire. And Yuko, who was prone to illness, left the future of school with Shoichi HASHIMOTO who was a private pupil and had lived in the house from the age of five.

Shoichi, the first male iemoto, took the name of Yuki YOSHIMURA as the forth generation. He choreographed the new work emphasizing the story and tried to make a comprehensible Kamigata mai and sublimated Yoshimura school which was just an accomplishment in a local karyukai (world of the geisha) to the level of nationwide traditional dance. His achievements were recognized and he was appointed to Living National Treasure and was chosen as Bunkakorosha (Person of Cultural Merits), but he died immediately after that.

An actor Shinnosuke IKEHATA is Yuki's biological child and he was trained by his father when he was a child and he had been a talented dancer for a long time with the name of natori (the holder of a diploma in Japanese dance) 'Yushu YOSHIMURA.'
In his final years Yuki suggested the succession of iemoto saying 'Take care of Shinnosuke,' but after his father's death IKEHATA returned his name 'Yushu' and broke away from Yoshimura school and made them observe the tradition where a talented private pupil succeeds to the iemoto.

As a result Yukio YOSHIMURA, a private pupil, succeeded to the fifth generation, but in May, 2000 immediately after taking the name he passed away suddenly. For this reason the next year, Teruaki YOSHIMURA, a younger brother disciple, succeeded to the sixth generation and now he is the iemoto.

Now the headquarters office is in Tokyo and the number of natori is about 800 across Japan.