Awaya Kikuo (粟谷菊生)

Kikuo AWAYA (October 31, 1922 - October 11, 2006) was a Nohgakushi (Noh actor) playing shite (the principal roles) of Kita-ryu school. He was an individual holder of Important Intangible Cultural Property (Living National Treasure). He was a member of the Japan Art Academy. He was the chairman of the Association for Japanese Noh Plays.

He was born as the second son of Masujiro AWAYA in 1922 in Tokyo Prefecture. His name was given by Minoru KITA. His older brother was Shintaro AWAYA. His younger brothers are Tatsuzo AWAYA and Yukio AWAYA. His son is Akio AWAYA.

He studied under his father, Minoru KITA, who was the 15th head of Kita-ryu school, and Roppeita Noshin KITA, who was the 14th head. It is said that he was gifted with both the refined and dignified style of Minoru KITA, and the opulent and universal style of Roppeita, which made him a first-class actor of a wide range of programs, including Hagoromo (The Feather Mantle), Ataka (The Ataka Barrier) and Kagekiyo (General Kagekiyo). His Utai (the chanting of a Noh text) also earned an established reputation, and after he had retired from shite (main role), he showed distinguished activity as a jigashira (the leader of the group reciters). He also contributed in propagating Nohgaku (the art of Noh) by founding the Noh study group at Osaka University and instructed Noh for more than 30 years until he died. He was awarded Arts Festival (Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs) Grand Prize, Arts Festival Excellence Award, the Hosei University Noh Drama Prize in Memory of Hisao KANZE, and Award of the Japan Art Academy. He was designated a Living National Treasure in 1996, and became a member of the Japan Art Academy in 2003. He died of cardiac failure on October 11, 2006 at the age of 83. He was investitured with the rank of Shogoi (Senior Fifth Rank) and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon. His Kaimyo (posthumous Buddhist name) was Gennoin Myoyo Kikuo Koji (玄能院妙謡菊生居士).

Peggy HAYAMA, who is a singer, is his cousin. Tetsuro TANBA, an actor, was his classmate at the junior high school.

Timeline
1925: Made his debut at the scene of Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in "Kurama Tengu." 1928: Performed the role of shite in "Shojo" (The Tipster Sprite) for the first time. 1947: Performed "Shojo Midare" (The Disorderly Tipster Sprite) for the first time. 1953: Performed "Dojoji" (Dojo-ji Temple) for the first time. 1954: Participated in the first Noh performance tour to Europe. It was the first Noh performance abroad.

1991: Performed "Sotoba Komachi" for the first time.

1992: Received the Hosei University Noh Drama Prize in Memory of Hisao KANZE.

1994: Performed "Obasute" (The Old Woman Abandoned in the Hills) for the first time. It was the first performance of the school in 180 years.

1995: Received Soko kyokujitsusho (The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays). 1996: Designated an individual holder of Important Intangible Cultural Property (Living National Treasure). 2000: Received Award of the Japan Art Academy. 2003: Became a member of the Japan Art Academy. 2004: Performed "Kagekiyo" for the last time.