Documentary / Japan / 33min

Koryu Minatoya IN-TUNE

Directed by Atiqa Kawakami


Filmed in 2014 at the Mokubatei Arts and Culture Center, this is a long-awaited solo performance by Koryu Minatoya, the one of Japan’s beloved rokyoku (Naniwabushi) singers and a performer of the art for over seven decades . Titled “The Friendship of Tachiyama and Kiyoka”, this performance shows the intense concentration and power of a master at work. In particular, the dramatic structure of the performance is highlighted by the dynamic exchange between Minatoya and the shamisen, which is performed by Toyoko Sawamura.

Cast & Crew

Koryu Minatoya – Rokyoku Singer 
Koryu Minatoya began study of the art of Rokyoku under Koichiwaka Yoshida in 1945. Acquring the name Nanano Yoshida, she became a member of the women’s theater group and performed in venues throughout Japan. After spending almost 40 years on the road, she decided to settle down in Nagoya and perform mainly in Tokyo. In 1996, she succeeded to her current name, Koryu Minatoya the 5th. Her first solo performance in 2014 was a huge success.
Toyoko Sawamura – Shamisen Player 
Toyoko was born in Fukuoka and was made famous through her radio appearances. Upon discovering her natural talent for music, Sessyu Tsukuda, a rokyoku performer visiting Kyushu, invited Toyoko to become a shamisen player for the rokyoku theatre in Tokyo. There, she studied under Tsuyako Yamamoto. After finishing her apprenticeship, she attended rokyoku classes organized by Tadashi Kunitomo and, for almost three decades, performed as a shamisen player for him. The late Takeharu Kunimoto, Toyoko’s artistic partner from 2001 to 2015, praised her for improvisational technique and depth of expression. Currently, she plays for Nanafuku Tamagawa and many other performers. She is one of the greatest master shamisen players in the history of rokyoku.
Direction, filmed and edited
Atiqa Kawakami
Atiqa Kawakami was born in Yokohama. Titled “Pilgrimage”, her first documentary film told the story of Mitsuo Futatsuki, a Japanese American Nisei revisiting the site of the concentration camp where he was held during World WarⅡ. This film, which she released under the name Noriko Kawakami, was awarded the Kirin Art Award in 2001. Since then she has been busy directing documentaries and online commercials, collaborating with musicians, and working on various other projects. Currently, she is in the editing process for her documentary about Kazuo Ohno, an acclaimed Butoh dancer.
Masataka Kiyono
Hiroki Iwasawa




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