Japanese Ballet Icon Asami Maki Dies at 87

Society Culture

Tokyo, Oct. 22 (Jiji Press)--Asami Maki, who has long led the world of ballet in Japan, died of colorectal cancer at her home in Tokyo on Wednesday. She was 87.

Maki, a native of Tokyo, whose real name was Asami Fukuda, was born the eldest daughter of Akiko Tachibana, a pioneer ballet dancer in Japan, and made her stage debut at the age of 4.

She moved to the United States in 1954 to study ballet from famed dancer Alexandra Danilova and others. After returning to Japan, Maki and her mother established a ballet troupe, Asami Maki Ballet Tokyo, in 1956.

After retirement in 1971, Maki focused on fostering young dancers as head of the ballet troupe, which produced Tamiyo Kusakari, Mizuka Ueno and other noted dancers.

Between 1999 and 2010, Maki served as artistic director of ballet and dance at the New National Theatre in Tokyo. She was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 1996 and chosen as a Person of Cultural Merit in 2008.

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