5 People Recommended as Living National Treasures in Japan

Society Culture

Tokyo, July 22 (Jiji Press)--A panel advised Japanese culture minister Shinsuke Suematsu Friday to designate kabuki actor Nakamura Baigyoku IV, 75, and four others as preservers of important intangible cultural assets, commonly known as "living national treasures."

The other four are "shakuhachi" bamboo flute player Hozan Nomura, 65, Tsugaju Tsuruzawa, 64, a player of the "shamisen" three-stringed musical instrument for "gidayu-bushi" performances, a style of narrative chant, Kimio Otsubo, a 75-year-old Noh stage drama actor for "shite-kata" main roles, and Tosei Kineya, 73, a singer for "nagauta" music performances played on the shamisen.

The recommendations by the Council for Cultural Affairs are expected to be approved as early as this autumn, bringing the number of living national treasures to 110.

Nakamura Baigyoku, who plays "tachiyaku" male roles in kabuki, gained stage experience from a young age after being adopted in 1955 to the family of Nakamura Utaemon VI, a kabuki actor for "onnagata" female roles who later earned the status of living national treasure.

The name Baigyoku, adopted in 1992, was the haiku poet name used by kabuki actor Nakamura Utaemon III of the Edo era.

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