This school is a branch of the Azuma Ryū (School of Classical Japanese Dance) whose headquarters is located in Tokyo, Japan.
History of the Azuma School in Japan
The Azuma School of Dance (Azuma Ryū) was founded during the mid-Edo period by Azuma Tōzō. There was a revival of the style headed by 15th generation Ichimura Uzaemon, a Kabuki actor originally from the Fujima school, who became Shōdai Sōke (Founding Grand Master). Harue Azuma, daughter of Ichimura Uzaemon XV and Masaya Fujima, was named the 4th-generation Iemoto (Head Master) in 1933. In 1942, she took the name Tokuho Azuma and succeeded her father as the 2nd-generation Sōke (Grand Master). Her granddaughter, Madame Tokuya Azuma became the 6th-generation Iemoto in 1978. Tokuho Azuma passed away in April 1998 at age 89. In 2014, Azuma Tokuyō, great-grandson of Azuma Tokuho and son of Azuma Tokuya and Kabuki actor Nakamura Tomotarō, took the name of Azuma Tokuyō and succeeded to the position of 7thIemoto of Azuma Ryū. Also in 2014, Azuma Tokuya, granddaughter of Azuma Tokuho, took the name Azuma Tokuho II and succeeded to the position of 3rd Sōke of Azuma Ryū.
The school crest is a tachibana (mandarin orange blossom) and the school motto is “Yaku Dō San Mai”.
History of Azuma Ryū in the United States
Madame Sumako Azuma I was born in Japan and trained in Japan under the Soke (Grand Master) of the Azuma School, Tokuho Azuma. After receiving her natori (master) and shihan (instructor’s credential) degrees, she moved to Los Angeles and began teaching classes in 1969. In 1973, three of her students were awarded the degree of natori, or master degree. In 1975, Madame Sumako Azuma died unexpectedly, and her daughter, Harusuma Azuma (who later took the name Sumako II) took over the teaching duties.
Current U.S. Azuma Instructors
Madame Sumako Azuma II, who is also a direct student of the late Sōke (Grand Master) Tokuho Azuma I, received her shihan degree in 1977 and her senmombu (specialty shihan) in 1998. She is the head instructor of the Azuma School in the United States and currently teaches classes in the Los Angeles area.
Kikusue Azuma studied under Sumako Azuma I from 1969 and Azuma Sumako II from 1975, receiving her natori (master) degree in 1984 and her shihan (instructor’s credential) degree in 1998 from the Azuma headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. She currently teaches classes in Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange Counties in California, and on Kaua’i and O’ahu in Hawai’i.