Minoru IV Gensho is the 56thhead of the Umewaka family since 1988, a clan whose involvement in the stage arts has continued without interruption for over 1000 years.
Since MinoruIV Gensho’s great‐grandfather, Minoru I, who was instrumental in saving Noh from ruin in the early days of Japan’s modernization and who introduced Noh to Westerners in the mid-19thcentury, each generation of the Umewaka clan has given birth to actors of the very highest rank. From Minoru I, Minoru IV.
Gensho acquired a dramatic flair and sense of rhythm and timing that takes hold of viewers from the moment he steps onto the stage. Of equal importance, His grand-father, Minoru II, transmitted fluid elegance that has imbued MinoruIV Gensho’s movements with a powerful lightness and grace. In addition to those qualities, his rich voice and superb skill as a dancer, and one understands why Minoru IV Gensho has attained such celebrity.
From his youth, Minoru IV Gensho has shown willingness to experiment with the new as well as rethink the foundations of the Noh. For those reasons he has awarded several major prizes not only for acting and dancing, but also for researching and directing new plays and revivals for last 25 years.
In recent years, MinoruIV Gensho has taken the lead in developing a series of innovative works that incorporate non-traditional sets and instruments and focus on the themes of love and religion. Those so-called modern Noh plays have been performed successfully in intimate Noh theaters as well as in public halls seating audiences of 2500 or more.
His first experience abroad was to direct the Noh performances at the Europalia Festival in Belgium in 1989. It was when the Dojyoji, the classical master piece, wasfirst introduced in Europe. Complementing the great success of those performances was the “Noh no Hana” exhibition at Europalia, one of the most extensive exhibition of the Noh masks and costumes outside Japan. Since then, he had experienced a series of overseas tours, including four to New York. The tours include Holland, Belgium , France, Russia, USA, Taiwan, Greece.
Minoru IV Gensho is convinced that the greatest period of Noh theater is still ahead.
He is committed to presenting Noh in a manner accessible to the modern world, at the same time maintaining the spiritual integrity of this art form which, it may be truly said, is the inner sanctum of Japanese culture.
To praise Minoru Gensho’s contribution to education and cultural activities, he was awarded a medal of honor, the Medal with a Purple Ribbon, in 2006. Followed by the medal honor, he was honored as member of the Japan Art Academy, the most valuable cultural academy in Japan in 2007.In December 2008, he added Gensho II to his former stage name to hand down Gensho I, who left behind the name as a great restorer of Umewaka family, after the interval of 345 years.In 2014, Minoru Genshowas accredited as the holder of Important Intangible Cultural Property (Living National Treasure.) In2018 he succeeded to the Minoru 4th.