Japanese Violinists’ Birthdays in June (1)

Japanese Violinists’ Birthdays in June (1)

Japanese birthday violinists in June include KINO Masayuki 木野雅之 (b. 1963) on 1 June; KURONUMA Yuriko 黒沼 ユリ子 (b. 1940) on 4 June; SATÔ Shunsuke 佐藤 俊介 (b. 1984) on 11 June; SÔ Tomotada 宗倫匡 (or Tomotada Soh, b. 1943), KAMIO Mayuko 神尾 真由子 (b. 1986) on 12 June, and WATANABE Shigeo 渡辺 茂夫 (1941–1999) on 26 June.

Kuronuma's book about her transnational life and her violin academy in Mexico

Kuronuma’s book about her transnational life and her violin academy in Mexico

Actually, the description “Japanese violinists” begs the question, what we mean by “Japanese violinist.” Kurnuma and Soh have lived and worked abroad for most of their adult lives. Satô is concertmaster of the Netherlands Bach Society and of Concerto Köln and currently lives in the Netherlands.

On the other hand, the Polish-born violinist Szymon Goldberg (1909–1993), another birthday violinist (1 June), spent his last years in Japan, having married the Japanese pianist YAMANE Miyoko in 1988. Goldberg firs visited in 1936, one of many world-class violinists to tour Japan in the 1920s and 1930s; some of them were refugees from the Russian Revolution or, like Goldberg, from Nazi Germany. In 1942 while touring the Dutch East Indies he was interned by the Japanese. From 1987 onwards he regularly taught Tôhô Gakuen School of Music, the alma mater of many successful Japanese violinists.

For details about these and other Japanese violinists, see Not by Love Alone, where I also discuss the tricky question of what we might mean by “Japanese violinist.” See also my appendix about foreign violinists who toured Japan between the world wars on this website.

My next blog will be about the birthday violinist Watanabe Shigeo, whose tragic fate seems like Japan’s answer to that of the Polish violin prodigy Josef Hassid (1923–50) a generation earlier.

Author Bio

Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen