Hikaru Uzawa is a noh performer who marries her work within the traditional confines of the art form with performing in contemporary pieces internationally, bringing freshness to the traditional world of noh.

Uzawa, 39, comes from a long line of noh performers. Her mother, Hisa Uzawa, is, along with Hikaru, one of the few professional female noh actors active today. Her grandfather was also an established performer. She tells The Japan Times: "As a child I used to play in the corner of the room when my mother and grandfather were teaching. There was never a time I don't remember noh in my life." Thus, for Uzawa, following in her family's footsteps was always a natural choice.

"In preschool we had to write about what we wanted to be as adults. I wrote 'noh performer,'" she says. However, because she was a woman, she wasn't encouraged to perform by those in the broader noh community, and for a time she contemplated doing something entirely different. "I've always been interested in genealogy and the history of names, so I thought maybe something like anthropology would suit me."