Kabuki actor given top French arts award


The French government on Tuesday bestowed the Commander of the Order of Arts and Literature on kabuki actor Bando Tamasaburo for his achievements in arts and culture.

“I believe my collaborations with a variety of people from around the world have led to the honor,” Tamasaburo, 62, said after being presented with the honor by Minister of Culture and Communication Aurelie Filippetti.

Tamasaburo, a female impersonator in the traditional kabuki theater, also said, “I am very honored and I would like to do my utmost to offer my art performances in Paris and also in the world.”

He just finished giving performances at the Chatelet theater in Paris from Feb. 5 through last Saturday.

The title of commander is the highest rank in the order of arts and letters. The honor was given in the past to Yoshida Minosuke, a “joruri bunraku” puppet theater master, 79, and Ichikawa Danjuro, the kabuki actor who died earlier this month at age 66.

Tamasaburo, known for acting in a broad range from historical to modern kabuki, was designated last year as a living national treasure by the Japanese government.