Izumi Motoya (和泉元彌)

Motoya IZUMI (real name Motohisa YAMAWAKI, June 4, 1974 -) is a kyogen (farce played during a Noh play cycle) performer. He hails from Itabashi Ward, Tokyo. His blood type is ABO blood group. He is 168 cm tall (although he had claimed to be 171 cm tall, he was found to be 168 cm when actually measured in the TV show "Akko ni Omakase"). His wife is Aki HANO, a personality.

After having studied at Junior Grade of Meisho Kindergarten, Aoyama Gakuin Kindergarten, Aoyama Gakuin Elementary School, Aoyama Gakuin Junior High School and Aoyama Gakuin Senior High School, he entered College of Literature, Department of Japanese, Aoyama Gakuin University in 1993. He graduated the university in March 2000, eight years after his entrance. He is a director of Izumi Soke Co. and a member of Izumi-ryu soke soke-kai.

Kyogen performer

He started to learn kyogen under his father Motohide IZUMI at the age of 18 months, and debuted when he was three years old in performing "Utsubozaru". He performed "Sanbanso" when he was nine years old, "Nasuyoichigo" when ten years old, and "Kirokuda" and "Tsurikitsune" when 16 years old. He performed a secret music "Hanako" in 1994. In 1998, he performed "Tanuki no Harazutsumi," a secret music handed down from father to only son.

After his father died in 1995, he named himself "Motoya IZUMI, the 20th soke (head family) of Izumi-ryu" and registered the name as a trademark. However, the above name is just a self-designated one because neither Association for Japanese Noh Plays, Nogaku Soke-kai (Association of head families of Noh Play), Izumi-ryu Shokubunkai (gathering of Izumi school's branch families) nor Tokyo District Court has acknowledged Motoya as the soke.
(details of the disputes over the succession to the soke will be described later)

After being dismissed from the membership of Association for Japanese Noh Plays in 2002, it became impossible for him to play "Ai kyogen" (comic interlude in Noh), which is performed in the interval of Noh play, since he was not allowed to play on the stages affiliated to Association for Japanese Noh Plays. At present, his activities are limited to those hosted by Izumi Soke Co., in which he mainly plays a show-style kyogen with songs and talks or gives a lecture to students at a kyogen class. Although he participated as a kyogen performer in Aichi Expo. (Exposition of Global Harmony), performance in People's Republic of China, and so on, the frequency of his performances has decreased than before. In recent years, he has seldom played at National Noh Theater and sometimes played in a training room of his house (shikibutai).

He engaged in various activities as a character, such as starring in an NHK's Historical drama "Tokimune Hojo" and playing professional wrestling matches, but his popularity remained low due to various scandals about him. Thanks to Hano's appearance on TV, Motoya's opportunity to appear on TV also increased, and he restarted his activities as a character, including a release of song.

Professional wrestler

At a news conference held in October 2005, he abruptly announced his intention to participate in professional wrestling by saying "I would like to challenge American entertainment professional wrestling taking advantage of "kyogen power" which I have fostered in the kyogen world." He debuted as a professional wrestler in the event named "Hassuru Mania" held at Yokohama Arena on November 3, 2005.

"Secchi onigawara gundan" led by Setsuko IZUMI also appeared as a cheering group. "Onigawara" is a famous title of kyogen whose story is that a certain daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) recalls his wife whom he has left in his home province when he sees onigawara. On that day, "Secchi onigawara sennbei" (Secchi ridge-end rice cookie), 1000 yen per six pieces, was sold out within ten minutes.

While shouting "I didn't make double-booking, nor am I behind time. I have been waiting above the arena since the time before it opened," Motoya, wearing flamboyant clothes, appeared along with a roaring sound of a helicopter and was applauded by audience.

In the match, he fought against a former WWE wrestler Kenzo SUZUKI. In the middle of the match, he was assisted by Akira (professional wrestler), his instructor in professional wrestling, in addition, Kenzo's wife Hiroko SUZUKI made powder-bombing by mistake. Finally, he won by a pin-fall after a barrage of "chops" to completely carry out the action (professional wrestling). Motoya said "this match is a kind of entertainment, not professional wrestling, and is extension of the entertainment called "kyogen."

Professional wrestling based on showing actions (professional wrestling) such as "Hassuru" has a special quality to gain popularity as entertainment, and this match was successful as a business. However, as Akiko WADA mentioned "It is definitely a fake. It is nonsense.", its reputation was low in the mass media and in the society. As many fans of professional wrestling as well as people of the mass media specialized in professional wrestling do not support, opportunities for the activities of such style wrestling are quite limited at present.

Families of Motoya

While the real family name of Izumi-ryu soke is Yamawaki, "Izumi" is used as a stage name.

Motohide IZUMI (real name Yasuyuki YAMAWAKI, 1937 - 1995, age of death 57)
He was Motoya's father. He was a kyogen performer of Noh play. He was the 19th soke of Izumi-ryu.

His child name was Yasuyuki Miyake. He was the eldest son of the ninth Tokuro MIYAKE, and his younger brother was Ukon MIYAKE. He became the adopted son of Yukiko Yamawaki, a daughter of the 17th head of Izumi-ryu Motoharu Yamawaki, when he was six years old and renamed Yasuyuki Yamawaki. He used Yasuyuki IZUMI as a stage name, and later renamed Motohide IZUMI. (designated as important intangible cultural property) he was a member of Association for Japanese Noh Plays.

Setsuko IZUMI (real name: Setsuko Yamawaki, June 11, 1942 -)
She is Motoya's mother. She is a producer of kyogen performance. She is the representative director of Izumi Soke Co. She is the chairwoman of Izumi-ryu soke soke-kai. She is the chairwoman of Izumi-ryu soke supporters' group. She is the chairwoman of Izumi-ryu soke memorial hall.

She hails from Ogaki City, Gifu Prefecture and her father was the second president of an iron factory. Her mother was a descendant of Shigeharu TAKENAKA, a military strategist in the Sengoku period, and her family home was a sake brewery and a large landowner. She studied at Ogaki Elemetary school and Junior High School. Before the third term of third grade of junior high school, she passed the examination to fill vacancies for students of Kinjo Gakuin Junior High School and eventually graduated from it. She graduated from Kinjo Gakuin Senior High School and Kinjo Gakuin University Junior Colledge.

She married Motohide in an arranged marriage manner in which the arrangement was made by the family of a former chief retainer of Ogaki domain. Yoshichika TOKUGAWA, the 19th head of Owari Tokugawa family that had retained Izumi soke and a former peer (marquis, a member of the House of Peers (Japan)), served a matchmaker at her wedding ceremony.

At one time, she frequently appeared on TV variety programs including "Kazuyoshi MORITA, Waratte Iitomo!!" of Fuji Television (2022/4 - 2202/9, as a regular member on Mondays). She was called by her nickname "Secchi," and her aggressive remarks were frequently covered by the mass media when Motoya caused various scandals or he started to live separately from Aki HANO. This may have caused Dewi Skarno and Kenichi Mikawa to dislike her.

Marriage with and seperation from Aki HANO
Motoya appeared on the theater stage for the first time in January 1998 in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet directed by an international director Nonon Padilla (Shibuya Theater Cocoon). He played the leading part Romeo. An actress who played Juliet was Aki HANO, a poster actress of theater group ☆ Sinkansen.

December 21, 2001 - Hano's pregnancy came to light, and they annonced their engagement at a news conference. February 1, 2002 - They held a Buddhist wedding ceremony. February 2, 2002 - They registered their marriage at Itabashi Ward Office. April 28, 2002 - Their eldest daughter Ayame was born. July 26, 2004 - Their eldest son Motokiyo was born. September 11, 2007 - Separation of the couple was reported by the mass media.

Motoya and his mother Setsuko denied couple's separation by saying Aki went to her family home in order to take care of her mother. On September 26, however, furniture and household goods belonging to Aki and her children were carried out and their separation was reported. Motoya explained in a TV program that he was being separated from her because he was being engaged in art rituals called Bekka (separate cooking fire in order to purify himself) in order to accomplish shingan joju (heartfelt wishes).

From September 2007, Aki started to live independently from the Izumi family together with her two children. In the TV program "Ora no Izumi" telecasted on December 22, she explained the reason for the separation as "in order to shield very young children from various kinds of bashing and news." She signed with Toho Geino on November 11 and returned to the world of entertainment for the first time in five years. Thereafter, Motoya began to visit frequently this house from the early spring of 2008, and they started to live together from the spring of the year. At present, Motoya takes two children to and from the kindergarten everyday, and the couple are separately reporting recent events on their respective blogs.

His two sisters are also professional kyogen performers.

His eldest sister Junko IZUMI (real name is Junko YAMAWAKI, her family name after marriage is unknown, 1969 -) became a person who was much talked about when she appeared in TV spot advertising as "the first-ever female kyogen performer." She is the auditor of Izumi Soke Co.

In 2002, her first daughter Kyoko was born. In 2008, her first son Kazuhide was born. He was named using a letter of his grandfather's name.

His second oldest sister the 10th Tokuro MIYAKE (real name is Shoko MIYAKE, 1972 -) succeeded the professional name from the ninth Tokuro MIYAKE. Although this professional name was supposed to be succeeded by her uncle Ukon Miyake (the second son of the ninth Tokuro MIYAKE), he was at odds with Motohide IZUMI, Motoya's father as well as Ukon's elder brother. Eventually, the professional name of Tokuro MIYAKE was registered as a trademark by Shoko YAMAWAKI. She is single and living at Yamawaki's house together with Setsuko, though she calls herself Miyake. She is a director of Izumi Soke Co.

December 24, 1987: Shoko YAMAWAKI applied the registrations of "Izumi-ryu Miyake Tokuro" and "Kyogenshi Miyake Tokuro" as trademarks. April 27, 1988: She was adopted by the Miyake family and renamed Shoko MIYAKE. January 1, 1990: The ninth Tokuro MIYAKE succeeded to the professional name Shoichi MIYAKE. November, 1990: Shoko MIYAKE succeeded to the 10th Tokuro MIYAKE and held a performance commemorating her succession. December 19, 1990: Shoichi MIYAKE (the ninth Tokuro MIYAKE) died.

Ukon MIYAKE (the second son of the ninth Tokuro MIYAKE), who was supposed to succeed to the 10th, has actually inherited traditional kyogen from his father the ninth Tokuro MIYAKE. Setsuko IZUMI wrote in her book that he went missing in 1987, but he is active in teaching sign language kyogen as a member of Totto kikin futai gekidan (Totto Foundation to train deaf actors).

His two children are also kyogen performers of the next generation.

Motoya's first daughter Ayame IZUMI (real name Ayame YAMAWAI, born in 2002) debuted, along with Junko's first daughter Keiko IZUMI (born in 2002), at National Noh Theater on February 26, 2006, and is actively engaged in kyogen performance as a kokata (a child player) of Izumi Soke Co.

Motokiyo IZUMI
Motoya's first son Motokiyo IZUMI (real name Motokiyo YAMAWAKI, born in 2004) performed kyogen for the first time on June 30, 2008 at Motohide hono keiko (practice of dedication for Motohide), though his debut had been delayed due to the trouble of his parent's separation. He is expected to debut as a kokata of of Izumi Soke Co. in December 2008.

Even at present, the Izumi family calls Motokiyo IZUMI as the successor to the 21st soke. Motoya and Hano are promoting their children by frequently posting the photographs of Ayame and Motokiyo on the Web.


Motoya IZUMI is a person who causes many troubles.

Disputes over the succession to Izumi-ryu soke

When his father Motohide IZUMI fell while performing on June 22, 1995, Motoya immediately converted the kyogen live show, which was scheduled to be held from 27th through 29th and in which he was expected to perform together with his father, to the soke shumei hiro koen (performance commemorating the change of head of family), and called himself "the 20th Izumiryu soke" at the age of 21.

After his father Motohide IZUMI died on June 30, 1995, the fact came to light that the above performance was held without taking procedures required for soke shumei hiro koen, such as the nomination of guardian and the approval of Nogaku Soke-kai, and it became a social problem.

Out of 53 members of Izumi-ryu Shokubunkai, 48 persons opposed to Motoya's succession of soke. Some members proposed "Motoya should become the head after Motoya learns more from his seniors since his performance is still unskilled." The Izumi family, however, refused the above and registered "Motoya IZUMI, the 20th soke of Izumi-ryu" as a trademark.

As he unilaterally called himself "soke" and registered "Izumi-ryu soke" as a trademark, Izumi-ryu Shokubunkai felt further offended and called for a discussion, but the Izumi family persistently refused to solve the problem through discussion. In addition, Izumi-ryu Shokubunkai was frustrated because Motoya IZUMI damaged public confidence in kyogen by troubles relating to his behavior, such as double-booking and last minute cancellation (to be mentioned later), and registered the trademark ignoring a suspension decision made by Izumi-ryu Shokubunkai. As a result, Izumi-ryu Shokubunkai requested Association for Japanese Noh Plays (Takadanobaba, Tokyo) to dismiss Motoya in 2002 in the joint names of 48 persons including the chairman Man NOMURA.

At a regular board meeting held on July 3, 2002, Association for Japanese Noh Plays decided to set up the "Examination committee for Motoya IZUMI." The association sent a letter to Motoya on July 10 requesting a discussion, but he did not reply. The association again requested "to send a reply by FAX" but he did not reply, and the association finally decided on August 2 to proceed with the procedures of dismissal in the absence of Motoya.

Motoya, ignoring the request from Association for Japanese Noh Plays, sent a content-certified letter to the secretary of Shokubunkai, who had requested Association for Japanese Noh Plays to dismiss Motoya, saying "I excommunicated you as of July 31." He started this letter with a phrase "Being the soke of Izumi-ryu, I am worried about a current confusion in Izumi-ryu," and called himself "Motoya IZUMI, the 20th soke of Izumi-ryu."

On 21, 2002, Association for Japanese Noh Plays held an extraordinary general meeting and adopted the resolution ordering Motoya "to leave the association" by an overwhelming margin of 1,100 against 26. Against the above, Motoya got a right-wing activist Daikaku CHODOIN to intervene.

On October 30, 2002, Motoya brought a litigation against Association for Japanese Noh Plays at Tokyo District Court in which he requested damage compensation and the reversal of decision on the ground that "the decision was illegal because I was given no opportunity to express my opinions", but the claims of Izumi family were dismissed both by Tokyo District Court and Tokyo High Court. Regarding Motoya's argument "a remark of association's executives saying 'Motoya is not the 20th soke of Izumiryu' is unwarrantable," both courts dismissed it by saying "the plaintiff is not acknowledged as soke in the association" and judged that the association's order was legal. Motoya's dismissal from Association for Japanese Noh Plays was finally confirmed by the above ruling. Further, Setsuko apologized and paid \3M to Association for Japanese Noh Plays as a penalty for her false testimony in the trial.

On June 2006, the Supreme Court also rejected plaintiff's claim. As a result, Motoya IZUMI is not acknowledged as Izumi-ryu soke at present in the society, though he still calls himself "soke" based on the trademarks "Motoya IZUMI, the 20th soke of Izumi-ryu" as well as "Izumi Soke Co.". Therefore, he is not allowed to execute the authority of soke over Noh performers belonging to Izumi-ryu.

Since the death of Motohide in 1995, Izumi-ryu has not set up Izumi-ryu soke and has decided things relating Noh plays at the council of Izumiryu Shokubunkai (chairman: Man NOMURA, chief-executive: Kikujiro INOUE).

Further, as neither Association for Japanese Noh Plays, Nogaku Soke-kai nor Izumiryu Shokubunkai acknowledges Motoya as Izumi-ryu soke, he is "the 20th Izumiryu soke" only in name.


After Motoya appeared in an NHK Historical drama "Tokimune HOJO" in 2001, his popularity soared and offers for kyogen performance and TV programs rapidly increased. At the same time, however, incidents of double-booking or last minute cancellation frequently occurred.

In the case of performance held on February 2002 at Maruko-cho Culture Hall in Nagano Prefecture, he left early in order to appear in a TV program featuring Salt Lake City Olympic Games. In the case of performance held on March 19 of the same year at Otofuke-cho Culture Center in Hokkaido, he cancelled on the day on the ground of fever. While the venue's office was inundated with complaints, Motoya, who was supposed to be ill, appeared that night in a TBS live program (Nagano World Figure Skating Championships) and arose suspicion.

As this sort of troubles continuously occurred, TV gossip shows and sports papers reported almost everyday the incidents of double-booking, last minute cancellation, late arrival and early leaving and criticized Izumi family's management and looseness in a sense of time. Due to such troubles, TV spot advertising of "Aioi Insurance Co., Ltd.", in which Motoya appeared as a poster boy, was terminated in May 2002.

Incidents of illegal parking

On November 24, 2005, Motoya was arrested by Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department on suspicion of violation of the Road Traffic Act based on the fact that he had illegally parked a car six times in two years and had not appeared at the police in spite of the notice of appearance. Motaya was detained at the Traffic Bureau, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department for two hours and a half. He received a summary order from Tokyo Summary Court at the spot and was released after paying a fine of 10,000 yen. He said "I was too busy to appear". On 25th, the following day, the media covered the above incident and called him "a suspect Motoya IZUMI, kyogen performer and professional wrestler" or "Izumi kyogenshi." A few months later, he admitted his fault in a female magazine by saying "It's my fault and I have no excuse."

Suspicion of income concealment

On June 27, 2006, the National Tax Administration Agency pointed out an undeclared income of Izumi Soke Co., a company which manages Motoya IZUMI's performance; the amount of undeclared income was over \200M, which had been accumulated for five years until the year of 2003. It was a malicious income concealment because the company put \150M, a part of the income, in an off-the-book account.

Setsuko, the representative director of Izumi Soke Co., denied the suspicion by saying "It is the case that tax inspection was conducted and difference of views existed, but the company has no off-the-book account," but the company was imposed reportedly over \100M of back taxes including a penalty for tax evasion. The above incident revealed the company's serious financial condition because its home-cum-office was seized by Itabashi Ward on June 29, 2006 as well as by Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau on October 27, 2006.

A minor collision

On July 2006, Motaya's car collided with a bike that was running behind it when Motoya turned left in order to park at a family restaurant. A high school student who was driving a bike suffered a minor injury which would require a week for recovery. Setsuko reported the accident to the police. Mejiro Police Station sent the case to the public prosecutor's office on suspicion of professional negligence resulting in bodily injury. This high school student attended a press conference of apology which was held on 19th after the kyogen performance finished. He gave explanations in rapid succession such as "Izumi came to my home in order to apologize", "I have been acquainted with Izumi for some time" and "I am happy since he cared about me and invited me to kyogen performance". Reporters in the room stirred since it was the unprecedented press conference where both the wrongdoer and the victim attended.

"Motoya no Asunaro blog" under fire

On June 15, 2008, Roof Co., Ltd. and Izumiryu Soke Co. held a charity kyoge performance for the victims of the Great Sechuan Earthequake, and members of Izumi-ryu soke stood on the stage. The scene was reported on the blog in time series and attracted the attention of blog readers. On June 17, 2008, he reported the scene where he handed the fund to the Embassy of China, and announced at 00:22:13 of June 20, 2008 that he would officially publish the collected amount later.

However, as nothing had been reported concerning the amount since then, some blog readers voiced discontent and many complaints were written in the comment column in August. Under such situation, he wrote in his blog at 19:14:58 of August 8, 2008, under the title of "Report on the Great Sechuan Earthequake charity", that "I believe I can report the official amount on Monday next week". However, a lot of readers criticized the delay of the report and the opaque handling of the money through writing in the column of comment, and then the column of comment was completely deleted by him at 21:07:25.

Further, he wrote in his blog at 21:07:25 on August 8, under the title of , that "I would like to report the official amount on the occasion of next performance. Although I am feeling the difficulty of reporting widely, I will do my best." As the above was different from what he had said two hours before, many blog readers pointed out his ambiguous handling and unsettled report, and his blog was inundated with protests.

Motaya initially put up his blog "Yamawaki Motohisa Asunaro blog using a real name" and later changed its name to "Izumi Motoya no Asunaro blog," and he updated/administered it while sticking to maintaining similar functions with ordinary people's home-made blogs, not entertainment personalities' blogs, such as his wife Aki HANO's blog under management. Due to the above incident, however, he adopted an "approval system" for readers' comments, and currently he posts readers' comments after his examination. As a result, the number of comments has decreased sharply.

[Original Japanese]