8 May 2016
Tadatsugu Sasaki, Executive Director of the Japan Performing Arts Foundation and General Director of the Tokyo Ballet, Deceased
Tadatsugu Sasaki, the executive director of the Japan Performing Arts Foundation (NBS), the general director of the Tokyo Ballet, and a producer of opera and ballet, passed away due to heart failure in the early hours of April 30, 2016, after a period of illness. He was 83.
A private family funeral was held on May 4. The Japan Performing Arts Foundation will hold a public memorial service on Sunday, June 12.
Tadatsugu Sasaki founded the Tokyo Ballet in 1964 and thereafter served as the company's general director. He developed the Tokyo Ballet into a company with global reach?in addition to performing in Japan, the company has, to date, toured abroad 29 times, giving a total of 747 overseas performances in 153 cities in 30 different countries.
In addition, he invited celebrated ballet companies, including the Paris Opera Ballet, the Royal Ballet, and Maurice B?jart's company (now known as B?jart Ballet Lausanne), to Japan and introduced them to the nation. He also invited the world's best dancers to perform at the triennial World Ballet Festival, which has been staged 14 times since 1976 and has come to be known internationally as the most significant public ballet performance event in the world.
He also periodically invited distinguished Western opera companies to Japan, including Teatro alla Scala, the Vienna State Opera, the Bavarian State Opera, and the Royal Opera, and he worked tirelessly to stage public performances in Japan in which the stage settings of the world's premier opera houses were faithfully recreated.
Having earned the sobriquet of "the Japanese Diaghilev," he was decorated by eight different countries. His contributions to music and opera in Japan, in the form of his activities and productions, are unparalleled.