10 May 2022
Obituary: Munetaka Iida, Director of The Tokyo Ballet

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the sudden passing of Munetaka Iida, Director of The Tokyo Ballet, on 7 May 2022.

While being treated for tumors in recent years, Iida has kept not only teaching at The Tokyo Ballet but also performing on stage including the appearance in the premieres of KAGUYAHIME choreographed by Jo Kanamori, as an old bamboo harvester. However, at the end of March 2022, he was admitted to hospital, where he untimely died aged 65, without recovering.

Since joining The Tokyo Ballet in 1980, Munetaka Iida has performed roles with unique expressiveness and engraved his presence in significant ballets among the Company's repertoire. His presence was notably prominent In Maurice Béjart's works including Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, The Kabuki in the roles of Sadakuro and Morono, and M in the role of IV-SHI La Mort that he performed having his head  shaved. In Casse-Noisette, Béjart created an original role for Iida, Magic QP. When Jiří Kylián created Perfect Conception for The Tokyo Ballet, Iida closely collaborated with Kylián and delicately portrayed the inner world. Also in classics, he exquisitely performed several characters such as the Clown in Swan Lake, the Cat in The Sleeping Beauty, Madge in La Sylphide, and Sancho Panza in Don Quixote.

In 2004 he was appointed Artistic Director of The Tokyo Ballet and has taught the young dancers with great passion. After handing over the Artistic Director role to Yukari Saito in 2015, Iida, as Director, has continued to help support the activities and development of The Tokyo Ballet in a broader perspective. His contribution to The Tokyo Ballet as a dancer and Artistic Director is uncountable. He was also Director of Japan Performing Arts Foundation (NBS) and Director of The Tokyo Ballet School.

A private funeral will be held with close relatives, and a memorial service will be held on Sunday 29 May 2022 at The Tokyo Ballet's studio.

Japan Performing Arts Foundation (NBS)
The Tokyo Ballet