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Keio University confers the Honorary Degree of Doctor on Otoshige Sakai

Update:Jul. 11, 2013

At 1:30 PM on Monday, July 8, Keio University conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor upon Noh actor Otoshige Sakai during a ceremony at the Mita Public Speaking Hall (Mita Enzetsu-kan). He is the sixth Japanese citizen to receive this honor from Keio University and the first since 1983, some 30 years ago.
Designated an intangible cultural property, Mr. Sakai has continued to perform his remarkable craft as an heir to the Noh tradition and has contributed significantly to the development of Japan's cultural exchange. Through Noh, he has had a considerable impact on training individuals in the educational community at Keio University and throughout Japan. Keio University decided to confer the Honorary Degree of Doctor upon Mr. Sakai to recognize his achievements.
At the ceremony, Mr. Sakai made his entrance to Keio's Alma Mater “The Juku-ka” as sung by the Wagner Society Chorus. With Prof. Toru Ishikawa of the Faculty of Letters presiding, Prof. Ken Sekine, Dean of the Faculty of Letters, read aloud the citation for Mr. Sakai. Following this, President Seike presented the doctorate to Mr. Sakai and delivered an address. In response, Mr. Sakai noted his appreciation to Keio University in an acceptance address.
Following the conferring ceremony, the venue was moved to the North Building Hall, where a DVD illustrating highlights in Mr. Sakai's career was shown. Mr. Sakai then gave a commemorative lecture titled "Noh and I." During the lecture, the audience listened intently as Mr. Sakai spoke of his feelings toward Noh, memories from childhood, and episodes from performances both domestic and abroad.
Mr. Sakai was born in Tokyo in 1939 and graduated from the Department of Political Science in the Faculty of Law, Keio University, in 1964. He first stepped on stage as an actor at three years of age and went on to play his first leading role at eight in the Noh play Tsunemasa. As a Noh actor of the Kanze-style tradition, which has a history of over 600 years, he has constantly been at the forefront of Japanese theater to aptly breathe new life into an ancient art in modern times. His work is not confined to Japan alone, and he has performed in countries such as China, France, Russia, and the United States.

Honorary Degree Presented to Mr. Sakai by President Seike
Honorary Degree Presented to Mr. Sakai by President Seike
Mr. Sakai Gives an Address
Mr. Sakai Gives an Address

DVD Screening
DVD Screening
At the Commemorative Lecture
At the Commemorative Lecture

Enjoying a Cordial Conversation
Enjoying a Cordial Conversation
Mr. Sakai and President Seike Walk Through Mita Campus
Mr. Sakai and President Seike Walk Through Mita Campus

Photo: Susumu Ishito