Madame Fujima Kansuma waves a greeting as she turned 102 years old over the Mother’s Day weekend. Her grandson Jonathan Tachibana posted a video on Facebook of the beloved Oshosan.
Born Sumako Hamaguchi in San Francisco on May 9, 1918, Madame Kansuma has taught more than 2,000 dancers, 48 of whom have been granted professional standing by kabuki grandmasters. At 100 years old, she choreographed the Nisei Week Grand Parade in 2018.
Her troupe, Fujima Kansuma Kai, has performed extensively, including in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics opening, in the 1980 Tournament of Roses Parade, at numerous Japanese Festivals at Disneyland, and at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
In 1987, she received the National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The award was presented in recognition of her lifetime achievements, artistic excellence and contributions “to our nation’s traditional arts heritage.”