Shimoji of Kinoshita Circus thrills the audience

Shimoji of Kinoshita Circus thrills the audience

Kazuya Shimoji dazzles the audience in the aerial swing show at the Toyosaki Town special venue in Tomigusuku City. (Photograph by Naoya Oshiro)

January 5, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo
By Chikako Maemori

A skilled performer set the stage for a variety of performances; the 40-year-old performer from Ishigaki City, Kazuya Shimoji, performs three roles on his own at the Kinoshita Circus held at Toyosaki Town special venue in Tomigusuku City. He does aerial swings, the classical performance “One Ladder,” a motorbike show, and more. There are performances that only Shimoji can do. He is indispensable in the circus.

“Flyer from Ishigaki City, Kazuya Shimoji.” At the performance in Okinawa on December 29, this announcement was made at the end of the aerial swing. Following his swing, finger whistling and applause got louder and louder. Shimoji smiled and said, “It’s embarrassing, but I am happy that the venue gets excited.”

When Shimoji was a teenager and looking for a job in Nagoya, he watched the Kinoshita Circus and became captivated by it. Immediately after the performance, he called them to join. He got an interview the next day and started working after a week.

In the beginning Shimoji was not good at exercising. He was in a chemistry club at the junior high school. When he joined the circus, he could do pull-ups only three times. He practiced two to three hours every day after the performance to be able to perform on the stage. He began as a ticket attendant. After one year, he made his debut performing an aerial swing. He reflected, “Practice was not a hardship because I had comrades.”

For “One Ladder,” one person lies down, supporting a ladder with both feet, and a female performer goes up the ladder. The role of “Geso,” who supports the ladder, is hard to master because it requires patience and strength. Currently, only Shimoji can take the role. Eiichiro Nakazono, who has known Shimoji since the beginning of his career, says, “Shimoji is the type that fulfills his role diligently.”

This was the fourth day of performances in Okinawa. On the fifth day, Shimoji plays a classic performance “Kuzu no ha” for the first time in five and half years. Shimoji said, “I execute every single performance carefully. I hope Okinawan people know that there are people from Okinawa working hard in the performance.

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)

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