Photo: Sadato Ishizuka
Kaiji Moriyama, born in Kanagawa, Japan in 1973, began his career with a musical theatre company in Japan and quickly moved to the world of professional choreography. Moriyama's style has been likened to a sword, tearing through space with smoothness and sensitivity, which crosses over generational boundaries.
His performance at the 2001 Edinburgh Festival Fringe received widespread recognition and Kelly Apter of The Scotsman described
Moriyama as "One of the most talented dancers at this year's Fringe.It's worth going for him alone."
In the same year, his first solo dance called "YU-ZURU" was performed, since then Moriyama started releasing dance pieces in which he does all directing, choreography, and performance by himself. In 2002 Moriyama was selected to represent Japan at the Little Asia Dance Project with his piece "Lamazuella," and also toured to Australia, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo.
In January 2005 his U.S. solo debut "KATANA (sword)" was reviewed by Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times as "a dance of amazing concentration by an amazing dancer." In 2006 Moriyama toured "KATANA" throughout Japan. In June 2007 he was invited to La biennale di Venezia 2007 to present the world premiere of his solo dance "TheVelvet Suite," which was one of the very few sold-out performances of the festival. In 2008 Moriyama went on a successful national tour of "The Velvet Suite."
Since 2003 Moriyama has been creating amazing his original art pieces inspired by the traditional Japanese Art Form "Noh."
The originality of the collaborative works with Reijirou Tsumura (Kanze Style shite-kata Noh master) on numerous performances that play on the Noh theatre motif, including "Yoroboshi,""OKINA,""KURUI"and "Shakkyou."
He further cemented his reputation as one of Japan's leading seasoned dancers and choreographers. Moriyama is unique as an artist in that he has expanded his creative horizons and branched into other fields. He also has many screen credits to his name, ranging from films such as "Cha no Aji (The Taste of Tea)," directed by Katsuhito Ishii, was the first Japanese film to open Director's Week at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and "Tama Tama"to the "Karada de Asobo(let's play with body)," the NHK
(the Japanese public broadcasting station) TV program, which was broadcasted nationwide everyday from 2004 to 2009.
The "Global Handwashing Dance," is his long time performance and was commissioned by the Japan Committee for UNICEF in 2009 to help promote "Global Handwashing Day," October 15. Through this dance, he contributes to foster children's minds to join hands with various countries around the world and Moriyama dances with them every year on the "Global Handwashing Day."
In 2013, "The UNIVERSE of MANDALA" received the 63rd Geijutsu Senshou National Award for New Artists, 30th Takaya Eguchi Award, and 23rd Art Encouragement Award of Matsuyama Ballet Company. Moriyama was accredited as 2013 Japan Cultural Envoy, first-ever as a dancer other than Japanese traditional dance performers, visited Indonesia, Vietnam, and Singapore.
In 2019, he directed his first opera production, Don Giovanni. In 2020, he was the director, choreographer, and set and costume designer for the New National Ballet of Japan’s production of RYUUGUU - The Turtle Princess. In 2021, he performed in Kaija SAARIAHO’s opera “Only the Sound Remains”, and directed, choreographed as chief for TOKYO2020 Paralympics Opening Ceremony. He continues his passionate pursuit of artistic expression as both a dancer and a director in a wide range of media.
Moriyama expresses himself not only in dance, but also in all the different genres of straight play, film, fashion, photography. His own style of creative activities has exerted his strong presence in the dance scene today.