Actor and painter
Tsurutaro Kataoka was born in Tokyo in 1954. After graduating from high school, he became an apprentice of instructor Tsuruhachi Kataoka. Three years later, he appeared in a Tohomeijinkai performance at Asakusa Engei Hall. Subsequently, he went on to achieve broad popularity with the public on variety shows. He was won numerous awards, including the Japan Academy Film Prize Best Supporting Actor Award, in recognition of his skill as an actor who portrays a wide range of characters. For three years starting in 2014, he staged a one-person show entitled “Kanrekikurenai” to mark his 60th birthday and the 20th anniversary of becoming a painter in 20 locations nationwide, attracting a total audience of 340,000. In 2015, he received the 10th Yukei Teshima Award, which is said to be the Akutagawa Prize of calligraphy. In 2017, he passed the Indian government’s certified professional yoga examination, earning the right to use the title yoga master and instructor and becoming the first Yoga Friendship Ambassador. He is currently touring Japan hosting an exhibit entitled “Tsurutaro Kataoka: Faces” commemorating the 25th anniversary of his becoming a painter and the 45th anniversary of his entry into the entertainment industry.
Koyasan hosts a series of summer talks, and I was invited to participate as a speaker. I spoke about Kukai, whom I admire. I spend my days practicing ascetic yoga. It was Kukai who brought this style of yoga back with him to Japan during the Heian period. To me, Koyasan and Kumano are sacred places.