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Late Japanese Prince Takamado as a ballet critic

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A few days ago Prince Takamado, a cousin of the Emperor, passed away. Some obituaries mentioned that he was interested in the arts, and especially ballet, and I found the following article (written five years ago):



"He travelled, skied in the Laurentians and the Rockies, made friends, and watched ballet, one of his great interests, the National Ballet in Toronto and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal. He's still far more than a casual fan. When Ballet B.C. played Tokyo some years ago, he not only went to the performance but attended rehearsals as well. And in the 1980s, for two and a half years, he wrote about ballet for the Tokyo Shimbun, an experience that demonstrated his curiously limited life.

It would be unthinkable and scandalous for a Japanese prince to criticize a citizen; it would be outrageous if he criticized a foreigner. So the pieces he wrote every month on ballet were journalistic oddities, reviews with the negative parts left out. "I never called my writing criticism. Because I could not write anything bad or nasty, I tried to help people to appreciate the performance." There was a comic side to this, which he could appreciate as much as anyone:

"Readers began to think that whatever I didn't mention must have been something that should have been criticized." To omit was to condemn. From his friends in the ballet world he often heard a question about something he'd ignored: "Was it that bad?" Eventually he found the work dull and gave it up."

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