Kochi: The 60-year-old bride had a condition: Her man should love Mohiniyattam like she did. Watanabe Hisayo’s wish was granted. She has been married to travel writer and illustrator Watanabe Tateo for 10 years and the couple are bound by their love of everything Indian.
At 70 years, Hisayo is revisiting Kerala to perform Mohiniyattam to pay homage to her guru, Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma.
The Yokohama native fell in love with the dance form in Tokyo. The occasion was a performance by Deepti Omchery. Enamored by the beauty of the dance form, she came straight to New Delhi and met danseuse Bharati Shivaji, who advised her to go to Kerala and meet Kalyanikkutty Amma.
Hisayo took a three-year break from her job as a librarian in a Japanese museum and trained under Kalyanikutty Amma at Tripunithura. She mastered the dance form and made her debut on stage before returning to Japan.
She would return to Kerala frequently to hone her skills. She trained with Kalyanikutty Amma’s daughter Sreedevi Rajan and granddaughter Sandhya Rajan after the doyen’s death.
Hisayo has her own students in Tokyo, including girls from Kerala. She says most of her students come from automobile and information technology sectors.
Hisayo’s love of the art reflects in every aspect of her life, including her email id firstname.lastname@example.org.