Shinichi Matsumoto began his dancing life in 1983, while studying at Nihon University College of Art in the Cinema Department. That year he began to study tap with famed comedian and dancer Mitsuru Jin, still teaching and now in his seventies. After a run in Las Vegas with a show called Holiday in Japan, Jin studied dance with Mat Mattox in New York before returning to Japan to teach. Matsumoto also took classes with Shunny Parmisano, Broadway dancer and choreographer, who had moved his base to Tokyo. Mr. Parmisano performed as a member of the chorus in the 1943 production of Something for the Boys, which starred Ethel Merman. Mr. Parmisano choreographed many Japanese productions of Broadway musicals during his 45 year residence, including Mame, My Fair Lady and Music Man. Sadly, Mr. Parmisano passed away in 2006.
Matsumoto moved to San Francisco in 1986 where he studied classical tap with Stanley Kahn, creator of “Kahnnotation," choreographer for dozens of Broadway touring companies, and a master tap and ballet teacher for over 40 years. Matsumoto studied with Mr. Kahn for over a year, learning classical tap technique and the wonderful routines so popular during the Vaudeville era. During his stay in the US and on subsequent visits, Matsumoto took master classes with Brenda Buffalino and Steve Condos, and participated in San Francisco and Oregon Tap festivals.
Back in Japan in the 1990’s, Matsumoto joined the Jam Tap Dance Company and performed in many stage shows under the direction of Kuniyasu Kato. Matsumoto studied direction and staging with Mr. Kato, who is famous in Japan for bringing tap great Jimmy Slyde from the USA to perform in the productions Jimmy Slyde/Keep On Dancing in 1996 and We'll Be Together! in 2004. Matsumoto served as Associate Producer on We’ll Be Together.
Beginning in 1991, Matsumoto teamed with Hideaki Anada to form Tokyo Rhythm Boys. In their performances TRB highlight the traditional male duo tap styles. TRB continues to be a very active performance team in the Tokyo tap scene. TRB have recently added an occasional third team member, composer and musician, Tomoyuki Asakawa, to perform innovative dance/instrumental numbers for tap and marimba. The threesome is known as Tokyo Rhythm Boys/Deluxe.
From 1990 to 1994, Matsumoto worked at Tokyo Disneyland as a dancer performing in stage shows and parades. He was a cast member in Adventureland Review, Disney Christmas Wonderland, It's a Musical World and The Mickey Mouse Club. During this period, he became one of the founding members of the performance company Hand-Clap, where he teamed with fellow Disney dancers. Matsumoto wrote, produced, directed and choreographed numerous original shows that always packed the house.
Matsumoto has taught tap dancing for 16 years at various schools and studios in the Tokyo area and as a guest instructor at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts. He is an active tap performer and served as a member of the committee responsible for Japan’s National Tap Day, the largest annual Tap event in Japan. Matsumoto often coordinates or directs this event, supplying choreography for its finale.
In 2005, 2006 and 2007, Matsumoto performed in the musical, Tennessee Waltz, the story of pop star Chiemi Eri. Eri was a major recording artist and movie star in Japan during the 1950's and early 1960's. Matsumoto portrays one of the equally famous Nakano Brothers, a tap dancing duo from that era. Tennessee Waltz opened in Tokyo in 2005 to critical acclaim and came back in the summers of 2006 and 2007 for national tours.
Not quite born in a trunk, Shinichi Matsumoto does come from a performing family. His mother is a dancer and performance artist and his late father was the acclaimed comedian and TV Vaudevillian, Bonpei Hayano.
Anyone living in or visiting the Tokyo metro area is welcome to join one of Shinichi Matsumoto's classes. Instruction in English is available. View the Class Schedule.