The Greek Bride Who Brought Classical Music to Far East

Many Greeks know of the “nyfes,” women sent by ship to the United States and Australia in the 1930s to marry a man they did not know – a photo of the future husband was all they needed. But there’s one who married a man of her own choosing – a Japanese – and helped introduce classical music to the country.

Professor Anastasios Tamis writes of Greek women who moved to the Far East in his new book, Greeks in the Far Orient, which includes the story of Akrivi Asimakopoulou-Fuzukawa (1916-2001), who lived and got married in Japan. The Japanese called her “The Greek Diva” for her musical prowess.

Born and raised in Thessaloniki, she traveled to Paris in 1940 to study music. There she met and married, under difficult circumstances Shindaro Fuzukawa, a prominent figure of the times. The couple were arrested by American troops in Berlin and sent to American prison camps before being released and sent to Japan.

This was when she started performing in Japan’s greatest theater, alluring her audience. She undertook numerous roles, presented many symphonic compositions with Tokyo Symphonic Orchestra, released a number of records and collaborated with renowned Japanese and European conductors.

(Source: ana-mpa,