Deguchi Troupe/Masu & Yuri/Johnny and Suma Lamonte

Troupe of five headed by Jujiro Deguchi

1886/9 Jujiro Deguchi born in Japan, Okayama Prefecture

1906 July – Seichi Deguchi born in London to Jujiro Deguchi and Mary Dorman

1907 Oct-Dec – Arthur Etaro Deguchi born in London

1908 December – Ethel Maud Wills summonsed for cruelty to children she was caring for, including Seichi Deguchi, in Essex. Mary failed to appear at the first hearing, where it was explained she had handed over 2 children at Cannon Street Station to Ethel Wills, with a promise to pay once she had found a situation. At the second hearing: “Mary Dorman, otherwise Deguchi, who failed to appear at the last hearing, spoke to receiving her child back from Green’s Farm. He was plump and fat, but appeared ill, while blood had been running from his nose. The child was delicate when baby. He was not, however, in such a good condition now as when he left her. She was very down-hearted about it.”

1908 E Deguchi and Sadakazu Uyenishi depart Britain for Portugal

1909 September – Professor Deguchi and Professor Tobari demonstrate jiu jitsu in Essex.

1911 February – advertisment in The Era – wanted a girl aged 18-20 who understands gymnastics a little – E Deguchi, 3 Sterne Street, Shepherd’s Bush.

1917 Jujiro Deguchi marries widowed Margaret Blanchard (b 1882), nee Jackson, in Burnley. She has two daughters, Lily, aged 17, and Margaret aged 18 from her previous marriage.

1918 July – Manchester – Deguchi Troupe of Japanese jugglers

1918 September – Derby – Deguchi Troupe of Japanese entertainers, introducing Ju-jiro the modern juggler of Japan

1918 October “The Deguchi Troupe of Japanese artistes give a thrilling display of acrobatic and equilibristic feats, and one of their number. Jujiro by name, juggles with wonderful dexterity, and with an easy grace which makes juggling look simplicity itself.” (Dundee Courier)

1919 August – The Deguchi Troupe tops the bill at the Empire this week, including Qujiro the modern Japanese juggler, who charms stick and balls in wonderful manner. Special mention must be made of a little girl whose acrobatic skill receives much applause. This troupe performs many clever feats which are enthusiastically applauded. (Mansfield Reporter)

1920 December – the incomparable Japanese troupe, Risley hand to hand balancing, Burnley

1921 April census – Jujiro (34) and Margaret (38) at 128 Caunce Street, Blackpool with Margaret Blanchard (21) and Lily Blanchard (20), Yashida Kaine (25) , Hiro Fujii (21), Toyo Kashikura (20), Lily Pike (14) – all acrobats and Zentaro Kobayashi, biscuit maker, 21 at Kamiya and son.

1921 June – Most of Deguchi’s experience has been gained in the circus, principally on the Continent. All the members of his troupe have been trained by him, and the older ones have been with him for 14 years. The wonderful hand balancer has been with the troupe for about two years, during which he has been taught his tricks. You have no idea how long it takes and how much practice it requires to perfect some of the tricks which the troupe perform. Three of the tricks which M Deguchi performs took him seven years to perfect, and yet each are accomplished in about a second. Each member of the troupe practices 2 ½ hours every day. (Leicester Chronicle)

1921 July – Jujiro and Lily appear as Masu assisted by Yuri (Yuri is the Japanese word for Lily) – hand balancing and juggling acts.

1921 October Lily’s older sister Margaret marries an acrobat – Nabekichi Maeda

1922 Jujiro and Margaret Deguchi move to Fleetwood, Lancashire

1922 September – “Masu (who is assisted by Yuri) is well called “the Japanese marvel” He is amazingly adept in juggling, balancing, “step dancing” on his hands and other feats, and his tricks with a ball are extraordinarily clever. His is as fine a turn as one could wish to see. It is a combination of wonderful muscle-control, perfect poise of the body, quickness of eye, and manual dexterity. Masu’s performance is worthy of unqualified praise.” (Staffordshire Sentinel)

Fleetwood Chronicle 13 October 1923

1923 March – Jujiro and Margaret bring action against Ann Chambers for trying to break apprenticeship contract with her daughter Lily Pike

1925 Margaret dies

1926 June – Margaret Maeda, nee Blanchard, marries Hirokich Fujii, one of the Deguchi troupe.

1926 DEGUCHI.–In loving memory of Margaret Elizabeth Deguchi, the beloved wife of J. Deguchi, who died November 22rd 1925. aged 43 years. Some may think we have forgotten. When at times they us smile: But little do they know the sorrow. That smile hides all the while. —From her loving Husband. (Fleetwood Chronicle)

1926 October Jujiro Deguchi marries his step daughter Lily Deguchi

1927 November Sumako, daughter of Jujiro and Lily is born in Wandsworth

1928 Masu and Yuri, the perfect Japanese hand balancers and jugglers

1930 son, Jujiro is born to Jujiro and Lily in Wandsworth

1932 May – Lily Deguchi “artist”, returns to Britain from Buenos Aires, aged 31

1932 June – Lily “artist” and Jujiro junior aged 2 “artist” depart Britain for Brazil

1932 August – Jujiro, Lily, Sumako and Jujiro junior return to Britain from Brazil. “Music Hall Artists” aged 43, 32, 4 and 2.

1937 Appear at the Union Cinemas Regal, Great Yarmouth. Celebrated stage act of juggling and pole balancing.

1938 Junosuke born to Jujiro and Lily

1939 Lily and Jujiro living at 12 Colebrook Road, Croydon – both described as variety artistes.

1942 January – last performance as Masu and Yuri in pantomime Mother Goose in Southport, with Masu as a Goose and Yuri peforming hand balancing. No mention of them being Japanese since October 1939.

1942 June – became Lamonte & Julie, a balancing and juggling team.

1943 Lamonte & Julie trio – joined by Sumako aged 16 at the Wolverhampton Hippodrome.

1946 The Lamonte Julie Trio are a foursome, and the chief merit in this turn is some smart juggling by an attractive young brunette. A little more showmanship would add to the effectiveness of the various tricks. (The Stage, 22nd August) – joined by Jujiro aged 16?

1947 – 1948 The Lamonte Julie Trio – two girls and a boy

1952 Jujiro and Sumako start own act as Johnny and Suma Lamonte.

1953 June – Johnny and Suma Lamonte first appearance at London Palladium as part of Al Martino bill

1955 Oriental looking Londoners Johnny and Suma Lamonte at Blackpool, the at London Palladium supporting Eddie Fisher.

1956 Sumako marries Victor Seaforth, another performer, who became known as the man with a 1000 voices.

Johnny and Suma Lamonte The Stage 16 January 1958

1958 (Private collection of Pernille Rudlin)

1960 Daryl Seaforth, son of Sumako and Victor born

Johnny & Suma Lamonte for the Continent JOHNNY LAMONTE finished his long engagement with bis single act at the Latin Quarter in mid-September and the single act, having served its purpose has been put away for the time being as sister Suma–Mrs. Victor Seaforth–having become a proud mother… is now ready for work again. They have already played some engagements with the revived double act into which they have put many new features and on November 1 start off on some Continental engagements at the Emporium, Barcelona.

From there they go to the Biombo Chino in Madrid, and this is to be followed by engagement at the Sporting Club, Monte Carlo, and the Casino, Cannes. Johnny and Suma have done a small amount of Continental work in the past but not to any great extent, but it now looks as if they may be doing quite a sequence.

Their agent. Don Ross, has arranged these engagements; in fact, Don Ross has not only been the only agent Johnny and Suma have ever had but was also agent for their mother and father, who were well known as Masu and Yuri, and the Lamonte-Julie Trio when Suma was old enough to join the act (Quartette when Johnny was old enough to join the act), for Suma and Johnny when they became a double, for Suma while she did a single when Johnny was doing his time in the Forces, and then again for them both, again for Johnny while he did a single while Suma was infanticipating, and now and again for Johnny and Suma.

It is always pleasant to hear of artists and agent getting along so well together over so many years. (The Stage, 27 October 1960)

1961 Johnny and Suma at London Embassy Club. Johnny is an expert hand juggler and Suma, an attractive Asiatic, an adept juggler.

1966 Lily Deguchi dies, aged 65

1971 Jujiro Deguchi senior dies, aged 84

1973 Rolph Gobits photo of Suma Lamonte

Johnny and Suma Lamonte continue to perform and tour arond the world until 1980, when their agent Don Ross dies.

1980 Victor Seaforth sets up own agency, with Sumako, until 1993. Victor Seaforth continued to perform until 2004.

2003 Sumako dies. Times obituary here

2016 Victor Seaforth dies