According to The Sunday Telegraph, the 26-year-old star, who allegedly earns more than £100,000 per annum, has quit the company and has even pulled out of performances of a ballet, created especially for him, that is scheduled for the end of this month at Sadler's Wells Theatre. The ballet, Mr Worldly Wise, which was choreographed by Twyla Tharp, will be performed instead by William Trevitt.
Kumakawa came from his native Japan at the age of 15 to study at the Royal Ballet School. He is hailed as the heir to Mikhail Baryshnikov and the most exciting male virtuoso dancer of his generation - capable of spinning a phenomenal 17 times in one pirouette. It is believed that his quitting is due to a feeling that he has become 'stuck' in the company at one of the lowest points in its history.
As part of the ROH's radical rescue plan announced last month by chairman Sir Colin Southgate, the Royal Ballet will see a halving of its performances in the coming years. The company's 83 dancers have also been informed that, unless they agree to new, more restrictive contracts by the end of this month, they will be made redundant and the company will be disbanded.
Kumakawa has been in Japan on holiday since August and may not return to London at all, according to his British agent, although one rumour has it that he may return and form his own dance company.