Noh ? No, I donft know !
@eNogakuf (Noh and Kyogen) is one of the
oldest theatrical arts in the world and has been passed down from generation to
generation for over 650 years. UNESCO added eNogakuf to its Intangible Cultural
Heritage list as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
When was the Nogaku born ?
@Nogakufs origin can be traced back to the Chinese eSangakuf entertainment
introduced into Japan during the 6th and 7th centuries. It was combined
with the ancient Japanese folk arts and in the 8th century became the popular
performing art known as eSarugakuf. The eSarugakuf plays consisting of
music, dance and song came to be called Noh, while the more dialogue-based
short plays were called Kyogen. The art of Noh was perfected by Kanfami
and his son Zeami into the mature form in the latter half of the 14th century.
@Noh, the classical symbolic theater, incorporates
gHayashih (musical accompaniment), gYokyokuh or gUtaih (narrative chant) and gShimaih
(dance). Its most obvious characteristic is that the leading actor known as gShiteh
often appears wearing an elaborate mask and gorgeous costumes on an extremely
simple stage. The themes of Noh are more concerned with human destiny.
@Kyogen, the classical comic theater,
emphasizes dialogue. It depicts the everyday life of the common people in feudal
society. The typical main characters include a mischievous servant named Taro
Kaja, a noisy wife, a lazy husband and a hilarious Buddhist monk. Kyogen is one
of the few traditional Japanese performing arts that would be easy to
understand even for elementary school children.
@Nogaku (Noh and Kyogen) has been performed
alternately on the same stage in the program. This combination enables the
audience to enjoy the contrast between the solemn musical drama of Noh and the
humorous spoken-style play of Kyogen. Today, however, Noh and Kyogen have also
become popular as independent performances.
The Noh Stage of Itsukushima Shrine
Noh stages were built outdoors until the end of the Edo period (1603-1867).
Currently, there are over fifty indoor and outdoor theaters called gNogakudoh
throughout Japan. The Noh Stage at Itsukushima Shrine is the only stage
in the country that was uniquely constructed over seawater. The feudal
lord at the time, Mori Motonari, who won the battle called gItsukushima
Kassenh, dedicated the first Noh performance to the shrine in 1568. The
sixth feudal lord of Hiroshima Castle, Asano Tsunanaga rebuilt the current
Noh stage in 1680. gShin Nohh, or Sacred Noh, is held during the
gTokasaih (Peach Blossom Festival) for three days in April each year.